Posted in FUN STUFF, Non-fiction

Homespun Blog Tour

homespun

Welcome to the HOMESPUN BLOG TOUR! I am so excited to introduce you to this wonderful book. If you love all things Amish, you will not want to miss this one!

Story makes the world go ‘round

The stories of Amish and Mennonite women in their own words.

Harrisonburg, VABehind Amish romance novels, tourist spots and “reality” TV shows stand real people, with longings and loves just like the rest of us. Every Amish and Mennonite woman has a story. What would it be like to be welcomed into their homes and share those stories over a cup of coffee?

In the pages of Homespun: Amish and Mennonite Women in Their Own Words (Herald Press/ August 7, 2018/ISBN: 978-1-5138-0316-6/$15.99), Amish and Plain Mennonite women swap stories and spin yarns while the reader sits in. The book’s editor, Lorilee Craker, bestselling author of Money Secrets of the Amish, collected these personal writings and authentic perspectives on life, hospitality, home, grief, joy, and walks with God from Anabaptist women’s periodicals. Among the stories shared are essays penned by well-loved Amish and Mennonite writers such as Sherry Gore, Linda Byler, Lovina Eicher, Dorcas Smucker, and Sheila Petre.

Craker, who describes herself as a simple Mennonite girl from the prairies, grew up in Manitoba where the Mennonite community was large. Her mother’s family came from Ukraine in the 1870’s and were pioneers who homesteaded on the prairies. Her father’s family arrived in Canada after World War II when they fled Stalin and his holocaust. She knew from early on there were lots of different kinds of Mennonite stories, but she never realized there was anything “different” about the way she grew up until she arrived in Chicago for college. “Everyone seemed to think that being Amish or Old Order Mennonite and being my kind of Mennonite were one and the same. This assumption led to lots of explanations on my part about the difference between my modern Mennonite upbringing (‘like Baptist, with a German accent and special foods’) and those other related subcultures.”

Explaining the differences would eventually lead to Craker to writing her first book on the Amish where she learned for all the differences, there were many more similarities than she expected there to be. While visiting the Amish, she found a peace and gentleness that reminded her of home. As she compiled the stories for Homespun, those same feelings and many more came to the surface. “These narratives stirred different emotions in me. My heart ached for Ervina Yoder as she described what it was like for her to be the mother of a longed-for but stillborn baby. I was inspired and encouraged by Danielle Beiler’s trust in God as her provider, and I giggled at Mary Yoder’s secondhand testimony of an Amish man whose pants were just too stretchy. Other essays enthused my soul, and I came away feeling as if I had just been to church. My cup had been filled.”

 

As Craker searched for stories to include, several themes revealed themselves. She organized the book into sections delving into the themes and introduces each section with some of the lessons she took away from the women who wrote the stories.

  • A deep sense of hospitality is fundamental to these women. Yet it’s not hospitality in the HGTV, your-house-needs-to-be-perfect kind of way.
  • They want to abide in an abode, if you will, that nurtures them and feeds their spirit. The writers here expound beautifully on what home means to them.
  • Story makes the world go ’round. When we hear the stories—the testimonies—of others, we are better able to understand our own story and our place in the world.
  • The blazing faith of early Anabaptists is evident in the openness of these writers to all things wondrous. These are true stories of miracles, phenomenal happenings that don’t make sense from a human perspective.
  • A core value of both Mennonites and Amish is the preeminence of family—kinfolk, whether they be kindred or not. Our kin shape us in ways both known and unknown, good and bad.
  • There is something wonderfully elemental and childlike about the devotion expressed here, devotion even in doubt. These pieces drew me closer to the One who calls all his daughters “beloved.”

 

Craker hopes that readers will enjoy the stories as much as she did. “You don’t have to be a simple Mennonite girl from the prairies to do so. All you need to do is open your heart and let the homespun words of these women enlarge your worldview, extend your heart, and increase your friendship with the Creator of all good and gut things.”

About the Editor

Lorilee Craker

 

Lorilee Craker is the editor of Homespun: Amish and Mennonite Women in Their Own Words. She describes herself as a simple Mennonite girl from the prairies and didn’t know there was anything “peculiar” about being Mennonite until she moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Chicago, Illinois for college. It was then that she realized most people outside of Mennonite communities assumed she had come from buggy-driving, bonnet-wearing, butter-churning folk. Everyone seemed to think that being Amish or Old Order Mennonite and being her kind of Mennonite were one and the same. The experience of explaining the differences led her to writing the book, Money Secrets of the Amish (an Audie Awards finalist which she also narrated).

A freelance journalist, blogger and speaker, Craker was an entertainment writer for The Grand Rapids Press for seventeen years.  She has been featured in many media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Time and People. She is the author of fifteen books, including Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me, My Journey to Heaven with Marv Besteman, and the New York Times bestseller Through the Story with Lynne Spears.

The proud founder of a writing day camp for middle schoolers, Craker lives in Grand Rapids, MI with her husband and their three children.

Learn more about Lorilee Craker online at lorileecraker.com. You can also find her on Facebook (@LorileeCraker), Twitter (@lorileecraker) and Instagram (@thebooksellersdaughter).

 

Advance Praise

“A revealing and wide ranging resource. . . . This eclectic book will interest any reader who’s curious about the plain lifestyle.”

~ Publishers Weekly

“Homespun reads like a leisurely visit with an old friend. It starts off with light, chatty topics before settling into the-deep-part-of-the-heart experiences, such as a young mom recovering from the stillborn birth of her little boy. At times charming and humorous, at other times profound and heavy, this collection of true stories will linger in your mind long after you close the book.”

~ Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of Amish Peace

 

I absolutely love this book and enjoyed reading every minute. While Amish stories always pull at my heartstrings, this book was especially enjoyable. I loved the real-life stories shared. Some will make you smile, cry, and have pretty much every emotion. I love the simple life lived by the Amish and always enjoy visiting their world through books like this. Homespun is on my favorites list!

-JoJo’s Corner

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Posted in Fiction

Book Review: The Delusion

978-1-4964-2236-1

By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded—until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.

The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.

Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.

Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evil—everyone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?

Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.

READ A SAMPLE HERE

GET YOUR COPY HERE

pic_420_Gallier_Laura

Laura Gallier

In a youth culture intrigued by the paranormal yet often skeptical of biblical claims, Laura Gallier seeks to bring awareness and understanding to issues surrounding the supernatural. Having battled her own enemies of the soul throughout her teen and young adult years, she is on a mission to expose deception with the light of truth, bringing hope and healing to a generation in need. Laura lives in the greater Houston area with her husband, Patrick, and their three children. Get to know Laura better at www.lauragallier.com.

My Review

I love a good suspense novel and The Delusion does not disappoint. From the moment the story began, I was sucked in and could not put it down until I had finished it. The author does a fabulous job of keeping readers on the edge of their seat. I think what made this story most interesting was the feel of reality despite the fact that this is a fiction read. What would you do if you knew the truth, but no one would believe you? Our main character must reach his own conclusion to the answer to this question. I encourage you to read it and enjoy its finale for yourself.

 

***THANK YOU TO TYNDALE FOR A COMPLEMENTARY COPY TO READ AND REVIEW ON MY BLOG. MY OPINION IS MY OWN. ***

 

Posted in GIVEAWAYS, lets talk

Quiet Time: What’s the Big Deal?

Why is it important to spend time in quiet prayer with God? Does it effect our day? Does it really make a difference?

I believe it does! I always say that I need to get in front of Jesus before I get in front of people. Another of my favorite Bible teachers likes to say: Exchange whispers with God before exchanging shouts with the world. I feel ya sister.

The truth is, I can choose to go about my day ignoring God and ignoring the things of God. Or I can begin my day with Him and allow His presence to permeate everything I do. I can ask Him to be my unseen companion for the day. I like to do that!

This way, when life slaps me in the face (and it sometimes does)…yes, it still hurts, it’s still frustrating, I’m still irritated- BUT, I know He is with me. I know that because I have spent time at His feet, I am better prepared to face the world.

Jesus often got alone, early in the morning to spend time in prayer with His Father. I believe that He was setting an amazing example for us. To accomplish all He did, required meeting with the Father. How can we expect any less from ourselves?

Are you ready to give it a try? Do you need to rekindle your quiet time? Check out this great FREE Prayer Calendar. You’ll find a few thoughts on the Jesus Calling devotion for that day followed by space to track your prayer requests. It’s a great way to jumpstart your own quiet time with the Lord.

Find it here:

https://www.jesuscalling.com/offers/

#JesusCallingAmbassador #ThomasNelsonPartner

Posted in Uncategorized

Longing for Paris


For anyone who has ever daydreamed of another life . . .

Most days, you wouldn’t trade what you have for the world. You love your husband and your kids, and you are grateful to God for your life. But there are days when you feel as though life is rolling over you in waves and you are just going through the motions. You find yourself aching for something more, something that is calling to depths of who you are, maybe for something you can’t even name.

For Sarah Mae, it was Paris, a place that is known for breathtaking beauty, inspiring art, and exquisite food. But as she searched her heart, she found there was more to her longings than she anticipated.

Join Sarah Mae in Longing for Paris, a soul-searching, light-filled journey for the woman who knows she can’t uproot her life to discover herself and her longings, but who desperately wants to uncover them so she can get unstuck and choose a life that is filled with beauty, adventure, and deep joy . . . right where she is.

MEET THE AUTHOR HERE

MY REVIEW

Does God really care about our dreams? Does He care about the things we want to achieve in life? Does He care that we want more? In Longing for Paris the answer is clear- YES YES YES!

You will enjoy Sarah’s journey from busy mom to everyday adventurer and dreamer. Join her as she learns to slow down and savor the life around her.

In the process, readers will learn lessons valuable soul lessons. Don’t miss this book! 



Posted in FUN STUFF, Non-fiction, Read Thru the Bible

The Action Storybook Bible Contest by David C. Cook

<h2 style=”text-align: center;”>DOES YOUR CHILD LOVE COMIC BOOKS?

HOW ABOUT SUPER HEROES?</h2>

Now is your chance to have DC and Marvel illustrator Sergio Cariello make your child’s dream come true!

 

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Parents!

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David C Cook is proud to introduce the newest book in the Action Bible collection:&nbsp;<em>The Action Storybook Bible&nbsp;</em>(coming October 2017). Pre-order&nbsp;<em>The Action Storybook Bible </em>from <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Action-Storybook-Bible-Interactive-Redemptive/dp/0781414202/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1501795495&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=action+storybook+bible”><strong>Amazon</strong></a&gt;, <a href=”https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-action-storybook-bible-catherine-devries/1125983575?ean=9780781414203&amp;st=PLA&amp;sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Shopping+Books_00000000&amp;2sid=Google_&amp;sourceId=PLGoP67429″><strong>Barnes and Noble</strong></a>, or&nbsp;<a href=”https://www.christianbook.com/the-action-storybook-bible/catherine-devries/9780781414203/pd/414204?dv=%7Bdevice%7D&amp;en=google&amp;event=SHOP&amp;kw=preorder-0-20%7C414204&amp;p=1179710&amp;gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoIjl–i71QIVC41pCh1U8g-gEAQYASABEgIW7PD_BwE”><strong>ChristianBook.com</strong></a>&nbsp;to reserve your copy today. <strong>Plus click the graphic below to enter to have a chance to win an illustration of your child as a super hero by Action Bible artist Sergio Cariello (who has also illustrated comics for DC and Marvel!).</strong>

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<a href=”http://www.theactionbible.com/superherokids/&#8221; rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>The giveaway</a> is open until&nbsp;<span data-term=”goog_1598840949″>September 11, 2017, 5:00pm MST</span>.&nbsp; Your entry must be received by then to be eligible. Five winners will be chosen at random from eligible entrants.

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<h3>{THE ACTION STORYBOOK BIBLE}</h3>

<strong>Families see the Bible in motion and put their faith into action!</strong>

<em>The Action Storybook Bible</em> invites families with young children to explore God’s redemptive story together. An entry point into the world of <em>The Action Bible</em>, it tells of the amazing creation story, powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel, God’s miraculous gift of eternal life through Jesus, and more! God’s promise for the world is displayed throughout every page. Discover your family’s place in God’s incredible story and together put your faith into action!

Interactive features include:

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<li>Fifteen key episodes from God’s Word—each one loaded with several stories along with over 350 brand-new illustrations throughout.</li>

<li>Short and easy readings—for children ages eight and under with rich, colorful images.</li>

<li>Life, Faith, Action! features—conclude every episode and invite families to talk about how God moves in the stories, how to see God in life today, how to put faith into action, and how to easily talk to God with a suggested prayer.</li>

<li>Hall of Fame visual index—the place to look up favorite Bible characters by discovering their icon connections and finding them in the stories.</li>

</ul>

<strong><a href=”http://www.theactionbible.com/superherokids/”>Learn more and purchase a copy here.</a></strong>

Posted in Uncategorized

Chasing Secrets


Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her–and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories–and the depths of the heart–Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at http://www.lynetteeason.com.
My Thoughts:

Oh wow! I LOVE this series! Action, suspense and a hint of romance- who could ask for more?!?

You will be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens to Haley and Steven, but things aren’t always what they seem. This book will give you adventure, excitement and will keep you guessing. 

I haven’t seen a series quite like this before, and I am a huge fan! If your looking for a quick, exciting page-turner…don’t miss it!!!
Read a SAMPLE here!

*i received a copy of this book from Revell for my honest review*

Posted in Fiction

His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray


About the book: 
A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.
Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay…

Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.
Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta’s sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

VISIT AUTHOR WEBSITE

MY THOUGHTS:

I am a huge fan of Shelley’s books! She NEVER disappoints. His Secret had me riveted from the beginning. I loved trying to figure it all out- Gray really spreads on the suspense. And of course, there is always a sweet romance element that makes Gray’s books a double treat. Mark and Neeta are characters that readers will not soon forget. The author does a fabulous job of immersing readers into this fictitious world. If you are a fan of great Amish romantic suspense- you MUST get your hands on a copy today!