Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda Brunstetter

You can always count on Wanda Brunstetter for a good book! I found this story to be very true to life especially with the challenges in today’s economy. Newlyweds Luke and Meredith Stoltzfus find themselves with financial problems. Luke is unemployed and as a good Amish husband he refuses to let his wife work. The burden of being jobless has caused a strain on their relationship as money problems so often do.
His prayers seem to be answered when his uncle in another state offers to sell him his business, equipment and prepare him for a new career. The catch is he must go there and be trained. Without enough money for two bus tickets, he must leave Meredith behind.
From the beginning, she has had a bad feeling about the trip and worries about Luke’s safety. Plus, she has some very important news to share with him. News that will greatly affect their future together. The story really leaves you hanging and wanting to read more.
There will be 6 books in this series, and I would truly like to read them all. They will all be short like this one, only 121 pages. I felt this was too short and would have liked it if it had been twice as long at least. I would have preferred there be 3 books in the series instead of 6, but that’s just my opinion.
Otherwise it looks like it will be another very entertaining series by Ms. Brunstetter!
I received this book free from Handlebar Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Breath of Dawn BY Kristen Heitzmann

Do not let the size of this book intimidate you! Even though it is 437 pages, you will be done with it before you realize it and wishing it was twice as long! I read at night and found myself staying up way too long to read “just a little more” until I was drooling on my pillow and the book was slipping out of my hand.
This is Ms. Heitzmann’s 3rd book in this series. I have read them all. I feel you can easily read it by itself, but if you do, you will definitely want to read the others! The story was also very fast paced and there are no lulls or dull moments. The author has a talent of describing the settings and the characters so vividly that you just naturally picture them in your mind. Your own personal mental movie!
I loved the surprise element. Every time I thought I had the next twist in the plot figured out, the story would go in a totally different direction.
Morgan Spencer is wealthy, handsome, and after 2 years still deeply grieving the sudden loss of his wife. The only thing to keep him going is his 2 year old daughter Livie. His brother Rick and his wife Noelle have helped him but he feels it is time for him and Livie to create a life of their own. He buys a deceased neighbor’s house to make the transition.
Quinn is hired by the neighbor’s daughter to cull through the home and sell whatever is of value, not knowing Morgan has purchased it as is. Morgan and she are thrown together when he makes a surprise visit to inspect his new home. Meeting her stirs feelings in Morgan he never thought he would have again. Surprisingly his daughter is quite taken with her too. Quinn has lived the last four years in fear and hiding. Her testimony sent a very wicked man to jail. She finds out he is out of prison and looking for her to seek revenge.
When Morgan learns of her need for anonymity and protection, he impulsively proposes marriage, strictly business of course. She will remain safe and he will have someone to take care of his child. No strings attached.
Neither of them are prepared for what is to come. Both must learn to hope and love again, letting go of their pain from the past. As problems arise, Morgan finds his faith in God and biblical truths to come alive as Quinn struggles to trust God and others again.
This is beautiful story of unexpected love, healing, and learning to let go of the past. Add to all this, the romance, suspense and mystery and you have a fantastic book! You will want to read this one!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Breath of Dawn by

Do not let the size of this book intimidate you! Even though it is 437 pages, you will be done with it before you realize it and wishing it was twice as long! I read at night and found myself staying up way too long to read “just a little more” until I was drooling on my pillow and the book was slipping out of my hand. This is Ms. Heitzmann’s 3rd book in this series. I have read them all. I feel you can easily read it by itself, but if you do, you will definitely want to read the others! The story was also very fast paced and there are no lulls or dull moments. The author has a talent of describing the settings and the characters so vividly that you just naturally picture them in your mind. Your own personal mental movie! I loved the surprise element. Every time I thought I had the next twist in the plot figured out, the story would go in a totally different direction. Morgan Spencer is wealthy, handsome, and after 2 years still deeply grieving the sudden loss of his wife. The only thing to keep him going is his 2 year old daughter Livie. His brother Rick and his wife Noelle have helped him but he feels it is time for him and Livie to create a life of their own. He buys a deceased neighbor’s house to make the transition. Quinn is hired by the neighbor’s daughter to cull through the home and sell whatever is of value, not knowing Morgan has purchased it as is. Morgan and she are thrown together when he makes a surprise visit to inspect his new home. Meeting her stirs feelings in Morgan he never thought he would have again. Surprisingly his daughter is quite taken with her too. Quinn has lived the last four years in fear and hiding. Her testimony sent a very wicked man to jail. She finds out he is out of prison and looking for her to seek revenge. When Morgan learns of her need for anonymity and protection, he impulsively proposes marriage, strictly business of course. She will remain safe and he will have someone to take care of his child. No strings attached. Neither of them are prepared for what is to come. Both must learn to hope and love again, letting go of their pain from the past. As problems arise, Morgan finds his faith in God and biblical truths to come alive as Quinn struggles to trust God and others again. This is beautiful story of unexpected love, healing, and learning to let go of the past. Add to all this, the romance, suspense and mystery and you have a fantastic book! You will want to read this one! I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

David Sticker Book by Karen Williamson

There are many children’s sticker books out there, but this one had several features that definitely made it top of the line.
This one is not made like your average flimsy toy sticker book. It has a quality paperback cover and paper just like a good children’s book would have. I liked this because once the child is done doing the sticker activity it can be placed in the bookcase and read over and over. It will be special to the child because they helped “make” it. I also was impressed with the number of stickers. There were LOTS of them. This makes for more time having fun with it. I was surprised because they were on heavy paper too. When you pulled corner to remove them, they didn’t tear easily like a lot of other stickers.
The illustrations were engaging and colorful and the story was written in a way a child could understand it. Each page had about four lines; just enough to tell the Bible story and keep a young child’s attention. With the child participating in the story by applying the stickers, I believe they will retain and learn more about what is being read.
This would be a great children’s gift or for a Sunday school teacher to provide one for each student and use it as a lesson. A quality book!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Digest Diet Cookbook by Liz Vaccariello

After reading the Digest Diet, I looked forward to seeing the cookbook. One of my first concerns was were there any repeated recipes in the new cookbook that the Digest Diet shared. I am happy to say there is not! There are 150 new recipes to help on your 21 day diet!
The first part of the book gives reviews the important concepts of the Digest Diet. I liked this I didn’t have to get my Digest Diet book out. One thing that impressed me is these recipes is encourage and explain the need for ‘good’ fats in our diet. I am totally against the non-fat diet craze that has been around for so many years. All the recipes help you to incorporate and use the much needed ‘good’ fats’. Also included in the recipes are the foods 13 foods they refer to as ‘Fat
Releasers”. This makes it so easy to prepare meals and eat the foods that are key in your weight loss.
Suggestions for stocking your pantry, freezer, and kitchen are made so that you have everything you need to make meal preparation easy. While there are rules, there is also flexibility. There are helpful, multiple brand name suggestions for different foods throughout the book. I thought this was great because it makes finding what you need at the grocery store so easy! I was excited to see pages that help create your own snacks. There was a lot of variety and combinations! For those with allergies there is a table of suitable swaps for foods used in the recipes and also another table of non-dairy sources of calcium.
Recipe categories are:
Breakfasts
Soups
Main Dishes
Salads
Side Dishes
Desserts
Each category is divided into the phases of the diet: Fat Release, Fade Away, and Finish Strong, This way you can quickly locate the recipes available for the phase you are in. I like that in each and every recipe they listed the Fat Releasers that are in it. Not only for the information, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment in your diet. Every time you eat you are being proactive in losing weight! I found the special menus included very useful. These menus are:
Quick Fix
Vegetarian
Dairy Free
Cooking for One
On a Budget. These also are divided into the diet phases.
The recipes are varied, tasty, and easy to prepare. The full page color pictures were wonderful in helping me choose what I want to fix. What I find so great and unique about the Digest Diet and Digest Diet Cookbook is how they have done everything to help you succeed in your weight loss goals. A cookbook you will want to own, even if you aren’t dieting and just want to eat healthy!
I received this book free from FBS Pulishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR CHURCH? PART 2 by Narita Roady

There is a story about a man that loved books and was quite knowledgeable about them.  He was visiting with a friend who told of throwing away a Bible that had been in His family for many generations.   He had found it in the attic of the old family home.  The friend explained, “I just couldn’t read it, somebody name Guten-something or another had printed it.” The lover of books gasped, “Not a Gutenberg!  Why a copy recently sold for over two million dollars!!!”

His friend just shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Nah, mine wouldn’t have sold for even a dollar.   Some guy name Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German!”

At this point I am assuming the booklover passed out!   I do not know if this story is true but there are some similar ones from modern day that are.   In 1989, a man bought a picture frame for $4.00 at a yard sale.   Inside was a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence which he sold for over two million dollars!   In 2006, Rick Norsigian purchased two boxes of glass photograph negatives for $45.00 at a garage sale.  They were negatives of famed photographer Ansel Adams recognized as the father of modern American nature photography!  Mr. Norsigian’s checkbook will be $2,000,000 heavier!  Obviously the people that sold these items so cheaply are regretting it.   They didn’t realize their value and took them for granted!   Last month we were considering the question, “What would you do if your church closed its doors this year.”   Unconsconciouly, many take for granted their precious church homes.  Unlike these unknowing sellers, we can make sure we are not a part of our church’s demise.  Out of the  “8 major “Assasins” of the church we had looked at 3.  Here are the other 5.

4. Not supporting your pastor.   There is a very important fact many members overlook concerning their pastor and that is, “He is God’s man serving as God’s ‘under shepherd’ the office God created.”  This is not to be taken lightly.  I am not talking about a pastor that is preaching untruths or heresy. If that’s the case you need to be talking TO him, not ABOUT him.   Your pastor is a person just like you with faults and limitations, but he has been called to a huge responsibility.  98% of the time the problems someone has with their pastor has to do with personal preference rather that doctrine.  Did you know 50% of preachers starting out will quit the ministry within 5 years?  In 2011, 1,700 pastors left the ministry for good.   We should refuse to speak badly of our pastor or listen to negative gossip.  If we have a problem we need to go to him and encourage others to do the same.  Murmuring against God’s man will harm us, our family, spread discontent between others, and sow seeds of discord.  This destroys a church and certainly doesn’t entice others to come and join.

Our pastor deserves the same respect we show our doctor, lawyer or any dignitary.   In fact, a pastor’s role is more important than that of professionals because God has called him to spiritually lead and teach our families. His position carries a very heavy load of responsibility.  He will answer to God when he meets Him on how he cared for the Lord’s sheep. It isn’t about “who he is”, but “what he does.”   Remember to encourage him in word and deed.  I Thess. 5:12-13 speaks of our duty to God concerning this.  “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”  Your pastor is God’s man, don’t hinder his work.

5. Discord with other members.   Last year in all the churches across our country, over 3,500 people left the church DAILY.  The majority of these departures were due to misunderstandings, disagreements, and contentiousness of fellow members.  Not all the time are these folks purposely being unkind.  Quite often it is simply their immaturity as people and Christians in getting along with others. Sometimes they are unhappy with themselves and their lives so they take it out on those around them.  Whatever the cause, the bottom line is that they have not let the Lord do a work in their life, either through salvation or spiritual growth.” Proverbs 6:16-19, covers it all“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

We must purpose to be peacemakers not troublemakers in our church family.  Pray and think before we speak or respond to something that we find offensive.  “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”  James 1:19
If we are offended the best thing to do is go to that person in love, but even better grow up and learn to forgive and let things go by truly learning to love each other. “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”  Proverbs 10:12   How sad it would be that a petty spirit or selfish outburst caused weaker or spiritually younger Christian to leave the church.  Many never return to any church. What about those outside the church?  People have enough fighting, arguing, and bickering in their jobs and homes.  They certainly don’t want to come to what is supposed to be a place of refuge from the world and have more. “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgaven you.”  Ephesians 4:32  Being a part of your family is to follow Christ, don’t act like one of the Devil’s kids.

6. Not witnessing or visiting or inviting.  Did you know that half of all churches last year did not add one new member through salvation?  80 percent of those who attend church believe it is a personal responsibility to share their Christ, but 61 percent confess they have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the past six months.  We just celebrated Christmas and I can guarantee you one of the main subjects being discussed is what gifts were received.  A new car, a new job, a new house, a raise, a new pet, you name it if we think it has benefited us and we are rejoicing over it we share the news with others!   After all, it is good news to us!  That is all fine and good but what about us sharing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ?  Does this mean it isn’t something that has benefited us or we rejoice over?   Once we are saved we are COMMANDED to share the Gospel with others! “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:19

We aren’t just to witness but also invite!   It isn’t just the pastor’s job!  Not proselyting, but inviting those that don’t have a church home.   A survey showed that 48 % of church members have not invited anyone to church in 6 months!  We invite people to games, dinner, parties, etc., so why don’t we invite them to church?  We live in a free country where inviting folks to church won’t cost us our life, our home, or our family, so what’s the hindrance?  Your church cannot grow without fulfilling its purpose, winning the lost and disciplining.  The only other option is for it to die.  This isn’t about increasing numbers but changing lives! Again, visiting and inviting is a command, not an option.  “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” Luke 14:23

We will be sharing the Greatest Message, to solve mankind’s Biggest Problem, so that everyone might have the opportunity to receive the Perfect Solution, so they can be a part of the Greatest Purpose that brings glory to the Greatest King.  Now isn’t that the Greatest Work ever?  To witness and visit is a command, don’t disobey it.

7. Indifference to the needs and struggles of your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Being loved and cared for by others is universal.  We live in frantically busy times where it is easy to become focused on the little pond of our life we live in.  Most of us are so overwhelmed with just the basics of life we fall into the trap of not seeing the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of those around us.  As with marriages and parents and children, when one feels neglected, the relationship is weakened.  It becomes hard for that couple or family to grow into all they can be.  The same thing applies to the church.  For most this is not intentional, but if we loved others as we love ourselves it wouldn’t happen. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

We need to be sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Pray the Lord will open your eyes to what they are facing.  He sees everything they face.   Next we must purpose to be empathetic, considerate, compassionate, supportive, and understanding.  Respond to them as we would want others to respond to us.  This requires stepping out of our comfort zone.  When you reach out God will provide you with the resources and time to make a difference.  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2   Caring for others is vital, don’t take it lightly.

8. Not staying where God has planted you, looking for greener pastures.  I hope before each of you joined your church you prayed about where He would want you to serve.   Wherever He leads us this is where we need to stay.  Not church hopping when something doesn’t suit us; we get mad or offended; or we grow tired of being there and want a change.  Don’t go in search of “greener pastures”, and more or better programs.   Put down roots and bloom where you are planted.  Tumble weeds have no roots they just go wherever the wind blows, much like many church members.  We must reject the idea of attending church solely for what the church can do for us.  It isn’t about us, it’s about others and Christ!  The only time to leave your church home is if God leads you or they stop preaching and teaching scriptural truth.   Countless church “transfers” have less to do with God’s will and more to do with backsliding.  When one quits focusing on Christ and working for the Lord, they grow discontented and critical.  Serving where God has placed you is a calling, don’t reject it

The pathway to a new year stands before us, unknown and untraveled. I ask you again,   “What would you do if your church closed its doors this year.”   You hold the keys. What will you do?