The Healing Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Elderly couple, Emma and Lamar Miller, were not only starting a new life together as a married couple, but also in a new winter home in Florida. The frigid winters of Indiana had proven too much for Lamar’s arthritis. This was a solution until warmer weather came and they could return home. In the meantime, Lamar is happy combing the beaches for shells and enjoying feeling better. All this leisure time, on the other hand, is making Emma restless. She wants to be busy doing something with purpose.
One thing she enjoyed doing in Indiana was teaching quilting classes. These classes were more than just passing on her skills; they were a ministry to her. Lamar suggests she have one at their new home. Both were anxious to see who God sent to them this time. The Lord sent 6 very different people, each facing their own heartache, to spend 6 weeks together in Emma’s class.
Erika, a teenager recently paralyzed, is learning to live life in a wheelchair. She is filled with bitterness and anger and is being force by her father to take the class. Mike is a workaholic whose business is on hold due to his charter boat needing repairs. He takes his wife’s place in the class when she is called away with a family emergency. He is another not so willing student.
B.J is retired artist who is dying of cancer. He wants to enjoy the time he has left and decides to paint pictures of Emma’s quilts
Noreen is has been a widow for 5 years and tired of being alone.
Jennifer is a young woman expecting her first child, but her husband is without a job, and they are facing financial problems.
Kim, bless her heart, is a klutzy waitress who is afraid she might lose her job.
As the Millers come to know the students and learn of their hardships, they not only prayed for each individual, but also allowed God guide them in how to minister to them. This made me think of how anything we do that brings people into our lives can be a ministry. We just have to be open to the Lord’s leading and looking for opportunities to do His work. A beautiful story unfolds showing how God worked in each student’s life in exactly the way he or she needed. There are several surprises along the way where their lives are touched in ways they never imagined.
The Millers also showed that you can stay true to your beliefs and God no matter where you are or who you meet. They were Amish and certainly had little in common with the people they taught, yet they accepted the students for who they were. They welcomed them as friends and simply loved them. In Florida, they were not living among their brethren in a protected society, but with Englishers out in the world. Not once did they appear uncomfortable or compromised in situations with people or out in public. I saw this as such a testimony of being secure in one’s faith and living what you believe. This book was very entertaining and a beautiful story.
I received this book free from Handlebar. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Road Unknown By Barbara Cameron

The Amish are known for their large families and Elizabeth Bontrager’s family was no exception. She was the oldest of nine children! Her mother had trouble managing her supersized family so Elizabeth does the lion’s share of caring for the little ones and doing the housework, and that’s after returning home from a full day’s work! She loves her family deeply and strongly desires to honor her parents but at the age of 20, feels she is missing the chance to have a life and family of her own. An English pen pal she met opens the door of opportunity by asking her leave her home in Goshen, Indiana and come live with her in Paradise, Pennsylvania.
She’s never had a rumspringa. Her wish is not to go wild as some Amish youth do during their rumspringa, but to truly seek what God would have her do, not what the church tells her to do. Her question is not to leave the Amish church; her roots run deep. Her confusion comes as to whether she would be dishonoring her parents by leaving home to start a life of her own.
After she embarks on the bus to Paradise, she meets a handsome Amish man named Saul Miller. Little did she know he would become her boss when she gets a job working in his family’s store.
Elizabeth has many new experiences in the English world. I knew the Amish lived very simple lives without modern conveniences, but I never thought about the confusion and surprises they might have if they were exposed to them. Seeing the modern world through her eyes for the first time gave me a new perspective. While Elizabeth holds fast to the foundation of her Amish beliefs, she also embraces the new experiences her adventure offers. Her common sense and experience in caring for her family enables her to help several people in emergency situations.
I loved her innocence and integrity. Her love for her family, and her feeling of responsibility beckons her to go home, but her love for her new life and Saul make her want to stay. What should she do? She must make a choice.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and anxiously await book 2 of which there is an excerpt is included. I love recipes and was delighted to see some of the recipes from the story are shared. A wonderful book!
I received this book free from the Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Mother’s Secret By Amy Clipston

Carolyn Lapp made a youthful mistake in her teens and had a child out of wedlock, a great shame in the Amish community. She refuses to reveal who the father is. While she loves her son Benjamin, now 15, with all her heart, she feels she will never have a husband and home of her own. She feels trapped in her past mistake. The church and her parents, whom they live with, have completely forgiven her, but her brother never lets her forget her sin. He reminds her at every turn. He even plays matchmaker insisting she settle for an older widower with a daughter, but Carolyn dreams of marrying for love.
Her brother has two sons that are real rascals and constantly blaming her son for their misdeeds. At a local auction, his cousins throw a rock and injure a horse belonging to Joshua Glick. When he catches up with them they blame Benjamin. Only his mother believes in his innocence. As punishment and to pay for the vet bill, Benjamin is forced to work on Joshua’s horse farm. The silver lining is that he will least be free of his cousins tormenting him.
Benjamin begins to enjoy his work and being there. Joshua seems to be a hard man. He is still grieving the loss of his brother who ran the farm with him. To make things worse, his heart is broken when his brother’s widow refuses to marry him and marries an Englisher. Believing he can never love again, he has put a wall around his heart.
Carolyn makes visits to the farm to bring Benjamin’s lunch and sometimes confront Joshua on what she deems unfair treatment of her son. The two begin to develop feelings they thought they would never have. The problem is Joshua thinks Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother.
Carolyn’s older brother has the widower courting her, and Joshua shows an interest too. Which should she choose? The one that will accept her or risk telling the one she loves the truth and possibly lose him. Joshua’s mother is pushing him to court a young woman she feels is “perfect” for him but whom he has no interest in. Trials, misunderstandings, and doubts cause many problems for the couple.
A big lesson is to be learned is how assumptions cause many relationship problems while open, honest communication strengthens them. This is a beautiful story of forgiveness and learning to trust God with your future, no matter what your past has been.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 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

Surviving Henry By Erin Taylor Young

Fond memories of her perfectly behaved childhood boxer, spurns Erin Young to purchase a boxer puppy for their family. He has charisma, is a fantastic example of the boxer breed, and turns everyone’s head with his stunning good looks. The Young’s are sure they have the perfect pet. It didn’t take long for them to realize Henry was anything but perfect!
His antics are off the charts! From endangering his life more than once with his exploits, to barely passing obedience school, along with many other crazy hi-jinks, he puts his owners through. There is never a dull moment with Henry. In fact someone has to watch him at all times to keep him out of trouble! There is no doubt he has an extreme case of doggie ADHD!
This is hands down the BEST book about a dog I have ever read! Ms. Young is an artist and comedian with words. I have never laughed so hard in such a long time! I was reading it while waiting in the doctor’s office and kept bursting out laughing.
The author’s sense of humor is impeccable. The book is so well written. I couldn’t put it down!
It is also the story of the deep, committed love of a family for their “fur baby”. Their devotion in caring for him, in spite of his challenging and eccentric behavior was very touching. Most people would have just given up and taken him to a shelter but they love Henry for who he is mishaps and all. Through her dealings with Henry, Ms. Young begins to realize the unconditional love God has for her.
I enjoyed this book so much I am going to read it again! If I could I would give it a 10 star rating! This book is a MUST read!
Be sure to go to http://survivinghenry.com/ to see videos of Henry in action and learn more about his amazing family.
I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Woman of Courage By Wanda Brunstetter

Every detail was in place for Amanda Pearson’s wedding to Nathan Lane. Filled with nervousness and joy Amanda received a shock when the afternoon before the wedding Nathan broke their engagement and professed his love for another. To escape her heartache and focus on serving God she sets off on an arduous and dangerous 3000 mile journey from New York to the Oregon territory to help a missionary couple and teach the Nez Perce Indians about the Lord. It was the mid 1800’s and horseback was their only option to cross the Rockies. Her father insists on accompanying her and hiring a seasoned guide to go with them.
Amanda is sure her strong Quaker beliefs and trust in God will carry her through. Her faith does exactly that but it is tested in painful and unexpected ways she never dreamed of. Dangers of fierce Indians, the elements, the rough wilderness and illness challenge her at every turn. Her commitment to God is also tested when she falls in love with an unbeliever that wants nothing to do with God.
This was an outstanding book and story! Historical facts set the background for the reader. The many details of survival and aspects of living and traveling through uncharted wilderness brought the story to life. I also learned many things about the Quaker belief. I liked the numerous Bible scriptures used throughout the book as Amanda applied them to what she was facing. Her zeal to lead others to Christ was not something you usually do not find in a Christian novel. She was completely out of her comfort zone and element (not to mention being faced with horrific trials) yet she continued stay strong as a Christian and stand alone.
I found this book very exciting! The plot constantly surprised me with something totally unpredictable. I was truly amazed at the hardships the characters faced, yet continued to persevere. I wish I could give you more details but so many wonderful surprises await you in this book that I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you! This really is a book about a woman of Courage!
I received this book free from Barbour Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.