Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Harvest of Grace

Just as she did in the first two books of the Ada's House trilogy, Woodsmall takes us into the lives of the Amish but also of everyday, struggling, yearning people in Harvest of Grace.  The main characters have made mistakes and grasp for anything resembling peace and grace, discovering the hard way that we live in a fallen world.  But they also discover that grace, forgiveness and friendship abound.  And maybe even true love . . . .

I would give this book at least 4 out of 5 stars!  Excellent just as the first two in the trilogy!

Thank you to Blogging for Books for the complimentary copy of this book in order to obtain my review. Please note that my review is original and in now way influenced by the fact that I was given a copy for free. 

Friends -- please note that you can go onto Blogging for Books, look me up and rate my reviews including this one! I'd be so glad if you did!  Go to Waterbrook Multnomah's site and search for Blogger, Rachel Rudin!  :-)  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review for Christian Fiction: Submerged

Submerged  is a thrilling, suspenseful and poignant piece of Christian fiction, book one of the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey.  I truly enjoyed this book! The characters including the protagonist seemed real with real flaws, real challenges, real triumphs, and real feelings!  The story had a touch of romance, a great deal of mystery and definitely a dose of suspense!  It didn't take me long to read this novel, because I enjoyed it so much I could hardly stand to put it down! If you're looking for a fun yet engaging read, I'd check out Submerged!   

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing a free copy of this book to me in order to have my review.  Please note that all opinions expressed are my own, and my review is in no way influenced by the fact that I was given the book for free. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Dear Friends,

Is it hot where you live this summer? Because it is here, although I 'm very, very, VERY thankful that it's not nearly so treacherously hot as it was this time last summer!

Needless to say, I have spent as much time hiding away in the air conditioning as possible.  Honestly, folks, I was just not MADE for hot, humid weather!! I am so serious!  I cannot handle it. Give me cool temperatures any day . . . . I will put on my sweater with a smile!  :-)   I like warm weather, but when I say warm I'm talking 65-80 degrees.  Most definitely not 105!

So I was trying to think (or rather, gather my thoughts into one arena! LOL) about what I could post over this time around, knowing that it has been a while since I posted and knowing that I honestly do want to post more frequently.  It just doesn't always happen!  And so I thought, why not talk about something that I've been actively dealing with and/or working on for years now, and had to utilize yet again just this week?  Boundaries!

First off, let me begin by saying that boundaries have been made much clearer to me through reading certain books such as "Boundaries," by the Christian authors/psychologists, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  And I highly recommend the book if you haven't read it!  It's a lifesaver and transformer!  And I don't recall reading anything that goes against the grain of the Word or Christian living, it just empowers you to live a more fulfilling life with healthy boundaries if you listen to what they have to say!

Anyhow, the book has helped me many times. I may put a couple quotes at the end of this, just because they are pretty powerful, at least they are to me!  But the other method of learning for me that is a sure shot every single time is simply experience. You know, where you do what you think you should then you feel you've totally messed everything up and you go back again to try and fix it only to realize that it was never your issue to fix and you've just made yourself more upset and flustered in your attempt?!?  *out of breath*  Yes. That sort of experience.  And others.  Some experiences have been good for me, in that I did what I knew I should or said what I knew I had to say, and I came away feeling happier, lighter, stronger.  That's when I knew that I had done things the way God would want me to -- I felt the witness of His Holy Spirit telling me it would be okay and I'd done my part -- to relax now and let Him do His.

This week I had to emphasize boundaries again with people I love.  Perhaps some of you are reading this and thinking, "Boundaries and people you love? Should those really go in the same sentence?"  If you're thinking that, it's because you're thinking that boundaries are an evil thing, or at the very least, not an advisable thing to have with the people you love.  But on the contrary, they are vital.  Healthy boundaries built out of love both for others and for yourself are crucial.  I have been learning this now for a long time and I have no doubt I will be learning more about it for my entire life.  (not always a pleasant conclusion, but hey, it's life! We'll be learning till we move on to eternity, and I'm not sure we won't still be learning something even then! :)

So, tell me, if you've made it this far (I applaud you if you did -- as I know I can be verbose!), have you ever had to put up boundaries in a relationship?  Has it worked out?  Was the response of the person you put up boundaries with been a positive one?  Negative?  Hostile?  Grateful?  Resistant but then understanding?  Because reactions from the people you have to make boundaries with vary along a very broad spectrum.

As you go about putting up healthy boundaries, I wish you the best.  I encourage you to not give in, to keep the boundaries you know are healthy, vital, essential. Because of the fact that God did not create us to hurt one another, boundaries are one of the tools we need to truly love, honor and respect other human beings. There needs to be greater respect and strong, "tough" love between Christians, in my opinion.  Sometimes a lack of boundaries causes great instability and illness in relationships. I cannot see that being part of God's vision for His people!

Boundaries help us ‘guard our heart with all diligence.’  We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside.  In short, boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out.”  (pg. 33, Boundaries)

God also limits what he will allow in his yard. He confronts sin and allows consequences for behavior. He invites people in who will love him, and lets his love flow outward to them at the same time. The “gates” of his boundaries open and close appropriately.”  (pg. 35, Boundaries) 

Monday, July 2, 2012


This morning the insulation guy came to our house and blew insulation into our entire attic!  We have been needing this since we moved into our home, since it was built over 60 years ago and what insulation was present was minimal and pretty much ineffective!  Needless to say, we're very excited to have a cooler house this summer and to have (hopefully drastically) reduced heating and air conditioning bills!  

Otherwise, I'm on the last day of my almost-two-week break between summer terms.  I successfully pulled off the first summer term and so now have one less graduate course to complete and am one step closer to getting my Masters!  Can you tell I'm excited? Because I am! I start my second summer term tomorrow, and it is certain to be an interesting class. The last one was! 

I have been reading some, mostly books that I chose to review.  One I am enjoying currently is a novel from Bethany House Publishers, called "Submerged." So far, so good!  

As the summer is now upon us, I try to find methods of cooking that don't require running our oven and stove for longer than necessary, if at all.  It makes the already warm and stuffy house HOT and almost unbearable! We are just so grateful for the wonderful gift of a grill from my husband's parents and my amazing parents-in-law, so that we are able to cook at least some of our meals outdoors!  I love grilling!  Some favorites so far have included burgers, grilled asparagus and steaks with grilled baby portabellas!  YUM!!! 

Hubby and I have been working around our house lately, organizing, sorting through clothes and odds and ends to see what needs to be kept and what needs to be given away.  I'm delighted to say I have unburdened myself of (ahem - several) boxes of clothes that I won't be using and if I did, it wouldn't be for quite a while!  It feels so good to be better organized. Definitely a work in progress, none of it is accomplished overnight, especially when you're still merging two households (his and mine!).  But we've made a dent and it's encouraging!  :-) 

So what are you up to this summer?  Stay cool! 

And Happy Independence Day!!  (it's only 2 days away!)