Saturday, October 20, 2018

Gathering of Sisters by Darla Weaver


An interview with Darla Weaver,
Author of Gathering of Sisters

Once a week Darla Weaver hitches up her spirited mare, bundles her children into the buggy, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters: A Year with My Old Order Mennonite Family (Herald Press), Weaver writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women’s gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.

The rest of the week is full of laundry, and errands, and work that never ends. But Tuesday is about being sisters, daughters, and mothers.

Q: Gathering of Sisters tells about getting together weekly with your mother and sisters. Tell us a little bit about your family.

There were five of us sisters, growing up together with our four little brothers in the white farmhouse our parents built. The nine of us kept this five-bedroom house brimming with life, and crowded with both happiness and some inevitable sadness. We did a lot of living and a lot of learning in that house.

And then we all grew up.

I was the first to leave. On a warm and sunshiny day in September 2000, after the leaves on the lofty silver maples had faded from summer-green and before they wore brightly flaming autumn shades, I was married to Laverne Weaver. It was the first wedding in that mellowing white house we all called home. Four more were to follow in the next several years. Except for my youngest brother, we’ve all left home. Most of us live close, but one brother lives in Alaska.

Q: Why did you decide to make an effort to get together once a week?


That left Tuesdays. Tuesday really was the perfect in-between sort of day to spend with Mom and my sisters. On Tuesday the five us sisters still come home. We pack up the children—all eighteen of them during summer vacation—and head to the farm.

We go early. I drive my spirited little mare, Charlotte, and she trots briskly along the six miles of winding country roads. Regina and Ida Mae live much closer. They married brothers, and their homes are directly across the fields from Dad and Mom’s farm. They usually bike, with children’s noses pressed against the bright mesh of the carts they tow behind their bicycles. Or they walk, pushing strollers over the back fields and up the lane. And Emily and Amanda, who also married brothers and live in neighboring houses about five miles away, come together with everyone crammed into one carriage.

Q: Do all the kids enjoy Tuesdays as well?

The children love Tuesdays. On warm days they play on the slide and the swings in the cool shade of the silver maples, jump on the trampoline, run through their grandpa’s three greenhouses, ride along on the wagon going to the fields where produce by the bushels and bins is hauled to the packing shed. They build hay houses in the barn and explore the creek. The boys take poles and hooks and bait and spend hours fishing and playing in the small creek that flows beneath the lane and through the thickets beside the pasture fence. They catch dozens of tiny blue gills and northern creek chubbs, most of which they release back into the water hole, a deep pool that yawns at the mouth of a large culvert, to be caught again next week. They work too, at mowing lawn, raking, lugging flower pots around, or anything else that Grandma needs them to do, but most often Tuesdays on Grandpa’s farm are play days.

Q: What do you do when you are all gathered together?


Every day is different, yet every Tuesday follows a predictable pattern that varies with the seasons. Winter finds us inside, close to the warmth humming from the woodstove, absorbed in wintertime pursuits which include card-making, crocheting, sewing, puzzles—jigsaw, crossword, sudoku—and reading books and magazines. But as soon as spring colors the buds of the maples with a reddish tinge, we spend more time outside. The greenhouses are loaded with plants, the flowerbeds full of unfurling perennials, and the grass is greening in the yard again.

In summer, while the garden and fields burst with produce, the breezy shade of the front porch calls. It wraps around two sides of the house and is full of Mom’s potted plants and porch furniture. We sit there to shell peas, husk corn, or just sip a cold drink and cool off after a warm stroll through the flowers.

Then autumn echoes through the country, the leaves flame and fall, and we rake them up—millions of leaves. Where we rake one Tuesday is covered again by the next, until at last the towering maples stand disrobed of leaves, their amazing seventy-foot branches a wavering fretwork against a sky that is sullen with winter once more.

Q: How did your sisters react to the news about you writing this book?

The initial reactions varied.
“I suppose you would change all our names,” Mom said after a while.
That was a new thought for me, and one I didn’t want to con­sider. “Oh, no, that would be much too hard. We would just use every­ one’s real name.” Merely the thought of renaming eighteen children exhausted me.
“Oh, yes, I won’t write anything you wouldn’t like,” I promised.
“She will still have to claim us as sisters,” Regina points out, as usual finding a positive angle to the topic. “She won’t make us sound too odd or ornery or anything.”
Regina’s oldest daughter, Jerelyn, who at fourteen has graduated from eighth grade and is again spending Tuesdays with us, considered staying home for the entire next year to keep her name out of the book. But on a whole, no one really objected. Like Laverne and our children, Mom and my sisters are almost used to my compulsive scribbling. Almost.
Now onto some frequently asked questions about life in Mennonite communities.

Q: What does daily life look like for a Mennonite?

In some ways being a Mennonite is not so different from being anyone else. We have one life to live, we work to make a living, take care of our families, make time for the things we enjoy, eat, sleep, pay our bills and taxes. Some days are better than others as for anyone else.

In other ways it’s vastly different from the culture around us. Partly in the conservative way we live; perhaps even more in the way we look at life.

The most important goals for most of us are: Faith in God and in his Son who died on the cross for sinners; growing into a closer walk with him; learning to love, serve, and obey his commandments. These beliefs help shape our lives as we grow older.

Old Order Mennonite life is family-oriented. It centers around our church, our families, our schools and neighborhoods. It has been said, “Destroy the home and you destroy the nation,” which has been proved true in various eras of history. God’s plan for one husband and one wife, working together to care for their children, is a most important foundation for our lifestyle.

But, of course, we are far from perfect. Although the majority of us strive to live lives that demonstrate a faith and love and steadfastness rooted deep in God and his word—the Bible—we make plenty of mistakes too. Stumbling and falling and getting up to try again, praying that God will help us do better tomorrow, is a part of life, too.

Q: Do Old Order Mennonites believe in the new birth?

Of course. We believe the Bible truth: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

It is when one believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that God’s Spirit comes into one’s heart. It is by repenting of and turning away from our sins that they can be forgiven. It is by faith in God’s power, and asking in prayer, help us break away from sin’s strongholds. And it is because of that new birth that we desire to live a life that God can bless and sanctify.

But those who grow up in Christian homes may not always be able to pinpoint a certain day or year when their new birth occurred. To say, “When were you born again?” is a little like asking, “When did you grow up?” Sometimes there is a specific date to remember. Just as often there isn’t, because we grew so gradually into the awareness of our need for a personal Savior.

Was there ever a time I didn’t know and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to die for my sins? If so, I can’t remember it. I did have to come to the place where I was willing to accept that for myself, acknowledge all the sin in my life, and turn to God for help and forgiveness. That day came, gradually. When I asked Christ into my heart to be Ruler there, it led to more years of growing up, and into what it means to be one of his disciples.

When I was born physically I still had much to learn. When I was born again spiritually I had just as much to learn about living a Christ-centered life. I’m still learning about it. I imagine I’ll be learning more for as long as I live.

Q: What could a visitor expect at one of your church services?

Church services last around 2 to 2 ½ hours and are in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, although the Bible reading is done in German. They begin with everyone singing together. One of the ministers then has a short sermon, which is followed by silent prayer. Then a second minister explains a chapter from the New Testament, or part of a chapter that he had selected and studied previously. Services are closed with an audible prayer, more singing, and the benediction.

It’s a special time of singing, praying, and worshiping God together with our congregation, and is full of encouragement and inspiration.

Q: Throughout most of the country, we would find most businesses open at least part of the day on Sunday. Would we find any businesses in your community open on Sunday?

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt though labour and do all thy work” (Exodus 20:8-9).

When Sunday comes around, those of us who own businesses do close them, and most of our work is put aside. Sunday is kept as a day to go to church to worship God, then spend it socializing with family and friends. It is a day to get together for meals, visit families who have a new baby, or just relax at home.

Sometimes when it’s warm we go fishing or hiking at nearby state parks or in our own woods. Sometimes we go on picnics or visit the neighbors. In the evening, the youth group gathers at one of their homes to play volleyball, sing and eat.

Sunday is set aside for worship, rest, and family time. It’s refreshing, both spiritually and physically, to have one day each week reserved for that. Work almost always waits. Worshiping God is first priority, then being with family.

Q: What kind of activities are your youth groups involved in?

Most of the young people are part of a structured youth group that gathers each Sunday evening in one of their homes. If it’s warm they play volleyball before singing hymns. A snack is served, unless everyone is invited for supper, then an entire meal is served. This can be quite an undertaking for the hostess, depending on the size of the group.

While Sunday evening gatherings are a regular thing, there are sometimes “work bees” during the week, when they get together to help someone who needs it. They might go to sing at a nursing home, go skating in winter, fishing in summer, or other upbuilding activities.

The majority of the young people are a part of this group and are dedicated to serving God. However, the upper teen years can be hard whether you’re Mennonite or not, and there are always some who drift away and choose not to live as part of our culture.

Q: Can you tell us about your private schools?

Parochial schools are a vital part of our neighborhoods. Three men serve as the school board for each one, and they are in charge of hiring teachers, handling the financial part of running a school, upkeep of the building, and any other need that comes up. They serve in three-year terms and are up for one re-election at the regular yearly community meeting where all directors and trustees for various things are selected.

Most schoolhouses have two classrooms and two teachers. The number of children attending each one varies greatly. Parents pay a yearly tuition which covers the teachers’ pay, books and supplies, and building repairs.

Most children start first grade in September after their sixth birthday. They graduate after completing eighth grade.

Each school day starts with a Bible story, reciting the Lord’s prayer together and singing. Lessons include, but are not limited to, reading, writing, math, spelling, English, vocabulary, history, geography, some science and nature study. Curriculum varies a little from school to school and from one area to the next, but these are the basics.

Religion is not taught as a subject. Rather, faith in God, and Christian living as based on the Bible, is woven into almost every textbook and lesson. It’s a way of life for us and can’t be separated into a single subject.


About the Author

Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul, Many Lighted Windows and Gathering of Sisters. Weaver has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.

To request a review copy of Gathering of Sisters or for excerpt information, please contact Audra Jennings, ajenningspr@gmail.com



Margie's Comments:
Reading this book opened up a whole new world to me, one that I'd frequently wondered about.
I loved the descriptions of the various Tuesdays spent at the author's mom's home. The writing is laid-back and calm, reflecting the quiet way the Old Order Mennonite people face the world and its everyday challenges. Their faith is integral to the way they live., which is how it should be. 

If you'd like to read an excerpt before buying the book, please do so here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jtUzO1sZg7IXGyBKoRkn-HYFSm96O-tG

I received a copy of the book free from the publicist Audra Jennings and the publisher Herald Press in exchange for this review.



 
 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith


About the Book:

Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity (FaithWords, December 2017)

Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested— there’s a challenge.

How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.

Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative—and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

About the Author:
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is an author, speaker, and board-certified physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area). She received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Georgia, and graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Baker College and Davenport University in Michigan teaching courses on health, nutrition, and disease progression. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the author of "Set Free to Live" and "Come Empty" (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). She is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and a repeat keynote speaker at their annual gathering. She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person.


Margie's Comments:
I thought my word for the year would be “strength.” Last year my word was “courage,” and I learned some new ways in which courage was needed. But after reading Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith, my word for the year is changing to “rest.” Last year was one of the most difficult years I’ve had. Lots of illness, chronic pain and fatigue. So most of the year I was out of commission. I was able to do a few things, but for the most part, I spent a lot of time in my recliner, reading, resting, playing games, resting, crocheting, resting. And I started this year with strep and a viral cough that I’m still struggling with. I had to drop out of many of my normal activities. Then I was asked to review this book.

As I started reading, I couldn’t think of a timelier topic! The author has a “rest quiz” at the back of the book, which she encourages her readers to take. I did. And crud! I still need to rest in every area she covers in the book: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sensory, and creative. She writes in short but info-rich chapters discussing each of the kinds of rest most of us need. In the second part of the book she talks about the gifts of rest: boundaries, reflection, freedom, acceptance, exchange, permission, cessation, art, communication, productivity, choice, and faith. In every chapter she includes scripture and faith elements, something I really appreciate, as I’m one of those that wants to know how to make my faith more practical.

Here’s a quote from the first chapter that really spoke to me: "Rest is not for weaklings. Hollowing out space for rest is work. Finding time for rest is the hands and feet of the promises we long to claim. It means saying no. It means having limits with ourselves. It means having limits with others. It takes courage to rest in the midst of an outcome-driven society. It takes strength to walk away from good in the pursuit of better."

I highly recommend reading Sacred Rest as well as reading the information she keeps current on her websites. (I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.)
 


Friday, September 1, 2017

The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries by GRACE



Does your church or ministry need help developing a policy to keep children safe? The GRACE team with multi-disciplinary knowledge, headed by Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and former child abuse prosecutor, want to help you create a plan with their new book and resource, The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries. Creating a policy can seem too overwhelming, and it feels like an impossible task to plan for every contingency. This handbook is designed for use by a group that will be formulating policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministry, school, and/or church. Working through this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse polices and then guide them through each step they need to take to address the safety of children under their care.


About the Book
The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries (New Growth Press, August 2017)

Churches have always sought to be a safe haven for children and families, but many today are dealing with the tragic reality of child sexual abuse.

This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed for use by a group that will be formulating policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministry, school, and/or church. Working through this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse polices and then guide them through each step they need to take to address the safety of children under their care. It will cover vitally important topics including:

—Protecting the children in a Christian environment from child abuse
—The warning signs of child abuse
—Crafting and implement a child protection policy
—Responding to abuse allegations
—Caring for victims of child abuse
—The legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries

Written by a GRACE team with multi-disciplinary knowledge, headed by Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and former child abuse prosecutor, this handbook will be an invaluable resource to Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how to best protect the little ones under their care.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

 

About the Authors
(Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) is a nonprofit organization made up of highly trained, experienced multidisciplinary professionals who seek to educate and empower the Christian community to identify, confront, and respond to the sin of child abuse.

Find out more about GRACE at http://www.netgrace.org.




Margie’s Comments
The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries is the book any Christian ministry needs in order to set up a policy for employees and volunteers in a church, school, camp, or any para-church ministry that works with children. Over the years I have worked in almost every area of ministry at our church, including the school and camp our church owns. Twenty years ago, the state of Colorado required all “religious” entities that work with children to have a written policy of what abuse is, and how we intended to keep the laws set up to protect the children who came through the church, school, or camp.
                 
Today my son and daughter-in-love head up the training each employee or volunteer at our church must go through each year in order to work with the children the Lord brings into each ministry. (They will get my copy of this e-book that was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.) There are many organizations out there who actually can help in training employees and volunteers in order to be in compliance with each state’s laws concerning abuse. But those who wrote this policy book are considered among the most experienced with the most practical advice.

The book is divided into five sections covering a definition of every kind of abuse, a plan for protecting the children in our ministry, a plan for responding to policy violations and child abuse, a plan for ministering to those who have been abused, and a plan for living the policy. Each chapter ends with a sample wording for a church policy manual, plus sample forms located in the Appendices. Having been through the training for adults working in children’s ministries, I found this book to cover each topic thoroughly with easy to understand narrative and case studies. The sample forms easily delineate what each is for and why it exists. As a former teacher, mom, grandma, camp kitchen coordinator and counselor, I found this book extremely helpful and thorough in helping a ministry like ours make sure they are in compliance with the law. I highly recommend the book and commend the authors for addressing this difficult topic in a kind and compassionate way.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

'God's Crime Scene for Kids' Mystery Investigation Kit Giveaway

Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery.

Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!



One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

God's Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective by J. Warner and Susie Wallace



About the Book:

God’s Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective (David C Cook, September 2017)

Hone your reasoning skills as you investigate evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation.

In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God’s existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.


About the Authors:
 
J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of "Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene," "Forensic Faith," and "Cold-Case Christianity for Kids." He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of ColdCaseChristianity.com. Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.





Margie’s Comments:

In this sequel to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, the authors take us through a second year in the junior police academy. The reader follows the same kids, including themselves, as they solve a mystery for one of their friends as they apply the new techniques they are learning. At the same time Detective Jeffries teaches them about God’s creation using the same techniques. I loved the first book in this Cold-Case Christianity for Kids series, so I have been looking forward to reading God’s Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective. And I wasn’t disappointed. I love the approach to creation facts as given in the Bible, proving once again that God doesn’t lie. As with the first book, I’ll pass this book (which I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review) on to my son, the director of a church camp. He also loves this approach to teaching biblical truths to young people.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna White


About the Book:

A Name Unknown (Bethany House, July 2017)

She’s out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



 
About the Author:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.



Margie’s Comments:

“With the greatest risks come the greatest rewards.” This is the theme of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. And the heroine of the story, Rosemary Gresham, proves the truth of that statement over and over throughout the story White has brought together with wonderful storytelling skills. The characters, major and minor, are all well-developed and the story is truly unique and well-written. The book was hard for me to put down. I look forward to reading the other books in this series—Shadows over England—by Roseanna White in the future. I highly recommend this book, set in the Edwardian period of English history, leading up to the First World War.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould



About the Book:

My Daughter’s Legacy (Harvest House, July 2017)
A thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last
Virginia, 1864
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?
Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.
Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the Authors:

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania. **||** Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including "Beyond the Blue" and "Garden of Dreams." She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.


Margie’s Comments:

My Daughter’s Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is an excellent book! I loved the story, the characters, and the unique style of the writing. As the story went back and forth between the historical and contemporary settings, I couldn’t tell which author wrote what. This is truly a good writing duo. While moving back and forth between the two stories is confusing to some readers, I have always enjoyed the stories even more. This book did not disappoint. I highly recommend My Daughter’s Legacy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski


About the Book:
Dragon Seed (New Growth Press, June 2017)

An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background.

Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. Tempted to run away after yet another argument with his mom, Nick receives a handwritten, leather-bound copy of an old book—a family legend passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book, called Dragon Seed, leads Nick deep into his family’s history and introduces him to another angry young man who lived in the shadows (the shadows of the tombs). Like Nick, you’ll be shocked to discover where he fits in this story of epic proportions!

This page-turning, young adult fiction story invites older children and teens into the real-life struggles of Nick. But it also ushers them into an imaginative exploration of the life of the young man Jesus saved as he wandered through the tombs. Best-selling author Marty Machowski uses both stories to introduce the reality of spiritual warfare and how its shadows affect and change us.

Machowski, a trusted teacher for children of all ages, presents a thoroughly biblical view of spiritual warfare that emphasizes the importance of humility and dangers of pride. Teens will be drawn to the story of Nick and his struggles and will learn, as they read, to also identify the shadows in their own life and turn from them. While the biblical teaching is evident throughout the narrative of Dragon Seed, Machowski also includes a twelve-lesson Bible study at the end of the book to help teens ground their understanding of spiritual warfare on biblical principles.

Youth pastors, leaders, and parents will also want to explore with teens the small group study at the end of the book with its unique take on spiritual warfare that emphasizes the biblical theme of humility. This is a perfect book to read with a group and discuss together the implications of Nick’s struggles for their lives.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



About the Author:
 


 Marty Machowski is the Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over 25 years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the children's ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He is the author of a systematic theology for children entitled "The Ology," "Long Story Short," "Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God," "The Gospel Story Sunday School Curriculum" and the companion "Gospel Story Children's Bible." He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania area.





Margie’s Comments:
While Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski was written for older children and teens, I loved this book and found it difficult to put down! What a unique way to get a good look at Jesus and who He is and what He did while He was on the earth in man’s form!

Nick is a teen who is struggling against his mother’s good intentions and desires for him. When he fights her decision, she hands him the book and asks him to read it while he is isolated in his room. With nothing else to do, he reads the book. And he, too, finds it difficult to put down. There’s a surprise for him in the reading, but at the end he is ready to listen to the Lord as Lord of his life.


The author finished the book with a twelve-day devotional. These are based on Scripture and on the principles of spiritual warfare


brought out in the story. It’s a good reinforcement to children and teens to see where in Scripture these principles are upheld.

If anyone has a teenager at home (maybe more than one) they are struggling with spiritually, I highly recommend this book for your teen(s) to read. Read it yourself, then have your teen read it. Sooner or later it will lead to some great discussions because of the content.

(I was sent an ebook free from the publisher and the publicity group in exchange for an honest review.)