Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scripture of the Week

Jeramiah 29:11

11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #10

Here you go, Wednesday's Song of the Week number ten has arrived!

#1 Praise You In This Storm- Casting Crowns

#2 How to Save A Life- The Fray

#3 There Is A Redeemer- Keith Green


*These songs will be playing on the bottom playlist.*

When The Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

Hannah Lapp was born and raised in an Old Order Amish home, without electricity, a telephone, or the right to follow her heart. Without her parents’ knowledge, she’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for years. When he asks her to marry him, she accepts, even though to do so will cause her family to avoid her for the rest of her life.

Before Hannah and Paul reveal their relationship, tragedy strikes. In one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed and she faces losing everything: her family, her fiancé, and even her faith in God.

Well, I finally get to review this book! Oh, this is really very exciting! I’m sitting here right now thinking what words could possibly do this book justice and I find myself speechless. When The Heart Cries was easily one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Some of you may think that hasn’t been all that long, but I’ve seen my share of good books before this one, but none of them even come close to this one. Cindy Woodsmall is fairly new to me, although I’ve read her first few novels quite a few times (which includes this one). I bought this book in Pennsylvania not too long ago, but back then I had no idea of the effect this story would have on my heart. As I read this book I found myself getting lost in its pages, living out every line with each of the characters. It is funny how attached you can get to certain characters when you read a book, it’s almost like they really are real. This story gave me such an outlook on the Amish. Sure you may think by reading this story that the Amish are more friendly to outsiders than they are to their own, but I know there’s more to it than that. When The Heart Cries brings up some very interesting subjects, but definitely nothing Cindy couldn’t handle. If there’s any way for you to read this book I suggest that you do. Cindy Woodsmall has brought a new way of writing to these familiar Amish novels. When The Heart Cries definitely gets five stars from me!

I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday afternoon,

*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #9

So, once again it's Wednesday. That means it's time for our Wednesday's Song of the Week!

#1 Always- Building 429

#2 While I'm Waiting- John Waller

#3 Take Me- Hawk Nelson


Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer

Dusk. An Amish farm in Ohio. Will’s father doesn’t recognize him at first- it’s been eight years- so he holds a match up to Will’s face to see him better. “I thought you were dead.” Levi Mullet says, then blows out the match and walks away.

This is not how it’s supposed to be. Where’s the fatted calf? The party?

For years, Will has worked to overcome the ban of his father and the Old Order Amish community. Only now, when the life of his own son hangs in the balance, does he begin to see the truth- that love is the proof of God, and forgiveness the proof of love.

Spanning about forty years, Levi’s Will tells the story of Will Mullet, a young Amish boy who left his community at age 19. Because he had joined church and left behind his pregnant girlfriend, refusing to confess his sins and marry her, he is shunned by the entire community. So he takes off with his younger brother, Tobe, and starts a new life for himself. As the years pass by, Will changes his name, lies about his past, and finally comes to grips with all that has happened- but only by going through some tough times. In the end, the most important thing he needs to do is forgive his father for the hate he’s shown towards him. But the question is, can he forgive the man that has treated him like a complete stranger for most of his life? Levi’s Will is the first book I’ve read by W. Dale Cramer, and I have to say that I really loved this book. Full of characters that are unforgettable and will make you want to laugh and cry, Mr. Cramer has done a wonderful job at telling a story that is, for the most part, true. His own father left the Amish community and was shunned, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend. Like Will, he changed his name, joined the army, married a woman from the South, and didn’t tell her the truth until about seven years into their marriage. If you’re curious about the ending to Mr. Cramer’s story about his father and his family, you’ll have to read the afterword in the back of the book. But believe me, the ending is just as satisfying as the end to the book! For all of the Amish fiction readers out there, this is a definite must read!

God bless,
Elyssa =)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scripture of the Week

John 5: 39, 46-47

39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

46For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.

47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Widow Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter Beth reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommerfeld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the "outsiders." Can Marie prove their innocence, or will she be forced to flee once more?
Henry Braun thought he'd gotten his love for Marie out of his system, but soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When it's all said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?

Well, to tell you the truth it has been some time since I’ve read this book. It always amazes me how much I can remember from a book I read, probably, last year. But there are reasons why I’m bringing you this review so long after I actually read it. Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a touching story about truth and the real meaning of love. I have to say that at some points in the story I can remember being a little confused as to what was going on. But let me assure you that everything will make sense in the end. I purchased this book blindfolded, not knowing what to expect from it. But as I read it—which by the way took only a few days—I realized I had made a good choice. A few months ago a friend of mine picked up the second and third book at a thrift store for me, which was a complete blessing. I will be sure to get those reviews to you ASAP so you can decide whether or not you have an interest in reading these beautiful, heartwarming tales.
Mrs. Sawyer gets two thumbs up!

Have a wonderful day,
*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #8

Okay, so Wednesday is upon us again, bringing us to our eigth week of songs.
And here they are:

#1 Take You Back- Jeremy Camp

#2 Wait and See- Brandon Heath

#3 Free To Be Me- Francesca Battistelli


*Songs will play on the playlist below*

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sarah's Choice

Sarah Collins is a young woman on the rise. As a junior account executive at a major advertising agency, Sarah is poised to get it all: executive promotion, salary increase, new car, fabulous apartment and first-class travel. There’s only one thing that’s going to keep her from getting it; her unborn baby. Sarah has a hard decision. Her friends and co-workers insist that she has the right to choose what will be best for her; a successful career and unlimited material rewards. But according to a mysterious stranger, and three visions, Sarah can make a choice that will not only change her life but the lives of her loved ones both now and forever.

In Sarah’s Choice, Sarah Collins finds herself in a predicament, where she can either choose life, or to have an abortion. Still suffering from the death of her father ten years earlier, Sarah is bitter towards God, and doesn’t believe that He could care about her if she’s in this situation. But a visit from a frail old woman changes all that. After being told she’s going to have three visions, Sarah gets a glimpse of what one of her choices would result in. But the biggest questions are whether Sarah will make the right choice, and whether she chooses to believe that God cares about her. Abortion. The word sends chills down my spine to think of what goes on in those clinics, all while a doctor sits by and tells the young woman that everything is going to be alright. But will it ever really be alright, when an unborn baby is killed without a chance at living? Sarah’s Choice poses this question, as well as many others pertaining to the subject of abortion. This movie also shows us that God is always there, even in the dark times. I’ll flat out say that I loved this movie, and you’ll definitely feel the same way! This is absolutely a movie that will get you thinking, and that will touch your heart. I definitely give it two thumbs up!

God bless,
Elyssa =)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Psalm of the Week

Psalm 21

1The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

2Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

3For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

4He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.

5His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.

6For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

7For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

8Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.

9Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

10Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

11For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.

12Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.

13Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it's no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God-"Be me to her"- despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim's sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stolzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose-or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything-including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

The Hope of Refuge is a book I couldn’t wait to read. And to tell you the truth it was worth every penny I paid for it. Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors; her characters are always realistic and wonderful. Every time I read one of her stories it leaves me speechless and teary-eyed, her talent is just astonishing. As I read this book and became accustom to the characters, I felt as if I was standing there with Cara and Ephraim. Everything about this book was beautiful, the beginning and the end. I always love it when an author keeps you guessing all throughout the book, and this book does it perfectly. After I read the last page I immediately knew why the beginning started the way it had. Definitely read this book, it is a must read! Cindy Woodsmall did not disappoint with this one.

Have a blessed weekend,
*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #7

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year to you! Seems like 2009 went by so fast, giving us no time to stop and take a breath. Well, like I promised we are back on with our Wednesday's Song of the Week. Sorry about last week, things got little hectic for me, and it slipped my mind. But, this week we are going back to the normal three songs a week starting with our praise song of the week.

#1 Everlasting God- Chris Tomlin

#2 Mighty to Save- Hillsong United

#3 Take Me As I Am- FM Static

I hope you enjoy these songs I've picked, as well as the rest of your week.

*Songs will play on playlist*

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Psalm of the Week

Psalm 124

1If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;

2If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

3Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

4Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

5Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

6Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

7Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

8Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Julie and Julia

Based on two true stories, Julie and Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, separated by time and space, are both at loose ends… until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Amy Adams stars in this true story about Julie Powell, a young woman with a passion for food- and a strange love for anything pertaining to Julia Child. She sets a goal to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year and blog about it. Along the way, she overcomes some obstacles, like her mom’s persistent attitude on giving up, a huge fight with her husband, live lobsters, and deboning a duck. Throughout the movie, Julia Child’s story is also told, showing how she came to love food and how she began to cook. All in all, I’d say Julie and Julia was a good movie, full of laughs and a whole lot of food that looked really tasty. This movie is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality, so I wouldn’t recommend it for younger audiences. There's a few parts you have to fast forward, so pay attention and keep your clicker in hand. As you follow the lives of Julie and Julia, you’ll find yourself rooting for both of them as they face some bumps along the way to success- Julie, with her cooking and blog, and Julia, becoming a famous chef. Oh yeah, and if you don't believe in using butter, I wouldn’t recommend this movie… Julia Child was a HUGE fan of butter!

Happy New Year to you all!

Love in Jesus,
Elyssa =)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Psalm of the Week

Psalm 1

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Hey guys, I just want to apologize for not having Wednesday's song of the week on here for you. I totally lost track of the days, this week was very jumbled in my mind. Don't worry though, I provided you with yet another Tenth Avenue North song. And next week on Wednesday I will have the songs up again. Thanks for your patience.