From Nancy–That we are recommending the following book at the height of summer may seem an odd choice. Summer is almost synonymous with page-turners and light reading. And yet . . . long, soft, star-filled nights can make a person’s heart yearn for more–feel that it’s possible to seek more. And so we offer this recommendation.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction written by pastor, poet, scholar, and author Eugene H. Peterson takes a good look at discipleship in an instant society. It was first published in 1980 by IVP and is being issued by them in 2019. This commemorative edition includes an Anniversary Preface and various Psalms before each chapter. It seems to be a guidance book, great for all adults eighteen and over. It could also be used as a study guide for small groups.

There are 16 chapters and an epilogue in the book. Some of the areas it explores, and some of the names of the chapters, are: Discipleship (“What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?”), Repentance (“I’m Doomed to Live in Meshech”), Providence (“God Guards You from Every Evil”),  Service (“Like Servants . . . We’re Watching & Waiting”), Help (“O Blessed Be God! He Didn’t Go Off & Leave Us”).  With wisdom, Peterson instructs us about authentic discipleship and helps us see the excitement of living lives fully devoted to Jesus. He also helps the reader consider what constitutes genuine spirituality.

The author implies that spiritual growth and maturity take time and were not meant to be obtained instantly, like many things in our society. In one chapter, Peterson quotes Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” Peterson states that the world does so much to discourage this long obedience.

Peterson further teaches us that following the Lord does not mean that your life will be void of problems, but that the Lord will be with you in all things.

This is a really meaty book, filled with deep spiritual insights that take time to digest. It makes you think about your own relationship with the Lord and how to improve it. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction encouraged my soul and I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking a deeper spiritual walk with the Lord. It was practical and helpful. I know you will enjoy it.

 

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

The Mystery Thief by Paul Hutchens is #10 in the 36-book series of the Sugar Creek Gang. This book, according to the copyright page, was first published in 1946 and times have definitely changed.

Bill Collins, the narrator, makes references to giving “lickin’s” to other boys in the past (perhaps in earlier books). In the first pages of The Mystery Thief he says that he and his father had spent some time in the woodshed. (I don’t think they were re-stacking the wood.) Later in The Mystery Thief, the boys get into a scuffle with an adult they believe is poaching and still later in the story their new teacher threatens the boys with a switching. These behaviors could—and should—disturb a contemporary reader. But they also make it a worthwhile read. As the story unfolds, you experience Bill’s unvarnished feelings and attitudes, then watch them change under the influence of his father, a wiser boy from the gang, and a godly older man.

Bill takes steps toward becoming a wise and godly man in the course of the story. He reconsiders the merits of fighting and giving vent to his emotions. He watches others show respect even when they don’t like the person and learns the value of it. He experiences the consequences of jumping to conclusions and begins to question that behavior. I want to underscore that Bill’s learning does not feel like the author preaching. The learning comes honestly. It feels like a real kid growing up and growing wise. OK, enough about why young readers should read it. Here’s why I think they will want to read it and keep reading.

The book starts fast. Bill Collins sees a mysterious man sneak out of the woods and shove a letter into his family’s mailbox. The unsigned letter is addressed to Bill’s father. The writer threatens Bill and calls him the worst “ruffneck” in a gang of “ruffnecks.”

On the way up the lane to Poetry’s, another member of the gang, Bill is attacked—shoved into a snowdrift—and his suitcase and the letter are stolen. The gang shows up and, because the snow is falling, they all quickly set off to follow the tracks of the assailant and to discover who he is. As they walk, they also try to figure out who may have written the letter.

A chance encounter with their new teacher adds drama to the search, but seems to twist the plot away from the mysterious stranger as the boys consider their previous behavior toward their new teacher and vow to behave better. Suspense mounts as the boys continue tracking the assailant. They spot a suspicious man and are certain he is the thief, but they are mistaken. The plot continues to twist and turn until, in a surprising way involving their new teacher, the boys solve the mystery.

I think boys in particular will find this book absorbing. There is a lot of action and some danger. But I also think the lives of the Sugar Creek Gang will intrigue boys. The Mystery Thief gives a glimpse of life in rural America of the mid-twentieth century. It is in some ways a harsh life. The boys in the novel are familiar with poverty and they have seen the effects of drunkenness in adults. Material wealth, even for the boys whose families are not just scraping by, is so much less than what children generally have today.

Yet these boys are not unhappy. They seem at home in their lives. They have each other and they accept each other and all the oddities that go with each individual personality. As a group, they are courageous and resourceful. They have an independence and freedom to move about that twenty-first century boys and girls will envy.

The novel is short and will appeal especially to boys ages 10 to 12 years old.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

A Place in His Heart, written by Rebecca Demarino, and published by Revell (2014) is based on a true story. Demarino’s mother’s eighth great grandfather, Barnabas Horton, left England and came to New England in the 1600’s. Much of his history is written about in this story. It is the first book in a series of three. This story is best suited to readers, ages eighteen and up.

The year is 1630. Barnabas Horton, a Puritan living in a community not far from London, has recently lost his wife Ann. As the story begins, he and his young sons, Joseph and Benjamin, are grieving her loss. A young Anglican woman, Mary Langton, has recently been left on the church steps as she was about to marry her intended, Nathan Cadwell. She has not heard from him since. Her father wants to protect her and have her marry a family friend from London, Robert Haskins. Mary is very close to her father and sister, and yet, she does not love Robert and wants to marry for love.

She soon meets Barnabas, who is a baker in their community. Barnabas, though still grieving for Ann, is very attracted to Mary and sees her wonderful qualities. He knows also that his two young sons need a mother. He feels conflicted.

Mary finds herself falling in love with Barnabas, whom she calls Barney. She also begins to love his sons. It is difficult, but she convinces her father to allow Barney rather than Robert to court her. Her father is concerned that Barney holds Puritan beliefs at a time when there is some persecution for those holding such beliefs. Barney is honest with Mary and admits he does not love her in the same way that he loved Ann, yet he admires Mary greatly, enjoys her personality, and believes she would make an excellent mother.

Barney has two brothers who are interested in traveling to New England, so they can worship God in freedom. One of them, Jeremy, has a ship called the Swallow. Early in the story he begins transporting people to the New World.

Barnabas and Mary become engaged and then marry. At the wedding it is said that Barnabas and his family will go to the New World. He says it is only a joke.

Mary really wants a baby, but she is having trouble becoming pregnant. She also feels a sense of loss, knowing her husband cares for her, but has not yet declared his love for her. She loves his boys, but the older one Joseph has trouble getting close to her. The younger one, however, considers her his mother and she is thankful for that.

Several years into their marriage, Barnabas does make plans for them to travel to New England. Mary is devastated about leaving her father, her sister, and her sister’s family. Yet she feels that she should support Barnabas, and she tries to be strong. She knows her husband believes that he is called to New England, and that there he and Reverend Youngs hope to plant churches in Massachusetts and Southold, Long Island.

The journey is difficult and lasts two months. Although the little family has their own stateroom on the ship, there are many struggles. Mary is often very sick and the food rations run short.

There is much rejoicing when they finally reach Massachusetts. They stay in a tent while Barnabas builds them a house. It is now about five years into their marriage, and Mary has still not conceived. Barney keeps saying that it will happen in the Lord’s timing.

This is a difficult time for Mary. She misses her family terribly. In about a year, she receives word that her father had passed away. She is heartbroken, but she realizes she must move on. There is much to do in this New World.

They soon move to Southold, Long Island in New York. Things are a little better. Mary makes some very good friends, Patience and Winney. Barney builds them a large house, and they feel a sense of community. Without giving away the ending, I will say that after several other struggles, the story ends very happily. There is much spiritual growth that has taken place in both Barney and Mary, and they are much more at peace than they ever have been.

I learned a lot from this story. I realized it must have been so difficult for the first Puritans, both crossing the ocean, and settling in the New World. Their faith was stretched, and mine was as well as I read their story. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

 

Billy Sunday, Runner for the Lord, a student biography version, is  published by A Beka Book Reading Program (2nd edition, 1995). Though a short book, it’s a great read for anyone aged 11 and up.

William Ashley “Billy” Sunday was born on November 19, 1862. His early years were challenging and not without sadness and hardship.

He was born four months after his father enlisted in the army to fight in the Civil War. Billy’s father wanted to do what he could to help our country to be free of slavery, but he died of pneumonia on December 22 at the army camp in Patterson, Missouri.

Billy’s mother was heartbroken, but as time went on, she remarried. Billy had three brothers, Ed, who was four years older than Billy, LeRoy, and Albert. Albert was kicked by a horse and placed in a special home. Billy also had a half-sister Annie, who died from burns when she fell in a bonfire.

Because Billy’s stepfather deserted the family, Billy’s mother had to send ten-year-old Billy and fourteen-year-old Ed to the Soldier’s Orphans’ Home in Glenwood, Iowa. She had no way to feed them. Their grandfather owned a farm next door, but he barely had enough food to feed himself. Although it broke her heart, she felt she had no other choice.

Billy and his brother stayed at the orphanage for four years. Things weren’t easy, but they both learned a lot. Billy loved running and baseball. When Billy’s brother Ed was eighteen and too old to stay at the orphanage, he decided to go home for a visit. He told Billy he should stay and continue his education, but Billy, now fourteen, insisted on going with his brother. They arrived in Ames, much to their mother’s joy. She could not stop praising God for their safe return.

After visiting with their mother, brother and grandfather for a few days, the boys went to a neighboring town, Nevada, Iowa, to try to find work. Ed found work as a farmer’s helper, but there was nothing for Billy, so he went back and helped his grandfather on the farm. That worked for a few weeks, but after an argument, Billy decided to try for another job.

He worked at a hotel in Nevada. Then he met a man, who would eventually become like a second father to him, Colonel John Scott, former lieutenant governor of Iowa. Because Billy was late returning from a twenty-four hour leave to visit his mother, he was fired from his hotel job. He went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Scott. In exchange for chores, they provided him with room, board, attendance at a high school, and school clothes. He also received wages. He a got a job as a janitor at the school as well, so he could send money home to his mother.

As Billy grew, he excelled in everything he did. He loved baseball and played on the school team. He was the fastest runner they had.

When he was eighteen, he met relatives of Cap Anson, the Chicago White Stockings manager. They arranged for Billy to go to Chicago for an interview, and Billy won a spot on the team.

While there, he discovered he felt empty on the inside. He heard about a meeting called the Gospel Wagon. Here, he met Harry Monroe from the Pacific Garden Mission. Monroe worked with baseball players.

Although Billy was an amazing baseball player and fast runner, the Lord kept drawing him closer and Billy began preaching the gospel. He found he had a real talent to draw people in, using his running and baseball experiences. For a while he preached at the YMCA. He began drawing such crowds that he had to hire a team of people to help him with his evangelistic outreaches. His preaching was very athletic and he would run around making points, using his baseball experience to make biblical points.

At age 23, Billy met and married Helen Amelia Thompson. They had four children. Billy and “Nell” served the Lord together all their lives.

Billy was often away, preaching revival meetings. His meetings grew so large that often, spaces the size of a football field would have to be set up. Eventually, Nell came to help with the ministry. They would visit their children whenever time allowed.

Billy continued traveling and preaching until his death on November 9, 1935. He was devoted to the Lord’s work. His goal was to reach as many souls for Jesus as possible.

I enjoyed reading the story of his life, and I know you will as well.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

Confession time: I didn’t read mystery novels when I was a kid. I didn’t think they were IMPORTANT kinds of books. Yes, I know, really, really foolish. I missed out on a lot of fun.  But I also missed out on some other things. It turns out that reading mystery novels trains your brain.

Mystery novels are a lot about details. Good detectives notice details. When you’re doing a “ride along” in a story with a smart detective, you also begin to notice details. You read carefully, watching for clues. It’s exciting, rewarding, when you think you’ve spotted one. In time, you become a better reader of mystery novels and–shouldn’t be a big surprise–you may also begin to notice details in other kinds of writing and become an all-round better reader.

But that’s not all reading mystery novels does for your brain. Good detectives have to sort through the details they notice. They ask questions. They think critically about the details in order to verify or nullify them. They use information that they know and sometimes they do research in order to discover a missing important fact. The reader “riding along” absorbs this way of approaching unknowns and learns that it is good to ask questions, good to do research, and particularly good to test assumptions.

And that is still not all. Mysteries usually—I won’t say always because I’ve been reading some lately that don’t—have a clear sense that there is a right and wrong. A crime—an evil act—has been committed and it cannot be ignored. It is the detective’s job to discover whodunit and help restore the moral order. That there is a moral order and that there is right behavior and wrong behavior is very worthwhile thinking, especially for Christian kids.

Another Confession: I didn’t start writing mystery novels for the above reasons. I started writing them because I thought they were fun to read. But who knew?! It seems that books can be fun, and you can learn IMPORTANT things from them.

I’ve had another idea for having fun with mysteries. On my website I’ve put together some suggestions—food, games, tablescapes—for creating a mystery party. https://www.nancyellenhird.com/party The mystery readers in your life and their friends will love it. (I hope.) Even more—such an event could get you all thinking about starting a book club. We can recommend some books.  🙂 Go for it!

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

London Art Chase written by Natalie Grant with Naomi Kinsman, illustrated by Cathi Mingus, and published by Zonderkidz (2016) is a fun, sweet mystery/adventure for 8- to 11-year-olds.

Three sisters, 10-year-old twins and a six-year-old, accompany their father and their Christian recording artist mother to London. The plan is that while their parents prepare for a concert, Mia, Maddie and Lulu, the youngest sister, will sightsee under the supervision of their nanny.

In the National Gallery, the girls notice a man removing a painting from the wall. To them, he is behaving suspiciously–looking back over his shoulder. He and the painting disappear behind an employees-only door, but the girls are not daunted and race down the public stairs, hoping to catch him coming out of an employee door on the floor below. At full speed, Maddie rounds a corner and bumps into a cellist, knocking her cello out of her hands. This leads to a meeting in the office of the museum director. Maddie apologizes, but explains she was trying to head off a thief. The director argues that no theft of a painting has taken place. And so the mystery begins.

Spoiler Alert: Paintings are being stolen, but it is not in the way the girls think nor is it the person they first suspect who is the thief. The story twists, turns, encounters closed doors, and twists some more before the real thief is exposed and the mystery successfully solved. For observant, artistic Maddie these twists are a huge challenge. Everybody thinks she’s mistaken or that it is not her place to pursue an answer. What should she do? She’s still believes there was a theft.

The Glimmer Family are a Christian family. Young readers see them honoring God through their decisions to be kind to each other. The girls’ parents and their nanny treat the girls with love and respect. When the girls make mistakes, they are gently and thoughtfully corrected.

The family also talk about and model the value of prayer. Young readers will see them praying when Lulu’s suitcase doesn’t turn up and before meals–even when they are in public. The mother tells Maddie that she prays when she encounters something in the world that is wrong and encourages Maddie to seek God’s guidance when she has concerns.

I’ve been to London a number of times and the book is a good demitasse of this incredible, marvelous city. Through the eyes of the Glimmer Girls, young readers visit and learn about  some of its more well-known sights—Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. I thought the choice of these particular sights apt as they are likely to interest young readers.

I do have a problem with one of the illustrations. It’s minor, but as I said, I’ve been to London, so I have to say this. The illustration of London Eye depicts this attraction as having two-person open-to the-air seats like more conventional Ferris wheels. This is not correct. The London Eye, though also a wheel, has large, enclosed capsules that hold up to 25 people each. The text describes the Eye accurately.

I like this mystery/adventure novel. I think young girls will too. BTW, this is the first book in a series of four. The other cities they visit are San Diego, Nashville and New York.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

The Klondike Kid, Book One: Sailing for Gold, by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth and published by Aladdin Paperbacks is the first story in a series of three books for children six- to nine-years-old. It centers around a boy named Davey and the Alaskan Gold Rush of 1897.

Davey Hill is on his own. After his father died, his mother took the little money that was left and bought train tickets for herself and Davey from New York to Seattle, Washington. There, she found a job working as a maid and cook’s helper at Mrs. Tinker’s Boardinghouse. She and Davey were very happy. But the winter rains came and she caught a cold and died soon afterwards. The cook talked Mrs. Tinker into keeping Davey on to help. As the story begins, Davey tells us he wants to leave Mrs. Tinker’s and that he has a secret plan to do it.

He has an Uncle Walt Thomas, whom he thinks has gone up to Alaska to search for gold.  He has written to him about his situation, but so far, no reply has come. A friend tells Davey that if his uncle has gone there, he might be returning on a ship called the Portland which makes trips up and back to Seattle. Davey goes to the dock often to check, but with no success.

Eventually, Davey saves up some money and has an adventure of his own. This little story (64 pages) is not a Christian book, and does not mention God, but you find yourself interested in what will happen to Davey and sympathizing with him. He has had a rough time so far, and a relationship with God would certainly be the answer he needs.

Though he does not discover that, his story could stimulate a conversation with your child about how the Lord is the answer to every difficult situation. I enjoyed this story, and so did the students I read it to. It is filled with adventure for young children and will encourage them to seek their dreams and their own adventures.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

West Meadows Detectives, The Case of the Snack Snatcher was written by Liam O’Donnell, illustrated by Aurelie Grand and published by Owlkids Books (2015). This short mystery (124 pages)  is appropriate for emerging independent readers, grades 2-4.

Myron, the main character, is in the third grade and starting at a new school. He’s not happy about it. In fact, he is very nervous. He tells us that the prospect of meeting new people makes his brain itch (wonderful description!). The novel which is told from Myron’s point of view is full of his delightful and keen observations. This is good–because Myron is a detective.

A scream from the school kitchen interrupts Myron’s conversation with his new teacher. Myron follows Mr. Harpel there and they discover that the kitchen is a mess. It is also–as Myron tells the reader without hesitation–a crime scene. The mid-morning snacks are missing.

Myron is disappointed with Mrs. Peterson, the cook. She has ruined the evidence by walking through it, making it hard to solve the mystery. However, he announces, the thief is eating licorice. He can smell it, though nobody else can. (Myron tells us that he has a heightened sense of smell and hearing.) As Myron passes the closet, the smell of licorice becomes particularly strong. A girl, Hajrah, jumps from the closet. She declares that she is not the thief, though Myron initially has some doubts.

Before long and despite some resistance on Myron’s part, Hajrah becomes his detective partner. The mystery deepens as more curious events occur. Myron and Hajrah investigate. Together they interview possible witnesses, consider suspects, discover clues, encounter bullies and even get their first client. (I suspect it will not be their last. This book is the first in a series.)

Myron and Hajrah make good use of their skills and energy, persevering in spite of setbacks until the mystery is solved. (Spoiler alert: The culprits are a family of raccoons displaced by a storm.)

Both Myron and Hajrah are “special needs” children. Myron has autism and Hajrah, probably has a form of ADHD. She describes herself as someone who “bounces around too much.” In the morning both children attend a special class on the school grounds, but in the afternoon they mainstream into a third-grade class.

There is so much about this novel that I like. The storyline and the characters are appropriate for young readers. Myron and Hajrah are interesting and fun to follow. The school environment is one that children will relate to. Adults are for the most part friendly and helpful. Mr. Harpel assists our young detectives at different points and school employees allow the children to ask questions of them. There are bullies at the school and they are a little threatening, but teachers also keep order and watch out for their students. In a sweet twist, one of the bullies even turns out to have a kind heart.

There was one small misstep on the part of the author that did concern me and I thought you should be aware. Hajrah tells a lie to throw the bullies off. Myron does call her on it, but they get away with the lie and there are no consequences. I think this plot choice could have been handled differently. How Hajrah and Myron might have done differently could be a discussion point for you and your child should you two decide to read the book.

One more interesting point in the book’s favor: in the acknowledgements the author thanks a university professor of early childhood studies for his advice and guidance. The professor is himself autistic.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

From Nancy–I think a good book is such a lovely thing and a terrific gift idea. The right book for the right person will be read and re-read, its warmth and wisdom savored again and again. Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, and I thought you might like to know about this short-story collection that celebrates motherhood.

21 Days of Joy, compiled by Kathy Ide and published by Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC (2016), is the fourth book in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. This one is all about mothers. The most wonderful aspect of this book is that you don’t have to be a birth mother to find great joy in its pages. It is a wonderful read for those wishing they were mothers, those who have fostered or adopted children, or those who have lost children. It gives women hope that they can be used as a mother in a child’s life.

I loved reading the book and seeing how each one of the twenty-one stories was so varied and touching. The main thread that winds through this incredible little book is that God loves and honors mothers of all kinds. He loves our children and hears our prayers for them.

There were two stories in particular that stood out, and I would like to share about them. “Here With Us” by Nancy Ellen Hird is about an adoptive mother. I love the idea of adoption because my daughter has a desire to adopt someday. Kristie, an adoptive mother, has rushed home from a business trip after learning that she and her husband have been given a baby. She is overjoyed, but more than a little nervous as she reaches for the newborn in her husband’s arms.

She and Matt love their new little bundle of joy, a sweet baby girl. In a private moment with her sister Lisa, Kristie expresses fear that the birth mother might change her mind and want her baby back. Lisa reassures her, but also offers that all children go away someday, and that we are just borrowing them from the Lord. Kristie relaxes and rejoices at the amazing gift she and her husband have received. As our children grow, we need to learn to let go, and place them into God’s loving care.

Another story I particularly enjoyed is “Haiti’s Song,” by Deborah Raney. It is about a young woman, Valerie Austin, whose fiancé, Will, has just called off their wedding after most of the arrangements have been made. He comes to realize he never wants children, and yet Valerie does.

From a young age, Valerie had dreamed of having children. She had sewn many children’s clothes as a young teen, placing them in her hope chest for the future. Heartbroken when her wedding is called off, Valerie donates the clothes to charity.

In Haiti and working at an orphanage, she begins to love the children around her, and finds herself at peace with God’s calling. All of a sudden, she starts to recognize the clothes she had made years ago, worn by the children she works with. She knows that God is giving her a message. She believes He is pleased with her sacrifice and will use her in a mighty way, even if she never has children of her own. I found this story to be particularly heartwarming.

This little book is filled with all kinds of stories about mothers. It is sure to inspire you to do your best wherever God has called you.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

My young neighbor asked me which day was Easter. She had been told it was Monday by one person and Sunday by another. I told her it was definitely Sunday and showed her on my desk calendar where it was written down under the date. Later I got to thinking–why is Easter not Saturday. You know, the seventh day? Or Monday? Or Tuesday? Why Sunday?

I’m not a theologian but it occurred to me that Sunday is the first day of the week and Jesus rising from the dead on Sunday is like God telling us it’s a new beginning, a new life (if we want it). It’s a new day like the very first day when the universe began.

Alleluia!

Book Reviews

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