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Jul 30, 2011
Grow Old With Me (The Quilt Trail Series)Grow Old With Me by Melinda Evaul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The opening of this book is an instant attention getter. The entire first half was a page turner for me. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the unlikely hero of this story. Melinda Evaul does a great job of creating the characters and peeling back the layers to let us see who they are. She allows them to be exceedingly human, which I find makes them all the more interesting and real. The second half dragged a bit, the ending was obvious and obstacles expected. However, it's still a good "Hallmark" type story with great characters and well worth reading. What I liked best about this story is that it illustrates the value of a person disassociated completely from physical attractiveness or physical abilities. In our culture, we tend to value the physical over the spiritual. Shame on us.


Benjamin carries his scars on his body while Sarah's scars are emotional. Neither are young anymore and change is hard. They both need to learn to trust in each other but more importantly - in God. They struggle with their own demons as they learn and grow. This really would make a good Hallmark movie. Hallmark? Are you listening?
Jul 20, 2011
No Safe HavenNo Safe Haven by Kimberley Woodhouse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed reading this book. It's written by a mother/daughter team and the two separate voices came through loud and clear. The perspective of the daughter added an extra layer of authenticity to the character of Andie.

The book is set in Alaska, which I have never visited but I have it on my bucket list, and takes place during the winter months. Amid all the ice and snow during a plane trip, Jenna and Andie (another mother/daughter combo) crash into the side of a mountain. To make matters worse, it's not an accident and someone wants them dead.

Layer after layer of tension is added by the mysterious appearance of Cole Maddox, Andie's life threatening health issues, and Jenna's injury from the crash. No spoilers here, you'll have to read the book to find out how their survive all this!
Jul 11, 2011
Havah: The Story of EveHavah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I enjoyed "Havah" and recommend it for adult Christians. It contains enough mature content that I would not recommend it for early or mid-teens. Nothing is offensive, but certainly it ventures into areas meant for a more mature audience.

I am not sure I would recommend it for non-Christians, however, because I think the book explores some darker areas of human nature that might derail someone who is searching for Christ. This is the story of Eve, it has everything to do with why we need Christ, but it doesn't illustrate that need clearly. It is eluded to, but I not sure how many non-Christians would see it.

As a Christian, I found many aspects of the book fascinating. I enjoyed the exploration of what those first moments of life - without birth - might have been like. The time spent in the garden, the majesty of the true communion with God, was very well told. The first years in exile were difficult to read after the beauty of the garden. Some areas mid-book dragged, but it's worth it to read the ending.
Jul 5, 2011
A shepherd culls out the problem sheep. Culling is the practice of removing an animal from the flock. There are many reasons an animal needs to be removed for the good of the flock. Culled animals wind up at the auction or... in the freezer.

We have a strict policy at Twin Willows Farm. If a ewe doesn't raise her lambs, she doesn't stay in the flock. Mothering skills and milk production are both highly heritable traits. By culling out those who can't or won't raise their lambs, and breeding only those who do, we strengthen the flock. Buyers who come to purchase replacement sheep from us know that they are getting solid genetics to add to their flock.

Many years ago we had a ewe I call the old bigot ewe. The three years I kept and bred her she produced triplets. Each year she gave us two white and one black lamb. Each year she rejected the black lamb. That left a lamb to be raised on the bottle, a time consuming and expensive way to raise a lamb. The old bigot ewe "sprouted wheels" after the third year. (Sprouted wheels = loaded on the truck and headed for the auction.)

We have another strict policy, we don't keep any dangerous animal on the farm. Attitude is another trait that can be linked to heritability. Our breed of sheep is generally pretty even tempered, including the rams. However, I purchased a new ram in the summer of 2010 and he turned meaner than a sore-headed bear. I wouldn't go into the pen with him without a pitchfork in my hand. Then he started charging the pitchfork! Michael came home one day to find him in the garage, skinned and hanging. Don't mess with the shepherd.

Our Shepherd isn't one to be messed with either. Our Lord is just and will do what needs to be done. "He (God the Father) gave Him (Jesus) authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man" John 5:27

The Lord culls out those who are harmful to His church, His flock. He may do that culling in this life, but for sure He'll do it at the end. Many people want to center all their thoughts on "God is love" and He is, but we can't limit Him at that. God is also just and sometimes that love is tough.
Jul 3, 2011
A shepherd keeps careful count and searches for missing sheep. As stated before, sheep have no natural defenses. They are easy marks for any passing carnivore or mischievous neighborhood delinquent. A good shepherd is vigilant that all are accounted for, and if not, goes in search of those missing.

Not far off the west edge of our property is a swamp that sings. We hear it at night, mostly, after the moon opens up in the sky. It starts as a high-pitched wail not dissimilar to a siren and evolves into multiple high-pitched yappings. We've seen scruffy looking critters slinking in and out of that swamp. A loaded rifle is usually within reach of the kitchen door for just those sightings.

In the spring when the lambs are small I am particularly vigilant about counting heads at least once a day. To date we've yet to lose a lamb to a coyote. God bless the electric fence! We've heard the snap-crack of a wet nose hitting the fence followed by frantic yapping.

We did have a sheep that was missing in pasture a few years ago. I went looking until I found her. She had fallen and injured her back. That case didn't turn out well, but at least we could put her out of her misery.

Our Shepherd keeps track of us. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

It's not that the Lord doesn't know where we are, either physically or spiritually. He does - all the time. Those who try to hide from God find that the fig leaves are never big enough. What He seeks is our salvation, our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life. I think He keeps a rifle loaded by the kitchen door too... to keep away those who would tinker with His chosen.
Jul 1, 2011
Simple Choices (Harmony, #3)Simple Choices by Nancy Mehl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A fitting ending to the trilogy! I've enjoyed my time in Harmony, Kansas. Nancy Mehl does a good job of bringing this town to life. "Simple Choices" adds some new adventure and wraps up a lot of loose ends from the two previous books. If you've read the first two, you don't want to miss this one!


A shepherd breaks up fighting among the sheep. In our modern sheep husbandry practices, this means keeping the rams separate from the ewes and lambs. Rams need to be kept in a small enough stall that they can't hurt each other, or in a large enough pasture that they can get away from each other. The term "battering ram" comes from fighting sheep. They can do a lot of damage to each other in a short amount of time.

Back in the old days, a shepherd had to wade in among the flock, swinging his staff and probably calling in the dogs for back-up. Breaking up a pair of fighting rams is a dangerous thing to do. A ram can take out a shepherd's knees in a moment. Once on the ground, the shepherd is pretty much helpless without a good dog.

We've had our share of ram fights out in the ram's paddock. We keep a pair of rams in a paddock of roughly a half acre. Included in that paddock is plenty of brush, a huge rock pile, an old bone pile (don't ask), and a broken-down farm wagon. With all those obstacles, the weaker ram has a good chance to get away from the aggressor. That's the best we can do to keep the peace.

Our Shepherd is all about peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, no let it be fearful." John 14:27

The world may place obstacles in your paddock to keep you from fighting, but the Lord has left you with something more. His peace is here, today. That can be a difficult thing to remember when we're troubled and fearful, but that's when we need to remember it most.