Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Big Year for Lily

A Big Year for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher is the third book in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series. My friend Emily reviewed the first two, so this was the first time I've read one of the books in this series. 

I must say, it was delightful.

In book three, Lily experiences the joys of attending school with her cousins, the trauma of being falsely accused, the drama of the teacher getting married, the frustration of being picked on by a boy at school, and numerous other trials and delights that she sometimes handles well, and other times, finds herself learning some hard lessons. There are many insights into Amish culture that I think young girls (and their mothers!) would find fascinating!

I'm sure my perspective is different than that of an 8-10 year old girl, but I appreciated that Lily's parents are a team, that they do not condone misbehavior, and that they accept their little girl for who she is. Their discipline is measured and appropriate, sprinkled with grace and mercy, and it is clear that they adore their children, are hard workers, and are still quite smitten with each other. In a world where so many children's stories either act as if the parents are non-entities, or worse, act as if they are idiots, I found Lily's parents to be a breath of fresh air.

These books are written for girls 8 and up, but I think they would make an excellent read-aloud for girls as young as 5 or 6. Some of the chapters are quite short (2-5 pages) and while the story does build and progress, each chapter is its own vignette and stands alone quite nicely. I could see this being a lovely choice for bedtime or afternoon story time reading. 

A Big Year for Lily is available in July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The super fine print: I was provided a copy of this book by Revell in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

God's Provision in Tough Times

Once upon a time, as I sat in my office and went about a typical day, my phone rang. Prior to that phone call, if you had asked me, I would have told you (in all the wisdom my 25 years had afforded me) what my life was going to look like.

My husband had a great job with a great bank. I had a steady job. We would move around over the years as he moved up the corporate ladder. We’d have a few kids. Life would go just the way I’d planned.

Do I really need to tell you that all my “I’ve got my life figured out” plans disintegrated that day?

When the voice on the other end of the line says “Honey, I don’t have a job anymore” there’s no going back to any notion of stability and security. Not in jobs, or financial institutions, or degrees. Not even in the idea that people who work hard and do what’s right don’t find themselves looking at each other saying “what do we do now?”

I wish there had been a book like God’s Provision in Tough Times by Cynthia Howerter and La-Tan Roland Murphy for me to read in the months that followed. A book with contributions from people from all over the country and from a variety of backgrounds. People who experienced job loss or who suffered from financial difficulties that had nothing to do with poor budgeting or fiscal mismanagement.

I wish I could have read about God’s faithfulness to each of them. How God showed up over and over again. Not with buckets of cash or instantaneous employment, but by sustaining them as they lost their homes, took jobs they were overqualified for, left friends behind as they moved to new opportunities they never wanted, or moved in with family so they could put food on the table.

These stories are true. They are real. They are often painful to read. But they are not without hope. Because as each author shares in their own way, God brought them through the darkest hours and led them on to new places with Him.

He never abandoned them.

He changed them.

If you or someone you know is struggling right now, whether it’s with job loss or a mountain of debt that has you flattened, I most heartily recommend God’s Provision in Tough Times.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

I Want a Magic Bullet

Ronie Kendig, Missy Tippens, Lynette Eason, Ginny Aiken

I want a magic bullet.

Somewhere there’s a book, a routine, maybe a diet, or even an outfit. Somewhere, there’s one thing I’m missing and when I find it, my publishing dreams will come true!


In my quest for the elixir of publishing success, I had a rare opportunity to do some extensive research. I got to hang out with four published authors as they wrote, brainstormed, and it must be said, consumed copious amounts of coffee and loaded grits.

I tried to act cool about it. (Heavy emphasis on the word act, because I’ve never been cool in my entire life). But secretly, I was watching. Surely over the space of several days, one of them would slip up and reveal the source of their publishing power. 

Since it's the first Thursday of the month, I'm guest posting over at The Write Conversation. Head on over there for the rest of the story!

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