What I’m Reading: Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas

 

 

The fascinating stories and origins behind Christmas traditions such as the colors of red and green, the Christmas tree, caroling, nativity scenes, the Yule log, gift-giving, stockings, advent wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

The cheer of a crackling hearth fire. Colorful cards from friends and loved ones. An evergreen tree festooned with ornaments. The golden traditions of Christmas—gifts, wreaths, stockings, carols, mistletoe, and more—infuse our celebration of the season with meaning and glowing memories. And, in ways you may not realize, they point us to the birth of Christ. Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas reveals the people, places, and events that shaped the best-loved customs of this merriest of holidays. Here are spiritual insights, true-life tales, and captivating legends to intrigue you and your family and bring new luster and depth to your celebration of Jesus’ birth. Discover how

• after eighteen centuries of all but ignoring the event, churches began to open the door for believers to commemorate Jesus’ incarnation.
• the evergreen tree, once a central theme in the worship practices of pagan cultures, came to represent the everlasting love of God.
• the magi’s three gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—are filled with spiritual symbolism.

The traditions of Christmas lend beauty, awe, and hope to the holiday, causing people all over the world to anticipate it with joy. The stories in this book will warm your heart as you rediscover the true and eternal significance of Christmas.

Ace Collins not only writes wonderful fiction stories, he has put together a wonderful collection of stores about the wonderful traditions of our favorite time of the year!

This beautiful book is the perfect keepsake to bring out and read form every year with your family. It is also a perfect Christmas gift for friends or family… or even for a Christmas book exchange (wink… wink).

I can hardly wait to share this book with generations to come!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

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Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter by Nicole Rivera

WOW!

Before I begin, let me just say – I really really like this cover! The one that is wrapped around my advance paperback is pretty, sure, but the one I’ve used below really catches the eye!

OK . . .  now to what is between the covers.

I LOVE . . . LOVE LOVE LOVE . . . the Harry Potter series.

I even love the movies.

In my personal opinion, the 8 HP movies are a bright and shining example that once in a while . . . a long while . . . a movie (in this case, moviescan be made right!

Yes I know – I got distracted again. I do that.

OK . . . WOW!

And I really mean WOW!

Nicole Rivera has a gold mine in this wonderful devotional! This book has not only given me a  new appreciation for one of my all-time favorite book series, it has shown me a wonderful new look into the story behind the story!

I don’t know if I ever would have connected all of those dots. Of course, I never saw the Biblical significance in the Narnia stories either – until someone pointed them out to me. That is the brilliance of such stories (or rather – parables).

God has truly given Nicole a vision and I am thrilled she is sharing it with the world!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2015

Don’t miss Nicole’s further posts about finding faith in the fandoms – HERE!

And check out her awesome posts on MUGGLENET.COM too!

Here is a short synopsis of the book and the opening letter – which will give you some insight into Nicole’s vision.

Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter. Explore life’s deepest truths. Discover wisdom about friendship, courage, loyalty, and love from the Boy-Who-Lived and his magical friends.  Coming December 10, 2015 in ebook and trade paper.

Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter by Nicole L Rivera, is a Christian devotional especially suited for young adults and all fans of the remarkable series, and for use as in group Bible studies.

Nicole reveals the Harry Potter story as a guide to life’s deepest truths, offering inspiration about faith, friendship, courage, loyalty, love, and other wisdom of the Bible. She advises us about how to live like Christ and the Harry Potter heroes.

The book is not yet available everywhere but it is available for pre-order at the following retailers:  SMASHWORDS, B&N, ITUNES, and AMAZON.

Or preorder the trade paperback direct from Hickey’s Books.

PLUS – the individual e-books are still available at AMAZON, B&N & ITUNES until we can all get our hands on the paperback compilation.

THANK YOU Nicole for allowing me the honor of reading an advance copy of your amazing book! It has blessed me and given me renewed love of the Harry Potter series!

BOOK REVIEW | Gather Around the Amish Table by Lucy Leid | COOKBOOK

OK… I may not have what it takes to be Amish but I’m pretty sure I can handle eating like the Amish! Of course I don’t have a garden to tend or acres of land to till, plant and tend to so I may have to find some clever ways to imitate the work they do to work off all those calories… otherwise my hips may have a fit on me. LOL!

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Not too many people in today’s world have the time it takes to make every single thing their family eats from scratch.

More and more often, take-out or boxed meals is the norm… yes, even in our family… but with wonderful resources like this book, at least we have the opportunity to find some new recipes we can try out when we have the time or when we make the time for it anyway.

And the recipes inside pretty much ALL look amazing!

PLUS, the awesomeness of the book does not stop there! Lucy fills the pages with wonderful tips that anyone can use in everyday life. She also sprinkles in some fantastic stories about the people of the plain communities.

In short, this book is a treasure and I am thrilled I was given the opportunity to review it. I can hardly wait to try out the recipes that fill the pages. I may even pop back in with updates for you!

Until then, here are some pretty pictures here… just to tease you – and make you want to go snag a copy so you can start testing out the recipes yourself of course!

Review © JCMorrows 2015

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IMAGES COURTESY OF LITFUSE AND MENNOMEDIA

YUM… right!

{MORE ABOUT GATHER AROUND THE AMISH TABLE}

Gather Around the Amish Table (MennoMedia, September 2015)

Straight from Amish kitchens to yours, this cookbook offers favorite family recipes and charming stories from Amish and Mennonite cooks.

Bake the pecan rolls that taste best after an ice-skating party, or try the hoagies that a community sold to help an Amish family with hospital bills. Discover the cocoa cupcakes with instructions to “stir by hand” that one young cook took literally, or whip up the whoopie pies that one Amish woman took to market in her horse and buggy.

These cherished recipes speak of comforting traditions, lively communities, and strong Christian faith. Gather your family around the table to sample the nourishing fare and trademark charm of the plain people. In the words of one cookbook contributor: “Bake someone happy!”

Learn more and purchase a copy.

 

{MORE ABOUT LUCY LEID}

Lucy Leid is an Old Order Mennonite wife, mother, and cook in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Find out more about Lucy at http://www.mennomedia.org.

AND… DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

Get your fall baking underway with an Amish baking basket giveaway from Lucy and MennoMedia!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 29th. The winner will be announced September 30th on the Litfuse blog.

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Sorry I’m Not Sorry | An Honest Look At Bullying From The Bully

Not precisely what I was expecting…

But a very intriguing read all the same. I’m not 100% sold on this book being helpful for tweens or even teens… especially if they are actively being bullied but it could be a valuable resource for parents.

It is interesting to see just how differently people respond to the same sorts of stimulus – what causes some young people to become bullies is the same sort of experience that turns others into a victim of bullies.

It just goes to show that everyone is different and everyone reacts differently to stress and strain.

And for the young person who has a good relationship with Christ, this insight will definitely help them to forgive and love the bully… perhaps even giving them an opportunity to share God’s love with their bully!

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Thomas Nelson:

Bullies aren’t born mean—through the vicious cycle of mean, bullies are made.

According to the Ambassadors 4 Kids Club, one out of every four students is bullied—and 85% of these situations never receive intervention. Parents, students, and teachers have amped up solving the bullying problem for a networked generation of kids.

Written by bestselling author Nancy Rue, each book in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy focuses on a different character’s point of view: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. The books show solid biblical solutions to the bullying problem set in a story for tween girls.

Sorry I’m Not Sorry tells the story of Kylie Steppe, former queen bee of Gold Country Middle School. After bullying a fellow GCMS student, Kylie has been expelled—and she has to attend mandatory counseling. Without her posse to aid her and other peers to torment, Kylie focuses on the person who stole her GVMS popularity crown: Tori Taylor. As Kylie plots revenge on Tori, she attends therapy sessions, where she reveals a few details that might explain why she finds power in preying on her middle school peers. After a rough year with bullying backfire, will Kylie decide to become more empathetic with her peers?

It’s hard for tweens to imagine why a bully acts the way she does. Sorry I’m Not Sorry shows girls that they hold the power to stop bullying through mutual understanding and acts of love.

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info about this amazing book:

GOODREADS   THOMAS NELSON   NANCY RUE’S WEBSITE

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

The Good, The Bad, and The Grace of GOD: What Honesty and Pain Taught Us About Faith, Family, and Forgiveness

WOW! I like Jess and Jep’s story!

I really had no idea what to expect… I like what I’ve heard so far – about the Robinson clan. And after reading this book, I feel like I know them much better. If you’re a fan of Duck Dynasty, you know Jep, the youngest Robertson son, and his wife Jessica. They tell their stories to give encouragement to those who have struggled.

I enjoyed reading about them… as they each take turns telling their story, beginning with their childhood and teenage years, not holding back on the bad stuff, but putting it out there to share with us. Most people will be able to identify with some of the problems that Jess and Jep went through.

They share their insecurity, secrets, addictions – even a divorce. Learning what they went through certainly made me feel like I knew them better; I could easily picture them at times, going through some of the same problems that many of us go through.

But the point is – Jess and Jep both overcame their problems – with the help of God and their families. Jep and Jessica tell about their insecurities, as well as their realization that God loves us all just as we are — even with all our secrets and sins.

Duck Dynasty fans should definitely read The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God.

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Thomas Nelson:

A Moving Story of Redemption and Second Chances
 

Jep Robertson, the youngest son of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and his wife, Jessica, open up about their personal trials, their early years together, and the challenges that might have destroyed them both had the grace of God not intervened. Jep describes being molested as a child and his reluctance to tell anyone until only a few years ago, his downward spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, and the eventual intervention of his family. Jessica shares about the difficult failure of her first marriage while still a teenager and the hurt that came along with it, much of it from the church. Her insecurities spun out of control as she wondered whether she would ever be good enough or pretty enough. This book is their love story but, more importantly, their love story for God.

“We are desperate to let people know that no matter what you’ve done; no matter what you’ve lived through, you can come out of it.  You can be washed clean.  You are redeemed.”

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info about this amazing book:

GOODREADS   THOMAS NELSON

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Barnes and Noble.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“You CAN Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days” | An exceptional memoir by Debut author DJ Mynatt!

“An excellent book for authors and readers alike – not just a “how-to” – this book is a fun and humorous account of how my dear friend wrote her first novel!” ~ JC Morrows

That is more than just a promotional blurb… that is precisely how I feel about this book! 

This book is truly a gift to authors everywhere!

If you are an aspiring author; it will give you encouragement and inspiration to get through your current writing project

If you are an established author; it will give you a look back and reminder about your own beginnings… and some great laughs.

If you are a reader who enjoys an inside look at the life of your favorite authors; this book will give you just that… a look at how one amazing author got her start in writing.

This is a book that anyone… everyone can enjoy reading again and again and again!

HAPPY READING!

Review ©JCMorrows 2015

 

Here is a brief synopsis from S&G PUBLISHING!

You CAN Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days by D.J. Mynatt

“You CAN write 50,000 words in 30 Days” takes us behind the scenes of one author’s journey through National novel writing month (also known as NaNoWriMo)

Every year, people from all over the world log in to their NaNoWriMo profile, find a local group to hang out with all month, stock up on snacks, sharpen their pencils, get their playlists ready, and write!

50,000 words sounds crazy, right? Well, most writers ARE a little crazy!

Read about one woman’s journey and you will see that you CAN write 50,000 words in 30 days!

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info on this book:

GOODREADS   S&G PUBLISHING   DJ’S WEBSITE

Buy from Amazon.

DON’T MISS THE Facebook Party to Launch this amazing book!

DJ Mynatt - Inspirational Author's photo.

 

Invite your friends! Spread the word. These giveaways are too amazing to miss!

We have 13 GUEST Authors (including yours truly) who will be giving away books (paper AND digital copies) and chatting it up with readers and fans!

SEE YOU THERE!

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“Called to be Amish” | Marlene C. Miller

What’s it like to be one of the few outsiders to leave the Englisch way of life and join the Old-Order Amish—and stay? In Called to Be Amish, this rare memoir by Marlene C. Miller, she recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.

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Called to be Amish

This is the first memoir that I have read from someone who grew up and then chose to become Amish… and to be honest, it really wasn’t even close to what I was expecting to read!

Marlene did what very few people have ever been able to do… join the Amish faith – and be accepted by the Amish community!

In her memoir, Marlene does nothing to gloss over the hardships she encountered while growing up, or the lifestyle she experienced during her adult life in an Amish home – with things we take for granted. She gives examples of things she had a difficult time adjusting to (for example – she continued to use kerosene lamps because of her fear of starting a fire with the newer lamps).

Although they had plenty of good times together, Marlene seems to dwell a bit more on the hard times her family experienced.

At times while reading, I wondered if she would have chosen the Amish lifestyle, had she known how difficult it would be…
Review © JCMorrows 2015

 

{MORE ABOUT MARLENE MILLER}

Marlene MillerMarlene C. Miller joined the Amish as an adult and has been a member of the Old Order Amish for almost 50 years. She and her husband of 48 years live on a farm in Ohio surrounded by their nine children, more than 40 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Find out more about Marlene at http://www.mennomedia.org.

 

 

{MORE ABOUT CALLED TO BE AMISH}

Called to Be Amish(MennoMedia, February 2015)

Fewer than one hundred outsiders have joined the Old–Order Amish—and stayed—since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them.

In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.

Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God’s love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community.

Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God’s call as an Old Order Amish woman.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

YOU CAN FIND more about the book and how to purchase it by clicking the links below:

GOODREADS   MENNOMEDIA

AMAZON   CHRISTIANBOOKS

 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

“The Heart of the Amish” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

WOW! Just WOW! This book could change your life!

As someone who spends a great deal of time reading Amish fiction and visiting with the plain folk… there was not much in this book that I didn’t already know or understand.

But even with that – it was a wonderful read! Suzanne has such a way with words and presentation, that brings a while new level of understanding and appreciation!

This is a book that EVERYONE should read… not just fans of Amish fiction!

Forgiveness is something that is lost much of the time in our modern world and we could all use a good reminder of why it is so important to forgive… every day!

As far as the book is concerned… there’s really too much to say – you would think I’m going just nuts.

I loved every bit of it and I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review it so you can have a chance to check it out too!

DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Revell

We have all been hurt and we all have someone we need to forgive. But sometimes it’s hard to let go of our hurt and anger in order to truly forgive and move on.

For the Amish, forgiving others in order to live at peace is woven into the very fabric of their faith. From daily annoyances to heartbreaking tragedy, they exhibit an incredible capacity for forgiveness that often baffles us. How do they do it? And how can we have the same attitude and ability to forgive?

Through true stories gathered from a variety of Amish communities, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows you how the Amish are able to release their pain and desire for revenge, and live at peace with others. Her in-depth, personal research uncovers the astounding yet fundamental way the Amish can forgive anyone from the angry customer at the grocery store to the shooter at Nickel Mines. You’ll learn how to invite God into your story, apply lessons from the Amish to your own circumstances, and find the freedom that comes with true forgiveness

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info on this last book:

GOODREADS   BAKER PUBLISHING/REVELL   SUZANNE’S WEBSITE   LIFEWAY

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Barnes and Noble.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.
Buy from iBooks.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.