Favorite Books of 2013!

These are in no particular order… Mostly they’re in the order I read them in…The Fiddler“The Fiddler” by Beverly Lewis

A Season for Tending“A Season for Tending” by Cindy Woodsmall
(Book 1 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series)

Book two - The Winnowing Season“The Winnowing Season” by Cindy Woodsmall
(Book 2 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series)

For Every Season pic“For Every Season” by Cindy Woodsmall
(Book 3 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series)

Simple Amish Christmas“A Simple Amish Christmas” by Vannetta Chapman

5660435The Christmas Quilt” by Vannetta Chapman

20130911-212644.jpg“Hidden” by Shelley Shepard Gray

9780061474460“Wanted” by Shelley Shepard Gray

9780061474477“Forgiven” by Shelley Shepard Gray

10301098“The Christmas Singing” by Cindy Woodsmall

6275220“The Sound of Sleigh Bells” by Cindy Woodsmall

17288591“The Dawn of Christmas” by Cindy Woodsmall

Noticing a pattern yet? Lots of Christmas and Lots of Amish!

17787021“A Christmas Gift for Rose” by Tricia Goyer

A-Promise-for-Miriam-662x1024

“A Promise for Miriam” by Vannetta Chapman
(Book 1 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series)Home-for-Lydia-A-662x1024

“A Home for Lydia” by Vannetta Chapman
(Book 2 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) 9780736946162

“A Wedding for Julia” by Vannetta Chapman
(Book 3 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) home to pebble creek 972208_618068678227299_1189904992_n

“Home to Pebble Creek” by Vannetta Chapman
(Novella 1 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) Christmas-at-Pebble-Creek-eBook-194x300

“Christmas at Pebble Creek” by Vannetta Chapman
(Novella 2 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) – I’m still hoping for more in this series too!

amish-peace3D“The One Year Book of Amish Peace” by Tricia Goyer
(To be fair, I haven’t read it all yet but it’s a devotional so it’s not meant to be read like any other book. The point is, I LOVE IT!)

Now, I’m putting these down here at the bottom, even though I read them before any of the others because they’re in a totally different ball park. They have to be listed because I LOVE THEM!

And I am impatiently awaiting the next book and the coming eBooks!

Selection

“The Selection” by Kiera Cass Elite

“The Elite” by Kiera Cass Prince

“The Prince”

They have to be mentioned because I read them in 2013 and they are definitely in my favorites. I LOVE reading the Amish fiction because it is so difficult to find clean, decent books out there today. Even among Christian fiction, there are some with questionable subject material. With Amish fiction, you just don’t have to worry about that. And The Selection trilogy is the same in most ways. There is a hint of naughty here and there but it’s handled extremely well and even the descriptions of the rebel attacks are very tame (Not at all like “The Hunger Games” trilogy).

I’ve read at least double the amount of books you see here but these are, by far, my favorites! And I can’t wait to list my upcoming reading list for you. I plan to have it up tomorrow.

Until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 2: A Look Back

A look back at some of my favorite Christmas books that I’ve already snuggled up with this season:

5660435The Christmas Quilt” by Vannetta Chapman

I was thrilled to see it advertised and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Of course, as fate would have it, the book arrived just as November got off to a start and I became a crazy person – between NaNoWriMo and reviewing the stack of other books that had piled up on my desk. However, when I picked up the book, I could not put it down. It was an amazing read and I enjoyed every second of it. The only complaint I might have is that it took so long for two young couples so much in love to conceive. (In case you can’t tell… I’m teasing) This book is an excellent continuation of the story that started in “A Simple Amish Christmas” and it shows just how wonderful a writer Vannetta Chapman is. Three years passed between the writing of one and the other but it feels like she wrote them back to back. The characters have the same voices, mannerisms and behaviors.

The characters are all just as wonderful as I remember them.

The story itself is wonderful too. It isn’t just another “we’re trying to stretch the series out” kind of sequel either. It’s really a good next step and, I think, a story anyone would enjoy.

Also, and I don’t want to give too much away here but, there are a few really interesting surprises tucked in the pages.

I really love the extra little touches Vannetta puts in, all those extra little things that give us a real glimpse into Amish life. It helps pull you right into the story. I also really enjoy how Vannetta blends the Amish lives with the “Englisch” around them. The Amish strive to remain separate but a big part of their faith is about being open and loving to all of God’s (Gotte’s) children. Vannetta writes that aspect perfectly in my opinion. She has a talent for capturing their “voice” and their feelings and emotions – a tremendous accomplishment for an “Englisch” writer. You would never know she did not grow up Amish.

A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys this genre!

5starAnd, while I recommend that you read “A Simple Amish Christmas” first, this book could easily be read first or even alone.

Speaking of “A Simple Amish Christmas”:

20130911-180102.jpgFrom the first page I was hooked. The characters are real. I have no doubt whatsoever that Amish truly act like these characters. The setting is vivid and the scenes are painted so clearly. You can almost feel the cold and smell the fresh, clean air. The story is gripping. A definite page-turner. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next!

A definite page-turner.

An amazing story! One I will read again and again for years to come! I highly recommend this book to anyone! Not just lovers of Amish fiction either! I think anyone who enjoys a good, decent romance will enjoy this story!

5starAnyone who enjoys a good, decent romance will enjoy this story!

BY Cindy Woodsmall

6275220With “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, I was hooked from the first page!

I’m going to try really hard not to ruin anything here…

If you are someone who has ever had a rough relationship, this is something you NEED to read. If you’ve ever dealt with loss, this is something you NEED to read! And if you enjoy a good book with wonderful characters and a fantastic story, you will WANT to read this book.

It’s truly a GREAT read!

Cindy has a talent for reaching out of the story, getting a firm grip on your heart and pulling you into the story. And when you find your way back out again, you’ve had an amazing experience and you never quite look at the world in the same way again… or at least that’s the way I feel anyway.

Cindy has a talent for taking hold of your heart strings.

The beauty of Cindy Woodsmall’s writing is that she writes characters who could be anyone. One of the things we struggle with is the realization that the Amish are just like us, they just live their faith in a different way than most of us do. They’re not really very different from most religions. Every religion has their own little things they do differently than anyone else, rules, traditions, ideals and even habits.

So these characters in Cindy’s novels, they could be anyone. It’s so very easy to associate the things they go through with your aunt or your father or your next door neighbor or someone you work with. And she does this really well. 5star

She has a true talent for helping you to get into a characters head and I am so thankful for it.

10301098

What a wonderful story!

What wonderful characters!

What a wonderful continuation of the stories in Apple Ridge.

When you get started, “The Christmas Singing” may not seem like a great story for a while but trust me when I tell you that this book is worth finishing!

Cindy Woodsmall has again captured our hearts with wonderfully colorful characters in the Amish community of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania.

The story deals with something that is very different than what we think of as the typical Amish read but then Cindy has a talent for writing those kinds of stories. Her Amish Vines and Orchards series falls into the exact same category and I could not put those books down!

The same was true of this series. The Apple Ridge community is full of wonderful people who each seem to have their own story and they all blend so well together to create a wonderful world that pulls you right in.

5starA story well worth reading!

17288591

This title was originally offered in the 3-in-1 book “Christmas in Apple Ridge” by Cindy Woodsmall but her fans loved it so much, she chose to let those of us who LOVE having lots and lots of books, have the stories in 3 separate hardbound novellas.

THANK YOU CINDY!

I don’t know about you but I have a personal fondness for hard bound books. There’s just something about a nice thick cover, a pretty dustcover that you can slip off while you’re reading and then slip back on so it looks pretty on the shelf. It may be weird but I’m OK with that.

These Apple Ridge Novellas are absolutely some of Cindy Woodsmall’s best work. Each story is written in such a way that you could quite easily read it all by itself and not miss much about what has happened in the others. And yet, if you read them in order, they flow so nicely from one to the next.

I don’t know if she has anymore in the works but I’m hoping so!

A wonderfully heart-warming read!

This story focuses on two young people who have experienced heartbreak firsthand in the worst way. It’s not something one typically associates with the Amish community. In fact, nothing about the main characters in these three novellas is something we typically associate with the Amish but they are very real and very true-to-life struggles that the Amish deal with just as often as we English do.

I have to say I was surprised at the deviousness of one particular character. I won’t spoil it for you but you’ll know who I’m talking about when you get there. It was a pleasant surprise and masterfully written. Definitely not something you would expect in the Amish community but very well-written and done in exactly the right way for the character!

The story is full of surprises!

Cindy has written all of these stories so beautifully. The characters are wonderful and the story pulls you right in. I remarked to a good friend the other day that Cindy has a particular talent for writing the Amish voice. I am one of those people who hears the characters talking in my head as I read the story. It’s probably why I remember so much about stories I’ve read, even years later. And when I “hear” Cindy’s characters, they truly sound Amish.

I would love to say it’s true of most other Amish fiction authors I read but sadly, it is not. And that’s OK. They’re still great stories or I wouldn’t read them and then go on about them here.

As you can probably guess, I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review but I already owned the first two hard-bound books in the series and I would have bought this one!

And I wholeheartedly recommend it to my friends! GREAT GREAT READ! All three books in the series are well-worth the full purchase price and 5 star reads!5star

BRAVO CINDY!

I pray that Cindy’s books bless you the way they have me and I pray God Blesses Cindy Woodsmall and her writing for many years to come!

BY Tricia Goyer:

17787021A Christmas Gift for Rose”
by Tricia Goyer

2 pages into the book and I could tell this was going to be a great story.

I love that Tricia has been so successful with her historical novels and I’m REALLY glad she branched out into Amish fiction! I LOVE that genre so much!

This book combines both so well!

I typically avoid books about war but a book about what war is doing to those left behind, well… those are fair game. And I’m really glad I picked this one to read! I love Christmas stories and this will be a welcome addition to my collection.

All of that aside, this is the first book of it’s kind that I have read. An Amish historical novel dealing with fallout from World War 2… Well, that would be hard to miss. And I’m so glad I didn’t (miss it… that is)! I will read this book again and again and recommend it to all of my friends!

It’s such a wonderful story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s conflict. There’s always conflict. But it’s not ridiculous and it’s not nonsense. There is genuine conflict and genuine resolution. The characters are very deep and the story is completely believable.

Usually when you have this many things going on in a story, it’s too much or it feels like the author is trying to pad the story but everything going on in this story fits together to make the story work.

It took so many twists and turns that I did not see coming. That’s always a good thing. Too many books these days are absolutely predictable. This one is not. It’s great!

And you can really tell Tricia did her homework for this one. She tells us just enough about certain things without it being too much and, from what I remember (granted I wasn’t great with History in school), they’re incredibly accurate.

This is a must read for anyone! Especially if you like a good heartwarming story about the Amish community. In fact, that’s one of the great things about the Amish community, I think. Take away all mention of a date and it’s usually pretty hard to tell exactly when the story takes place. They’re so unchanging.

5starClearly a FIVE star book! Great job Tricia!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What have you read this year so far that is in the Christmas Spirit?

What are some of your favorite Christmas reads?

What Christmas stories are you planning to read this season?

I plan to read many more great Christmas stories this season and I plan to share them with you here!

23 Days til Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS! & GOD BLESS!

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

25 Books of Christmas!

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There are so many more than 25 Books I love to read at Christmas-time but here are 25 Favorites (some old, some new & a couple that are brand New)

Most of these I’ve read already but a few of them are on my to-read list. It’s going to be a great Christmas season!

The organization is a little weird. I tried to group them by author and by sequence or time published. Hope that’s not too confusing.

I do apologize for any confusion.

I have edited this post and taken out some books I previously featured.
So I’ve redone the entire post.
They’re not in the same order but I think this could be even more fun!

I’m a little disappointed to have to do this at Christmas time but a friend of mine recently reviewed one of the books I had featured and she discovered some very bad language so I have taken them out.

I have a confession to make here. I only put in the books because I enjoyed the movies that were made from them so much. Unfortunately, it seems the books are nothing like the movies.

I will never understand why people feel the need to include nasty language or inappropriate behavior in their stories. It does NOT make them better. And it certainly does not make them Christian.

So here are my own personal favorites!

A Simple Amish Christmas”
Simple Amish Christmasby Vannetta Chapman

From GoodReads: Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. As her time of rumschpringe is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness.

She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer and important choices to make.

The Christmas Quilt”
5660435by Vannetta Chapman

From GoodReads: Annie’s life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community’s minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam.

Annie s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the “boppli” arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan.

Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Christmas at Pebble Creek”
Christmas-at-Pebble-Creek-eBook-194x300by Vannetta Chapman

From Amazon: From The Pebble Creek Amish Series by Vannetta Chapman.

Fans of the series will enjoy this chance to briefly revisit Pebble Creek, and new readers will be introduced to an Amish community that is more deeply explored in the three full novels, A Promise for Miriam, A Home for Lydia, and A Wedding for Julia.

As a bonus, this free eBook also includes Amish home-style recipes for chicken and dumplings, green beans, and fresh bread.

Heavy snow blankets the southwestern Wisconsin Amish community as nineteen-year-old Grace Miller closes the schoolhouse for Christmas break. She’s looking forward to having extra time to help the family prepare for the holiday, and she is hoping to get a few more drawings in of the beautiful, snowy Pebble Creek landscape. Her courtship with Adam Lapp is going on six months, and Grace can’t wait to give him his present: a blue-and-brown buggy blanket she crocheted for him.

Yes, this Christmas is going to be especially joyful. Yet, amid the cheer of snowshoe outings, church potlucks, and holiday festivities, Grace is given a bittersweet reminder of the Christmas story. Grief is present with celebration, and though the future is rarely certain, she is given a heartwarming glimpse that God knows our needs before we do and will provide.

A Christmas Gift for Rose”
17787021by Tricia Goyer

From GoodReads: Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But as she prepares to marry, she’s thrown into confusion when she learns the truth of her birth. She was born Englisch and abandoned when the family moved on in search of work.

Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind—Englischers? And was her intended’s gift of discovering her birth family given out of love or fear?

15851936A Christmas for Katie” by Shelley Shepard Grey

From GoodReads: Will a little Amish girl make a Christmas miracle? It isn’t easy to be Katie Weaver. Her sister-in-law Ella is about to have a baby, making Katie an aunt for the second time … and she’s only six and a half!

Plus, her favorite librarian, Miss Donovan, seems sad. She won’t even fix up the rundown nativity in front of the library in time for Christmas. Then, an old woman is attacked outside the library, and, one by one, the nativity figures start to disappear!

Luckily, there’s a new deputy in town, Connor Fields. He takes a real liking to Miss Donovan … and he promises to find the missing nativity pieces for Katie. Now, all Katie has to do is pray that Ella’s delivery goes well and that some kind of nativity is in place for Christmas Eve. Oh, and that Miss D. falls in love with Connor. Katie knows from watching her three brothers that it makes people real happy. And that would be a Christmas miracle indeed!

Christmas in Sugar Creek” by Shelley Shepard Grey 10680698

From GoodReads: Judith Graber has always been the obedient daughter. When her older brother Josh struggled with his love life, she offered wise counsel. When her younger brother Caleb flirted with the idea of leaving their order, she firmly told him he was wrong.

Over the years, she’s watched her younger siblings, helped around the house, and worked in her family’s store during her spare time. Judith feels overworked, overlooked, and underappreciated this holiday season.

But everything changes when her father hires Ben Knox. Ben Knox is the “bad boy” of Sugarcreek. Though he’s never considered jumping the fence, he’s certainly never tried to be anything close to dutiful. Two years ago he left Sugarcreek under a cloud of shame. Rumors circulated that his rumspringa had been filled with more than the usual harmless explorations. Now he’s back and working side by side with Judith. As the chaos of the holiday season threatens to sap all joy, sparks fly between Ben and Judith. But Judith steels herself to ignore her infatuation.

The last thing she wants to be is just one more girl who falls under Ben’s spell. Ben, on the other hand, wants Judith to realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation. When he fled Sugarcreek, he was running from a disruptive home life. Now that he’s back, he wants a fresh beginning. Could this Christmas season bring love and a new life for the unlikeliest pair in Sugarcreek?

8501404Grace” by Shelley Shepard Grey

From GoodReads: It’s never too late to go home. It’s Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holidays. But when two unexpected visitors appear seeking shelter, the family’s commitment to hospitality is tested.

First Levi arrives, sullen and angry…but insisting on staying for five days. Next Melody shows up. She’s almost nine months pregnant, but won’t say a word about why she traveled all the way from Kentucky by herself.

As the two strangers settle in, the Brennemans try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, except for Katie, who knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. She is determined to learn the truth about these two strangers…all while keeping her own secret safely hidden away. All is revealed when a snowstorm traps them at the inn.

Peace” by Shelley Shepard Grey 17331333

From GoodReads: After a year of secrets and scandal, will this Amish community finally find peace under the bright promise of Christmas? Beth Byler has a secret. Ever since she met Englischer Chris Ellis while helping out at the Yellow Bird Inn, she can’t stop thinking about him.

She knows a relationship could never go anywhere—Chris was working undercover in Crittenden County as a DEA agent. That meant he faced danger daily and carried a gun, making him completely unsuitable for an Amish woman like herself. But she knew he felt the attraction, too. It was the reason he left so suddenly, promising never to see her again.

Then, three days before Christmas, while Beth is taking care of the inn, Chris returns. This time, he is bleeding and in need of a place to hide. Against her better judgment, Beth takes him in and tends to his wounds. She also promises to keep his presence a secret. Before long, it becomes clear that nothing between them has changed—a relationship is inevitable. But are they ready to sacrifice everything for this chance at love?

The Sound of Sleigh Bells”
6275220by Cindy Woodsmall

From GoodReads: Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé.

When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

The Christmas Singing” by Cindy Woodsmall10301098

From GoodReads: Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration. Experience the holidays with the Plain folk and discover the power of second chances in this touching story from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Bridge of Peace.

Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator.

She finds a new beau—a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her. When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty – and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

The Dawn of Christmas”
17288591by Cindy Woodsmall

From GoodReads: This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances.

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down.

Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

957993Christmas in Harmony” by Philip Gulley

From GoodReads: Philip Gulley takes us to Harmony, Indiana, at Christmastime as inspiration strikes the inimitable Dale Hinshaw. Always looking for a way to increase the church’s profit margins, Hinshaw brainstorms a progressive nativity scene that will involve the whole town, complete with a map like those for the Hollywood stars.

Neither Pastor Sam Gardner nor the other members of the Harmony Friends meeting express any enthusiasm for this idea, but Dale is unstoppable. Meanwhile, Pastor Sam has his own concerns: he’s having his annual argument with his wife, and he’s worried that the four-slotted toaster he bought for her may be too lavish a gift. Amidst the bustle of the season, the citizens of Harmony experience the simple joys and sometime loneliness that often go unseen.

Sam comes to the realization that Dale, in his own misguided way, is only trying to draw meaning from the eternal story of Christmas. “In this unsettled world, it is good to have this steadiness — the Christmas Eve service, the peal of the bell. . . .There is a holiness to memory, a sense of God’s presence in these mangers of the mind. Which might explain why it is that the occasions that change the least are often the very occasions that change us the most.”

The Christmas Scrapbook” by Philip Gulley 579063

From GoodReads: It’s autumn in Harmony, and Pastor Sam Gardner has vowed to be ready for Christmas. Determined to redeem a dreadful history of gift giving, Sam enrolls in a scrapbooking class to make a Christmas gift his wife will never forget. However, Sam’s absence from their home every Wednesday night, coupled with his fishy alibi of attending a men’s group, raises her suspicions.

Meanwhile, Sam struggles in the class and must attempt to complete his project with only the help of his faithful secretary, Frank. As Christmas fast approaches and rumors of Sam’s Wednesday night absences swirl along with the snow, a series of mishaps leads to a Christmas no one will soon forget.

This is a GREAT ADVENT Guide:

The ADVENTure of Christmas
986149by Lisa Whelchel

From GoodReads: The ADVENTure of Christmas is a guide for moms concerned that their children are losing sight of Jesus in the midst of the distractions the holiday season brings. Lisa Whelchel was such a mom, but instead of abandoning the traditions of Christmas she rediscovered their original meanings, which were intended to remind people of God’s unfathomable gift. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree have become opportunities to teach her children about how they relate to Jesus’ birth. With The ADVENTure of Christmas, mothers can redeem what’s been lost from the very symbols that are gentle reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.

Have you discovered that Jesus sometimes gets lost in the middle of the hustle and bustle of His birthday party? Would you like to be able to keep your children’s focus on Jesus and also join them in the wonder of the celebration?

For each of the twenty-four days preceding Christmas, The ADVENTure of Christmas serves as a fun and handy guide that describes the significance behind your favorite traditions. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree will become opportunities to share how these customs relate to Jesus’ birth. The ADVENTure of Christmas recaptures the true meaning of this beloved season, giving reasons to celebrate for years to come.

Story Behind the Book

Feeling like Jesus had gotten lost in the frenzy of the holiday season, I asked the Lord to show me what I could do to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas. I was caught off-guard when He simply replied, “Don’t do anything differently. Look in the middle of the celebration and you will find Me.” He was right. There was no need to orchestrate moments to pontificate about “the commercialization of Christmas.” Instead, Jesus is beckoning us to come to the party and bring the kids. In doing so, we run into Him at the mall, the movies, even at school. He hides in the lights, the carols, and the cards. He is there when we dress the evergreen tree, when Dad dresses up in a red suit, and even when we eat turkey and dressing!

And THESE BOOKS, I have not read… but I can’t wait to have a crack at them:

Christmas Cradles”
Christmas Cradles by Kelly Longby Kelly Long

From GoodReads:

When Anna Stolis takes over for her aunt, the local midwife, Christmas night heats up with multiple deliveries, three strangers’ quilts, and unexpected help from the handsome and brooding Asa Lapp.

(Part of a Christmas Anthology with three other stories by Fantastic Authors: Amy Clipston, Barbara Cameron and Kathleen Fuller. This book is different than the one that includes the stories below)

A Choice to Forgive”
by Beth WisemanA Choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman

From GoodReads:

After Daniel disappeared that long-ago Christmas Eve, Lydia built a life with his brother. But now she’s a widow and Daniel has reappeared, asking for forgiveness.

Can she go back to her normal life with her long-lost love as her neighbor?

A Miracle for Miriam”
A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fullerby Kathleen Fuller

From GoodReads:

Seth is no longer the arrogant young man who shattered Miriam’s confidence and broker her heart.

Will he be able to show “plain” Miriam that she is truly beautiful to him?

One Child”
One Child by Barbara Cameronby Barbara Cameron

From GoodReads:

The birth of one child forever changed the world two thousand years ago.

On a snowy Christmas night in Lancaster County, another child changes the world for two very different couples.

10426868Christmas in Lancaster County”
by “Suzanne Woods Fisher

From GoodReads: Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do–in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they’ve drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for–news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn’t likely to become a reality.

Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home–and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Suzanne Woods Fisher offers readers a beautiful Christmas story of love, forgiveness, and what truly matters in life.

7861579Sarah’s Christmas Miracle”
by “Mary Ellis

From GoodReads: From the bestselling author of A Widow’s Hope and Never Far from Home comes a brand-new Amish novella that will add joy to the Christmas season.

Sarah Beachy has plenty to be joyous about as autumn leaves start to fall. She loves her job at the English bed-and-breakfast where she cooks and refreshes rooms between guests. She has a serious beau, and everyone expects an engagement soon. Why, then, would she jeopardize everything by suddenly deciding to take a trip to Cleveland to track down a brother who left the Order years ago?

Her family’s faith in God is put to the test as the holiest night of the year approaches and Sarah remains far away. Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, has been missing her son for such a long time…will she lose her daughter to the English world as well? Or will the Beachy family receive an unexpected Christmas miracle?

Naomi’s Gift”
by Amy Clipston10956717

From GoodReads: Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County.

As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams … and secrets. You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the ‘English’ way of life—and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi’s Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches—a time of family, faith, and hope for many others—Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi’s story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author

Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi’s Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston’s fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

A Plain & Simple Amish Christmas”
9039054by Amy Clipston

From GoodReads: In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an -Englisher- (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore.

Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district.

So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother-s wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae-s visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it-s God-s will for the family to heal.

When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, she doesn’t receive the welcome she expects and her world begins to fall apart, leaving her to question her place in her family – and her faith in God.

A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one-s family, and the determination to follow God-s will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next-right to the very last page.

17814770Annie’s Christmas Wish”
by “Barbara Cameron

From GoodReads: Ever since her step-mom brought her a snow globe of the New York City skyline, Annie has wanted to visit the beautiful, big city. Since it’s nearing the time of Annie’s rumschpringe — the time when Amish youth experience Englisch life to make a decision whether to live in that world or become baptized into the Amish faith—the family decides a visit is a good idea.

They watch the Macy’s Christmas parade, admire the decorated store windows, skate at the Rockefeller Center rink and —  Annie’s favorite — get a glimpse of a writer’s life while visiting the New York Times building. But others aren’t as thrilled with Annie’s lure to the Big Apple. Aaron has long been attracted to Annie and is sure he’s in love. As he watches her engage in big city life, he grows concerned that she won’t want to return to their quieter life.

Will Annie follow Aaron back home? Or stay and pursue her dreams? Competing for her attention, Aaron sets out to show Annie that Christmas isn’t about the glitz and glamour, but about family, love, and the birth of Jesus

13613049A Wild Goose Chase Christmas” by “Jennifer AlLee

From GoodReads: Upon her grandmother’s death, Izzy Fontaine finds herself in possession of a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that supposedly leads to a great treasure. Of course, once the rest of the family finds out about the “treasure map,” they’re determined to have a go at the treasure themselves. And, if that weren’t enough, Max Logan, a local museum curator, contacts Izzy and says that Grandma Isabella promised him the quilt.

What is it about this quilt that makes everyone want it? Is Izzy on a wild goose chase of her own, or a journey that will lead her to the treasure her grandmother intended?

And of course… We cannot forget the most important Christmas book, the one that started it all, the original book of Christmas.

The Bible (I prefer the King James Version myself) bible

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Wishing you and your family a
Merry Christmas this year!

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