Monday, January 31, 2011

‘Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock – What Does the Bible Say?’ by John Claeys – Book Review and Giveaway

Buzz this

I am, by nature, skeptical when someone tries to guess when the Apocalypse will happen. In his book, ‘Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock – What Does the Bible Say?,’ John Claeys provides a compelling argument using biblical and extra biblical evidence to help to explain the future of planet Earth.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

“Thousands of People Worldwide Seem to Be Preparing…For the End of Days in 2012.” Did Nostradamus, the Mayans, and others have a glimpse of God’s plan for the end of the earth? If so, will anyone survive 2012, or will that be the end of humanity? Is there a link between these two ancient prophecies and what the Bible presents about the End Times?
Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock reveals incredible and shocking information about the future of this world.

Here is the biography of this author:

John Claeys is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa (B.A, English) and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., New Testament Greek) and has pursued doctoral work at Phoenix Seminary. For the past 17 years, John has been an instructor of Bible with LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas and for the past 13 years has been on staff at Cypress Valley Bible Church in Marshall, Texas. He lives in Marshall with his beautiful wife, Connie, and his two handsome and phenomenal sons (of course, John is not biased!), Scott and Jason.

Here is the book trailer for this fascinating book:

And here is John talking about the reports of what could happen in 2012:

Many Christians are unaware that Jesus is returning. Mr. Claeys explains why:

It is understandable that non-Christians do not realize that the day of the Lord is approaching, but what is disturbing is that most Christians do not seem to realize it is coming. Why is that? It seems that the vast majority of teaching from pastors and church leaders today is centered on the here and now – how to deal with day-to-day issues and how to have a better life now. Unfortunately, this focus comes at the exclusion of teaching about the future, as indicated by the focus of books and articles written and sermons preached. Thus, Christians as a whole do not seem to be educated about future events. (p. 15)

I would have to concur with that assessment. I don’t remember ever having sat through a sermon series on Christ’s return.

There is debate about whether Christians will have to endure the wrath of the Lord; Mr. Claeys is of the opinion (Pre-Millennial) that Jesus will return before those events:

This deliverance is for all believers alive at that time, whether we wake or sleep. Since this phrase refers to a believer’s spiritual health, it [1 Thessalonians 5:9-11] is saying to us that whether a believer is awake to the soon return of Christ and demonstrating that alertness by faithfully serving Christ, or is asleep and showing spiritual lethargy by not being faithful to Christ, Paul promoted that all believers who are alive at the time Christ comes in the air will be taken up to be with him. In other words, all Christians, whether they are faithful or unfaithful, will be delivered from the coming wrath by the rapture. (p. 23)

I was intrigued by the question, ‘Who Really Is the Antichrist?’ That topic has been a main subject for speculation for millennia. Here is Mr. Claey’s opinion:

The biggest clue for the meaning of the term can be found in 1 John 4:1-3, where the apostle John is warning of false prophets – those who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. According to these verses, false prophets in the world are a preview of the ultimate false prophet, who is the Antichrist. This would indicate that the Antichrist is the false prophet. Therefore, the Antichrist is not the world ruler, but is instead the false prophet. (p. 138)

I was always under the impression that the Antichrist would be a world leader; it is interesting to learn that Mr. Claeys does not think that will be the case.

Another interesting topic is the Mark of the Beast. When credit cards first came into use, many people interpreted them as being the Mark of the Beast. There are so many ways that things can be interpreted! Here Mr. Claeys explains what taking the Mark means:

The connection between taking the mark of the beast and worshiping him (his image) is also made in [Revelation] 16:2: “So the first [angel] went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” This verse describes a specific judgment of God during the last half of the future tribulation period upon those who possess the mark of the beast and who worship his image. (p. 142)

The end of this book includes a Glossary, Selected Bibliography, and End Notes.

I have never read a book that is more comprehensive about the Second Coming of Jesus. Mr. Claeys provides great detail and evidence to show his readers that the Lord is coming back for His people! It is not clear when this will happen, but regardless of when it happens, it will be glorious!

You can order this book here.

This book was published by VMI Publishers and provided by Bring It On! Communications for review and giveaway purposes.

I have one copy of this book to pass along; thanks to Arielle at Bring It On! Communications for generously providing this copy! 

There are several ways to gain entry:           

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, giving me your thoughts on 2012 and the Second Coming in general. Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com. 

2) Follow me on Twitter; if you are already a follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a separate comment to that effect.

3) Tweet the following on Twitter:

Enter to win a copy of ‘Apocalypse 2012’ from @BringItOnComm & @andrealschultz. #giveaway Please RT!

Please leave a comment with the link to your tweet. You can tweet up to once per day. Please add a new comment for each tweet.

4) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too! Please leave a separate comment to that effect.

5) Become my Facebook friend. Please leave a separate comment to that effect.

6) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend. Please leave a separate comment to that effect.

So there are numerous chances to enter and therefore win! Please limit one entry per option (except for the Twitter option), and don’t forget to include your email address, or, sad to say, the Random Number Generator will have to choose a different winner.

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only. The deadline for entry is Monday, February 14, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST. One winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 and will be contacted via email. The best to all of you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Winner of 'To Transform A City' Is....

Buzz this

We have a winner of 'To Transform A City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City' by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams, thanks to the Random Number Generator

That winner is.....

Hooked by Joy!

Congratulations, HbJ! I will be in touch shortly to get your mailing address.

Thanks to Zondervan for providing the copy for this giveaway.

For those of you who would like to learn how to effectively reach your area for Christ, you can order this book here.

Please stay tuned, as there are more reviews and giveaways on the way!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

‘The Search’ by Suzanne Woods Fisher – Book Review

Buzz this

In my excursion into the world of book reviews, one of my favorite discoveries is the books by the lovely Suzanne Woods Fisher, whose writings give us a glimpse into the culture of the Amish. I just had the good fortune to read the third book in her ‘Lancaster County Secrets’ series, ‘The Search.’

Here is the synopsis of this book:

When worlds collide, can the truth set two women free? As a child caught up in a crisis, Lainey O’Toole made a split-second decision with far-reaching effects. Fifteen years later, when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge – the very town in which that decision was made – she is forced to face the past and discover how her decision has impacted so many.
Bess Riehl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm helping her intimidating grandmother Bertha recover from surgery. It doesn’t take long for Bess to realize that her grandmother coaxed her to Stoney Ridge for an entirely different reason. But once Bess meets hired hand Billy Lapp, the summer starts to hold some promise.
Lainey’s and Bess’s worlds are about to collide, and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.
Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes you through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Immerse yourself in this heartwarming – and surprising – tale of young love, forgiveness, and healing.

Here is the biography of this author:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice and The Waiting, the first two books in the Lancaster County Secrets series. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Suzanne is also the author of Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a finalist for the ECPA Book of the Year award, and Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life. She is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay area and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Here is the very well done book trailer for this amazing book:

And here is an excerpt from the Oasis Audiobook:

There are several storylines happening at the same time – the evolution of Lainey O’Toole moving from one lifestyle to another, the maturation of Bess Riehl, and many other relationships that are developing. In addition, all of the characters are fully formed. Here is an exchange between Bess’s grandmother, Bertha, and Billy Lapp, who is employed by her to help out at Rose Hill Farm; it is a fine example of Suzanne’s comedic touch and attention to detail:

Bertha was always threatening Otto [a fourteen-year-old leghorn rooster] was going to end up as Sunday’s stew, but Billy knew better. Bertha Riehl was all bluff and bluster. Well, mostly bluff and bluster. He couldn’t deny she had a way of intimidating folks that was a wonder to behold. It had happened to Billy only once, when he made the mistake of asking her if she was six feet tall. Bertha planted her fists on her deluxe-sized hips and narrowed her eyes at him. “I am five feet twelve inches.” Then she stared him down until he was sure he had shrunk an inch or two, right in front of her. (p. 11)

Bess’s first encounter with Bertha – whom she called Mammi – also gave us a great picture of both ladies:

Mammi didn’t offer up another word. She ate with the fork in one hand, the knife in the other, polished off her two cherry tarts and then eyed Bess’s. Bess quickly stuffed it into her mouth. It was the finest cherry tart she had ever tasted, with a crumbly crust and cherries that were sugared just right and still tart. Soon, Mammi was ready to go, and she looked at Bess pointedly. Bess guessed that when Mammi was ready, she’d better be.
That was another odd thing about Mammi – as big as she was, she could move like greased lightning. In a twinkling, she was at the door, pointing at Lainey. “Sunday noon, then.” It was a statement, not a question.
The bakery lady looked a little pale but gave a nod. (p. 19)

Bess’s first impression of Billy is also sweet:

Billy Lapp looked to be about seventeen or eighteen years old. Man-sized. When he stood and his eyes met hers, Bess felt her heart give a simple thump. Clearly Amish by his clothes and haircut, he was tall, broad-shouldered, with curly brown hair and roguish eyes rimmed with dark eyebrows. Hands down, he was the best-looking boy Bess had ever laid eyes on. Her heart was beating so strangely now, she thought she might fall down and faint.
Things were looking up. (p. 25)

Bess was well aware that her father, Jonah, was a highly sought-after bachelor:

          Mammi raised an eyebrow. “Our Jonah is a catch.”
Bess knew that. Her dad was a fine-looking man. Even her friends said so. And he was young, only thirty-five. He was well thought of in their community, by men and women alike, and nearly every single female in their district – plus two neighboring districts – had set their cap for him. Cookies and pies, invitations to dinner and picnics, one father even boldly hinted to Jonah that his dairy farm would be passed down to his only daughter if Jonah married her. But Jonah never took the bait.
Until now. (p. 29)

I loved this paragraph further on in the book; I am hoping to remember its sentiment daily. The person in the scene is Billy:

He took a bite of Lainey’s blueberry peach pie, then another. It was delicious, that pie. It struck him that Bertha had done the same thing with her roses: took something old and made it new. Maybe that’s what life was all about – taking the lot you were given and making it better, he thought, finishing off the rest of that pie slab in two bites as he hurried down the street. (p. 234)

One of the characters who seemed closest to God is Lainey. Here she is explaining to Jonah how she could forgive Simon, who’d hurt her deeply as a child:

Lainey lifted her head to the sky. “For a long time, I felt abandoned. And so lonely. I still do, at times. I think it will always be my Achilles heel. But a few years ago, I went to a church service and the pastor happened to be preaching on the difference between divine forgiveness and human forgiveness. I knew I couldn’t forgive others without God’s help. He said that we fail in the work of grace and love when there is too much of us and not enough of God. That thought stayed with me. Too much of me and not enough of God. Once I understood that and asked for God’s help, I was able to forgive Simon and stop condemning him.” (p. 237)

 Bess also had a godly worldview; here is an observation she shared with Billy:

She turned her face to the sky, like a flower, and smiled softly. “Billy, isn’t it a wonder? That the crow is here? God made nature so things can get fixed again.” She turned to him. “Blue Lake Pond will have birds and fish again.”
He’d been so relieved that Bess was where he thought she’d be, he hadn’t even given the appearance of the crow a second thought. “Why, you’re right.” He scanned the lake and heard a woodpecker somewhere, hard at work, hammering a tree. He smiled.
“God does it with people too. Makes it so that they can find their way back to him.” She rested her chin on her knees. “You know what I love about looking up at the sky? It helps me to remember that I am so incredibly small and God is so immense.” She lifted her face to the sky. “Behind those clouds is an ocean of stars, limitless in its infinity, so large, so large, that any of our problems, even the greatest of them, is a small thing.” (p. 265)

This book has lots of wonderful surprises; I will not be revealing any here! You absolutely have to read this book!

I have had the joy and privilege of reading three books by Suzanne - Book One in the Lancaster County Secrets’ series, ‘The Choice’ (you can read my review here), Book Two, ‘The Waiting’ (you can read my review here) and ‘Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life’ (you can read that review here). As has been the case with every one of Suzanne’s books, I absolutely loved ‘The Search’! Suzanne is a masterful storyteller; she weaves stories in an incredible way. She writes with a sweet, gentle, and loving style. I am not one to watch a DVD over and over, or read a book more than once, but I want to return to Suzanne’s writing in the future.  It is a genuine pleasure to read her work, and I can’t wait to read whatever is next in her catalog!

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I am happy to be participating in the blog tour for this book through the LitFuse Group along with these other bloggers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

‘Pause for Power: A 365-Day Journey Through the Scriptures’ by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe – Book Review

Buzz this

I am always on the lookout for a good devotional. When I heard about the one from Dr. Warren Wiersbe, ‘Pause for Power: A 365-Day Journey Through the Scriptures,’ I knew that it would be worthwhile.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

Experience An Unforgettable Year of Spiritual Growth. We all long to read more of God’s Word. Yet our world never seems to give us time for a quiet moment with Scripture.
Pause for Power: A 365-Day Journey through the Scriptures is a topical, daily devotional designed for how you live. In just a few minutes each day, you’ll explore biblical truths on themes such as love, peace, and ministry. This devotional is filled with wisdom and insights that can improve your life.
Each day you’ll encounter:
·         Select Scripture readings that explore practical, everyday topics
·         Themed commentary from Dr. Wiersbe’s popular “BE” series
·         Thoughtful questions that prompt personal reflection
Topical. Relevant. Inspiring. Take a journey through Pause for Power, and experience an unforgettable year of spiritual growth and discovery.

Here is the author’s biography:

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago.  For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. He has written more than 160 books, including the “BE” series of Bible commentaries (of which ‘Be Authentic’ is one), which have sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

At the beginning of the book, Dr. Wiersbe explains how to use his devotional:

In the pages that follow, you’ll hear Isaiah’s invitation to wayward hearts, wrestle with Job’s dilemma, examine what Hebrews says about the breathtaking work of Christ, and listen in as Paul writes letters to infant churches. Such a task might seem daunting at first, but with the help of Pause for Power, it will take you only a few minutes a day. And here’s the best part: Over the course of a year, you’ll have read fifteen books of the Bible.

The devotions are undated, so you can start any day of the year. They’re also blended, so you can enjoy a variety of biblical voices and themes each week. One day you might contemplate Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and the next you might consider a wise saying from Ecclesiastes.

To get started, simply turn to Day 1, read the associated Bible passage in your favorite translation, spend time with the devotion, then ponder the question of the day. Repeat daily. In twelve months, you’ll have studied Job, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 1 John. But more importantly, you’ll have gained insight into God’s Word – insight that will bring you closer to the Author Himself. (p. 3)

When I review devotionals, I usually focus on my birthday and my husband Fred’s birthday. Being that the days are not dated in this one, I have to count off the day. Mine is Day 52, which is entitled ‘When Hope Becomes Hopeless.’ The featured Scripture is Ecclesiastes 9:5-10. I found both of those items to be interesting, as hope has been a little topic of focus for me of late, and because Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books in the Bible! This verse is included in the book:

The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.
                                        Ecclesiastes 9:5 (p. 55)

Here is part of Dr. Wiersbe’s devotion for that day:

What Solomon wrote about the dead can be reversed and applied to the living. The dead do not know what is happening on earth, but the living know and can respond to it. The dead cannot add anything to their reward or their reputation, but the living can. Solomon was emphasizing the importance of seizing opportunities while we live, rather than blindly hoping for something better in the future….

We endure because we hope, but “hope in hope” (like “faith in faith”) is too often only a kind of self-hypnosis that keeps us from facing life honestly. While patients may be better off with an optimistic attitude, it is dangerous for them to follow a false hope that may keep them from preparing for death. That kind of hope is hopeless. When the end comes, the patients’ outlook may be cheerful, but the outcome will be tragic. (p. 55)

Each day includes ‘Something to Ponder.’ Here is the one for Day 52:

What is your definition of hope? How does your hope keep your faith strong? (p. 55)

Fred’s birthdate is Day 163, which is entitled ‘In Search of Good Samaritans.’ The Scripture passage is Philippians 2:19-21. Here is the Scripture included in the book:

I have no one else like [Timothy], who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
                                        Philippians 2:20-21 (p. 166)  

Here is part of that day’s devotion:

Is it possible to be a Good Samaritan today? Must we harden our hearts in order to protect ourselves? Perhaps sacrifice and service are ancient virtues that somehow do not fit into our so-called modern civilization. It is worth nothing that even in Paul’s day, mutual concern was not a popular virtue. The Christians at Rome were not too interested in the problems at Philippi; Paul could not find one person among them willing to go to Philippi. Times haven’t changed much. (p. 166)

And here is ‘Something to Ponder’ for Day 163:

What are some ways you’ve looked out for your own interests and not those of Jesus Christ? (p. 166)

Personally, that is a convicting point to ponder….

This book is a beautiful hardcover book that is compact in size, and includes a ribbon to keep track of the page where you left off. This book will be added to the nightstand where our devotional books are easily accessible before it is time to retire for the evening. 

As always, I highly recommend using resources from Dr. Wiersbe; our Life Group worked through the study of the book of Galatians, ‘Be Free: Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality.’ I have reviewed other Dr. Wiersbe’s books on my blog: Be Authentic: Exhibiting Real Faith in the Real World,’ reviewing the lives of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (you can read my review here), The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: It’s Always Too Soon to Quit! – 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon’ (you can read my review here) and Be Available: Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemy’ (Judges – OT Commentary) (you can read my review here). I hold Dr. Wiersbe in high esteem – and it is a pleasure to attend church with one of his daughters! 

You can order this book here.

This book was published by David C. Cook and provided by the B&B Media Group, Inc. for review purposes. 

The Winner of 'Turning Controversy Into Church Ministry: A Christ-Like Response to Homosexuality' is.....

Buzz this

The Random Number Generator has chosen a winner for 'Turning Controversy into Church Ministry: A Christ-Like Response to Homosexuality' by William P. Campbell. That winner is...


Congratulations, Louis! I will be making contact with you to get your mailing address.

To those of you who want to read this thoughtful book on a perplexing issue, you can order this book here.

Thanks again to Pastor Campbell and Zondervan for providing the book for this giveaway.

Please come back soon, as there are lots more reviews and giveaways to come.

Monday, January 24, 2011

‘Ozark Weddings: Three-In-One Collection’ by Anita Higman and Janice Thompson – Book Review

Buzz this

One of my favorite authors of late is Janice Thompson. She and Anita Higman (who is a new favorite after reading this book!) have teamed up to compile a book featuring three stories based in Arkansas, 'Ozark Weddings.'

Here is the synopsis of this novel:

The Hills are Alive with the Ring of Romance…And love is challenging three women to soar to new heights of hope and faith in the Ozark Mountains. Larkspur Wendell hates to see anyone not enjoying life. So when a solitude-seeking neighbor moves in, she’s compelled to get to know him. Everett Holden moved into a small town to work in peace and quiet. But his neighbor seems to have an entirely different agenda. Will Larkspur’s attention bring him out of his shell or drive him in even deeper?
Painfully shy Clair O’Neal suddenly finds herself attracting two different men – image coach Glenn Yves and musician Hudson Mandel. Both are drawn to her unassuming presence and inner beauty. Can a vulnerable Clair trust either of them with their heart?
Nori Kelly’s biological clock is a ticking time bomb. But the only one seemingly interested in her is Zachary Martin, a tried and true member of the “geek” squad. Is this nerd her only hope of defusing her volatile situation?
Will these three women find their true loves amid this myriad of males – for better or for worse?

Here are ‘Dear Readers’ notes from each author:

        Dear Readers,
It is such an honor to share Ozark Weddings with you. All three love stories are set in the beautiful state of Arkansas. I hope these novels give you many hours of entertainment, but I also pray your heart will be lifted up in the process, and you will come away knowing the love and hope that God offers us through His Son, Jesus. Please visit my website at and drop me a note. I would love to hear from you.
Anita Higman

Dear Readers,
It is with great delight that Anita and I offer our readers these lyrical and romantic stories. These three Arkansas-based tales were crafted to captivate your imagination and to offer you a glimpse of this amazing state where hot springs flow and rivers sing. Beyond that, however, we hope you are captivated by the love stories…not just the ones between the hero and heroine, but the eternal story, which is sung over us each day by the very One who created us to love and be loved. He alone is worthy of our praise.
Janice Thompson
This book is a compilation of three previously published books; ‘Larkspur Dreams,’ ‘The Love Song,’ and ‘Castles in the Air.’ I really liked this book. I preferred ‘Larkspur Dreams’ and ‘Castles in the Air’ over ‘The Love Song,’ but there all were endearing and sweet. I enjoyed the fact that the main character in the previous story is mention in the next story – that was fun!
I really liked the main character of Larkspur Wendell in ‘Larkspur Dreams;’ I like her world view. Here she is describing her new neighbor, Everett Holden III:
Turning to her new neighbor, Lark couldn’t help but notice God had been quite charitable with his appearance. He had a striking presence with his hazel eyes, short brown locks, and a “surely he must lift weights” kind of build. Hmm. Early to mid-thirties, same as me. Same medium height. But who wears a suit to move in? And his tie look liked it would work equally well as a tourniquet. Lark also took note that Mr. New Guy held the bow on the sack of brownies as if he were holding the tail of a dead skunk. (p. 7)
Another amusing scene is when Picasso, Lark’s pet duck (!!) escapes from her backyard. Lark is all dressed up for an evening out, and she is a little perturbed:
Then she remembered a trick she’d used with her first pet duck. Yes. She needed the convincing boom of the megaphone on the bottom shelf of the entry closet, and clopped back down the driveway. Lark flipped the switch on the horn, and it squeaked to life. Suddenly like magic, she remembered the roar of the crowd from college – the students she’d revved up to a feverish pitch. The rush of winning. She wondered if she still had it in her. She lifted the megaphone to the mouth and announced, “Okay, Picasso. This is Lark speaking. Let’s bring yourself on home now. You can do this, Picasso. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go.”
As if on some unexplainable cue, Picasso stopped in mid-waddle in the center of the street. He turned around, lowered his head, and began his descent from rapture. Skelly [her neighbor] turned around, shrugging his shoulder at her. Then he laughed until his whole body quaked. (p. 48)
The main character in ‘The Love Story,’ Clair O’Neal, was a sweet and lovely lady who loved her Lord:
Her thoughts shifted to the banks of the Arkansas River. She closed her eyes and pictured the Lord taking her by the hand and leading her to the very edge of the water, to sit in peaceful solitude and enjoy the view. Her heart swelled at the thought of it. God – the Maker of the Universe – wanted to spend time with her. To draw her to a quiet, intimate place. To call her His beloved, just as Ima had done. To wash away the pain from the past in the mighty rivers of His love.
“God, my Father…” She started to whisper a prayer but stumbled across the word Father. Visions of her stepfather came to mind right away, but she pressed them back and forged ahead. Clair poured out her heart to the Lord, thanking Him for all of the marvelous changes in her life over the past several days. She prayed for His guidance regarding the bookstore, and for His will concerning her new friendships.
Afterward, she felt the strangest sensation – as if the Lord had swept into the room and lifted her into His arms. For the first time in a long while, she truly felt as if she could conquer all of the demons of the past. (pp. 170-171)
I was particularly drawn to ‘Castles in the Air,’ as the main character, Nori Kelly, owns a candy store; I have a friend who also owns a candy store. Early on in the story was an encounter with Nori Kelly and her neighbor as described from her perspective:
Oh no. She noticed her neighbor, Zachary Martin, emerge from his apartment as if he’d been waiting for her.
“Greetings.” He appeared to study the floor.
“Hi.” Nori wondered why Zachary was the only one in the known galaxy to greet people that way.
He raked his fingers through his short brown hair, which made a couple of his locks rise up like antlers.
Nori squelched a chuckle. She knew he was stalling, trying to think of something to say. If she hadn’t been so tired, she would have given him a few rounds of chitchat. Instead she jangled her keys to give him a hint.
Zachary stuffed his fists in his pockets, making his polyester pants rise even higher. His white socks emitted a glow as if lit by a black light. “Hope your evening has been….good…so far.”
“I think it has been…so far.” Nori smiled, sliding her key into the lock.
“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there’s a 20 percent change of snow tonight.” Zachary stroked his palms together.
“It’s already snowing.” Nori tried not to have a condescending tone.
He shuffled his feet. “Oh.” (p. 240)
I also loved this conversation between Nori and her candy store manager, Lizza, after Zachary had left the store:
Lizza tied another peach satin ribbon around a miniature box of gumdrops. “Zachary seems like a lonely guy. Makes me want to bundle him up and stick him in my pocket for safekeeping.”
“Yeah, maybe.” Nori helped Lizza stack the dainty boxes on a display table.
“I don’t know. I always say that about people who look sort of lost. Like he doesn’t know the secret.”
“What secret?” Nori asked.
“That every person is wondrously hand-designed by God. I think the reason people don’t turn out so well sometimes is because no one has ever told them that.”
Nori thought if she told Zachary that he was wondrous, he would never stop pestering her. Hmm. But was he bothering her? She no longer knew for sure. In fact, this time she’d felt nervous and tongue-tied.
“And like I said, I think he’s charming.” Lizza gave the top box a little pat. (p. 252)
Nori also had a sweet encounter with her Lord at The Chapel in the Woods:
Nori knelt at the altar. Without holding anything back, she poured her heart out like a child – emptying all the joys and worries and hopes to her Father, her Friend, and her Savior.
After a long moment of reflection and then a prompting in her spirit, she prayed. “Forgive me, Lord, for desiring that tight little circle of love to always be about romance and not about You. I acknowledge You as the Lover of my soul and the Someone who cares for me far more than any husband ever could. Help me never to forget these truths and to love You first, above all.”
And then Nori wept. And waited. And listened. The Lord came near and comforted her. After some time had passed, she rose from the bench, feeling refreshed. (p. 338)
I have read several books by Janice Thompson: ‘Swinging on A Star’ (my review is here), ‘Allegheny Hopes’ (my review is here), and ‘It Had to Be You’ (my review is here). This is the first time I had the opportunity to read Anita Higman’s work. It is hard to know who wrote what, so I will assume that I am a new fan of Ms. Higman!  I thank Anita for providing the book to me, and for introducing me to her work – well done to both ladies!
You can order this book here.
This book was published by Barbour Publishing and generously provided by Anita Higman.

Clicky Web Analytics