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Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

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In 1933  President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal helped employ young men through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to give them a hand up through the Great Depression. Nate Weber was one of the recruits in Karen Barnett's historical fiction novel, Ever Faithful. He is one of the older young men in the first group to come to Yellowstone from the cities out East. What a change for these young men in so many ways.

Ever Faithful is set in Yellowstone National Park and is the third in her Vintage National Park novel series. (Each of these books is set in a different park and can stand alone.) Elsie Brooks is a ranger's daughter and spent much of her growing up years in Yellowstone.  The past few years she has worked in the park's hotels as a maid saving up for her college tuition to become a teacher. In Ever Faithful, Elsie gets some early teaching experience as she teaches the young men in the CCC camp and gets to know Nate. They also work alongside other young peop…

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

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The year is 1967. Annie Jacobson's brother Mike enlists in the Army and becomes a medic in Vietnam. Annie's mother and father have been separated for years after his return from the Korean war left him with what we now call PTSD that he struggled to deal with. While Mike is gone, her father comes home. She and her younger brother, Joel, and their mother must find a way to pull together as a family in the face of a world that is changing in many ways. All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner is a rich, fascinating story of change and faith in the midst of growing into adulthood.

I am not sure I can pour out everything in my heart after reading All Manner of Things. This book touched my heart and soul. . .and, at one point, I was a puddle of tears. Finkbeiner has written a book so full of real characters that I did feel like I was one of the family living right along side them as they faced changing circumstances all around them. I found myself pulling for all of the characters…

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

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Let's face it. Some days adulting is hard. On those days, it can be difficult to make a decision about what to have supper, let alone what step to take next to work towards find a new job or something big like that. The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman offers solid advice as you work towards making good decisions in your life.

The Next Right Thing contains 24 chapters FULL of advice and stories as you consider how you make decisions. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of a decision making process and ends with a prayer and a practice. The practice section gives you something practical to do to help you learn, grow and/or make changes and decisions. This is a book that I marked up and took notes in my journal. To get the most out of the book, you may want to use a notebook or journal to answer questions she poses along the way and to work on the practice exercises. Also, to get the most out of this book, I think for most people it is a book to read in bite-sized pieces rather t…

Who Will Play with Me? by Randall Goodgame

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It is no secret, children love wagons and getting to ride in a wagon. Who Will Play with Me? by Randall Goodgame illustrates in cute, colorful pictures and rhyming verse how much fun it can be when two get together with a wagon. Doug the slug found a wagon at the playground. . .but he gets in and finds he cannot ride in it without a friend. He then learns how much fun it is to give a friend a ride when he offers to give Sparky the bug a ride. This cute story is based on Philippians 2:3, "In humility, value others better than yourselves." (NIV)

Who Will Play with Me? is such a cute story and a fun reminder of how to be a good friend to someone. This cute book is a part of the slugs and bugs series and is aimed at children 4 to 8 years old. The writing in this book is rhythmic and lyrical. I thought the rhyme was especially fun to read out loud. Who Will Play with Me? is not overtly Christian but it is a great a reminder to children to be kind and share, without sounding preac…

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

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From the back cover of More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer:

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he's always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can't turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man's name on her bakery's deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can't even control her pulse when she's around him.

Once vows are spoken, Abigail's troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, a…

Get Well Soon by Laura Harris Smith

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Many times when we are young, we feel invincible. Then as we grow older, we start to feel some health issues beginning. Laura Harris Smith shares her remedies and spiritual prayers for healing whatever may ail you in Get Well Soon.

Get Well Soon is divided in to three parts: Part One: Employing Your Spirit and Mind for Bodily Healings. In this section, Smith goes in to great detail to merge the body, mind and spirit for healing. She breaks down verses in the Bible from the original Greek and she shares experiences from her own healing. She also shares her history and what her degree means. Part Two: Blessing and Healing Prayers for Your Whole Body. In this section, Smith gives prayers to pray over every system in the body and prayers for specific issues in the body. Part Three: Get Well, Stay Well. In this smaller, final section of the book, Smith offers advice for how to handle stubborn illnesses that are difficult to treat. She also leaves a benediction at the end of the book that i…

Devotions from the Beach from Thomas Nelson

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The first place I think of when I think of relaxing and vacation is the beach. A line on the back of Devotions from the Beach says, "Life at the beach calms your soul." I think that is so true.

Devotions at the Beach has 100 short one page devotional readings. Each reading includes a Bible verse, a reading and a brief prayer. Next to each reading is a gorgeous full-color photo of a beach scene.This book is beautifully bound and includes a ribbon marker to keep your place. No need to try to rustle up a bookmark--especially if you are on vacation. I think this would be a great devotional to take on vacation, along with my journal and my Bible app.

I can't begin to tell you how much I like this devotional. Devotions from the Beach just invites me to relax, take some time to think about God, and to reflect on living the Christian life. I love the idea of slowing down and reading this book on the beach. I also think this beautiful book would make a great gift--tuck it in a ne…