Beside Still Waters

This is not your typical Amish romance novel. Hooray! In Beside Still Waters, Tricia Goyer looks beyond the usual Amish-story stereotypes. Rather than contrasting the Amish and Englischer differences, with the Amish being “good” and the Englischers being “bad”, it shows the likenesses shared by the two Christian communities. I found the positive contrasts quite refreshing.

Marianna, the story’s main character, went from upholding the tradition of her faith simply for tradition’s sake, to scrutinizing her values and beliefs and coming to terms with why she believes the way she does.  Marianna also had to decide whether or not she could be Amish while living in a primarily Englischer community.  To me the romance in this book was not whether Marianna would choose Aaron or Ben, but whether or not she would choose a close and personal relationship with God.

About the Book:

Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she’s ever known.

When Marianna’s family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.

As Marianna struggles to find “home”, she also encounters God in intimate ways.

Watch the Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit www.triciagoyer.com for more info.

Listen to Author, Tricia Goyer, Talk About Beside Still Waters:

About the Beside Still Waters Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers.

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life.

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

Don’t forget to check out what other bloggers are saying about this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from LitFuse Publicity Group.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Delicious Fast

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  If it is a fast, how can it possibly be delicious?  Well, this fast isn’t about going hungry.  It’s about eating the way Daniel ate in the Bible.

Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash (p.43)

I took the photo above at my own dining room table. This is what Amoeba and I ate for dinner tonight. While we did not proclaim it delicious, and in fact found it a bit bland, we didn’t have to force ourselves to eat it. I think a couple of spices would liven it right up — cumin for instance, which was available to Daniel during Biblical times.

However, I question Daniel’s access to some of these vegetables anyway. My other half — the botanist — pointed out that squash (acorn, zucchini and yellow) are all North American vegetables. Also, pepper wouldn’t have been available to Daniel. And we’re really questioning his ability to get tofu, too.

Nevertheless, these are healthy and nutritious recipes. The one I picked to cook for this post may not have been as delicious as I had hoped, but my tastes may not be yours, and there are well over 100 recipes to choose from in this beautiful, glossy-paged paperback cookbook . If you have been looking for a healthier food lifestyle, you’ll want to check out, The Daniel Fast Made Delicious.

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:

and the book:

The Daniel Fast Made Delicious: The simple fruit and vegetable fast that will nourish you

Siloam (January 4, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

John and Ann Marie Cavazos created these recipes while serving on the staff of their Central Florida church when they realized that people were simply starving on carrot sticks every time the church held a Daniel Fast, instead of enjoying the variety of delicious, healthy foods that were originally intended to be part of this ancient eating plan.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A cookbook on the topic of fasting may sound like an oxymoron, but this eating plan modeled in the biblical account of the life of Daniel, often called a Daniel Fast, is actually loaded with fresh, delicious, health-promoting foods. The Daniel Fast Made Delicious includes more than 175 recipes, many of which are 100 percent gluten free and dairy free. Filled with easy instructions, simple steps, spiritual inspirations, and interesting food facts and figures, these Daniel Fast recipes are as nourishing to the soul as they are to the body.

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Siloam (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381809
ISBN-13: 978-1616381806

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Introduction

Dear fellow Daniel Fasters:

This recipe book is not like anything else you’ve seen before. A recipe book for a fast—seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t the point of a fast not to eat? Well, in this case the Daniel fast is about what you can eat. The Daniel fast is a unique fast—taken from the biblical account in Daniel 1:8–21 where Daniel and his three Hebrew friends ate only vegetables and drank water for ten days. Our favorite part is verse 8, which reads, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies…” This is indicative of the kind of man Daniel was—a man of purpose!

Our goal here is not to talk about fasting, per se, or give you tons of supporting scriptures. If you have prepared and purposed to fast, then you probably already know these things or have read about them in books far more poignant than ours. Rather, this book seeks to give you options, and more of them, as you embark on this unique fast known as the Daniel fast.

The incarnation of this recipe book began in response to our congregation complaining that they didn’t know what else to eat besides lettuce and carrots when embarking on a Daniel fast. This told us that, number one, people didn’t know much about vegetables, and number two, they probably didn’t eat many vegetables! In addition, we found them spending more time bored with the lack of variety of food and less time focusing on why they were fasting. We decided to present recipes that would help them spend less time concerning themselves with what they shouldn’t eat and more time deciding what they could prepare for their families. Thus, The Daniel Fast Made Delicious was birthed!

Back in 2004, during one of our Daniel fasts, we felt frustrated because we really wanted to see people enjoy the fast and benefit from eating fruits and vegetables. We were walking around a lake near our home when the Lord popped an idea into Ann Marie’s spirit. She heard the word “Pumpkin Lasagna.” She had no idea what that was, but the Lord told her He would show her how to prepare that and other healthy dishes using only vegetables and fruits.

A journey of learning began where we educated ourselves about vegetables— we shopped and prepared and ate things we never dreamed we would eat. We did a lot of experimenting—sometimes hit, sometimes miss—and we loved it, our kids loved it, and what’s more, our family and friends loved it! We began preparing healthy dishes made only with vegetables and inviting our family and friends over to share in the fun. It quickly became apparent our signature dish would be Annie’s Pumpkin Lasagna (chapter 2), since everyone loved it. The rest is history!

Now, the idea is not for you to eat more—you’re on a fast, so you’re supposed to eat less. Use these recipes to make the most of the food you are eating during your fast, but turn your plate down for one or two meals as you feel God leads—

and only if your health permits. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

The idea behind this recipe book is simply to educate you and to give you more healthy choices for you and your family as you embark on the Daniel fast. Those of you with spouses or family members who are not joining you on the fast will find this book invaluable. For those of you with children who are not fasting or who are picky eaters, there are some wonderful recipes in this book that will allow you to keep to the fast and also feed your family and not skip a beat when it comes to flavor! All of the Daniel fast recipes in Section 1 are wheat, gluten, and dairy free as well as vegan! In addition, the ingredients used in all of these recipes are organic—we encourage you to use organic whenever possible. If this is not possible, we encourage you to use a fruit and vegetable

wash on all nonporous fruits and vegetables. Additionally, with all of these recipes we use cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil because studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) levels. For further information, see www .healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/olive-oil.htm. Why cold pressed? Cold-pressed oil is produced with the use of a low heat technique, which keeps the flavor, nutritional value, and color of the oil. Although it is more expensive it is also of higher quality. For further information, see www.wisegeek.com/what-is -cold-pressed-oil.htm. One last comment: we like a lot of garlic and cilantro in our food, and our recipes reflect this. Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic or cilantro in any of the recipes in this book to suit your family’s tastes.

People tend to think that to eat healthy means to eat yucky—not so. The secret is in how you season and prepare your food. These healthy recipes will not only show you different kinds of foods you might not have thought about before, but they also give you some great ideas on how to season and prepare your meals. It’s all about choices, and the more informed you are, the more choices you’ll have. After the fast is over, don’t run out and get fast food! In Section 2 we have included dozens of healthy recipes so you can transition from the Daniel fast to making healthy eating a lifestyle! In addition, the pasta dishes are wheat and gluten free.

Medical studies now confirm that a large percentage of the health problems in America are digestive related. According to the website Digestive System Disorders, digestive issues for the most part cause a number of diseases, such as colon, rectal, and stomach cancer; diarrhea; diverticular disease; digestive tract gas; heartburn; hepatitis; inflammatory bowel disease; irritable bowel syndrome; lactose intolerance; and stomach and duodenal ulcers. According to a recent article written on digestive disorders:

The function of the digestive system is to take the food and liquids that we put into our mouths and then either turn these foods and liquids into nutrients or energy needed by the cells of our body, or alternatively turn them into waste products that are then expelled

by our body as bowel movements. When something goes wrong with this everyday process and some part of the process doesn’t work properly, the end result is one kind or another of a digestive system disorder. There are many common digestive system disorders.

In fact, almost any natural health practitioner will tell you that food, good or bad, plays a definitive part in your health. The Daniel fast is a wonderful way to begin a life of good eating and good health. When we started doing the Daniel fast many years ago in our church, we started at the beginning of the year, around January 7, and for the next twenty-one days we consumed vegetables, fruit, and water—only! We did the fast for a number of reasons. First of all, turning your plate down and using that time to spend with the Lord is always a good thing. Second, after the holidays, most of us had abused food so much with all the celebrating we had done that we actually looked forward to the fast. Third, after a few years, a number of our members began to experience the benefit of the fast, because not only did we lose weight but also we felt better. Symptoms our bodies had manifested—such as heartburn, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome—began to disappear. (NOTE: These recipes should never be used in place of physician-prescribed medications or medical procedures prescribed by your doctor for any and all medical conditions.)

Back in 1999, after we had moved from New York to Florida, our girls, who were six and eight at the time, seemed to always be getting colds, runny noses, ear infections—something anyone with children knows something about. I grew tired of taking them to the doctor every so often just to have the doctor give them another antibiotic. I was sharing my frustrations about this with our dear friend Ruth Chironna. She asked me if I gave our girls cow’s milk. “Of course,” I replied. “What else is there to give them?” She told me to get them off of it and introduce them to rice milk. I immediately began introducing a little bit of rice milk mixed in with cow’s milk until I had weaned them off of dairy altogether. That was over a decade ago, and I can count on one hand the number of times in the last decade when they’ve been really sick or had really bad colds—and they never had another ear infection. They are now eighteen and twenty and are for the most part extremely healthy! This extended into our food, and before we knew it, we were eating better and going to the doctor a lot less. Do we ever cheat and have that slice of pizza or a burger? Sure! But everything in moderation! Changing our diet to include more vegetables, fruit, no sodas, and more water has significantly altered our lives. We trust that as you employ these changes, starting with the Daniel fast recipes, you will experience the kind of health that God intended for us to enjoy!

Whether you begin the Daniel fast at the beginning of the New Year or want to start it right now, we believe that The Daniel Fast Made Delicious is going to change the way you look at food, the way you prepare food, and the way you feel about food. Get started today! You’re going to love these recipes!

What more can we say but…

Bon appétit!

Buen provecho!

Guten appetit!

Prejudice: Hide It or Expose It?

Below you will find my response to Kay’s post on prejudice:  Mark Twain’s “N-Word”.  You might what to visit Kay’s blog to read the post and comments so you will have context for my “speech”.

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I have taught with the original text (Tom Sawyer) in my 5th grade classroom — ten year olds — in a racially diverse community. I told them BEFORE we opened the book and started reading that it had language that would be very hard for us to understand.

I explained that some of the words just weren’t used any more, but there were a few words in the book that would shock them and make them angry.  We needed to talk about how we are going to handle that before we started reading.

The book was not used in conjunction with the reading program, it was used in our equal rights and equalities studies.  We talked about how people get smarter and grow and evolve.  I asked the kids to describe things they were afraid of as babies that they are no longer afraid of now.

As we read the book we discussed it, scene by scene.  We discussed our emotions in reaction to what we read, but we also discussed the character’s emotions in reaction to what they heard.

We talked about the fact that Jim and Tom were friends and Jim wasn’t offended by the use of the N word and in fact used it to describe himself.  Then we talked about naming in general.  Such as: Why is it okay for one person to call you “honey” but not another? Why can you say, “I am an idiot” but get ticked off when someone else says it?  Even 10 year olds were bright enough to figure out the difference in intent — why the word was used.

My personal opinion is that if one wants kids to learn one should teach them; not hide everything disreputable from them until they are 18 years old and then hope that — without instruction or guidance — they make optimal choices.

And while I would never introduce sexually explicit material into the classroom, I wouldn’t fail to address it if a child brought it into the classroom (and believe me, in the upper grades they do). In fact every school I worked in had a specific policy of gathering and talking to  — educating — everyone involved in the incident, including the parents of the children.

Ignoring hatred, prejudice and exploitation will not eradicate them.  Exposing them for the shameful, petty, and degrading things they are have reduced prejudice and its resulting violence, and I have seen the changes in school campuses that prove this.

The Wedding Dress War

On the day she was born, Miranda’s mama started dreaming about the day her daughter would walk down the isle in the billowing white wedding gown.   Miranda’s mama never had a wedding.  She got married in a Vegas wedding chapel just a couple months before Miranda was born.

Miranda is 27 years old.  Her mama has been cherishing that wonderful white wedding dream for a long, long time and now that Miranda is getting married, it is time to make her dream come true … but it isn’t Miranda’s dream.

Miranda and Victor have set their wedding date for February 14th — Valentine’s Day.   Miranda has chosen a red velvet ball gown with black satin trim to be married in.  Her mother is appalled.  Apparently there has been much wailing, crying and gnashing of teeth.  Miranda and her mother speak to each other only through Rena, Miranda’s maternal aunt.

It is through Rena that I know this wedding war story.  Apparently Victoria (Miranda’s mother) believes that a daughter has a big fancy wedding not for herself, but for her mother.   According to Victoria, Miranda’s turn to plan a wedding and debate wedding dresses will come when Miranda’s daughter gets married.

Obviously Miranda thinks her wedding should be her own — and she and Victor are paying for it.  She is sorry that her mother’s dream isn’t her dream, but firmly believes she should be free to follow her own dreams and live her own life.  At the same time, she does not want to hurt her mother.

At this point Victor is all for eloping and just having the whole drama over.  What started out as a Valentine’s Day Ball (apparently Miranda and Victor met in a ballroom dancing class at the college) for their friends and family with a brief wedding ceremony in the middle, has turned into a family battle ground revolving around white satin, church aisles and a priest.

Rena has suggested what seems practical to me — but again, it is not my dream — a small church wedding followed by the Valentine’s Ball reception.  Rena has even come up with a stunning wedding dress that should suit both venues.  What remains to be seen is if Victoria and Miranda will agree.

How to be Perfect by Daniel M. Harrell

My Thoughts:
I haven’t finished reading How to Be Perfect: One Church’s Audacious Experiment In Living the Old Testament Book of Leviticus. It gives to cause to pause, wonder, contemplate and reread. If you’ve ever had trouble reading Leviticus and wonder what in the heck all that boring gobbledygook is doing in the bible — or if you’ve just tried to read Leviticus and gone to sleep — you’ll want to read Daniel Harrell’s book.

How to Be Perfect will not put you to sleep. It is funny, it is thought provoking, it is convicting, but it isn’t boring. If you want to better understand the roots of our Christian traditions and you want an even clearer picture of just how radical Jesus’ teachings were in the context of the culture he lived in, you’ll want to read this book. You’ll find sample pages below.

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

How to be Perfect

FaithWords (January 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck,Web Publicist, Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Daniel M. Harrell is senior minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota. For 23 years he served as a minister at Park Street Church in downtown Boston. He is the author of Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith as well as numerous articles that have appeared in Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, The Christian Century, and Regeneration Quarterly. He holds a PhD in developmental psychology from Boston College and has lectured at Fuller Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Gordon College, and Boston University. He lives somewhat obediently by grace in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (January 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044655717X
ISBN-13: 978-0446557177

PLEASE PRESS THE BUTTON TO BROWSE INSIDE THE BOOK: