Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my dad’s 61st birthday.

He is not here to celebrate it.

He died in February after a sudden illness. He drove himself to the hospital on a Monday and on Friday he was gone.

My two sisters, their families, my mom and step-dad all live in Delaware and were able to be with Dad the first couple of days. My brother and I both flew in from across the country and arrived on Wednesday. My dad was awake and knew we were there taking care of him. All week, someone from our family was by his side around the clock. He was put on a ventilator on Thursday and by Friday we and the doctors were talking about withdraw care. We planned to discontinue the ventilator on Friday night after all the immediate family could arrive. He died on his own before our planned time.

My brother, one of my sisters, and I were all in the room with him. We watched his heart rate decrease steadily and quickly. The three of us said our good-byes and held each other.

Everyone else joined us shortly after. We prayed together, sang some hymns, and comforted each other.

The rest of the time I was in Delaware was a whirl wind. In addition to all the arrangements and everything that comes after someone dies, we also discovered that my dad’s house was completely hoarded and unlivable. My siblings and I estimate that we have not been in his house for over 8 years. He always came to visit us or would meet us at a restaurant. We knew that he had collections and a lot of stuff but we had no idea how bad it would be. It was overwhelming. We spent several days going through his house trying to find his most treasured possessions and collections (rare American flags, arrowheads, coins, antique glassware, etc). Along with anything else that we could salvage and use, give to family, or donate. By the time we had the memorial service, we set aside several things that we pulled from his house that represented his favorite things for the memorial display. This display did not even scratch the surface of representing what my dad loved but many people appreciated being able look at these things.

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In the aftermath of going back home and dealing with other major changes in my life, I have felt guilty or saddened about a lot of things concerning my dad.

I feel guilty for not mourning my dad in a “typical” way. I did not cry while I stood by his bedside as he died. I did not cry at the memorial service. Although I occasionally get sad as I reminisce, I do not feel like I have truly mourned the loss.

I feel guilty for not having a healthy father/daughter relationship with him over the years… as the oldest I had the most strained relationship for a number of reasons. He made an effort in recent years but due to travel distance it made connecting difficult.

I feel guilty for feeling relief that he died instead of having to live with most likely years of rehabilitation and lifestyle changes.

I feel guilty that we did not know how bad his house was and that we were not there to help him deal with it and fix up the house so that he could be proud of it again.

I feel guilty because I do not remember at all the last time I was actually with my dad on his birthday.

I feel guilty that this is the only photo I have of my kids and their Grandpa Len (which was from two years ago):

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Even with all of my guilt and sadness, I am finding comfort in interesting places. During my current college course we were studying the book of Ecclesiastes. It would not be my first recommended book of the Bible for comforting after death but the following passage spoke to my heart about my dad:

…When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20, NIV).

He was not a wealthy man but he had numerous possessions… all of which had sentimental value or purpose in his mind. We were very distressed when we discovered how my dad lived. We thought he must have gave up on life. However, when we had his memorial service half of the people there were people from his job which he loved. We heard story after story of how my dad blessed others with things he found at stores or antique shops that he thought they would like. This passage gives me hope in the fact that even though we cannot change the outcome of how my dad lived, he truly enjoyed his possessions and blessing others with them.

I pulled out all of his blue cobalt glass for myself (this photo only shows about half of it). He regularly sent me blue cobalt and I will truly treasure this collection among the other things that I kept for myself.

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We also filled a bin with various glassware and gave it to a downtown restaurant near where my dad lived. We went there for dinner one night and noticed that they had plates hanging on the wall that matched a pattern in the house. We talked to the restaurant owner and she was thrilled that we were offering her these items. She said that she would display and/or use everything that we gave her. My dad would be proud to know that people would be able to see and enjoy his collections.

I know that everyone mourns differently. I know that the grief will hit me hard at some point. I know that my guilt and sadness will subside eventually. Maybe reminiscing and taking pleasure in my dad’s belongings that I kept for myself will be my way of grieving.

Today, I will eat some cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to my dad because he is going to have the best birthday he has ever had… with Jesus!

*****

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

As many of you already know, I have been working towards an Associate’s Degree in Biblical Studies at Colorado Christian University (online). I thought I would share some of my work here on my blog. The following paper was my final for my History of Christianity course last semester. This course was fascinating! Even though I have extensively studied the Bible itself, I have never really studied Christian History between the Bible and now until this course. Our final assignment was to choose an influential person in Christian History to write about. I received full credit for this assignment! 
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Session 5 Final Paper: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Alysa Sawyer

Colorado Christian University

“The history of Christianity is intensive and complicated. There are many men and women who impacted the course of Christianity whether for good or for bad. It was difficult to choose a single person to focus on for this assignment. Besides the obvious examples such as Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, etc. there are many who are lesser known. Katherine von Bora, as Martin Luther’s wife, had great influence in her husband’s life and ministry. John Bunyan wrote one of the greatest Christian allegories ever written: Pilgrim’s Progress… while in prison. Not to mention any of the many missionaries who’s stories live on for the impact they had on various groups of people and cultures. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is also one who I would consider lesser known, although, he has become better known lately due to the recent publications of his biography (articles and books) and movie documentaries.

I believe that I was first introduced to the history of the holocaust around fifth or sixth grade in history class. In eighth grade, I received a copy of Corrie Ten Boom: Her Story (1995), which included three books in one volume (The Hiding Place,Tramp for the Lord, and Jesus is Victor). Sometime during high school, and again in 2003, I visited the sobering United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Even with my interest in holocaust history over the years, I did not learn about Dietrich Bonhoeffer until I read (portions of) his biography written by Eric Metaxas (2010): Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy for a book club I participated in several years ago.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a young German theologian influenced greatly by men like the German reformer Martin Luther and fellow theologian Karl Barth. He spent time in Germany, England, the United States, and other countries where he continued to study, write, debate, and advocate for the church. It was in the United States that he worshiped at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in an African American community. The pastor, Dr. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., was outspoken about racism and the saving power of Jesus Christ. This church was completely different from those he had encountered in Germany. He also saw racism in America firsthand. (Metaxas, 2010. pp. 107-110).

In pre-war Germany, Bonhoeffer along with Karl Barth and others, were leaders of the Confessing Church, which was against Nazi oppression (Got Questions?org). For a time, Bonhoeffer was a pastor of a church in London, England, where he gained support for German Christians. While in London, he was asked by the Confessing Church to return to Germany as head of a clandestine (secret and possibly illegal) seminary. In 1937, the Reich ordered his seminary to be disbanded. However, Bonhoeffer traveled around and assembled groups of students for further instruction (Gonzalez, 2010. p. 463). The Reich, otherwise known as “German Christians,” was a group that promoted the unification of the German protestant church through the creation of a church that conformed to Nazi ideology and Aryan laws (Metaxas, 2010. p. 151-152).

Bonhoeffer returned to America but increasingly realized that Germans would have to make a choice between truth and patriotism. He wrote the following,

“I have made a mistake in coming to America… I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people… Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice in security” (Metaxas, 2010. p. 321)

Over the years, he wrote letters to friends outside of Germany to inform them of what was happening in his country. He also wrote several essays that were outspoken against the Nazi changes in the protestant church. This alienated him from other clergy who wanted a smooth transition and/or connection between the church and politics. In January 1938, he was banned from Berlin and in September 1940 he was banned from public speaking. Through his brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi, he learned about German resistance plans. By using his connections, Dohnanyi helped Bonhoeffer obtain an assignment in the office of Military Intelligence, so he could avoid military service. He used his job to send messages either written or in person during his international travels. In July of 1944, the Military Intelligence office unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the regime. Bonhoeffer was also involved with international plans to get Jews out of Germany by giving them forged papers. In April 1943, Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi were arrested. Initially, he was charged with: “conspiring to rescue Jews, using his foreign travels for non-intelligence matters, and misusing his intelligence position to help Confessing Church pastors evade military service.” His broader connections to the resistance were uncovered after the failed coup attempt in July 1944. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).

While in prison, transferred several times, Bonhoeffer became the chaplain and he wrote many letters and was involved in the church as he could be from a cell. These letters were eventually published as Letters and Papers from Prison (Got Questions?org). On April 9,1945, he was hanged at the Flossenburg concentration camp along with other conspirators. His brother, Klaus Bonhoeffer, and his brother-in-laws, Hans von Dohnanyi and Rudiger Schleicher, were also executed soon after (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Allied troops gained control of the prison only a few days after his execution (Gonzalez, 2010. p. 465).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a modern (as in the past century) example of what it means to live and die for Christ while in complete opposition to the government around him. He did not look back on a major event and write or speak about his views in hindsight as many people do. Instead, he lived through one of the most evil movements in recent history and was outspoken about his views during that time. He was one of the few pastors to do so. He said “the church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society. There are things for which an uncompromising stand is worthwhile” (DC Talk, 1999. p. 198). I wonder if Bonhoeffer ever thought he would die for the cause of Christ when he wrote the following passage from The Cost of Discipleship:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God (Bonhoeffer, 1995. p.45).”

Over the years there has been some debate over the theological views of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For example, his letter to a friend mentioned a “religionless Christianity” (Gonzalez, 2010. p. 465) or his views on grace and works, which are mentioned in The Cost of Discipleship (Bonhoeffer, 1995). Many would suggest that his views are in line with scripture and that his motivation for his political views and actions were pure. Others would suggest that his interests were solely political and that his theology was skewed. I would venture to say that it is difficult for us to know for sure one way or another because his life was cut short by an evil regime. Had he the opportunity to live past the holocaust, I am sure we would have been able to read more clarification of his works from his own words. Still, we can know based on the works that we have, that he strived to seek after the Lord. He clearly did not stand for the Nazi oppression of the Jewish people and others. And, he clearly opposed the church that tried to bow to the political movement of Hitler. This is something that we as Christians in America should remember, especially as our government aims to take more and more control of the people. As popular culture promotes intolerance towards religion, it is not outside the realm of possibilities for American Christians to eventually see real persecution. Will we aid those who are persecuted and stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ, or will we conform to the social and political pressure, influence, and deception?

While Bonhoeffer’s life and theology may raise questions within the Christian community, there is no doubt in my mind that he legitimately took a stand for Christ when others did not. Based on what I have read, I believe that he did what he knew he could do to further the kingdom of God and end an evil movement in clear opposition to scripture. He, like the apostle Paul, continued to serve Christ and the people around him while in prison. Dietrich Bonhoeffer truly lived out Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:38-39 (NIV), “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” The last words that he sent to one of his friends before his execution were, “This is the end. For me, the beginning of life.” (DC Talk, 1999). These words, from a man who knows that his death is coming, are encouraging for Christians who will someday meet their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

References:

Bonhoeffer, D. (1995). The Cost of Discipleship. New York, NY: Touchstone.

DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs. (1999). Jesus Freaks: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus: The Ultimate Jesus Freaks. Tulsa, OK: Albury Publishing.

Gonzalez, J. L. (2010). The Story of Christianity: The Reformation To the Present Day (Volume2). New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Got Questions?org (2010-2017).Who was Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Retrieved from: https://www.gotquestions.org/Dietrich-Bonhoeffer.html

Metaxas, E. (2010). Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Ten Boom, C. (1995) Corrie Ten Boom: Her Story. (The Hiding Place, Tramp for the Lord, Jesus is Victor). New York, NY: Inspirational Press.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10008205.

*****

Sawyer, A. (2017). Session 5 Final Paper: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Unpublished Essay.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this man! His life story is incredibly interesting. I encourage you to learn more about him! 

Who are your favorite influential people in the Christian History? Why? Post in the comments!

 

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Bible Promises to Live By for Women

This book is by Katherine J. Butler. It has a flexible linen-textured cover and is a small compact size. There are several topics listed in the table of contents:

Topics are easy to navigate because they are in alphabetical order in the book. The topic sections include a short encouraging paragraph and several scriptures in the New Living Translation. Occasionally, you come across a scripture in an enlarged and elegant font. There are 500 Biblical promises in this book!

I really like this! It is a quick reference for encouraging scriptures. Read it from start to finish or look up applicable topics as you need them! It would fit in purses for something to keep with you while you are on the go. It would be a great gift for someone who is new to scriptures or for someone who needs some encouragement. I would highly recommend this book.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Bible Promises to Live By for Women, Special edition
By Katherine J. Butler / Tyndale Houselgsquare

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Where Have I Been?

I know, my loyal readers and those who have messaged asking me about specific upcoming posts, you are wondering why I have not posted in awhile. There are plenty of times when there is an unexpected break in my blogging due to circumstances beyond my control… and this time is no different.

To be completely honest, my emotional brain is completely fried due to the roller coaster of events over the past several weeks.

It started with the information I was given early in August that put some relationships in jeopardy. That situation ending up being more serious than I originally thought it was. It sent me into an emotional spiral of anger and feeling rejected. This situation is still ongoing and probably will be for awhile. I have sought accountability from my husband and several friends to help me with my anger and feeling rejected. Having people to talk to and pray for me has been helpful but I am still processing it all.

Shortly after that, my girls started their school year and I started my college semester. Ironically, going back to college has been the least stressful thing in my life right now. I am praying that it continues to be a non-stressful endeavor! However, there is rebellious spirit trying to rise up in my oldest daughter. We have had constant battles of will with her lately. She is only ten years old but I think we have hit the pre-teen hormonal years.

On Monday-August 28th, after substitute teaching all day, I had to run some errands downtown with my kids with me. We drove by the public library twice in about a 5-10 minute timeframe. When we passed by the second time, roads were blocked and the library was surrounded by police vehicles and cops carrying guns. We had to sit at the intersection for several minutes and we saw cops with a guy sitting on the ground in the middle of the street. As we finally moved past the scene to go to dance classes, I told my girls that I thought what we saw was a drug bust. About an hour later, Facebook started blowing up with posts and news articles about there being a mass shooting in the library. Only when my husband called me (from the plane he was about to take off on) did I realize that when we drove past the library the first time that the shooting was actively happening. As the details were released, we found out that two of the librarians died on the scene and four others were critically wounded. One of the librarians did all of the library’s children’s activities and we had interacted with her many times over the years. One of the wounded was a ten year old boy… the same age as my oldest daughter. The shooter was a tenth grader. Needless to say, our small town of Clovis, New Mexico was shattered that day. Still, the community came together to support each other in a way that most small towns do when tragic circumstances happen.

Later that week, on Thursday, I found out that a dear friend was in hospice care. We made arrangements to travel the next day (two hours away) to go see her. I worked that Friday so we could not leave until after school released. Just as the bell rang, I got a call with news about a very close friend. Apparently, she woke up in the middle of the night to find her husband not breathing. While waiting for EMS to arrive, she did chest compressions for fifteen minutes. EMS used the defibrillator three times before they got a pulse. He went an estimated 24 minutes without oxygen. He was transferred to the same hospital that we were going to visit. Later that night, we got to the hospital and visited my friend and her husband who was in a medically induced coma. I was not able to visit my friend on hospice because we got there after she went to bed. We decided to spend the night in town and we were able to see her in the morning. It was one of the saddest moments in my life. We checked in on my other friend again before heading home. We left knowing that we may not ever see her husband alive again. A couple of days later, my friend’s husband miraculously woke up. He has a long recovery ahead but he is alive. My other friend on hospice was transferred out of the hospital to a nursing home. The end is still inevitable but she seems to be in better spirits now.

For the past several months, I have also been dealing with some medical issues that may lead to surgery. Since my husband is leaving the country in the very near future, we have been back and forth with different doctors trying to determine the best treatment in the quickest time frame. If I end up having the surgery, it would be best for my husband to be home during the initial recovery weeks to help with the kids. We were hoping for a more clear plan this week but the latest appointment did not deliver that. Instead we are once again waiting for more tests to be done. It is possible that I may not have the major surgery and have a different procedure instead, however, I will still need recovery time and there is a chance that it would not work. That would just lead to more months of trying to figure everything out.

A few days ago, I completely broke down emotionally. Every emotion that I had felt over the past several weeks just exploded out of my soul. I uncontrollably cried for a long time. I think the reason I am struggling with all of this so much is because for the first time in a very long time, I have not really felt God in the midst of all the circumstances. I feel like I am on autopilot… doing everything that I know to do but feeling completely numb while doing it. I know God is present because he always has been in all of my life valleys. I know God is present because my friend’s  husband is a miracle. I know God is present because I have his Word to remind me of that. As I wait for him to make himself known, I am trusting that God is Good. No matter what the outcomes of my current circumstances and the circumstances of those around me, I know that he sees the big picture that I can not see right now. Someday, I know I will look back and see his hand in all of this.

So, as far as blogging goes, I am still working on the Fruit of the Spirit writing plans and I am still reading the books waiting for my reviews. Thank you for your patience during the delays. I will post them when I am able to finish them.

Unexpected Decision…

The end of July, I spoke to 70 women at our church’s Women’s Day Retreat (you can read my message here). I have shared my testimony and devotionals many times before one-on-one or in small group settings. However, this was the first time speaking from a platform at an event. I have always had a desire to participate in Women’s Ministries and try to get involved where I can at whatever churches we have attended over the years. I also love writing on my blog (however sporadic it may be around my busy schedule) and hope that one day God will open the doors for me to publish a book.

Throughout the past 8 years or so, I have researched going back to college to do some sort of theology or religious program. I have a passion for Biblical research, debate, and knowledge. I have thought that having a professional studies and/or degree in the field will benefit my path towards whatever God may call me to do in the future (women’s ministry, speaking, writing, etc). I have never actually pursued going back to college because of lack of finances or how full I already keep my schedule.

Earlier this month, I once again started researching programs. I found an online Biblical Studies Associate’s Degree that I liked at Colorado Christian University. They also have a good military discount which extends to dependents. So… I decided to put in a request for more information. Five minutes later, I received a call from a CCU Enrollment Counselor. We discussed what I was interested in doing and he emailed me all of the relevant information. I went ahead and submitted an application and all of the required documentation. I had Delaware Technical & Community College send them an official transcript so that I could find out if any of my former 62 credits (for Nursing LPN) would transfer. I submitted a Financial Aid-FAFSA application just to see if I would qualify for financial assistance. I should mention that I did all of this spur of the moment… while my husband was out of town. I did mention it to him over the phone so he knew the conversation was coming. I made it very clear to the enrollment counselor that I had to speak to my husband and get his support before committing to actually taking classes.

By the next day, I received an email saying that my application to CCU was accepted. The day after that, I found out exactly how much financial aid I am eligible to receive. The following day, my husband returned home and I excitedly ambushed him we discussed all of the information that I had to show him. He agreed that I could register for classes with the stipulation that if we found out we couldn’t afford it (based on book fees and how many of my former credits would transfer) that I would drop the classes before penalty.

By the end of one week, I was registered for my first semester at CCU. I was able to find all of the books that I need way cheaper than I expected! I also found out that 24 of my former credits will transfer which is the equivalent of two semesters!!!

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As my girls enter their first week of school in 3rd and 5th grades, I will be preparing my mind and home for me diving into college again next week. I am as prepared as I can possibly be leading up to my first class next week. However, it is a bit intimidating to return to college at age 35 later in life (the last time I was in college was 2003). My immediate goal is to get my Associate’s Degree. Then, if finances allow, to continue to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I am posting all of this here for accountability… If you think about it, pray for my family and I as we start this new schedule. A few months from now, ask me how I am doing. Encourage me to keep my eye on the end goal! I am excited to start this journey!

Do you have a later in life college story to tell?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

How Do You Forgive Someone Who Doesn’t Know That You Know They Hurt You?

Confused??? Me too! This post is seriously me asking for your advice. I would love to hear your opinions posted in the comments. 

Please note: I am not going to share the specific offense that someone (PERSON A) did because it affects another close personal relationship (PERSON B). I do not want to cause PERSON B any further heartache over this situation.

So here are the basics of the situation….

I just found out that PERSON A did something that wounded me in a very personal and emotional way. PERSON A is not someone close to me… however, the other PERSON B involved is very close to me. I have only met and interacted with PERSON A on one occasion. I thought we clicked as friends. We had an intellectual and a little bit spiritual conversation. My whole family interacted with PERSON A. We exchanged phone numbers, later exchanged texts, and friended each other on Facebook.

Tonight, PERSON B told me the offense PERSON A did over a month ago.

It hurts. It hurts badly…

As of right now, I assume that PERSON A does not know that I know what they did.

In my “FORGIVE THEM” post back in 2010, I talked about how forgiveness is more to help you heal than it is for the offender. I quoted the following from Dr. Davis’ “How To Heal A Wounded Spirit” sermon:

“If someone wounds you and walks away without doing anything to help; that does not mean that you have to lay there and die… If someone wounds you either knowingly or unknowingly and walks away; who is going to be in the worse shape 6 months from now if you don’t treat it? You or Them?”

PERSON B is directly involved and because of that I have to work through some issues with them. I will eventually come to forgive them because of how close we are and that is what needs to happen in order for that relationship to heal. I need some time to process, but forgiveness towards them WILL happen. With God’s help, I know it will.

PERSON A is not someone who I have to interact with ever again. I could delete their phone number and unfriend them on Facebook. I may never have to see or speak to them again. There is always the chance that they could call or text me but I don’t know if they would or not. There is always the chance of seeing them in public but I never have before so… I would say that the chance is slim (just not impossible). I could ignore them if we ever come in contact again.

I know that for my sake and in order to be obedient to Christ, I must eventually forgive PERSON A.

My question is: Do I let them know that I know what they did and let them know that I forgive them (when I get to the mindset of being able to do so)? ~OR~ Do I forgive them and move on without mentioning it to them?

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

(please post in the comments…)

And if you think about it, please keep me in prayer as I seek God’s wisdom in this situation. Pray for God to heal my heart and help me to forgive all of the people involved.

“Shaking hands” image found here.

Threads Of Suspicion

This book by: Dee Henderson is the second book in the Evie Blackwell Cold Case series. Evie is on the Missing Person’s Task Force along with several other capable team members. She is paired with David Marshal to work on two unrelated cases in Chicago. Evie is investigating the disappearance of a popular college student and David is investigating a missing private investigator. As they pursue the leads in each of their cases, it becomes clear that there is more to the cases than they had originally anticipated…including some personal ties. The search for truth is their top priority. Evie also has to deal with some personal issues that cannot take a back burner any longer. With the help of her new friend of David, she starts to come to terms with where her personal life is headed.

Dee Henderson books have always been among my favorites. They include mystery, suspense, romance, and spiritual truths. This one did not disappoint. Although the second in the series, I was able to read without having previously read the first book in the series. As always, Henderson incorporates several characters known from other books she has written. I love how Henderson does this because it is fun to learn what former characters are doing in the present time-frame of her stories. Although some suspense, I thought that this book focused more on the personal side of the characters than it did of the solving crime aspect. I admit, I was a little disappointed in how some of the character relationships played out. I am hoping that future books in the series might expand on those relationships so that their story resolves in a way that makes more sense. Anyone who likes suspense, romance, and spiritual conversation and reflection would like this book (as well as any book that Dee Henderson has written).

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Threads of Suspicion #2

By Dee Henderson / Bethany House

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Princess Prayers

This book is written by: Crystal Bowman and inspired by: Jeanna Young & Jacqueline Johnson with pictures by: Omar Aranda. It is a board book marketed towards young girls. Each two page spread includes a prayer, scripture verse, and beautiful illustration based on The Princess Parables series. There are a total of fifteen prayers in the book.

I have always loved The Princess Parables series. My girls have enjoyed reading them over the years. Generally speaking, the series is geared towards preschool & early elementary aged girls. This book is no different but my eight year old daughter still reads the books in the series every once in awhile. This book is perfect for teaching young girls simple prayers. It could be read all at once, as a daily devotional, or as a certain topic is needed. It could could be an adorable gift for the little girls in your life!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKidsprovided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following links!

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Princess Prayers
By Jeanna Young, Jacqueline Kinney Johnson & Omar Aranda (Illustrator) / ZonderKidz

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