Beside Still Waters

Since my unfortunate lack of gainful employment, I’ve had a lot of reading time on my hands, well that and all the Dr appointments I’ve had, lots of waiting and lots of boredom equals lots of reading. Luckily this book was one on my list to read, Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer.

I’ve read my share of Amish books, but this one resonates with me more than any other Amish book has. Beside Still Waters follows the Sommer family as they make an unexpected move from one amish community to another trying to get passed the past. Marianna Sommer is a conflicted but dutiful heroine. I could feel her turmoil as she followed as the “perfect daughter” to care for her family instead of staying behind and following her dream of marrying Aaron Zook. My heart ached when she realized there was more to life, more to God and knowing him than what she had been taught from birth. I understood the conflict she felt what trying to reconcile what her Ordung had told her was right and wrong, with that of what felt right and wrong.

Marianna’s journey to a relationship with God that was hers and hers alone is one that I have taken myself. I know what it is like to find that my relationship with God has nothing to do with that of my parents, my church or anyone else. It is tough to realize that everything “taught” is not always true. Tricia delves in to this topic in an amazing way. She presents it to you in a story that is not only believable but that pulls you in and makes you think about your own relationship with God, how it came about and how it needs to grow. I can’t wait to read more about the Sommer family in the next Big Sky novel by Tricia Goyer.

I do want to thank the folks over at Litfuse for allowing me to participate in this blog tour! They sent me the book to read, and asked nothing more in return than an honest review!

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.

To order this book, go here: Amazon, or CBD


About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four 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.

For more about Tricia please visit


As you can tell by the title, I’m excited! About what? You ask?

This: Bloom Book Club

I am joining in with the gals at (in) in a book study of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I took one look at the book and knew I wanted to read it. This is just from an online posting of the picture. Then when I read the synopsis, watched the video by Jess and Angie, I knew I had to participate. Then today I watched the video of Ann, Jess, and Angie talking about Ann, her life, and the book, and I got totally psyched about it.

I want to hold the book in my hands

I want to smell the pages

I want to read, read, read

I want to absorb

I want to be changed.

I have a feeling this book will help me with this change. Wanna join me? There is plenty of time! Just click here.

Sofa anyone?

A couple of days ago, I posted some of the things that are going on around here. One thing I didn’t mention is that we are in dire need of new living room furniture, you literally sit down on the couch and wind up sitting on the floor. Earlier today, I started cruising craigslist and a local trade paper looking for freebies or low cost couches/futons. The problem with freebies and low cost ones, is that they are usually in bad shape themselves. Stud and I have never had brand new furniture except our mattress/box springs. Our furniture has always been 2nd or 3rd hand stuff that was pretty much on its last legs when we get it.

Well tonight, Stud comes in from work and asks if my parents want a huge TV, I say prolly so, then they could actually see what was going on…. and then he lets me know that a guy he works with… his family bought their parents all new living room stuff… and need to get rid of the tv… oh, and by the way… they are giving us a sectional sofa!

I haven’t seen it, neither has he, but evidently the parents didnt’ want new furniture, they wanted to keep their original stuff, its in that good of shape!

Talk about intervention! God does work in mysterious ways! Here I was looking for freebies, and hadn’t mentioned it to Stud, and he comes home with the very thing I was looking for!

And besides getting a new sofa, I also got a faith boost. I’ve been feeling rather down and out about it, stressed beyond belief, and here, something I hadn’t even given thought to pray about, was answered!

Picking it back up again

At the rate I’m going, my month long post meme thing is gonna take me a year to finish. But more on that later….

First things first, I have and article over at The Pastor’s Wife Speaks. Go on over and take a gander.

Now back to my meme.

Day 8 I do believe is which day we are on….

Day 08 – Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shi-take mushroms.

yeah, I edited that title.

With this one, I’ve had the most trouble so far trying to figure out the answer. Most people can reel off folks who have made them miserable in a heartbeat. But not me. Yes, I have people that drive me insane. People that absolutely create more drama and misery for me than anyone deserves. But do they belong on the “made my life a living hell” list?

Yes, my siblings treat me like dirt and take advantage of me and my parents.
yes there have been people that have spread lies about me, turning friends I thought I would have for life against me.
yes I spent most of grade school through junior high being made fun of for various different reasons, I didn’t have the right jeans, the right shoes, my lips were too full, I had too many freckles… need I keep going?
yes I’ve had my heart broken, stepped on and crushed to pieces…


None of this has made my life hell. Or at least what I think living hell would be like.

I’ve dealt with these things, I’ve over come them, and I have grown from them into the person I am today because of dealing with all these things. I don’t hate anyone. I don’t harbor ill feelings towards anyone listed above. So, no, they haven’t made my life hell. They have made my life…. mine.

I have to start out by saying I’ve not been a huge fan of Sandi Patty. I guess I could just never really relate to her. I’ve always admired her voice, and her determination, especially when she was essentially shunned by the christian community after her divorce and the tabloid like rumors that followed. But her latest book, The Edge of the Divine has changed my mind.

The Edge of the Divine was an easy read, you could definitely ‘hear’ Sandi’s voice while reading it. It was almost like sitting in a coffee shop, sharing girl talk over a cappaccino. Starting with her first visit to the lap-band clinic, you walk with Sandi as she goes through the procedure, recovers and starts losing the weight. This is a great book for someone considering lap-band surgery, and for women who suffer from obesity, its a light at the end of the tunnel seeing her transformation. It is an encouraging book, not life-changing, but one that leaves you with the notion, that “hey, Sandi did it, maybe I can too!”.

**I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review from The Media Collective, I am in now way compensated for my words, or my opinions**

Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth

Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth.

In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve.

Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all?

Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie’s journey typifies the choices we all face—whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences..

I had never read any of Mary DeMuth’s books until this series came to my attention. I honestly didn’t know what I was missing. Mary is they type of author that grabs you from the first phrase and keeps you wrapped completely in the stories she tells until the very last syllable.

Life In Defiance is the final book of the Defiance trilogy telling the story of the horrifying murder of Daisy Chance and its reprecussions to not only her family but the towns people around them. Ouisie Pepper, knows who killed Daisy and refuses to tell, she doesn’t even let anyone else know that she knows. As things escalate, Ouisie is confronted with difficult decisions all the way around. Trying to save an impossible marriage by becoming the perfect wife, keeping her children from learning the truth, and being the best friend, confidant to Daisy’s mom Emory all take Ouisie on a path of deep introspection and she learns more than she ever bargained for about herself.

Laced with suspense and intrigue Life in Defiance shows how God’s mercy, and grace are intertwined in our every moment even when we don’t notice them.

Mary DeMuth
Author and speaker Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.
National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.
Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas.

Learn more about Mary at


Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.
You can read my testimony on my website ( I came from a difficult upbringing, but Jesus saw fit to find me at fifteen. He has utterly changed my life.

I’ve been married 18 years to my husband Patrick (who’s been told he looks like George Clooney on more than one occasion). Interesting side note: I’ve been told I look like Laura Dern, and we share the EXACT same birthday. Twins separated at birth? Possibly. If you’re reading this and you’re chums with Laura, could you probe a bit?

George (er, Patrick) and I have three kids: Sophie, Aidan and Julia. Sophie’s learning to drive—and what’s interesting is that I’m not worried about it. She’s a careful driver. My son Aidan is thirteen. He’s passionate about finding water for a small village in Ghana. We got to go on the trip of a lifetime to meet the village of Sankpem last summer. Our daughter Julia is ten and is deeply kindhearted, beautiful inside and out. We also have an overly needy (farting) dog and a fat & fuzzy (sometimes cranky) cat.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?
I love to cook and garden and sew and decorate and take pictures. I’m really quite a homebody. I also keep in shape by training for small triathlons, emphasis on small.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This may sound strange, but I wanted to be a doctor. But even then, the writer in me came out because I liked the cadence of my maiden name with the title doctor. Mary Walker, Medical Doctor.

Where are you headed next?
I just finished a standalone book for Zondervan—a mystery set in Rockwall, TX, which is where I live! And it has a romantic element to it. I’m also dabbling into YA (young adult) fiction, hoping to write for that demographic. So many of the things I write about can impact teen girls (identity, authenticity, beauty, abandonment, etc.). I look forward to see how God orchestrates that.

How did you get involved in writing?
I’ve been writing since college when the bug hit me. I wrote my first short story about a missionary going to Russia (when it was firmly encased behind the iron curtain) and having to do all these clandestine things to share the gospel. I’m embarrassed to write this, but the piece started with these four words: Thump, thump, thump, thump (representing the protagonist’s heartbeat, of course).

I’ve been actively writing since 1992 when my daughter Sophie was born. I created a newsletter that helped moms manage their homes. I bought my first computer from the proceeds. I also designed and edited church newsletters, wrote homeschooling curriculum, and even wrote a script for an ultrasound training video. Soon after, short stories started flying out of me. When we moved from East Texas to Dallas for my husband to go to Dallas Seminary, I decided to get serious. I met my friend Sandra Glahn then, a professor at the seminary and a published writer. She shepherded me through the query-letter-writing process and has been an incredible cheerleader.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel. In 2003, I signed with an agent, then signed two nonfiction books. Since then, I’ve had five books published (those included), Daisy Chain being my sixth book. The first novel I wrote is yet to be published.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?
To write and tell stories in such a way that readers find healing and no longer feel alone.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Balancing marketing, writing, and speaking. Worrying about making ends meet. Pushing against burnout. It’s hard to walk the tightrope between thinking in terms of the Kingdom of God (and having lasting, eternal impact) and having to pay bills. It’s ministry, but it’s also work. And anyone who has tried to make a living at writing knows it’s usually feast or famine (with lots of dips into the famine pool).

What do you enjoy most about the writing process?
I love the initial flurry of words on the page where I’m uninhibited. I love fleshing out a story as it comes to me. I see my novels on the movie screen of my mind, which may account for the visual nature of my narratives.

What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?
I am not in love with rejection.

I also don’t cherish rewriting. But it’s a necessary and important evil.

What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?
Here’s the analogy you need to memorize and internalize: Beginning the publishing journey is like wearing a sweatshirt and toting a sack lunch at the base of Mount Everest, thinking, Hmm, this should be a breeze!

In addition: know you are called. Know you have talent. Know you’re full of tenacity. All three things will help you succeed along the journey.

Another idea is hang out at The Writing Spa and its corresponding blog WannabePublished. I tackle nearly every question a new writer would have. I offer weekly free critiques and I have guest authors cameo there. I evaluate the saleabilty of a book idea. Hop on by at

Life in Defiance, the book

Where did you get the idea for the book?
My husband and I have helped women caught in the middle of domestic violence, and we’ve seen the church grapple with how to help women in this situation. Writing about Ouisie Pepper, a pastor’s wife who is trying to hide a huge secret helps bring to light the complicated issue.

I have encountered folks who hide, who seem to be upstanding Christians in public, but who hide their issues behind closed doors. I’ve seen the tortured state of their souls, and I’ve wondered why folks hide so much. Based on those encounters, I formulated the Defiance, TX trilogy to address hiding versus authentic, amazing faith.

Is any part of the book true?
Only in terms of walking alongside women who have experienced domestic violence. My story is not that at all. But I have seen the devastation up close with friends.

And then of course, I am writing the book, so there’s always a lot of me woven through all the characters.

Do you have a favorite character in Life in Defiance? Why?
I would say Emory Chance because she is so lost throughout the series, and deeply broken, but in this book she truly starts to absorb the beauty of Jesus. That, in a way, is the story of my life. I was a broken, needy girl who Jesus rescued.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That you may encounter Jesus in outcasts. It’s not always the folks who promote themselves as believers who truly walk as Jesus did. Jesus comes in distressing disguise. Will we miss Him?

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For Pete’s Sake

I few weeks ago, I responded to an email from a fellow PW, saying that Linda Windsor had copies of her latest book to give away. Being the reader I am, I jumped at the chance to get a free book, who cared what it was about, it was free.  Right?

I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading For Pete’s Sake by Linda Windsor

Let me just say, Linda Windsor has a new fan.  I sat down and started reading this book today, and just finished it about half an hour ago.  I LOVED IT!  I am so glad Linda sent the book to me.

For Pete’s Sake is book 2 of the Piper Cove Chronicles, follows the lives of 4,  30-something friends Ellen, Sue  Ann, Jan, and Alex.  Book 2 is based on Ellen’s story.

From the back cover: Ellen isn’t sure true love exists.  That is until she landscapes the estate of the widower next door, Adrian Sinclair.  Adrian has it all- at least on the surface.  A successful businessman, he’s engaged to a beautiful woman and he’ll soon have a stepmom for his troubled son, Pete.  Yet from the moment Ellen rescues a stranded Adrian on her Harley, his well-ordered world turns upside down.  With his business under investigation for espionage and his son pushing for the tomboy next door as his new mom, Adrian’s facade of happiness shatters.

As Ellen and Pete bond, she realized that Adrian is about to marry the wrong woman.  Despite her resolve to remain “neighbors only,” Ellen is drawn to Adrian.  But how can she be the one when he’s engaged to a sophisticated beauty who is everything Ellen isn’t?

As Ellen’s three best friends step in to help her navigate this uncharted territory, Ellen must ask herself whether she’s ready to risk the heart that she’s always held close.  Will Ellen trust that God brought this family into her life for a reason?  Or will fear cause her to turn away from God’s plan and her one true chance at love?

I can honestly say this is a good read, I will be reading Linda Windsor’s books alot in the future.