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Book Review of "Plain Pursuit"

Good heavens! I knew it had been a while since I’ve written and posted a blog – but I had no idea it has been a week! I will say it’s been an incredibly busy week. I’m working very hard on my current manuscript, I have three devotions and a short story I’m writing for the local writing group I belong to, and I have four books to read and write reviews. Whew! No wonder I’m tired! Below is the first book review of the four:

Book Review
Plain Pursuit
By
Beth Wiseman
I must admit that I’ve not read many Amish stories. Based on what I have read, I’ve not become a huge fan of Amish stories. And I’ve wondered at the immense popularity of the Amish books. Until now. I just finished reading Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman. In her writing of the Amish country, Beth transforms the reader into a member of the Amish community. Her knowledge of the Amish ways is vast and she weaves that knowledge throughout this book. But Plain Pursuit is much more than just a fiction book based on the Amish community. It is a love story between two friends. It is a love story between a man, shunned from the Amish community, and an Englisch (that’s not a typo) woman. Englisch is a non-Amish person. And I know that because Ms. Wiseman graciously included a glossary of Amish terms in the front of the book. Most importantly, it is a love story between God and His children. A love story of redemption and reconciliation.
Here is the book cover summary:
Carley Marek experiences culture shock when she visits her friend Lillian’s family on their farm deep in Amish country. She’ll get an article out of the visit-and maybe some of Lillian’s newfound peace will somehow rub off on her.
Just when Carley is getting used to the quiet nature of the Plain community, Lillian and Samuel’s son falls ill. But the local doctor who can offer the most help has been shunned by the community and forbidden to intervene.
As David’s condition deteriorates, Dr. Noah determines to do whatever it takes to save the boy’s life. Carley is caught in the middle—drawn to Noah, wanting to be helpful in the crisis—and confused by all their talk about a God she neither knows nor trusts.
Carley must decide what is life is worth pursuing…and what to do when she’s pursued by a love she never expected.
This book is obviously written from a heart full of love for God and for the Amish people. It is a book that holds the readers’ attention to the end and when the last page is read and the book is closed, the readers are left with that “feel good” feeling.
Plain Pursuit – a “must” read – perfect to read on a freezing winter evening in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. Enjoy!!
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The Ministry of Music

God has used music in my life – for all of my life – to minister to me. He gave me the ability to “play by ear” when I was six years old. Although I took piano lessons later, I’ve never lost the ability to hear a song only a couple of times and then be able to play it on the piano.(Not concert-ready, but recognizable at least.) That is an incredible gift for which I am always thankful. He has given me the privilege and honor of playing at weddings and sadly, at funerals.

God has used Christian music to comfort me and to show me how much He loves me. Many times, Christian praise and worship has pulled me out of the darkness of depression and back into the light of His love.

I realize that many people are not as moved by words that soothe and comfort and notes lovingly played on musical instruments. I’ve seen the look on peoples’ faces when I say to them, “You’ve gotta hear this song. It’s amazing. It will knock your socks off.” They roll their eyes, “here she goes again.” Normally, after they heard the song, they would agree with me.

Earlier this week I blogged about a song called The Summons. If you missed that, please go back and read it. The lyrics contain some heavy-duty questions. Really makes one stop and think.

I heard another song this week called “The More I Seek You”:

The more I seek you,
The more I find you,
The more I find you,
The more I love you.
I want to sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand,
Lay back against you and breathe
Feel your heartbeat
This love is so deep
It’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace
It’s overwhelming.

The lyrics are wonderful but so enhanced by the music, led by Kari Jobe. Here’s the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3GijrnfStk

Take the time to listen and let God minister to you and to your heart!

Maranatha!

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The Summons

This past Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. A day where we honor the life and work of a man whose beliefs changed the landscape of America forever.

I was privileged to attend “A Day of Reflection” at the Jesuit Retreat Center at Ignatius House in North Atlanta on Monday. The Executive Director of Ignatius House and facilitator for the day, Maria Cressler, did a marvelous job speaking on the life of Dr. King and I may share some of the notes I took at a later date. Today, I want to post the words to a song that Ms. Cressler used as part of the worship music. Read the words over slowly and out loud. Do any of these questions apply to you? What was your answers?

The Summons
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you let my love be shown?
Will you let my name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found, to reshape the world around?
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me.

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me tell and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go, where your love as footsteps show,
thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

TEXT: John L. Bell b. 1949 © 1987 Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc., agent
TUNE: Kelvin Grove, 7 6 7 6 777 6, Scottish traditional and arranged by John L Bell b. 1949
© 1987 Iona Community, GIA Publications Inc., agent

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Sanctity of Human Life

“Every second of every minute of every hour of every day somewhere in the world a child who has yet to be born loses his/her life.” (Bishop David Epps, Sunday, January 17, 2010)

With every syllable he spoke, Bishop Epps’ fist hit the podium, signifying each passing second and each life lost. It was a chilling, heart-breaking moment.

Yesterday was recognized as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in the Christian church. It is the Sunday, usually closest to the date of the Roe vs. Wade decision, where the church honors the memory of the millions of babies who never had a chance to become the men and women that God created them to be.

Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared, before I’d even lived one day.

The church should be ashamed, and believe me—my name is at the top of the list—for its lack of response and lackadaisical attitude about the issue of abortion.

“But what can I do? I’m just one person.” One person can do a lot:

Repent

For not taking a more visible stand against abortion
On behalf of those who have had an abortion

Pray
For the current leaders of our country that their hearts would be softened and their stance on this issue would be changed
For the women and their partners who might otherwise choose abortion to understand there are other options; for these women to have the courage to choose another option

Give
Support groups such as CEC for Life, or your local pregnancy service center with financial donations or items such as diapers, etc.
Volunteer your time and talents to the local crisis pregnancy center. Volunteers are always needed as receptionists, counselors, childcare teachers, etc.

Write
The current administration
Your Senators and Representatives
Tell this group of people you are pro-life and your vote will always be for pro-life candidates

May God have mercy on America!

© 2010 Edwina Cowgill

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Book Review
Through The Fire
Shawn Grady
Through The Fire is a spell-binding, edge-of-your-seat read from page one to page 328. Written in first person from the view point of the main character, Aidan O’Neill, it is a book that you will not forget for a long time. This book is Shawn Grady’s debut novel and he has “hit it out of the ballpark” on his first try. Mr. Grady writes from experience – he has served over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in Reno, Nevada, the setting for Through the Fire.
Here is the back cover summary:
Firefighting burns in Aidan O’Neill’s blood, but his innate gift for reading flames has
made him overconfident and sometimes puts lives in danger. When one call goes horribly
wrong and a rookie is hurt, Aidan ends up suspended and finds himself questioning everything.

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

An arsonist is targeting Reno, leaving a scorched path of destruction. The department needs Aidan back, but his return is troubled. The gift he relied on for so long has gone silent…and it’s as though the fires are coming for him, hunting him down. Teaming with a beguiling fire investigator who may know more than she’s saying, Aidan must discover where his trust rests as the flames burn ever closer.

Ladies, you may think this sounds like a “guys” book – but I loved it! This book may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other fine bookstores.

Enjoy!!

FTC Disclosure:
I review books for members of American Christian Fiction Writers and for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I have not and do not receive payment for these reviews. Usually, I am given a free copy of the books I review; these are normally given away to readers of Musings of Edwina.

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Prayer Requests

I have struggled for a couple of hours now on what to write this morning. I have a folder labeled “Blog Topics” and in that folder is a sheet of paper with possible topics listed on both sides of the paper. When I read the list this morning, nothing clicked. I think I am unable settle on a topic because I have so much on my mind. In praying, God said, “Write what’s on your mind. Share your heart.” So here goes:

· Two precious sisters in Christ have cancer. One has surgery scheduled for today; the other’s body is unable to accept treatment at this time. Dear Father, be with my sister in Christ as she undergoes surgery today. Give her a calmness and peace that she’s never experienced before that she will recognize and know it is from you. Guide the surgeon’s hands and eyes that he may remove all cancer. Sovereign God, your Word says that You heal ALL diseases. Right now, I pray that you touch both of these women and heal them completely – that no signs of cancer can be found in their body any more. In your name, Amen.

· My mom and dad’s health continues to decline almost daily. Some of you know that my mom was in the hospital the week between Christmas and New Year’s and at one point while hospitalized, started to walk and was in such tremendous pain she could not walk. She is home now and receiving physical therapy 3-4 times a week. She is once again able to walk with her walker, and I praise God for that. Still, both of my parents have many health issues and we are at a point where they really are no longer able to stay in their home by themselves. Abba Father, I ask in the name of Jesus that You touch my parents with Your healing hands and heal them from all of their illnesses. Just because they are elderly does not mean they have to be sick! Restore to them, I pray, their health, strength and energy. Restore to them their days of youth. Father, if we must move them, I pray that you will give my sister and me wisdom, discernment and understanding. Give us grace and mercy as we deal with any issue that might develop. In Jesus’ most precious name I pray, Amen.

· I have another friend whom I’ve known for at least 15 years, probably longer. She and I have walked through some very difficult times together. Throughout these 15 years, she and I have both suffered through dark times of depression. Depression is like living in a fog that is surrounded by the darkest, stormiest clouds, so that you cannot see anything around you. It seems as though no one can reach you through the darkness and you cannot reach anyone. You feel isolated, disconnected, and it is a scary and lonely place to be. The Good News, of course, is that God can reach you. Loving Savior, please reach out and touch my friend right now wherever she may be. Pour out your love into her heart. Show her how much You love her. Lead her to scriptures that tell her what you think of her, and how she captivates You. I ask this in Your most precious name, Amen.

As you go about your day today, if you think of any of my friends and/or my parents, would you pray for them? I know they would be most appreciative.

MARANATHA!!!

© 2010

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The Beauty of Baptism

I’ve been a Christian all my life. I can remember “walking the aisle” as they used to say in the Baptist church when I was only 6 years old. My daddy was at work that Sunday and my momma was in the choir, so I didn’t ask anybody if it was okay to “go forward” – I just went. I told our preacher I wanted Jesus to come into my heart and he prayed with me and that’s exactly what happened. Jesus came into my heart. I don’t think my momma and daddy believed I knew what I was doing until I told them how I felt. Because after I prayed, I felt like my feet never touched the ground. For several days. It was like Jesus had removed everything heavy and when He did, I was lighter than air. At six, I knew exactly what I was doing.

My baptism service was scheduled a few weeks later. I was still six and scared out of my mind. I really did not want to go through with the baptism. What if he (the preacher) drops me? What if I drown? (Give me a break here – I was only six!) Of course, he didn’t drop me and I didn’t drown. When he brought me up out of that water, I knew there was something different about me again. This time, it wasn’t that I was walking on air, it was more like a warm blanket, fresh from the dryer, was wrapped around me and I knew that I was safe. I’ve been safe ever since that day.

Bishop David preached on baptism this morning. He talked about how when a person is baptized, they become a member of the family of God. He talked about how important it is to be a part of a family and to be a part of the family of God.

There was a specific reason Bishop David spoke on baptism today. We had an infant baptism in our church service this morning. This blog is not to discuss whether you believe infant baptism is right or wrong. This blog is to look at the beauty of baptism and what it means.

In our service, there are two questions asked of the parents and family: “Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?” and, “Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?” To both questions, the parents answer “I will, with God’s help.” The parents and family that surround the child are asked a series of questions and finally, the congregation – the extended family – is asked, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support this child in his/her life in Christ?” And the congregational family says, “We will.” The families – both blood related and extended – then have the opportunity and privilege of renewing their own baptismal covenant.

This morning, Little Miss Lila Grace McGee, approximately seven weeks old, was baptized into the Family of God. It was a beautiful service, to see her parents, Seth and Joy McGee, and family members gathered around Lila to present her to God. As she was baptized, Bishop David poured water over her sweet little head as he said “I baptize you in the name of the Father” and her “Big Daddy,” Deacon Tony McGee, poured water over her as Bishop said, “and of the Son” and as he said, “and of the Holy Spirit,” her daddy, Seth, poured water over her head. The three most important men in her life ensuring that she is covered in that warm blanket – that she is safe.

After the baptism, Bishop David made the sign of the cross on Lila’s forehead and said, “Lila Grace McGee, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.” Amen. What a praise report – to know that Lila is marked as Christ’s own forever!

Someday, when Lila is old enough to understand, she will “walk the aisle.” Until that time, she is marked and sealed as Christ’s own. And her parents and family will make sure she is brought up in the Christian life and will pray for her and support her. After all, that’s what families do.