Friday, November 27, 2015

Review+ GIVEAWAY: Change of Heart

Change of Heart
By Molly Jebber
Keepsake Pocket Quilt, #1
Zebra, 2015


A modern new century brings a young Amish woman an unexpected new life—and a chance to discover love's true way home…

Ohio, 1899. Soft-spoken midwife Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith's strict rules—until her fiancĂ© jilted her before their entire community. She's never been away from home, but the bustling Englischer town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington, who shares her passion for healing those in need. His outgoing spirit and gentle strength show Becca a surprising new world of choices—and irresistible love. But there is one formidable obstacle: Matt's wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman.

With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone—until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances.

My thoughts

Change of Heart is a historical Amish romance that opens in Massillon, Ohio, in the year of 1899. I liked that it focuses on Becca’s relationships – with her sister Ruth, Dr. Matt Carrington, and Matt’s mother. And the story is different from what you would expect from an Amish novel in that Becca comes to live with her sister, who has already left the Amish faith, and makes the same transition herself. Neither has left their faith in God, however, just the trappings of the Amish beliefs and lifestyle. That being Amish makes them who they are is very evident.

The strongest character is Mrs. Carrington, Matt’s mother – not only strong, but overbearing, manipulative, doggedly persistent in her goals of achieving the “proper” marriage mate for her son. Matt and Becca are sweet, sympathetic characters. One of the story’s strengths was some of the secondary characters, such as Grace, Becca’s friend from back home, the patients she and Matt treated, but most especially the young child, Benjamin. I also loved the pocket quilt theme where letters were placed for the recipient.

The writing was somewhat formal and stiff, making me wonder if that had to do with the historical time period. Also, some of the actions and decision making happened quickly, without much development. Change of Heart was still an interesting read for me, one that fans of Amish fiction should enjoy. And the title is especially meaningful!

Change of Heart can be purchased at Amazon.

Thank you to Molly for generously donating a copy of Change of Heart to one of you, details at the end of this post.


Molly Jebber is an educational, motivational, and Women's Christian Connection speaker. She was raised in a small town in the Midwest, and insists if you had blinked twice, you would've missed it. She loves God, her family and friends, sunshine, swimming and traveling to the Amish communities.  Creating historical Amish characters and throwing them into difficult situations and joyous times has been challenging and fun for her. The greatest reward she’s experienced in becoming an author is meeting wonderful people from all over the world who've been encouraging and supportive.

Find Molly online at, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thank you to Molly Jebber and Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.



To enter the drawing for A Change of Heart, leave a comment and, if possible, go to my Facebook page and share.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, December 6. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Music That Touches My Soul

I’m always touched by various creative art forms – books, music, paintings – hence the title of my blog, The Power of Words. Although paintings don’t involve the written word, I think of them as speaking without words. And since music is such a huge part of my life, I’ve been wanting for a long time to somehow feature a few of my favorite songs over the years – and I don’t think there could be a more appropriate time to begin than Thanksgiving.

You’ll find a little of everything in this regular feature, but the majority will be music that speaks to me from the 60s and 70s – folk music, country, Broadway musicals, hymns, southern gospel, worship, etc. Maybe you’ll find some songs that you remember from the past, or maybe they’ll be new to you. But whatever, I hope you will enjoy the Music That Touches My Soul feature and share your thoughts with me.

First off, what could be more appropriate for this day of thanksgiving than Give Thanks, sung by Don Moen. I was blessed to hear Don lead worship at a music conference several years ago and was touched by his humble heart. Does anyone remember Give Thanks or still sing it in worship today?

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
Give thanks

Video found on YouTube

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: The Gift of Love

The Gift of Love
By Amy Clipston
Zondervan, 2014


Their odds were 100,000 to one.
Her faith was 1 in a million.

In The Gift of Love, bestselling fiction author Amy Clipston shares her story of almost losing the love of her life to kidney disease and the ultimate sacrifice that kept their family together. An ordinary woman who cherishes family above all else, Amy was challenged in every way---from her strength of character to the depths of her faith to the close-knit family that surrounds her. Enduring the good, the bad, and the really bad, she was determined to help her husband once again be the husband and father their family needed.

Amy's story will give hope and encouragement to anyone who finds themselves waiting on God. Staring down adversity, Amy and her family received the most important gift of all, the gift of love. And regardless of your situation, this gift can be yours too.

An inspirational story of strength and determination, The Gift of Love is the triumph of one woman's faith against all odds, and a soul-filling reminder that no matter how hard life gets, it is worth fighting for.

My thoughts

The Gift of Love is an honest, inspirational, and often raw look at Amy’s life - growing up and meeting Joe, struggling to get her writing career established, participating in the paired kidney exchange program, and becoming an advocate for blood and organ donation. To put it simply, Amy’s memoir touched me and I enjoyed my time spent in reading it.

The Gift of Love opens with Amy frantically calling Joe after surviving a near fatal car/tractor trailer crash. Amy writes of the certainty that “one of the reasons I walked away from it all was so I could donate a kidney for my husband three years later. God needed my kidneys and He kept them safe.”

Not long after what would have been a “happily ever after” marriage in fiction, Joe was diagnosed with a life-threatening kidney disease, heaping unimaginable pressure onto this young couple. Amy writes that “while most newlyweds dealt with the simple adjustments of learning how to live with someone, our relationship was being forged in the fire of illness.” Forged in fire and made all the stronger because of it.

As I read, it was easy to picture Amy sitting down to write in her journal, openly expressing her joys, frustrations and struggles alike. I enjoy the work of many authors, but rarely do I get a real glimpse into their heart – and that glimpse through this book of Amy as mom, caregiver, and fulltime employee has made Amy’s fiction ever more meaningful.

This is a story that everyone can easily relate to, for while our trials and struggles will look different from Amy’s, our paths will look the same – sometimes smooth and straight, but often rough, filled with potholes, unexpected twists and turns. Trust in a God who cares will come effortlessly at times, but if we’re honest, there will be moments where we question everything we know in our hearts to be true.

The Gift of Love is heartwarming and inspirational – but above all, it reveals a strength and determination that comes from a steadfast faith in God. It is also Amy’s desire to highlight the importance of blood and organ donation through this memoir, and I pray that readers will be touched and challenged to give of themselves as God leads.

I recommend this story to all readers, but it would be especially meaningful to someone facing kidney disease or the need for a transplant. Meanwhile, Amy’s story is still being written . . .


Amy Clipston is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats.

Connect with Amy online at, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The ART of Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving just might be my favorite holiday. Surrounded by family and loved ones (and good food), it’s a time to reflect on all of God’s blessings in our lives - and I'm especially thankful that Beth and Daniel are with us this year. I’ve enjoyed discovering lots of Thanksgiving-related art - and what a variety there is! This is only a sampling from my collection, which can be found on Pinterest at ART of Giving Thanks. New followers are always welcome!

But first, a quote from the delightful Erma Bombeck . . .

“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare.
They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes.
This is not a coincidence.”

Now enjoy this variety of art . . . and leave a comment if you’d like. (Click on pictures to enlarge)

Thanksgiving Homecoming
Bob Pettes

Thanksgiving Flurries
Sharon Ascherl

Primitive Thanksgiving
Cheryl Bartley

Thanksgiving Meal
Bridget Voth

Turkey Day
Debbie Mumm

William Mangum

Going to Grandma’s House for Thanksgiving
H. Hargrove

Susan Wheeler

Turkey Tracks
Dan Christ

The Way It Used to Be
Chuck Pinson

Gobbler Farms
Dona Gelsinger

Coming Home for the Holidays
Mike Savad

Alfredo Rodriguez

Freedom from Want
 Norman Rockwell

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: A Season of the Heart

A Season of the Heart
By Dorothy Clark
Pinewood Weddings, #4
Love Inspired, 2014


Rugged logger Daniel Braynard meets none of Ellen Hall's husband requirements. Groomed for a prestigious marriage, she already has a choice between two wealthy suitors. She plans to make her decision by Christmas while visiting her hometown. But when tasked with creating the town's decorations, she and Daniel are forced to work together. And her former childhood rescuer has matured into a man she can no longer ignore.

Daniel hardly recognizes the ambitious socialite Ellen has become. Somewhere beneath her airs is the spirited, warmhearted friend he has never forgotten. As Christmas nears, will the chill between them thaw to reveal the gift of a sweet love that was meant to be?

My thoughts

I find that Love Inspired romances are exactly what I need during busy times or between heavier reading – or just when I want a “comfort” read, for that matter. A Season of the Heart is the first book I’ve read by Dorothy Clark and I can already say that she is one of my favorite writers in the Love Inspired line. This entertaining story with its vivid rural setting in Pinewood Village, NY, December of 1841, is guaranteed to put readers in the Christmas spirit. With such elements as skating parties, bonfires, and the making of parsonage and gazebo decorations by hand, I fell in love with Pinewood Village and its residents.

The Pinewood Weddings series tells of four friends who grew up together in this close-knit community and became lifelong friends. This final book easily stands alone, but reading the entire series would give a more fulfilling experience when it comes to characters and setting. We see Callie and Sadie in this story, and Willa plays a prominent part. I am eager to go back and read the stories of Willa, Callie, and Sadie.

Daniel is an endearing hero and it is so heartwarming to see his brotherly affection for the girls – brotherly except for Ellen, that is! - and also the loving care he freely gives to his mom. Ellen and Daniel’s story is filled with the usual misunderstanding and misreading of each other’s feelings, all of which move the story along nicely, and there’s a sweet chemistry between them. Dorothy beautifully weaves their earlier years into the story and it was so cute when Daniel used his pet name for her, Musquash.

Ellen isn’t all that likeable in the beginning, for she has allowed her parents’ socially-elite values to become her own – and this is something that anyone who has ever mistakenly bought into someone else’s values can relate to. Coming home to Pinewood while she tries to decide which wealthy suitor best serves her plans, Ellen gradually learns to see past the world’s allure . . . “Perhaps she was looking at people and things through a different prism since coming back to Pinewood and being with her old friends.” I loved how faith is conveyed in this story, through the belief of Daniel’s praying mom to have faith that God will work things out, and then Willa’s words to Daniel: “Love and respect are worth more than all the worldly goods a man can heap on a woman.”

A Season of the Heart is a sweet romance for Christmas or any time of the year. Within the Love Inspired line, 5 stars.


        Married to her own personal hero for over fifty-eight years, mother of three, grandmother of four, and great-grandmother to a beautiful baby girl, Dorothy calls on her life’s experiences—including designing and helping her husband build their home, complete with beams they hewed by hand and a real, old-fashioned walk-in kitchen fireplace she occasionally cooks in, to add color and depth to her stories. But, while she still knows how to clean used bricks, mix mortar and swing a mean hammer, she now only designs homes for the characters in her books. An antique lover, she fills those homes (and her own) with furnishings appropriate to the time.
        When she is not busy writing, Dorothy enjoys visiting with family—who live much too far away—and traveling with her husband throughout the United States doing research for future books. She values her American heritage and believes in God, love, family and happy endings, which explains why she feels so at home writing Christian historical romance.

Thank you to Dorothy Clark for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Find Dorothy online at and Goodreads.