Tag Archive | Christian

Spatzle Speaks: Susie (Book Review)

Now maybe it’s because the book has a derivative of my mom’s name that I wanted to review this book, or maybe because it’s different than the usual fiction reviews posted here, but mom spent time reading Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr., and found it fascinating.

Susie Spurgeon might seem like an imaginary model wife, always perfectly supporting her husband in ministry, and she was that, but so much more. Susie lived from 1832-1903 and was married to Charles for 36 years. She continued to minister as a widow and lived for 11 years before passing away at age 71.

In spite of weakness and chronic debilitating pain, she was devoted to her husband and helped him in ministry, reading with him, transcribing notes, and compiling books. She was a prolific author herself. She set up a ministry called the Book Fund designed to help poor pastors by providing them with valuable resources, sometimes beyond theological tomes. Toward the end of her life, she helped plant a church even though she was too ill to be there when it opened.

This book is a charming look at life in the Victorian age of Great Britain and it broadens the scope beyond our modern day. Back then the vocabulary was larger and the culture was different from ours in America–but the truths of the gospel transcend time. Who would be like Susannah Spurgeon in our day and age?

That’s a difficult question to answer because as a couple they supported and encouraged each other and I don’t think you can separate them which goes to the issue that a great man can be all the greater with the love and support of a wive, but to obtain such a prize, he needs to valuer her deeply. Such was the case of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon.

This is a book I highly recommend if you like biographies. The story is told at a good pace with the blessing of her great-grandchild. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Writer Wednesday: Lori Ann Wood

I want to welcome Lori Ann Wood to my blog as she shares her own unique journey to publishing. I personally love hearing these stories because it’s a good reminder to us all that God’s call on each of us is unique and the path He puts us on will also be distinctively our own. I hope you enjoy meeting Lori Ann.

When did you decide you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

Since grade school, I had written short pieces and filed them away. I have always loved the art of arranging words into thoughts that stir emotions and evoke action. So for most of my life, I have known there was a book inside me. However, practicality convinced me to study business in college. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure a few years ago that I started blogging, writing articles for publications and websites, and eventually writing a book.

What’s your pet peeve?

I particularly dislike inauthenticity, whether on social media, in writing, or in person.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I strolled into my first writing conference expecting to snag a contract on the spot. I had no idea what genre I would write in or even who my audience was. My very first blog post came out on the second day of the conference. I had about 50 subscribers, mostly family, at that time.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

As for most authors, my biggest hurdle is building a platform. I started from scratch on Facebook and Instagram just over three years ago. It has been a steep learning curve for someone who thought she’d never need social media. (My next challenge will be learning Pinterest.) Using social media to form relationships with my audience and other writers has been paying off. My email list is growing as I continue to share with other authors and serve their audiences as well.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I had conditioned myself from the beginning of this venture that rejection was part of the process. I soon learned that if I wasn’t getting several rejections in a given month, I wasn’t trying enough. Now I see rejection as a honing of my audience and purpose. When I learn what not to write or where not to submit, I have a clearer focus on where I should be spending my time.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My best success is having my manuscript acquired by CrossRiver Media. Although I have had dozens of articles published in the last three years in national and international publications, the vote of confidence from a Christ-centered team to pick up my work and invest their time and resources into it is by far the best kind of success.

What is your current work in process?

A book of essays on life’s three biggest questions titled Divine Detour: The Path You Didn’t Choose Can Lead to the Faith You’ve Always Wanted

Biography:

Lori Ann Wood lives in beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas, with her husband, the love of her life whom she found in 9th grade. She is mom to three great young adults, one amazing son-in-law, and a miniature dachshund named Pearl. Lori Ann currently serves as the founding leader of the Parenting Education Ministry at the church of Christ in Bentonville. She also serves as WomenHeart Champion Community Educator for Arkansas and American Heart Association Ambassador.  Lori Ann was awarded the Frederick Buechner Narrative Essay Award and her work has been published in numerous print and online venues, including Heart Insight Magazine, The Christian Century magazine, Just Between Us Magazine, The Joyful Life Magazine, Bella Grace Magazine, Sweet to the Soul FAITH Magazine, Pepperdine University Press, and yahoo.com. Having discovered a serious heart condition almost too late, Lori Ann writes to encourage others to find joy in the divine detours of life. Read more from her at https://linktr.ee/LoriAnnWood.

Website: https://loriannwood.com

Newsletter:  https://loriannwood.com/hope

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DivinelyDetoured

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loriannwood/

Latest book release: Coming early 2023 – Divine Detour: The Path You Didn’t Choose Can Lead to the Faith You’ve Always Wanted

Spatzle Speaks: Lord Harrow’s Heart (Book Review)

Spatzle here. Mom’s Maltese who she’s tricked into writing these reviews. I’ve been slacking off and not posting as much lately. Mom says it’s because I’m getting older. But not too old to enjoy her latest novel in the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series. Book #4, Lord Harrow’s Heart, releases today and I’m excited about that.

Lord Theodore Harrow has watched all his friends fall in love and marry. Kind of the papa bear of the group, he’s been a faithful friend through all their adventures. Now he wants a woman of his own but he longs for someone who wants him – not just his title or wealth. He’s not quite as dashing as his friends, but he’s one of those solid good guys. So when he runs over a young woman who is supervising a nasty child, he is instantly smitten by her.

Valeria is not so easily wooed. She is in service although Theodore can tell she’s not of the servant class. She’s also distinctly French in her heritage and language. And to top it off, she has a child. The last thing she wants is to be noticed by anyone as she is in hiding from her evil father-in-law. Being injured in a carriage accident and meeting Lord Harrow was not something she was prepared to deal with.

Theo is not so easily put off and Valeria finds herself surrounded by him and his friends as she encounters a mother’s worst nightmare. Someone has kidnapped her son. But to retrieve the boy could cost Theo and his friends much more than a few days travel as they encounter and meet face to face, the Black Diamond himself.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

If you’ve been reading the series and wondering who the Black Diamond is – this is the story where he is finally revealed. Come on, Mom. Why did you make us wait this long? Such a tease.

There is a kitten in the story. I like cats a lot so those parts were great for me. Mom won’t let me have a cat because she’s allergic to them. I guess having one in a book is a passable substitute.

Adventure, romance, intrigue, danger all set against the backdrop of the early 1800’s in Regency England. This story will not disappoint. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

 

Spatzle Speaks: A Match for Melissa (Book Review)

Mom has been busy writing and editing for others and hasn’t snuggled up with me with a good book for some time. And yes, I write that to make her feel guilty. She’s always had a liking for Regency romances and to find good Christian ones is even harder. She stumbled upon A Match for Melissa by Susan Karsten and loved this sweet story.

Melissa Southwood is the daughter of an ambitious social-climbing father who wants to sell her off in exchange for a title. It’s his fondest dream. Melissa has dreams of her own, triggered even more so by finding a handsome man in a ditch. But before she could get to know him, she’s whisked back to London to be wooed by someone else.

She wants a man who is a believer and she’s not too sure about this one. When Mark, the man she rescued, shows up in town she finds herself drawn to him. Her father’s mind is set. One aristocrat desperate for money is soon pitted against another with a damaging past who has recently come to know God. Which one will win? How can she get her stubborn father to see reason?

Add in Mark’s aunt, a widow with charms of her own, and meddling relatives of Mark bent on acquiring a fortune by foul means, and you have a complicated but sweet romance that will leave you smiling with her happily-ever-after ending.

The great news is this is the first book in a series of three in the Honor’s Point Series, so we can look forward to more sweet, clean, Regencies from this fabulous new author.

I give this book five bones! Another inspirational Regency author on the scene is always to be celebrated.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Leadership as an Identity (book review)

Crawford W. Loritts, Jr is a wise and humble speaker. His book, Leadership as an Identity, reflects those same characteristics.

Pastor Loritts’ book challenges the view of Christian leadership as being far more than a set of skills and giftedness or even personality. It’s not a book on “how to” lead well. This book instead dares to say that leadership for a Christian is something other than that. It is an identity that a believer assumes when God calls that person to lead. This is manifested best when the leader embraces four key characteristics: brokenness, uncommon communion, servanthood and radical, immediate obedience. Crawford points to these being the four underlining character traits of great leaders in Scripture, and in the church through history.

This book is written in a very easy to read style drawing on Scripture as well as the words of wisdom from Christian leaders that have withstood the test of time and trials and exhibited these four characteristics. Loritts contends that only when a leader submits to these processes in their walk with God, can they truly be called a Christian leader and glorify God in the manner in which they fulfill that assignment that God has given.

These are not easy traits to seek and ultimately they are the calling of everyone who wants to claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The responsibilities and challenges that leaders face in the church, however, make these traits far more essential to wrestle with.

Having read many books, this could easily qualify as one of the best of any leadership book out there. If you are a leader in the church, whether you are paid staff or volunteer, whether you lead adults or children or serve in a soup kitchen, this book is for you. It is a book to be read, underlined, savored and prayed over in the pursuit of leadership that will stand the test of time and bring the utmost glory to God in the process.  Then read it again. It’s that good.

Congratulations to Pastor Loritts on obeying God in putting these thoughts on paper and sharing them with a wider audience. May the church be blessed and God glorified all the more because of the words on these pages.