Sunday, October 21, 2018

The B-I-B-L-E


The B-I-B-L-E
Yes, that’s the book for me
I stand alone on the Word of God
The B-I-B-L-E

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sign-up to review Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

Sign-up now to be a part of Robin Lee Hatcher's blog tour for Who I Am with You!
Who I Am with You
Robin Lee Hatcher

Thomas Nelson

Tour dates: January 14 – 25

Fill out the form below to sign-up!

About the book:
For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith. 
Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.
Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 
When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have wronged them, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again. 
Who I Am With You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

About the author:

Bestselling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, author of more than 75 books, is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an eleven-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award. In addition to many other awards, she is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin makes her home with her husband on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillion puppy named Boo and a persnickety tuxedo cat named Pinky.

For more information, visit; Facebook: robinleehatcher; Twitter: @robinleehatcher.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Get in the right mindset for Christmas

Calling all bloggers! Two Christmas titles are now available for review!
We are offering two of our books from Christmases past for those of
you who may not have had the opportunity to review them before.

We hope they will become traditional favorites
for your families just like they are for ours.

Read more about the books below, then click here to request copies.
Guide kids and their families into the heart of Christmas with this gospel-focused, four-week Advent curriculum. 
Prepare Him Room by children’s best-selling author Marty Machowski takes a biblical, theological approach to the Old Testament promises and New Testament fulfillment in Christ in a way kids can understand.
With age-appropriate instruction and activities for three different learning levels—preschool, lower elementary, and upper elementary—Prepare Him Room builds gospel hope and enduring theological depth into each child’s celebration of Christmas.
Prepare Him Room is a tool for families hoping to focus on Jesus during the Christmas season. Parents, teachers, and caregivers will find a whole Christmas story—from the prophecies concerning Jesus to his birth, death, and resurrection; culminating in the return of Jesus.
Readers will have the resources necessary to counter the commercialism, materialism, and sentimentalism our culture celebrates each Christmas.
Four weekly lessons feature a New Testament Bible story, a look at Old Testament promises, an object lesson, a craft, a coloring page, and a Christmas carol to sing together. 
Prepare Him Room will change the way kids and families at your church celebrate Christmas. The corresponding curriculum Prepare Him Room is sold separately. Challenge your family to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
About the Author
Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for thirty years. He is the author of the Gospel Story for Kids series including The Gospel Story Bible, Long Story Short, Old Story New, the Gospel Story Curriculum, the Prepare Him Room advent devotional and curriculum, Wise Up family devotional and curriculum, Listen Up family devotional and curriculum, Dragon Seed, The Ology and Parenting First Aid. He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Know someone frazzled, sad, or lonely this Christmas? A Better December by Steve Estes applies Solomon’s Proverbs to holiday stresses. Playful and tiny, this illustrated work would be a good gift for your unbelieving friends as it gently introduces Jesus during a month when they are more receptive.  
Combining true, heart-warming stories with pen-and-ink illustrations, the book uncovers and answers our December longings. Beginning with bite-sized chapters of Solomon's advice to frazzled, lonely people at Christmas, Steven Estes presents the ancient sage as penning his blockbuster Proverbs to help future readers through holiday stress and even sadness. Meant to be shared with all who long for a better December, it points the way to true comfort and a true home.
About the Author
Steven D. Estes, MDiv, is the Senior Pastor at Community Evangelical Free Church, Elverson, PA; a conference speaker; the author of Called to Die; and the coauthor with Joni Eareckson Tada of A Step Further and When God Weeps. He and his wife Verna have eight children. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018



By John W. Thompson; © Kruger Organisation
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

(girls echo)
Oh Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You.

It was you Lord, who sent the Savior
Heart and soul Lord, to every man.
It is you Lord, who knows my weakness,
You refine me with Your own hand.

Lead me on Lord, through my temptations
You refine me from within
Fill our hearts with the Holy Spirit,
And take all our sins away.

Lord teach Your children, to stop the fighting,
And start uniting, all as one.
Let’s get together, loving forever
Sanctuary, for You.

And when He comes with shouts of glory
And our work on earth is done
O, how I long to hear Him saying,
“Faithful servant well done.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Darla Weaver's Gathering of Sisters

Welcome to the blog tour for
Darla Weaver's
Gathering of Sisters

Now available from Herald Press

About the book:

Spend a day with sisters.
Once a week Darla Weaver bundles her children into the buggy, hitches up her spirited mare, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters, Weaver writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women’s gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.
The rest of the week is full of laundry, and errands, and work that never ends. But Tuesday is about being sisters, daughters, and mothers.
Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes “A Day in the Life of the Author” and the author’s answers to FAQs about the Amish and Mennonites.

About the author:

Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul, Many Lighted Windowsand Gathering of Sisters. Weaver has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The history of the Bible in English and America’s Christian roots

Part 2 of an interview with Rod Gragg,
Author of The Word: The History of
the Bible and How It Came to Us

The Word: The History of The Bible and How it Came to Us (WND Books) offers a fresh and intriguing history of the Bible, written with the same compelling narrative writing and in-depth research that has earned award-winning historian and author Rod Gragg acclaim for his works on the Holocaust, the Civil War, the faith of America’s founders, and other historical topics. He now focuses on the history of the Bible with the practiced craft of a historian and the respect of a believer who adheres to the inspiration of Scripture.

The Word provides a sweeping panorama of biblical revelation, preservation and transmission as well as the background story of those who devoted their lives to translate and spread the Word of God.  Written in a style that is engaging and approachable for all readers, not just historians and Biblical scholars, The Word follows the history of Christianity, and unfolds its unforgettable story from ancient cuneiform to contemporary English-language translations. The Word is also enhanced by more than 75 relevant illustrations and photographs.

Q: The history covered in The Word extends from the invention of writing to modern-day English translations of the Bible. What are some of the inventions or technological advancements that helped most with the spread of the Bible?

Throughout the ages, believers have been quick to apply technology to sharing the Bible. The book reports the impact on Bible publishing by the Gutenberg moveable type press, for instance, which was invented in Europe about fifty years before Columbus landed in America. The first true book printed on it was the Bible (the Gutenberg Bible), and that was just the beginning. It revolutionized printing and made mass-produced Bibles affordable on the eve of the Reformation, which reemphasized a Bible-based faith. It was like the perfect storm, and it resulted in an explosion of Bibles in common languages.

The Word makes note of one often overlooked technological development that had a major impact on the spread of the Bible—that was the extensive network of roads built by the Roman Empire. Alexander the Great had spread the Greek language through much of the world with his conquests in the fourth century BC, so there was a common form of mass communications as well by the first century AD. The combination of Roman roads and the Greek language was another perfect storm, propelling the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout much of the world during the era of the early church.

Q: As modern-day Americans, we may take our English-language translation of the Bible for granted. Some people had to pay with their lives in order for us to have the Bible in English, didn’t they?

That’s correct. I devoted an entire chapter to William Tyndale because his is such an extraordinary story. He was responsible for the first mass-produced Bible in English and paid for it with his life. Church officials in England tried to suppress it but couldn’t, though they did manage to burn one shipment of Bibles outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. When I’ve visited there, I tried to imagine that scene—burning Bibles outside the church. Tyndale’s famous dying words were “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes!” And his prayer was answered: the same monarch who had persecuted him later authorized publication of an English-language Bible that was greatly inspired by Tyndale’s translation.

And there’s John Rogers, a close friend and associate of Tyndale’s. He followed-up on Tyndale’s work and translated the Matthew Bible. He was later executed, leaving behind a wife and ten children.

Q: Your book follows the Bible from antiquity through its English translations—who were the most important translators responsible for the English Bible we have today?

John Wycliffe kindled the flame with his English-translation more than a century before William Tyndale did his work. The Tyndale Bible was coming off the press in Germany in 1525, when authorities stopped the presses. However, Tyndale did not give up, and managed to get a pocket-size New Testament published and into England in 1526. He worked with the original languages and use of the English language was elegant. Many of the phrases remain part of the English language today, although most people don’t where they came from. Phrases such as “the apple of his eye,” “eat, drink and be merry,” and of course, “the truth shall make you free.” His work was very important and significantly influenced English translations that followed.

His colleague, Miles Coverdale, published a complete English-language Bible in 1535. It was based on Tyndale’s New Testament, and included an Old Testament based on a variety of earlier works. That was followed by the Matthew Bible, which was published by Tyndale’s friend John Rogers, who used Tyndale’s revision of the New Testament and his Old Testament work. In 1539, King Henry VIII, who detested Tyndale, officially authorized a pulpit Bible for the churches in England that was ironically influenced by the Tyndale Bible. It was published by Miles Coverdale and was known as the Great Bible.

The Word also charts the remarkable story behind the Geneva Bible (brought to American by the Pilgrims) and the Bishops’ Bible (authorized by Queen Elizabeth I). Eventually, the Bishops’ Bible was replaced by another authorized edition: the King James Bible. 

Q: You write about the immense popularity of the King James Bible. However, King James was not very friendly to those who proposed what became the King James Version, was he?

No, he did not like the English Puritans, and they’re the ones who asked for a new English translation of the Bible that resulted in what’s known as the King James Bible. The Puritan movement arose among the faculty and student body at Cambridge University in the 16th century, and while they did not want to break away from the Church of England, they did want to reform it from what they believed were unbiblical practices. They thought that they might have friend on the throne when James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth, but they soon learned otherwise. King James was anything but a Puritan.

He did agree to meet with Puritan leaders at what became known as the Hampton Court Conference in 1604. They asked for numerous reforms to the Church, and he rejected all of them. However, he did agree with their request for a new English translation of the Bible, but for his own reasons. Out of that came the King James Bible which, of course, would become the most beloved English language Bible in history. It could have become known as the Puritan Bible (it was their idea after all), but since James I authorized it, it became famous as the King James Bible.

Q: How did a biblical worldview shape the culture, law and government of Colonial America? Was the intention of the founding fathers for the United States to be a Christian nation?

It’s no accident that the Declaration of Independence, our founding national mission statement, begins by stating that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” The original English colonies were founded in the wake of a sweeping revival of Christianity in England (the English Reformation), and the English colonists who established the 13 colonies brought those core values with them when they settled in America. There was a great amount of theological diversity: Congregationalists in New England; Baptists in Rhode Island; Dutch Reformed in New York; Presbyterians in New Jersey; Lutherans in Delaware; Quakers in Pennsylvania; Catholics in Maryland; Anglicans in Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia; and Jewish communities in New York, Philadelphia and Charleston. A lot of diversity, but they were all people of the Book, and the Judeo-Christian or biblical worldview was firmly the foundation on which American culture, law and government developed.

As for whether the founders intended to establish a Christian nation, it’s clear that they did not intend to establish a theocracy (a national, government-run denomination like the Church of England), but they did intend to establish government, laws and culture based on the Judeo-Christian worldview, on biblical principles. The evidence for that is overwhelming and unescapable. John Adams, who was instrumental in the crafting of the Declaration of Independence went on record, to explain that the only principles that united the founding fathers in achieving independence were what he called “the general principles of Christianity.”

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress repeatedly proclaimed national days of “fasting, prayer and humiliation” as well as days of national thanksgiving. They also established a national seal that features the all-seeing eye of God with the statement “He has approved our beginnings.”

At the first presidential inauguration, George Washington set a precedent by adding the words, “so help me God” to the oath of office, then concluded the official ceremony by bending down and kissing the open Bible. All of this and more are in the concluding chapters which trace the impact of the Bible on the birth of the American nation.

Q: There’s a little-known story in your book about Congress and the Bible. How did the United States Congress come to endorse what became known as the “Congressional Bible?”

It is a little-known story, and it reveals the importance of the Bible in early America. In 1777, during the Revolutionary War, a group of clergymen alerted the Congress to a shortage of Bibles in the new United States due to interruption of trade with Britain. Congress responded by voting to authorize a version of the Bible and import 20,000 copies from a printer in Holland or Scotland for use in America. But, before Congress could appropriate the money to do so, the British army captured Philadelphia (which was the nation’s capital at the time) and Congress had to evacuate.

Afterwards, Congress did not have the money to print the Bibles, so it did not appropriate any funds. However, a Philadelphia printer named Robert Aitken published the first complete English-language Bible printed in America, and after the war, Congress officially endorsed it. So, the Aitken Bible became known as “the Congressional Bible.”

Q: What do you think is the most important thing for readers to glean from The Word: The History of the Bible and How It Came to Us?

I think that it’s astounding when you think about it: the Bible is composed of 66 books compiled over the course of 1,500 years or more in three ancient languages by a diverse body of some forty writers (scribes, kings, prophets, poets, fishermen and others), yet compiled throughout the ages, it has a single unified theme that can be summarized in a one verse: John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Learn more about The Word at 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

I'm Happy Today

I’m Happy Today

I’m happy today
Oh yes, I’m happy today
In Jesus Christ, I’m happy today
Because He’s taken all my sins away
And that’s why I’m happy today.

I’m singing today
Oh yes, I’m singing today
In Jesus Christ, I’m singing today
Because He’s taken all my sins away
And that’s why I’m singing today.

I’m praying today
Oh yes, I’m praying today
In Jesus Christ, I’m praying today
Because He’s taken all my sins away
And that’s why I’m praying today.

I’m sharing my faith
Oh yes, sharing my faith
In Jesus Christ, sharing my faith
Because He’s taken all my sins away
And that’s why sharing my faith.

I’m happy today
Oh yes, I’m singing today
In Jesus Christ, I’m praying today
Because He’s taken all my sins away
And that’s why I’m sharing my faith.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Crafty Dad and Daughter's Fall 2018 schedule

This is the last "free" Saturday before hitting the road for the next 8-9 weeks. Here's where we will be!

Where can you find us this fall?
Check out our line-up!

Click on the school name for more information on the event. Click on the address for Google Maps.

This year our events spread over 275 miles from North to South! 

October 13 ~ 9 AM - 4 PM

October 20 ~ 9 AM - 5 PM
October 21 ~ 11 AM - 5 PM

November 3 ~ 9:30 AM - 4 PM

November 10 ~ 9 AM - 4 PM

November 24 ~ 9 AM - 5 PM
November 25 ~ 10 AM - 4 PM

December 1 ~ 9 AM - 5 PM

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Amish and Mennonite Woman in Their Own Words

Part 2 of an interview with Lorilee Craker,
Author of Homespun

In the pages of Homespun: Amish and Mennonite Women in Their Own Words (Herald Press), Amish and Plain Mennonite women swap stories and spin yarns while the reader sits in. The book’s editor, Lorilee Craker, bestselling author of Money Secrets of the Amish, collected these personal writings and authentic perspectives on life, hospitality, home, grief, joy, and walks with God from Anabaptist women’s periodicals. Among the stories shared are essays penned by well-loved Amish and Mennonite writers such as Sherry Gore, Linda Byler, Lovina Eicher, Dorcas Smucker, and Sheila Petre.

Here she shares more of her own background and experience of growing up Mennonite and how HomeSpun came together.

Q: You describe yourself as a simple Mennonite girl from the prairies. Can you share a little bit about your childhood?

My childhood was deeply rooted in the Mennonite culture. Growing up, I witnessed my two grandmothers with their hair in a bun and always wearing dresses or skirts. I thought this was normal! None of my grandparents spoke English—all four of them spoke German or Low German. At family gatherings we would eat Mennonite food such as borscht, varaneki (pierogies), platz (fruit strudel), and pluma moos (cold plum soup). We also ate those things in my home, so again, this was all very normal. We were also bound by similar values of faith and peace, and by stories of where we had come from.

Q: Your family’s roots in Mennonite communities run deep, but your family history is an example of the many different stories people have. Can you tell about both your mother and father’s background?

My mother’s family came over from Ukraine in the 1870’s. They were pioneers who homesteaded on the prairies, but they never lost their culture or assimilated too much into the broader community. The ties of language, food, and culture that bind them to their pioneer great-great-grandparents are startlingly durable.

My dad’s family had a completely different story. They came in the third wave of immigration from Ukraine, after World War II. They fled Stalin as refugees and experienced his holocaust. My dad lost his twin sister to starvation, so those stories were imprinted painfully on his heart.

I knew from early on that there were lots of different kinds of Mennonite stories.

Q: Growing up in Manitoba where there was a large Mennonite population, you didn’t realize most people didn’t live the same way you did. What was the biggest adjustment for you when you moved to Chicago for college?

The biggest adjustment was that no one seemed to know what a Mennonite was, or they assumed that I should be wearing a bonnet and driving a buggy like the Amish! Everyone seemed to think that being Amish or Old Order Mennonite and being my kind of Mennonite were one and the same. This assumption led to lots of explanations on my part about the difference between my modern Mennonite upbringing (“like Baptist, with a German accent and special foods”) and those other related subcultures.

People were surprised that I wore makeup and nail polish, etc. In Winnipeg, people knew that Mennonite women were modern because they knew so many of them. That wasn’t the case in Chicago.

Q: Explaining how you were Mennonite, not Amish, eventually led to you writing your previous book, Money Secrets of the Amish. What did you learn in that process that made you feel more connected to what your roots?

As I visited Amish homes and barns in Michigan and Pennsylvania for my 2011 book, I recognized bits of their dialect, Deitsch (Pennsylvania German), from my spotty grasp of Low German. Their baby naming customs were also similar. The Amish women’s hair buns and long skirts, not to mention the tantalizing aromas of fruit strudels (Platz, to me) baking in their ovens, reminded me of my beloved grandma Loewen. I recalled my little dynamo of an Oma (grandmother) tsk-tsk-ing me about the length of my skirt. She always had a twinkle in her eye as she chided me, but I still made sure to go for full coverage as I interviewed the Amish.

The peace and gentleness I felt when visiting the Amish reminded me so much of visiting my Grandma’s farm. I felt oddly at home among my spiritual and cultural cousins. It was amazing to me that over 300 years had passed since our break up and we still had things in common! I came to realize were more closely tied to me and my upbringing than I had ever dreamed.

Q: What are some of the differences between Mennonite and Amish beliefs? What are the biggest similarities?

While there is a great variety of Mennonite culture, practices and lifestyles, from very old-fashioned to very modern and even progressive, the Amish are much more the same across their communities. They are extremely dedicated to living much like they did in 1693, when they split off from the Mennonites over the matter of buttons. Mennonites were okay with buttons, but tailor Jacob Amman’s followers, the Amish, thought they were worldly. To this day Amish fasten their clothes without buttons.

The similarities lie in spiritual roots of being peace-loving, set apart people with a radical faith. The most modern Mennonite in downtown Winnipeg might name their children Isaiah, Ezra, and Naomi, and the most conservative Amish will have children with those same Bible names. They have both kept some remnant of their dialect—Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch which is really Deutsch—German. I was startled to recognize bits of the Amish dialect as being similar to my own Platt Deutsch—low German. Foods are similar sometimes, too. And food customs, like Faspa, which is a cold meal served on Sunday late afternoon so the ladies wouldn’t have to cook on Sunday.

Herald Press approached me about being the general editor of a collection of writings from Amish and Mennonite women. I collected the stories from mainly two sources, Daughters of Promise magazine, a beautiful and beautifully written literary journal done by conservative Mennonite women, and Ladies Journal, a much more spare periodical by Amish women.

It was thrilling for me to discover new writers and incredible writing from mostly unknown writers! These women have a lot to say and I was fascinated by their take on modern life. To hear from women specifically appealed to me, as a feminist. Sometimes in conservative subcultures, their voices are silenced or muted. This book gives them space and grace to speak.

Q: What themes did you notice emerging as started compiling the stories? How is Homespun organized?

As I read stories for the book, a number of themes arose, so I arranged the stories by those topics and wrote a brief introduction tying them together.

Welcome. A deep sense of hospitality is fundamental to these women. Yet it’s not hospitality in the HGTV, your-house-needs-to-be-perfect kind of way. As one of the writers shares, it is easy to overthink hosting, but Jesus made it look quite simple, and his hosting style can be described in one word: love.

Abide. Hospitality is sacred and spiritual, but it doesn’t mean these writers don’t want to have an appealing home space in which to dwell. They want to abide in an abode, if you will, that nurtures them and feeds their spirit. The writers here expound beautifully on what home means to them.

Testimony. Story makes the world go round. When we hear the stories—the testimonies—of others, we are better able to understand our own story and our place in the world. These narratives stirred different emotions in me.

Wonder. The blazing faith of early Anabaptists is evident in the openness of these writers to all things wondrous. These are true stories of miracles, phenomenal happenings that don’t make sense from a human perspective. They high

light the possibility of the miraculous happening all around us, in big ways and small.

Kindred. A core value of both Mennonites and Amish is the preeminence of family—kinfolk, whether they be kindred or not. Our kin shape us in ways both known and unknown, good and bad. These essays and stories speak to the tremendous influence of family.

Beloved. These essays enthused my soul, and I came away feeling as if I had just been to church. My cup had been filled. There is something wonderfully elemental and childlike about the devotion expressed here, devotion even in doubt. These pieces drew me closer to the One who calls all his daughters “beloved.”

I hope they will find a pocket of peace and gentle witness in their hectic, modern lives. These women have a countercultural, singular mindset that is refreshingly different. I hope our readers will see their own stories in a new, Homespun light!

Learn more about Lorilee Craker online at You can also find her on Facebook (@LorileeCraker), Twitter (@lorileecraker) and Instagram (@thebooksellersdaughter).