Book Review: Right Where I Belong

Title : Right Where I Belong

Author: Heidi Kaether

Publisher’s Synopsis: A poignant book about Savannah Rose and the lessons God taught me through her life and death. It includes my newest cd, recorded with my sister, Cheri entitled “Through God’s Eyes – Songs of Comfort and Praise for the Valley”. The book is written in a scrapbook format and includes lots of special touches like rhinestone stickers and mini-books, making this a book you’ll enjoy with your sense of sight, your sense of hearing and your sense of touch.

When Heidi asked me to review this book, I immediately said I’d be happy to do it.   I’ve watched Heidi deal with the grief in the loss of her baby girl in such a beautiful way that it encouraged me in so many areas of my life.  As a dear friend, I hoped to be able to share her encouragement with others.

However, I have to admit, I was a little concerned with how to review a book like this.  How do you write a glowing review of a book about something so painful?  What if the book wasn’t something I could honestly recommend?  How would that work?  It’s not like I can say anything negative about how someone grieves!   Fortunately, Heidi’s book is a lovely glimpse into the beauty, the anguish, the faith of one family who went through the loss of their precious baby at birth.  I think this book is exactly the kind of encouraging book that would be a perfect gift for those who are suffering through their own pain.

You can see the love that Heidi put into each page of the book.  Full color pictures, arranged in scrapbook style, show you the journey from pregnant, through loss, and finally out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.   Included in the full-color book is a CD of ten original songs by Heidi Kaether and Cheri Fulton.  For a sample of the music, you can visit Savannah-Rose.com.

In a world where death is so often combined with hopelessness and despair, Right Where I Belong is a refreshing glimpse into the life of those who know Who loves and cares for us most and the true Source of comfort in times that otherwise would tear our hearts to shreds.

Winner- If God is Good!

Now, I’ll tell ya… this book has been a bit of a thorn in my side.  And, I must ask, if God is good, why must he keep putting thorns in His people’s sides?  I mean, I know I’m in good company.  There’s Paul with the original thorn, there’s David with his loss, Timothy with his stomach complaints, Job and the loss of all his children, Jeptha and the consequences for stupid vows… let’s face it, side-thorns are way overrated.  I’m not into the whole martyr thing, ok?

So, this book comes along, and I have several entrants that I really want to have the book.  And… of course… I don’t get to decide because I use Mr. Random to do it.  I like to be “fair” when possible.  You guys aren’t my kids, so I don’t feel the need to remind them that life isn’t fair so I don’t have to try to be the great equalizer either.  On the blog, however, I do try.  I mean, I don’t have 20 copies of everything to give anyone who happens to read and comment.

So, this time, I did a lot of praying.  They weren’t eloquent petitions of lofty ideals.  Nope.  They ran more to the simple, “Lord, control that generator and let the number fall where You want it.  Yeah.  I asked for Cosmic interference.  Again, don’t sue me, but you can pretend if you like.  So, off I went and MR. Random said…

So, I went to see who won.  Would it be Michele who appreciated the balance offered in the book?  Barbara who wanted to see his comments on Open Theism, or maybe Sarah who has a great respect for Mr. Alcorn…

Alas… God, in His benevolent wisdom, chose …

HEIDI!  A woman who has walked through grief that I can’t even begin to comprehend… and just months ago.  I’ll be reviewing her book this week so you’ll see just how timely this “random” win truly is.  I was sure that Barb would win.  After all, she’s been pounding Heaven and earth (that’d be me btw) with petitions for it.  I know she’s righteous, so I guess James chapter 5 tells us she’s not very effectual.  (How’s that for twisting scripture into illogical conclusions???)

Sorry Barb… better luck Providence next time.  Congrats Heidi.  I’ll ship it soon!  Meanwhile, everyone else… dash on over to Random House and snag your very own copy.  It’s worth every penny.

Book Review: The Sound of Sleigh Bells *WIN FREE COPY*

Title: The Sound of Sleigh Bells

Author: Cindy Woodsmall

Publisher’s Synopsis: Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

Oh my word.  What a huge blessing this book was for me.  So much wisdom, such a tender story, even the romance appealed to me in a way that it rarely does.  I felt the heartache of Beth and guessed its source.  I loved how Mrs. Woodsmall managed to show the weaknesses and humanity of the Amish without feeling the need to portray them in an excessively negative light.

It seems that modern Christian fiction likes to romanticize the Amish as though they’ve attained a higher plane of Christian existence where sin is limited to wanting to wear skirts an inch or two longer or shorter than the Bishop likes.  Swinging the pendulum to the other side, other authors try to ignore the beauty within the Amish lifestyle and root out deep evil as though the Pennsylvania or Ohio hillsides are deep dens of Amish iniquity that resemble an inner city in their criminal activity.  Cindy Woodsmall created real people, with real problems, who happen to be Amish.  It was refreshing.

I want to meet these characters– they’re that real to me.  I want to see Jonah’s carvings and cup Beth’s face in my hands and encourage her to heal.  I want to buy one of those carvings to remind me of lessons learned in reading this book.

Buy the book.  Read it.  Then read it again.

And don’t forget to comment– I’ve got a HARDBACK copy to give away thanks to Waterbrook’s generosity.  Not only did they provide the book that I reviewed, but they also provided one for me to give away to my readers.  I’ll be doing a drawing for several of these books on Friday.