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Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted February 10, 2014

    An amazing book by two women of different backgrounds and cultur

    An amazing book by two women of different backgrounds and culture, yet so alike in the way they look at life. Moments of joy and sorrow, of faith and hope,in growing up and raising their own families brings to mind how different they are, yet how amazing it is to feel and have such similar moments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    I highly recommend this to everyone as it speaks to the heart a

    I highly recommend this to everyone as it speaks to the heart and soul of us all. It is a wonderful book! The authors share parallels in their lives that occurred within their families and their walk of faith. Enjoy!

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

    A glimpse into their hearts

    I just recently finished reading Plain Wisdom, a book written by Cindy Woodsmall, a popular Amish fiction writer, and her close friend Miriam Flaud, an Old Order Amish woman. From the moment that I began reading Plain Wisdom, this book touched my heart. The book is filled with glimpses of Amish life, recipes, and true-life stories. The cover states that the book is "an invitation into an Amish home and the hearts of two women", and I have to say that this statement is entirely true. I was absolutely fascinated by all the excerpts of Amish life, and was pulled in by the descriptions of the language they (the Amish) speak in, about their everyday life (cooking, baking and laundry) and how they do things without modern conveniences; about wedding celebrations and special holidays; about the home-businesses most of the women have, and about the games and activities that the Amish participate in. It was all truly fascinating and it made me yearn to experience a day in the life of an Amish woman. The two women also included many stories about their everyday lives and the experiences that they have gone through, and I felt as if they had genuinely invited the reader into their hearts. They were honest and forthright, making me laugh at times, and also making me cry as well. And it also made me realize honest truths about myself, which in turn made me want to be a better person. I highly, highly recommend this book. I would definitely encourage all women to read this book, because it will truly touch your heart. Thank you Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for supplying me with a free copy of the book to review.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    Plain Wisdom

    When I opened my copy of Plain Wisdom I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Having read Cindy Woodsmall's Sisters of the Quilt series, I was anxious to know more about how she got inspiration for her stories. When I realized that this book was co-written by Cindy and Miriam Flaud, the Amish woman who welcomed Cindy into her home; I knew this would be an interesting book. These two women share how they became good friends as a result of their visits and some of how the Amish live and work. But that is just the beginning. Divided into seven sections, Plain Wisdom draws the reader into the lives of both women and shows their hearts through the telling of their real life experiences, past and present. It is fascinating to view similar experiences through the eyes of two women with very different lifestyles. The format of the book reminds me of a journal of life lessons in story form. Some made me laugh, some made me cry, but each story covered a spiritual truth that touched my heart in a special way. I was also pleasantly surprised to find recipes scattered throughout the book. There are several I can't wait to try. I love the style and layout of this book. It would make a nice devotional for an individual or a group. This is a volume that I will not only share with others but keep in my personal library to read again and again. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Plain Good!

    Best-selling novelist Cindy Woodsmall might seem to have little in common with Miriam Flaud, a woman immersed in the culture of Old Order Amish. But with nine children and almost 60 years of marriage between them, Cindy and Miriam both have found the secrets to facing life with strength and grace. Whether enduring financial setbacks, celebrating new babies and times of prosperity, grieving the crushing losses in the deaths of family and friends, or facing disappointments with their respective communities-through it all they find guidance for each day by looking to God.

    With poignant recollections, unexpected insights, and humorous tales, the two women welcome you into their unique friendship. You'll also gain a rare glimpse into the traditions and ways of the Amish as Miriam recalls special occasions and shares family recipes throughout the book.

    Plain Wisdom is a heartwarming celebration of God, womanhood, and the search for beauty that unites us all. So grab your cup and your quilt and settle in for a soul-comforting read with Plain Wisdom.

    I read this book before we moved and I liked learning little insider tidbits about the Amish. I found it interesting to read how the Amish and English have the same problems but take different directions in solving the issues at hand. We lived down the road from a few Amish and they waved to us every Sunday morning while on their way to Church. I do miss looking out our kitchen window and seeing them pass by.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    Plain Wisdom-A Delight!

    I found this book to be a delightful read. Plain Wisdom contains a story I was not expecting. I've read many of Woodsmalls' books and was curious to see what this one was about. These ladies are two complete opposites, but in pages they are so similar. I really enjoyed the recipes that are throughout the book. I love trying new things and the Amish eat some really good food!

    Probably the main reason I liked this book so much is because of how the two completely different worlds are shown to be so much alike. Plain Wisdom made me think about how materialistic I can be, and how most of the things I think matter, really don't.

    I would encourage any woman to read this book for a light but thoughtful read.

    Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is my honest opinion on the book.

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    Plain Wisdom Insight into an Author

    So glad I took a chance on reading this book. Most nonfiction books that I read are scripture commentaries and devotionals. Amish nonfiction has been a favorite of mine for the purity and simple lifestyle. Cindy Woodsmall has become one of my favorite authors since I have started Blogging for Books. This book gives me an insight into her early life as well as describing how she became friends with Miriam Flaud, a women of the Old World Amish community. Each chapter is headed with a Bible scripture, and they frequently refer to biblical texts which have given them comfort and encouragement. The personal experiences of both women present such wonderful illustrations that I jotted down the page numbers to reference in my own bible teachings. Dearly love all the recipes shared by the authors. What surprised me the most was the use of convenience foods in the recipes of the Amish: Jello, Cool Whip, and Bisquick. I plan to try the Christmas Salad recipe. Facts about the quilts were especially interesting to me since I have reviewed the three books the Sister of the Quilts by Cindy Woodsmall. The traditions for each mother to piece a quilt from their child's outgrown clothes and present it to them as a wedding gift. When the young couple begins to start a family, ladies get together to create a quilt for the baby. The book delivered what it promised plain wisdom and "a heartwarming celebration of God." I received this book free for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    This was such a wonderful book. I really enjoyed reading it. Miriam is an Old Order Amish woman. She and Cindy teamed up to write the book. Each chapter begins with a scripture verse that ties into the subject of the chapter. Then, both Miriam and Cindy will share their individual thoughts on the subject. What I found interesting is how universal many of the ideas are. Even though the women are from completely different cultures both share the same God & Jesus. Additionally, so many feelings and emotions were shared by both - for example one chapter dealt with the worry / concern for the safety of family members traveling. It really impressed upon me how much we (as humans) are alike even though we might live in different cultures. We all hope, dream, live, laugh, love, fear.

    They also shared many of their favorite recipes. I can't wait to make the Amish Friendship Bread starter and share it with others. Many, many years ago I had received a starter from a friend and it made such wonderful bread. I am excited to try the one listed in the book.

    This book was very endearing and insightful. It is full of wisdom - much of it biblical wisdom. It is neat to see a friendship that has survived the obstacles of time, distance, cultural differences, the busyness of raising a family - and still it has endured and been strengthened over time.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    Wisdom and Friendship - A Must Read

    Plain Wisdom is a collection of life insights by Cindy Woodsmall, a novelist, and Miriam Flaud, an Old Order Amish woman. All of the insights are grouped in seven categories: The Rhythm of Life; Timeless Beginnings; Challenges Great and Small; Laughter in Odd Places; Beauty, Ashes, and Things Between; In His Hands; and The Shape of Tomorrow. Each category starts with a glimpse into the Amish way of life that Woodsmall has gleaned by her friendship with Fluad and each chapter includes Scripture. Speaking of friendship, Plain Wisdom made me long to spend time with my best friend who lives in another state.

    Both authors do an excellent job with transparency and both come at topics from different perspectives. Still, commonalities we share as women are evident despite cultural differences. Many family recipes from Flaud are shared. Of particular interest to me was "Amish Friendship Bread". Before we had children, I kept the starters and bread going for several months. I'm looking forward to starting this again and was even given the idea of baking all the bread to give out to friends instead of passing along starters. Although, slowing down and enjoying simple things in life such as baking may be what is needed for many of us!

    Honestly, when I selected this book, I thought I had chosen a fiction book because I recognized Woodsmall as a fiction writer whose characters and plots are usually Amish. When the book arrived, I was pleasantly surprised! As a full-time working Mom of two tweens, fiction is difficult for me to read because of time (and sometimes preference). This book can be read in small spurts or all the way through and even has a discussion guide if you'd like to read with a group or a friend.

    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Amish, those whose hearts are stirred by friendship, someone wanting a light refreshing read and those who need to be reminded of how much God cares for and works in every area of our lives.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    A must buy!

    I loved everything about this book. I felt like I was given a glimpse into these women's lives. This isn't the kind of book that you read to learn more about Amish. You look into their lives as friends. You will be inspired as a wife and mother, as a daughter and friend. These short stories touch so many topics that women face daily. The scriptures they choose for each chapter was right on. I read this book quick through the first time but then read it slowly a second time. It is a book that you want to slowly digest. Not only will you learn more about these two women and their very different yet similar lives, you will learn more about yourself.

    I recieved this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing for free for my honest review.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    Plain Wisdom is Plain Heartwarming!

    Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud are two great friends from very different backgrounds. Cindy is a Christian mom and writer living in the mainstream world of media and hustle. Miriam is an Old Order Amish mom who resides in a traditional Amish community. Cindy and Miriam recount stories of motherhood, faith and life from their unique yet similar perspectives. Faith in God is the driving force in each of their lives. Their stories are heartwarming and contain wisdom only derived from living as Christians and mothers. Throughout the stories, Cindy and Miriam offer a glimpse in to the day to day lives of the Amish. The hard work and immense joys are shared as well as information regarding certain Amish traditions. The information was beautifully intertwined with the stories and enhanced the readers understanding of the Amish life. The feeling of the book is that of two experienced mothers passing on life stories to a younger generation. In addition to passing on wisdom, Miriam was kind enough to include some of her family's favorite recipes! I highly recommend this book. I am confident that it will bless your life as it has mine. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review". The review was not influenced by the publisher. It is my honest evaluation of the book.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    Plain Wisdom

    Come along with Cindy as she visits her Amish friend Miriam. Cindy shares what she has learned about the Amish while staying with her friend Miriam on her family's farm.


    Each section of Plain Wisdom opens with an explanation by Cindy of how the Amish celebrate weddings and holidays, how laundry, cooking and gardening are accomplished, what the Amish do in their free time and for entertainment, how church and school are carried out, and what happens when the older folks reach retirement age. Miriam shares favorite recipes throughout the book.


    After the chapter introduction a Bible verse is given with Cindy and Miriam's thoughts on the subject. They share wisdom on many different topics through personal stories. I loved Miriam's story of how one school district received a schoolhouse after many years of waiting. Even though these women are so different they share a common love for Christ and family life.


    I've always been fascinated by the simple lifestyle of the Amish so I was delighted to be able to review Plain Wisdom. I enjoyed the brief view of Amish life presented in the book but was even more delighted with the thoughts and stories shared by the authors.


    I think this book would make a wonderful devotional to read to help you bring your focus back to Christ and living for Him. It was refreshing to see how their love for Christ was lived out in the simplest daily tasks. It showed me how I can live my life for Him while going about my usual routine.


    This book will be available for purchase March 15th 2011.


    I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah and have shared my honest opinion.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    It's a HIT

    When i first received the book for review and read the back cover i wasn't sure i would like it. I pushed on and read it anyway never one to shirk my responsibility. I felt like i was welcomed into a place or warmth and love. The authors Cindy Woodsmall amd Miriam Flaud,opened their lives to the readers. At first i felt like i was entering a private place that made me feel like i was readng their private diaries, but then as i settled in, i realized it was a place of freindship, life experience and yes wisdom. There were several places i could relate to the situations they were writing about in my own life. As englishers as the amish call the non amish, i have always wanted to learn more about thier culture, their faith and the way they lived day to day. I am grateful to Miriam Flaud for allowing me to do just that. I learned though they have strict ways they are not unlike me and you in the situations they face. Miriam and Cindy (authors) made me fell like i know them personally now and they shared their recipes. I feel like a friend too. Cindy is an everyday mom who writes for a living and takes care of her family and had to make some hard decisions but her faith in God always led her to the right one. Miriam's faith in God helped her to see him at work even with the simplest prayers she shared in this book. These women are remarkable in their faith and their love for God and his word. They show the love of christ throughout the pages. The plain wisdom they share is just that plain, it's not colorful or dressed up to be something it's not. It is refreshing and like water to the soul. i felt encouraged and inspired to strive to work on my own writing career and not sit on the sidelines waiting for it to fall in my lap. The most important lesson i learned while reading this book, was that when God nudges i need to answer and not shoo the Holy Spirit away because i just may miss the blessing that was in store. "Plain Wisdom" was good read and I recommend it to anyone who is needing encouragement and a refreshing of their faith in God

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2011

    PLAIN WISDOM REVIEW!

    In 2001, Cindy Woodsmall, a writer, and Miriam Flaud, an Old Order Amish woman, met through a mutual friend. Through letters and occasional phone conversations, a friendship grew. The result of that friendship is this book, Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud. Cindy and Miriam are culturally worlds apart. As I read this book, I discovered, as you will, that their hearts have the same love for God, family, and community. This book includes five sections divided into fifty-six chapters, each written through the combined efforts of Cindy and Miriam. Nestled between the pages are nineteen recipes, many of which I regularly make! i recieved this book free to review from waterbrook multonah!

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It's like sitting down with your best friend for a heart to heart conversation!

    Sometimes the very best kinds of friendships develop over distances. Too often times we fail to be the very friend we are looking to find in others, but we do need to find ways to develop the friendships we have and one of the best ways to do this is to do a kindness when they're not expected.

    Remember that when your friends aren't perfect, be grateful - because if they were, you'd be the only one in that relationship who wasn't.

    Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author of several novels whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She shares her insights as a wife, mother and friend along with Miriam Flaud, who is an Old Order Amish woman who has lived within one of the most structured societies in the United States.

    Cindy and Miriam have co-authored the latest novel called Plain Wisdom, in which they share how their differences have brought about a sense of respect and gratitude for one another in the very different lifestyles that have led through their lives and how that sweet blend has transformed their friendship in very delicious ways.

    Throughout the book are scripture quotes in which each author gets an opportunity to share their insight or wisdom with us, their captivated audience. Whether it's through short stories shared over coffee and by the fading light of the sun, we are warmed in their love and hope. What a treasure this book was to read today and to have the opportunity to share with you, my readers.

    I received this book compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review and was so captivated by the stories of these two amazing friends that I felt I was intruding on a private conversation. Yet in the midst of the pages of this book, I found hope, redemption, forgiveness, faith and most importantly love, not only for their friends and family but for the differences that make us all unique and who we are with our own stories to share.

    I loved learning more about the Amish community and feel we have so much to learn from them and in respecting their ways of living. This book rates a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. This book is available in paperback format. I invite you to join in this wonderful book and promise you that it will warm your heart with friendship and love.

    What a perfect book to purchase as a gift for that friend or family member in your life that is your greatest treasure!

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Loved this book. It truly is full of plain wisdom!

    Cindy Woodsmall, a Christian inspirational fiction author, co-wrote Plain Wisdom with her Amish friend Miriam Flaud. The two met through a mutual friend, and soon became fast friends themselves. As they spent more time together they realized more and more that they wanted to write a book together - a book comprised of wisdom from both "Englischer" (non-Amish) and Amish cultures, but both with one single tie: a deep faith in God through the years.

    This is the type of book that you don't have to read through all at once. Because it contains snippets of wisdom in short story format from both women in each short chapter, I imagine it could be useful to read alongside a daily scripture reading or devotional. You can be reading another book, and still come back to this one without missing a beat.

    I found it very interesting to learn more about the Amish lifestyle and traditions. I was also surprised at how open the Amish people are to the "Englischers," inviting them into their homes. At least in the example of the Flauds, they are understanding about the differences between the two cultures - never looking down on those who don't hold the same views, but very steadfast in their cultural traditions.

    I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about another culture while being encouraged in one's faith.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    I Loved It!

    In 2001, Cindy Woodsmall, a writer, and Miriam Flaud, an Old Order Amish woman, met through a mutual friend. Through letters and occasional phone conversations, a friendship grew. The result of that friendship is this book, Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud.

    Cindy and Miriam are culturally worlds apart. As I read this book, I discovered, as you will, that their hearts have the same love for God, family, and community. This book includes five sections divided into fifty-six chapters, each written through the combined efforts of Cindy and Miriam. Nestled between the pages are nineteen recipes, many of which I regularly make, as I live in the same area of Pennsylvania that Miriam resides. Although there are areas of the Amish culture that must remain private, Miriam reveals much of her daily life. Because of the format of this book, it would be perfect to use as a weekly or daily devotional, focusing your thoughts upon that which is important in life. It could also be a devotional or book study tool for a women's group or Bible study, as a Discussion Guide is included.

    I've been looking forward to reading this Advance Reading Copy since I requested it several weeks ago, and was not disappointed. I am tucking my copy among my cookbooks and will be rereading this each Monday, one chapter at a time. I will also be purchasing a copy for the Miriam in my life, Mary S.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    Excellent Nonfiction!

    Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall (Englisher, of this world) & Miriam Flaud (Old Order Amish) is like reading two friends' diaries; howbeit, both friends are writing in the same book. So, grab a cup of tea or coffee and be prepared to laugh, sniffle and feel the embracing hug of a friend.
    The daily life of an Amish mom/wife is not much different than that of the English mom/wife except that we, English, use electricity and vehicles. Okay . . . Maybe that's a BIG difference !
    To me each chapter is like a journal entry from Cindy and then one from Miriam. Both ladies address the same subject giving us a look at two points of view or rather an Amish view and then an English view. Interesting to view the similarities and feelings that stem from both ladies.
    The chapter entitled, "Laundry Anyone" made me laugh. Cindy's laundry story was very English and I could relate but Miriam's laundry story made me laugh.out.loud simply because her son acted as "any teenager" might in the same situation. The Amish have a great sense of humor!
    This is a great-tastic read filled with heart warming and down home views of two different worlds that aren't so different after all!
    The recipes in this book all look fantastic and are worth a try whether you're an Englischer or an Amisher!
    This book is also brings great encouragement. It's wonderful to know that all of us, humans, are struggling with the same everyday life situations, trying to rear our children to be God fearing and to cook wonderful meals while keeping up with the laundry!
    This is one of those books that you won't want to miss! A beautiful look at friendship and a fantastic 5 star read!
    *This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    Review of Plain Wisdom

    In Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women, Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud share their friendship and wisdom with women, both Englischer and otherwise. Through their sense of humor and faith, both women learned to appreciate the experiences and knowledge of the other. Whether it was weeding Miriam's large vegetable garden or searching for appropriate verses from the Bible, they found a common understanding of being a woman-along with wife and mother. While each brought her own unique perspective to the relationship, they both discover through their many meetings and the pages of their book that in many ways they are more alike than different.

    Reading this book is like overhearing a conversation between two wise and caring friends. Each has an immense respect for the way of life followed by her friend, and yet both retain their integrity and individuality while growing in their understanding of the other. Although many books have been written about the Amish community-both fiction and nonfiction-very few allow them to speak for themselves. This book is that rare dialogue between two different and yet coexisting communities, both of which gain benefit from the other. Rather than idealizing the Amish way of life, this dialogue gives the reader an honest insight into its hardships and blessings. Whether the reader is interested in the Amish or simply some extra wisdom, this book can provide many boons, along with a cozy way to end the day.

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    Plain Wisdom

    Two women, one Old Order Amish and one English (as the Amish refer to those who are not Amish) come together in spite of their obvious differences and share their lives from the heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I grew up in Indiana in an area where there were many Amish and Mennonite. Our family would sometimes visit their community and enjoy the fruit of their labors. I didn't know any of them and their lifestyle was a wonder to me.

    Both women's stories blessed me, but Miriam's spoke more to my heart, addressing the areas that God specifically wanted me to see about myself. Through her words, her tales, her heartaches I discovered a common denominator, that being -- the Spirit of God working within her and through her. Not only did a get a glimpse into the lives of people I haven't understood, I've gotten to know the heart of these people through the mind of one.

    I admire the separate lives the Amish live and the great discipline it takes to live such a life in the world we live in. I see that a lack of discipline within me has created all that I find in my world that needs to change. I easily see how much more I could accomplish by applying a portion of the discipline and creativity Miriam uses every day to fulfill her chores.

    Cindy's life speaks to me in that she is a writer, just as I am. Looking into her world, my reasons and excuses for failing to get the word count written each day are blown to pieces. Her family is like mine, busy and yet, she manages to write, travel and speak into women throughout the country.

    I am blessed for having read this book and I am thankful these two women took the time out of their very busy lives to share their stories with me. I've laughed and cried with them from the beginning to the end. I've touched their spirits and see how deeply each love and follow their God.

    The benefit of finishing the book on this particular day is this: my life is not about me; it's about God -- serving Him and allowing Him to serve others through me. I still have much to do, but my eyes have been turned away from me and all that I must accomplish today- onto those I'm serving.

    I heartily recommend this book and will pass it onto my friends, including the one for whom I'm cooking today. I leave you with a quote from Miriam.

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