Friday, December 08, 2017

Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Nataly Vits – Will Spark Young Readers Creative Imagination

I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her book for children, Little Bunny’s Own Storybook.  I read a lot of books, but not children’s books.  But I thought it might be a nice change of pace.  Indeed, it was.

I think young readers imaginations will be sparked when they read Little Bunny’s Own Storybook, which tells the story of a bunny that loves to read.  Everyday he goes to the library to find a new book to read.  But one day, to his dismay, the library is closed.  As he goes home nothing else sound good to do.  He wants to read.  But then, he has an idea.  Perhaps, he could make up his own story.

The illustrations by Nataly Vits are precious and will touch a child’s heart.  After reading this story, young readers may be inspired to write their story and draw pictures. 

I recommend Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood.  Parents, be forewarned, you may want to have paper and pencils and crayons on hand in case your little one wants to try their hand at writing the very own story.


I would like to thank Margaret Welwood for the opportunity to read Little Bunny’s Own Storybook.  This book is recommended for ages 3-8.

Marie and Mr. Bee by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Coralie Rycroft – A Sweet Story with Good Lessons for Young Readers

I was surprised when I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her children’s book, Marie and Mr. Bee.  I read a lot of books, but not children’s books, at least not for many years.  I thought it might be a nice change of pace.  Indeed, it was.

Marie and Mr. Bee, tells the tale of a young girl who listens to some bad advice from a visiting very lazy bee.  Before listening to Mr. Bee, Marie is a responsible hard working young lady.  Afterwards, taking it easy sounds kind of good.  Soon she finds out like the Bible says, “Hard work brings reward.”

Marie and Mr. Bee, is a simple and sweet story, with some good examples and lessons for young readers.  I liked how her friends, Brother and Sister Squirrel, Fox and Little Bear were obedient and did their chores.  One of my favorite lessons in the book is when Marie forgives of Mr. Bee and is his faithful friend. 

The illustrations by Coralie Rycroft are precious and help tell the story perfectly.  This book will capture the imagination of young readers and show good examples about work, obedience, friendship and forgiveness. 

I would recommend the story of Marie and Mr. Bee, for young readers.  I think I would have liked it when I was a little girl.  I would like to thank Margaret Welwood for the opportunity to read this book.   This book is recommended for ages 4-8.  


Sunday, December 03, 2017

Unintended Consequences


















How could I have known
Of the unintended consequences
From a decision I made, an action I took

At that moment
It felt like the right thing to do

But now, I see a ripple effect
Which seems like a tsunami
Washing away what I hold dear

Though all around me, everything is slipping away
You alone O Lord will never leave, nor forsake me

Oh Lord, I cry out to You
As the waves crash in, help me hold on to the Anchor of my soul
Help me to trust You Lord Jesus, in the darkest night

Though my words fail, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me
My compassionate Savior prays for me and the merciful Father hears


Susan Bunts Wachtel
December 3, 2017


Sometimes its easier to see things in the lives of others, only to look back and see similar seasons in my own life.  When I look back and see the trials the Lord has brought me through, I stand amazed.  Thank You Jesus for not wasting one trial, or temptation or difficult season.  Thank You for the growth that can take place in the most difficult circumstances.  Though I can’t see the unintended circumstances that may come from something I do or say today, You can.  Help me to look to You, listen and obey You as you guide and direct me. 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey – Confusing, Too Many Characters and Too Many Plots

I was exciting at the opportunity to read Dani Pettrey’s newest book Blind Spot which is the third book in the Chesapeake Valor Series

Previously, I had read her book Submerged and found she did a really good job in writing about relationships.  The plotline was interesting and intriguing and the characters were well developed.  

Blind Spot couldn’t be any more different.  It was plot, plot, plot, lots of action and filled with many characters.  This is the third book in her current series, but there was no recap to bring the readers up to speed on the characters who carried over from the first two books.  I would have found it helpful to have a page at the beginning of the book with the names of the characters and a brief description about them and their history.  A number of times, I came across a name, and I had to search back to see if that person’s name had previously been mentioned because I didn’t recall anything about them.

As a side note, a number of the characters have names that are not immediately identifiable as male or female names.  Names like Tanner Shaw, Declan Grey, Avery, Finley, Griffin and Parker.  That made the confusion of too many characters even more confusing.  I found myself very grateful for two characters name Kate and Luke. 

There are two main plots going on and subplot in the background.  There’s storyline of embezzlement, murder and suicide and a second storyline of terrorism, smuggling of arms and people and human trafficking.  The storylines didn’t merge in the end.  The plots seemed to compete against each other.  As I was reading the book, I was trying to figure out how they would relate, but they never did come together. 

Some of the scenes were rather implausible.  The reasoning and deduction of the FBI agents to explain what had happened or what was going on seemed to be missing some in between steps or information.

Overall, I found the book confusing because of so many characters that the reader knew nothing about unless they had read the earlier books in the series.  Going back and forth between plotlines that had nothing to do with one another was not a good way to tell a story.  I think it would have been better to focus on one plot and develop a fewer characters. 

The Christian faith was mention somewhat.  It wasn’t a big part of the storyline.  There a few prayers.  But overall it was lacking depth and meaning. 

When I read a fiction book, I want to care about the characters.  Even if they are not likeable, I want to know them and what makes them tick.  I didn’t care about these characters.

I really wanted to like Blind Spot because of Dani Pettrey’s earlier books.  But I didn’t much care for it.  If you like her writing, I would suggest starting with book one in this series, that way you will be better able to track with characters and storylines, some of which carryover from earlier books. 

I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Russia Rising by Mark Hitchcock – A helpful guide to better understand Bible prophesy

I was excited to read pastor and teacher Mark Hitchcock’s newest book Russia Rising – Tracking the Bear in Bible Prophecy

Pastor Mark Hitchcock is a solid Bible and prophesy teacher.  He is well balanced and does not get off track like some Bible prophesy teachers.  He doesn’t try to manipulate current events into fulfillment of Biblical end time events.  He’s not a date setter and has good understanding of Scripture and a healthy respect for God’s timetable which He alone knows. 

Russia Rising starts with a history of Russia and goes into recent incidents that give evidence that Russia, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, is exercising more and more power and is actively expanding their reach into other countries, like Syria and Iran.  Russia is a formidable foe on the world stage. 

One area I disagreed with Mark was his take on 2016 US presidential election.  He spoke of the Russian fake news strategy and the DNC “hacking” as the work of Russian spies.  That narrative is one that is suspect at best and may have actually been internal leaks from someone within the DNC. 

Mark went into great detail to explain why the king of the north, from Ezekiel 38-39 and Daniel 11 is modern-day Russian.  He also discussed the various interpretations on when the War of Gog and Magog may take place.  He not only covers his own opinion on when this event may take place, but he also addresses other views and explains if they line up with Scripture, history, current events and Bible prophesy. 

I especially appreciated Mark bringing the discussion of Bible prophesy and end times back to Christ.  He reminded the reader that anticipating the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ should impact us to live holy lives and eagerly share the Gospel message with unbelievers around us.

If you want to have a better understand biblical end time events and know what in the world is going with Russia and how it all fits into Bible prophesy, pick up a copy of Russia Rising by Mark Hitchcock

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers and Tyndale Blog Network for the opportunity to read Russia Rising for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Picture a Day - Conservatory In Black & White


On our recent road trip, Chris and I went to Minnesota to have my mother's ashes laid to rest with her parents.  Something long overdue since she had passed away back in 2008.  

The day before the ceremony at Fort Snelling, we had a few hours and went to the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory.  It was a beautiful day and we had some time to relax.

As we walked around the gardens and zoo, I wondered did my mother or grandparent come here.  It was not too far from the home they lived in in St Paul, MN.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017


This video is to honor our parents, grandparents, cousin, aunt and uncles who have served in the military for our great nation.  We are so very grateful for their service and sacrifice and for the freedoms we have.  

Monday, October 09, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer – A Thought Provoking Interesting Read

I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author so I didn’t know what to expect.

The story starts out in 1943, when young Hazel is watching her 3- year-old sister Maggie.  She only turned her back for a few seconds, but that’s all it took and little Maggie was gone.  What happened?  Would they ever know?  Hazel and her family were devastated by the loss.  Its impact would ripple down and impact future generations.  Fast forward to present day, Hazel’s granddaughter Meghan is coming for a visit only to be surprised and find her mom Diane there too.  When the long-held secret comes out about Maggie, Meghan has hope, that as a cold case investigator, she may be able to finally bring some closure for her grandmother that she loves so dearly. 

Bringing Maggie Home turned out to be a little different than I anticipated.  It focused mostly on the people and their relationships.  Through this story, you can see how one horrible event can impact people far beyond the initial tragedy.  There were times, I felt like the story dragged a bit, because I was wanting to get on to solving the mystery.  When in fact that’s secondary to understanding people. 

I struggled with the character, Diane.  She was just downright unpleasant and I wanted to slap her.  She was rude and I didn’t like her.  But as the story went along I came to understand her more.  I really liked the characters Hazel and Meghan and their loving and caring relationship.  Another likeable character was Sean.  I liked how he lived out his Christian faith.  I greatly appreciate it when the Gospel message is woven in to a book by a Christian author. 

For those of you who love solving mysteries, don’t worry, you’ll get to the bottom of what happened to Maggie in due time.  That part of the book was interesting too.  I wish it had been a bigger part of the story. 

But all in all, I recommend Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  There were times reading it was painful because of the bitterness, hurt and anger the characters were dealing with.  But it caused me to reflect on my own life and relationships.  I went through a range of emotions as I read this book.  I found it hopeful in that characters grew and changed overtime and you saw the Lord at work in their lives. 

I love finding an author whose work is new to me.  Not only did I get to enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest book Bringing Maggie Home, but now I can go back and read her earlier books.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Publishers for the opportunity to read Bringing Maggie Home for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Healing at the Gate Called Beautiful


Like the lame man
At the gate called Beautiful
I too, have been raised up by Christ Jesus the Nazarene

Unlike the lame man
My healing was not physical
Instead it was far greater, a healing of my soul

I went from being spiritually dead, dead to God
Dead in my trespasses and sins
Unable to even look upon or respond to Him of my own accord

He raised me up and forgave my sins
Now I am alive to God
May I praise and glorify God for His marvelous work

With feet and ankles made strong by the LORD
May I walk just as I was raised
By the power of Christ

May those who recognize me
As the woman dead in her sins at the gate called Beautiful
Be amazement at what Christ can do


By Susan Wachtel
September 28, 2017

For those of us who have family and friends who don’t yet know the LORD, persevere in prayer for their salvation.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Rule of Law by Randy Singer – A Fast-Paced Thriller Filled with Intrigue – Be Forewarned This Book Make Keep You Up at Night

Reading the description of the storyline is what drew me in and want to read Rule of Law by Randy Singer.  Intrigue, suspense, politics and the news media sounds like a story ripped from today’s headlines. 

The story opens with Navy SEAL Team Six ready to deploy on a mission in Yemen, led by Patrick Quillen.  Before the reader finds out if the mission will succeed, we are taken back two months earlier and meet Paige Chambers, a young attorney, who is about to come up against famed and unconventional attorney Wyatt Jackson.  Little does she know how their futures will converge. 

As the story continues the President, Vice President and their staff, military personnel and families, Supreme Court Justices, the news media and Islamic clerics all come into play to make this story, which is full of twists and turns, come alive.

Randy Singer is a writer whose work is new to me.  I love it when I find a good author.  Not only do I get to enjoy their current work, but now I can go back and read their earlier novels. 

What makes an author a great writer verses one that’s so, so?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that.  But I can tell you from the opening pages of this book, I was hooked.  I was interested in the story, I cared about the people, even the bad guys.  I wanted to know what would happen next and I wanted to understand what made these people tick and why they did what they did.  The pace didn’t let up and it kept me guessing until the end.  Be forewarned, Rule of Law may keep you up late at night to find out what happens next. 

As I read Rule of Law, I was forced to examine my thoughts on what rights the President of the United States should have to executive privilege and what lengths they can go to, to protect our nation.  Should they be allowed the bend or even break the law?  It’s one thing when it’s an administration that I trust and respect, but another when it’s one I don’t support.

Rule of Law by Randy Singer is a fast-paced novel filled with intrigue and surprises.  It’s thought provoking and a great read.  I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading Randy Singer’s other novels.

I would like to thank Litfuse Group and Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Rule of Law by Randy Singer.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore – If you like mysteries and police novels, give it a try.

I had previously read a novel by Janice Cantore and was looking forward to her new book Crisis Shot.

The story starts out with Long Beach Police Commander, Tess O’Rourke answering an emergency call where a fellow officer is imminent danger.  How Tess responds, right or wrong, will affect her future.  The story could be taken out today’s headline news, where every action a police officer takes is scrutinized and condemned, even when there is little merit to critic’s narrative.

When the fallout from Tess’ action doesn’t seem to be winding down, she decides to make a move to a small town in Oregon, with the hope of being able to resume the career she loves in law enforcement.  It a huge change in her life.  As Chief of Police in the small town of Rogue’s Hallow, she will be answering to the mayor and city council.  It might be a small town but even there, evil is at work. 

I sort of liked the main character Tess, but didn’t feel like I got to know her well or really care about her like I wanted to.  There was a bit of a disconnect.  At first, I struggled with how Tess continually compared police work and what people were like in the small town compared where she had spent most of her life, in Long Beach, CA.  Then I realized if I had made such a drastic change in my life, I would likely be reflecting back on where I came from and what it was like back then.  The reader will get an understanding of how police work in a big city differs from a small town.  I liked how the relationships with fellow police officers changed as they worked with their new Police Chief. 

The overall pace of the novel seemed to drag.  Tess encountered many obstacles and people seemed to be tight lipped and withheld important information.  I didn’t guess who the bad guy was, there weren’t a lot of clues along the way, just lots of suspicious behavior on the part of several towns people.  I didn’t really connect with the characters.  I didn’t come away from reading the book saying, “I can’t wait to find out what happens with Tess next.”  Something was missing, but I’m not sure what it was.

The Christian faith is a small part of the story.  Tess is not a believer, but there are several Christians she encounters along the way.  If there is a sequel I hope that Christian faith is a bigger part of the story. 

Crisis Shot is okay.  I would definitely read Janice Cantore’s future books because of my good experience with her earlier novels.  If you like mysteries and police novels, give Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore a try and be sure to read some of her earlier books. 

I would like to thank Tyndale House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Janice Cantore’s newest book Crisis Shot.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Psalm 40 – a prayer in my own words


A few years ago, I went through a time during my morning devotionals where I wrote out the Psalms in my own words.  That was one of my favorite times of reading God’s Word.  I saw God in a new and more personal way. 

In my summer Bible study one of the exercises was to write a prayer from Psalm 40.  It brought to mind seasons of trials and troubles when God truly did deliver me. 

May I tell you…God is faithful to answer all who call upon the name of the Lord.  Don’t delay, not even one minute longer.  Be sure to go to Psalm 40 and read it for yourself, for God’s Word alone is perfect and inerrant and He alone is able to save us. 

O Lord, help me to wait patiently for You and be confident that You hear my cry.  You have plucked me out of my pit of destruction.  You have put my feet on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ and Your Word and I can now walk securely.  You have given me a new song to sing.  A song to praise You my God.   May all who hear it see and fear You, O Lord.  May they know that they can put their trust in You.  The man who puts his trust in You is blessed. 

Help me to never turn to those who are prideful or foolishly believe another lie, only to be led astray.  You continue to multiply Your wondrous deeds and I stand amazed at Your thoughts towards me.  No one can begin to compare to You.  I will loudly proclaim You, O Lord.  There are so many who need to know You.  

I can make sacrifices and offering, but that’s not what You desire or require.  You have opened Your ear to me.  May I delight to open Your Word and read it so that I can know You and do Your will, for You have written Your law on my heart.  I will speak in the congregation and tell of Your great deliverance on my behalf.  May my lips be unrestrained with Your praises.  May I tell of Your great faithfulness, salvation and steadfast love to every sinner.  You have not restrained Your mercies toward me.  You are lavish in Your steadfast love.  You are always faithful and will preserve me. 

When evil befalls me and my enemies are too numerous.  When my sin is heaped up so high that I can’t even see.  My sins and inequity are more numerous than all the hairs on my head.  I fear my heart will fail me, so I cry out to You O Lord.  I beseech You to deliver me.  Don’t delay in helping.  Let those who seek to have me put to shame be disappointed.  May they turn back away from me.  May those who seek to dishonor me and delight in my pain, let them be put to shame. 

May those who seek You, rejoice in You and be filled with gladness.  All those whom You have saved, may they tell of Your greatness and salvation that they have in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  We cry out, great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. 

I know Lord that I am poor and needy in spirit.  I am amazed and comforted to know that You think of me.  You alone are my Help.  You alone are my great Deliverer.  O Lord, do not delay in coming, for I need You my God and Savior. 


Monday, August 21, 2017

Picture a Day - Pismo Beach



Boy, oh boy, I'd love to be there on a hot summer day like today.  

This picture was taken back in 2011, on our first trip up the coast headed to Back Bay Inn in Los Osos.  This is Pismo Beach.  Doesn't the water look cool and refreshing? 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Picture a Day - Roses in Springtime


Shortly before we moved from California in 2014, my husband Chris took me to the Huntington Library.  I had never been there, but he had some good memories going there when he was young.  

The gardens at the Huntington Library were truly among the most beautiful I've ever seen, especially the roses. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Picture a Day - Back Bay View



This picture was taken at one of my favorite places, Back Bay Inn in Los Osos, CA.  It's one of the many beautiful views from this hidden gem of a hotel.  When you check in, you can feel your stress melting away.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Picture a Day - Wild Yarrow


The yarrow in our garden is one of my favorite plants.  In the wild, it's just as pretty.


Picture a Day - Oreo Cows


While the picture is not great...the subjects are pretty cool.  We were traveling down the highway in the Hill Country, at a pretty good clip, when what to my wondering eyes should appear...Oreo Cows!  Who knew?  Never heard of them before, but they are pretty catchy.


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Picture a Day - Old Rusty Car

























Last December, we went on a road trip into states I had never been to.  This rusty old car was by the roadside in Arkansas.  Love the colors and the home behind it...kind of captures some of the sights we saw along the way.    

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Picture a Day - Country Roads


I love driving down old country roads.  You never know what you will happen upon.  We came across this interesting scene in Ennis, TX during bluebonnet season last year. 

Monday, August 07, 2017

Picture a Day - The Old Barn


What is it about an old barn that catches my eye?  If I had my druthers, I'd probably stop at everyone I pass and take pictures.  

Love the weathered wood and the metal roofing that's rusting set against the gray winter sky.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus – by Gregory Brown – A Timely Word and Study for Today

Pastor Gregory Brown presented me with the opportunity to read his most recent Bible study, the Bible Teacher’s Guide in the book of First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus.

Once again, Pastor Brown has done an excellent and thorough job of expositional teaching of the Bible.  Going verse by verse, he helps the reader/student to understand Scripture in context.  He uses Scripture to interpret Scripture.

He’s deals straight with the truth and the Bible is the standard by which he measures truth or falsehood and right and wrong.  It’s clear he desires that the church be equipped to know and teach God’s Word and live it out in their daily lives.  He asks hard questions, challenges Christians to examine themselves and be serious about their faith. 

I found the questions throughout the book to be challenging, sobering and very convicting.  He doesn’t shy away from dealing with topics that are controversial in today’s culture.  He uses Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, to back up his assertions and interpretations. 

First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus by Pastor Gregory Brown is an excellent book and resource for Bible study.  It would be a great help to prepare someone who is going to be leading a study, or for group or individual study.

I highly recommend Pastor Gregory Brown’s newest Bible study, First Timothy – Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus. 


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

An Unexpected Journey


The day our family grew by one
So very unexpected, certainly not planned
Not pregnant, but it’s every bit as exciting

We thought we would welcome into our home
For a few weeks one summer
An orphan from a land far away

Little did we know
Our hearts would be knit together as one
Our children would embrace this precious child

This little one had a hard beginning
While still so young, was now alone
But LORD willing, not for long

Far too soon the day would come
When we had to send this young one back
This child whom we’ve come to love

What better way to celebrate and remember
Than a picnic, together as a family
On a beautiful warm summer day

Of course, we took pictures to remember
When we beheld the photos in our hands
We knew, this child was meant to become our own

Sadly, the day came for a tearful goodbye
We embraced, declared our love
Made promises to write and stay in touch

Thus, our unexpected journey began
Covered with prayer
Dependent upon the wisdom and guidance of God

We will rely on the support of family and friends
The loving care of our dear church family
As we walk the path of adoption, one step at a time

Seemingly endless paperwork to be completed
Funds to save and raise
To make what seems impossible happen

We will watch and pray
Delays may come
But our hearts will remain full of hope

Dependent upon God
Who goes before us
For His heart is close to the orphan


by Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 2, 2017

Have you ever heard a story and felt inspired and moved by what God was doing?  This poem was inspired by a story I recently read.  While I don’t know the all the details about what the family has experienced, I rejoice at the work the LORD is doing to give a precious orphan a family and change a life forever for good. 


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Picture a Day - Sunshine and Flowers


Recently, Chris and I had the opportunity to visit Fredericksburg, Texas.  One of our favorite places was the Wildseed Farms.  We walked their fields and the glory of God was on display in His creation.  I think God must love colors and variety as seen in nature.  

We purchased some sunflower seeds, tropical milkweed and cosmos to try at home.  Many of the seeds have come up and are starting to bud and bloom.  Looking forward to spreading the seeds in our flowerbeds next spring. 

Now when I think of the Hill Country of Texas, I remember the beautiful town of Fredericksburg.  



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Shattered - Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign – Informative and Intriguing – A Must Read for Political Junkies

I’m not a Hillary Clinton fan, but after hearing authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes interviewed about their book Shattered – Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, I knew I wanted to read this book. 

After following the crazy 2016 Presidential election, with all the twists and turns that left heads spinning, I couldn’t resist learning about Hillary’s campaign from those who knew her best.  How is it that this woman, who spent her lifetime striving for the opportunity to be the first woman President, lost and had to watch her dream slip through her fingers once again?  Only to have the most unlikely candidate, President Donald J. Trump, win the election? 

The authors were given unprecedented access to the Clinton campaign and people at all levels.  As a result, readers are given insight into the actions and decisions Hillary and her campaign workers made.  Shattered is not light reading.  Even though I was familiar with events in this book, I found it interesting because I was seeing the events through the eyes of Hillary and her people. 

One can’t help but wonder if the campaign had been run different, would we now have Hillary Clinton as President?  How did the people who were guarded, controlling and on a personal power trip effect Hillary’s campaign?  Were they there to help Hillary win or to try and ensure they had a job in the next administration?  If Hillary had been open to honest criticism instead of surrounding herself with yes men and women would she have run a more effective strategic campaign?  Why did Hillary rely on her people to put into words why she was running for President?  Why couldn’t she say it in her own words?  If Hillary had been humble, took responsibility for her own bad decisions and genuinely apologized would it have positively impacted her campaign? 

The 2016 Presidential election was a circus and Hillary’s campaign was surprisingly ineffectively run.  This book provides some insight into the key players that impacted this election and Hillary’s campaign.  There were a couple of scenes in this book that helped me to see Hillary in a more personal light and I felt some compassion for her.  I didn’t expect that. 

I thought authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes did a good job in staying out of the story and instead reflect Hillary, her key players and the campaign as it unfolded.  I tried to figure out their own political leanings.  They are definitely not Trump supporters.  Based on their respect and reverential manner in how they wrote about President Obama, I believe they are likely liberals.  I couldn’t really tell if they were Hillary fans.  If so they weren’t afraid to honestly and accurately portray Hillary and her supporters. 

Shattered – Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign gives keen insight into Hillary’s campaign and the one of the craziest elections in recent years.  It also helps readers to see where the continued all-out attack on President Trump started and the ongoing narrative that is currently unfolding in newspapers and the media today. 

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and the Crown Publishing Group for the opportunity to read Shattered – Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.  This was an excellent book and it accurately captures Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the surprising upset.  I found it informative and recommend it to folks, both conservative and liberal, who want to better understand the 2016 Presidential election.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A 58-Year-Old Secret


I don’t think I will ever forget her voice.  She sounded so sweet and so kind.  She reminded me of some of the older ladies at church that we love so much.  Will I ever hear from her again?

It’s not quite as easy as it looks on Long Lost Family.  Back in March when I sent a request form to Colorado to get a copy of my original pre-adoption birth certificate, I had no idea how things would turn out. 

I was expecting that it would take a month to get the birth certificate.  The check had been cashed.  Every day I would go to the mail box with the hope that it was finally here.  After two months, my patience was wearing thin so I decided to call Colorado’s Vital Check offices. 

After a couple of phone calls, I finally talked to someone live, instead of a recording.  The person acknowledged receiving my request and could see that they had been paid, but couldn’t tell me where they were at in the process.  She took my name and number and said someone would call me back. 

When the phone didn’t ring, I called again the next day.  Don’t ask me how come, but they couldn’t find my request form.  But at least I got a person who was able to help me.  She requested that I fill out a new form and email it to her, which I did right away.

A week later, I was holding a copy of my original birth certificate in my hand.  On it, was the name of my birth mother and biological father.  Now, I had some solid information to go by and could start fleshing out a biological family tree. 

On Ancestry, I started doing a search by her name, with very little other identifying information.  Perhaps it would be enough.  I had her name, her age, the state where she was born and the county and state where she resided when I was born.

It was just enough to help me narrow down to the person who might be my birth mother.  There were somethings in her life that made it seem like was the right person. 

On Memorial Day, I received an email from Ancestry letting me know my DNA results were back.  So cool!  The results weren’t what I expected.  I had been told my birth parents background was English, German, Swedish and Norwegian, flip flopped from my parents who adopted me. 

Instead, my family background included 78% Great Britain, 9% Irish (who knew), and 6% Europe West.  Kind of exciting and cool to learn that information.  Better than that was the DNA matches to people on Ancestry.  One of whom was a close family member to my birth mother.  So that confirmed the direction I was going with the family tree.

An internet searched showed an address where my birth mother lives.  I handwrote a brief letter to her.  I kept it vague and didn’t come right out and say, “Hi Mom, how are you doing?”  Since I didn’t know her current state and if her family might be caring for her, I gave some basic information and asked her to contact me if she knew anything about my birth.

Three weeks later I still hadn’t heard anything.  Not a phone call, email or letter.  I decided to put another letter in the mail.  This time I shared more details and included a copy of my birth certificate.  I explained how I determined she was likely my birth mother and the DNA test showed that I was close match to someone she was related to.

I sent that letter a week ago.  I think my husband, Chris has been more anxious than I have been.  I didn’t know if I would be contacted, but at least it was worth a try. 

Today, when the phone rang and displayed the city and state where my birth mother lives I knew it might be her.  Or one of her children.  Wow!

I picked up the phone and it was my birth mother.  She sounded very sweet and caring.  We didn’t talk long, but it was enough.  Well…mostly.  She thanked me for being discrete in my communication with her.  She confirmed that she was my birth mother.  She said that my birth was a secret and that her family didn’t know about it.  She’s had a good life and a loving family and her health is good. 

I had written a little bit about my life and family.  She asked a few questions and I asked about my biological father.  She didn’t have a lot of information about him.  So hopefully my DNA test result may help point me in the right direction. 

In my letter and on the phone, I shared about my faith in Christ.  Praise God, she too is a Christian.  So, if I don’t hear from her again, I have the promise of seeing her and getting to know her in heaven. 

When the phone call ended, I told her to feel free to call me any time.  I don’t know if she will do that.  Since my birth is 58-year-old secret, I may not hear from her again.  On the other hand, perhaps the Lord will be at work in her life and she may choose to share the news with her family and children.  That’s out of my control…but not outside the Lord’s control. 

As I ended the phone call, I knew it might be the only time I get to speak with her.  But she sounded like sweet, loving and caring woman.  I wish I could get to know her.  But for now, I choose to be satisfied with what the Lord has provided. 

Apart from getting my original birth certificate and the DNA tests…I don’t think I would have ever been able to find my birth mother.  I am so grateful for the support and encouragement from my husband Chris.  He didn’t hesitate and encouraged me to try. 

Next, I will try to see if I can find out who my biological father is, but I’ll have to rely heavily on DNA information for that part of my search. 

So, if any of you is curious on your family background, I encourage you to see what you can find.  Perhaps you just want to know the genetic background and the DNA test will help answer some of those questions.  Or maybe you are searching for your biological parents.  I was fortunate because the State of Colorado has recently opened up their adoption records.  Do what you can and have realistic expectations.

While I was hopeful, I would be able to make contact with my birth mother, I knew that might not happen.  I’m so grateful the Lord surprised me and I got to speak to her.  I hope I always remember her voice. 


Friday, June 16, 2017

Is Hell a Laughing Matter

One of the emails I receive on a regular basis is from One Million Moms, a group that notifies mothers and families when there is immorality, profanity, vulgarity, and violence promoted in the media.  They pass along links so people can contact companies to let them know their concerns. 

Today, I received a notification that TGI Friday’s has a new ad campaign in which use profanity in their advertisement to promote appetizers customers can get during their happy hour. 

I wasn’t able to send an email communication to Friday’s via their website.  So instead, I left a message on TGI Friday’s Facebook page.  I let Friday’s know that I didn’t appreciate their use of profanity in their commercial.  I asked them to please pull the ad and said that if didn’t we would no longer be customers. 

A short time later, a man left rude response and called me a hypocrite.  He had gone to my blog and found instances in which I had used the word hell.  My first inclination was to leave a comment back with a disparaging remark.  Am I a sinner and a hypocrite…yes I am.  But I’m not a hypocrite about this. 

Obviously, the person who left the comment calling me a hypocrite didn’t’ seem to be exercising discernment.  He didn’t acknowledge the difference between a company using profanity to promote their company and someone writing about hell to warn people about the realities of hell.

Am I just being uptight?  Should I just loosen up and not worry when companies use profanity and make a joke out or the word hell?

Well I could do that.  I’m sure there’s been times when I’ve buried my head in the sand and ignored something that wasn’t right.

But on this one…on a company casually using the word hell to promote happy hour…I’m glad I spoke up because I know about the realities of hell.

Hell is a real place.  It’s a place of eternal punishment, suffering and torment for those who refuse to acknowledge and repent of the sins.  Hell is for those who reject Christ Jesus.  Or for those who think they can get into heaven based on their good deeds.  They know they are not perfect…but they are better than the next guy.  Hell will have people who didn’t believe in God.  Those who didn’t realize that they will have to give an account for their lives.

So what does the Bible say about hell?

·       But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.  Revelation 21:8

·       They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.  2 Thessalonians 1:9

·       Hell is a place where the fire never goes out.  Mark 9:43

·       They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Matthew 13:42 

·       ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’  Mark 9:8

Hell is a real place.  A place unimaginable suffering that does not end.  I have loved ones who were sinners just like me.  But they died rejecting Christ or didn’t believe in God and recognize they will give an account for their lives.

When you know the realities of hell…it’s not a joke.  It’s not something to take casually.  It’s not a laughing matter. 

I’m a sinner…there is nothing good in me that deserves to go heaven.  I don’t deserve forgiveness.  I can’t be good enough to earn my way to heaven.  But through grace of God alone, I have been forgiven of my sin because of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross. 

That promise of forgiveness is available for all who put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus the Lord. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3:16-18

If you would like to know what the Bible says about hell and about how you can be forgiven of your sin…click on this link and read these Scriptures: 



Friday, June 09, 2017

Steadfast Faith


Lord grant me a faith
That remains steadfast in the face of trials
Faith that does not wither or fade
But one that looks beyond this present trial
To find joy in the greater work You will accomplish
Mature and grow my faith and trust in You

When I don’t know what to do or what step to take
In faith, let wisdom be my plea
Instead of deliverance from this trial
May I ask with confidence
Knowing that God who is all wise
Gives wisdom generously to those who ask in faith

Let me not doubt You
Or turn back, only to resort to my own sinful ways
Like Christ, give me a single-minded focus
Be not double-minded and tossed around like a wave
Driven by the wind of this stormy trial
But firmly believe God as revealed in Scripture

May I trust God with confidence and unquenchable faith
Know there is a crown of life that awaits me
All because Christ bore a crown of thorns
Was crucified and died for my sin
The One who rose victorious
Will help me steadfastly persevere under trials


By Susan Wachtel

June 9, 2017

Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Nataly Vits – Will Spark Young Readers Creative Imagination

I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her book for children, Little Bunny’s Own Storybook .  I read a lo...