The Master’s Garden describes the relationship between God and his children with a beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends. What was the inspiration for this metaphor?
Jesus used the metaphor that He was the Vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and that we are the branches. I have over 40 years’ experience in dealing with plants, both professionally and personally so I understand how plants work more than the average person. It was a natural extrapolation for me to expand it to all plants. It came to me one day while hiking in the woods. It was really fun to write!
What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
God loves all of us and wants us all be to belong to Him and come under His care through His Son, Jesus.
God, the Master Gardener, wants to have a growing, dynamic relationship with each one of us. I tried to portray this with the intimate and personal discussions that New Dawn has with the Gardener.
Living as a Christian the way God wants seems impossible. That’s because we think we are to live in our own strength. Jesus teaches us the only way to live rightly is through His power and strength not our own. We cannot do it, but He can.
True significance and enjoyment, the Abundant Life, are achieved by living God’s way through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Violet’s character was delightful and well developed. What were some ideas that guided her character development?
Violet represents, in many ways, most of us who struggle with inadequacy and a longing to be loved and valued as an individual. New Dawn, the main character in the allegory, is me. While the allegory doesn’t exactly follow my life’s journey, it is a close representation of it. It is my story of how God has transformed this self-condemning, insignificant and pathetic person into one who now has joy, peace, confidence, and significance—true riches! All to the credit and honor of my magnificent Creator!
Do you have more stories planed that take place in Plantasia?
Absolutely! I am working on the sequel already, as well as several Bible studies and devotionals to go along with this first book.
In the gospel of John, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and His Father is the Gardener. He explains that His followers are the branches and need to remain in the Vine and bear much fruit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by that or how remaining in the Vine might look in your daily life? Then enter into the fantasy world of Plantasia™ where plants come alive! This is a witty tale told by a grandmother to help her struggling granddaughter find true significance under God’s care. The Master Gardener created this beautiful world where plants can think, see, hear, and speak. He longs for all to come under His loving care and be grafted onto His beloved Vine. Through this connection, plants are able to flourish and reach their full potential. See what happens when a spindly rose, who yearns to be more than she is, meets the Master Gardener. Listen in on the conversations she has with the Gardener, Mighty Oak, Ginni (the Obedient Plant), and Mr. Bugleweed. Learn with her as she discovers the secrets of how to abide in the Vine and experience true riches. If you enjoyed the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places, you will love this allegory of abiding in Christ, the Vine!
Posted in Interviews
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Young Violet is going through her own list of troubling times. She should be carefree and living a life of no worries, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for her. Luckily, Violet’s grandmother, Roselyn, has the answer. Roselyn, an avid gardener, knows exactly how to help Violet come to some important conclusions about her spiritual life, and she knows how to do it without pressuring Violet or making her feel the stress of decision-making. Once Roselyn begins telling her story, Violet is lost in a world of fantasy that takes her on her own journey of self-discovery.
The Master’s Garden: An Allegory of Abiding in the Vine, by Rose Noland, describes the relationship between God and his children in terms of the most beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends with love and care. Noland’s characters are relatable and offer readers a multidimensional look into understanding God’s love and the patience we all must show while coming to the understanding that we are not perfect and were never meant to be.
Noland has created a cast of characters, talking plants, that, without question, convey the message she wants to provide her readers. She uses the story-within-a-story method to create an image for both her readers and for her character, Violet. It is through Violet’s eyes that readers watch the changing New Dawn discover herself and come to understand her purpose and the reasons for her trials and tribulations. Noland says to her readers what many are not able to convey. Her story is a truly wonderful metaphor for God’s love and will reach readers who are unable to see this message playing out in their own lives.
Violet, always eager to hear the stories her Grandmother has to tell, cannot help but be entranced by the story of the Master Gardener. I was especially taken with the way the author describes the purposes given each flower and plant and how their actions impact others either directly or indirectly. Violet is able to learn so much about herself from the story, but we, as readers, are just as taken with Roselyn’s tale of trust and growth.
I have never enjoyed being preached to outright about how much I should trust and believe throughout my hardships. That’s just a difficult thing for many of us to do–to listen and believe. Noland, however, teaches a very hard lesson in a way that is both easy to read and easy to believe and apply to our own lives. I highly recommend The Master’s Garden: An Allegory of Abiding in the Vine to any fan of inspirational readings or those who are looking for a book to renew their own beliefs. Rose Noland’s book is a comfortable walk of faith in uncertain times and is a wonderful tool for guiding young people in their own faith.
Pages: 95 | ASIN: B0887NJNFY
Through Me to You: A Life Through Poetry, Stories and Songs by Eve Wick is a collection of writings that span the author’s life from age thirteen to the present. A verse of Bible scripture accompanies each poem, story, and song, and the author uses these Bible passages to show that no matter what a person is going through, they can find an answer in God’s word. The purpose of this book is to inspire and encourage others who may be going though a difficult time in their lives, and it focuses on a wide range of emotions, from despair to hope, friendship, and love.
I enjoyed reading the poems, short stories, and songs in this book. I liked the connection between the Bible verses and the author’s own writing, which illustrated that even though the Bible was written thousands of years ago, God’s teachings still have meaning and power in the present, and people can find peace in the written word of God. I especially enjoyed reading the author’s short stories throughout the book, which were a bit longer in length than the poems.
Some of the scriptures seemed much more fitting to the author’s writing than others. When there was not as strong a link between the two, a different scripture could have been chosen instead. And if no more appropriate verse could be found, then I would have preferred not to have a scripture accompany that piece, since it seemed to take away some of the impact from the poems and stories that were much more closely linked to the accompanying scripture.
The verses that accompany the song lyrics seemed particularly fitting, which led me to believe that some of the songs are likely based on those specific Bible passages, giving them the strongest connection between the author’s writing and the words of the Bible.
This is an exceptional piece of work that I heartily enjoyed reading.
Pages: 118 | ASIN: B0794HFFVX
Worship of Hollow Gods is a provocative book that challenges the ‘hollow gods’ we worship. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Worship Of Hollow Gods was an important vehicle for Jim to continue to extricate himself from the “hollow gods” his family was immersed in.
You examine family, faith and the secrets we hold. What are some themes that were important for you to capture in this book?
Yes, the unquestioned soul-robbing hollow gods were family, alcohol, and the church.
I appreciated how you approached these sensitive topics. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
What we’ve seen over and over again is the reader leaving a review/telling us how this book helped them take a different look at the family “norms” they grew up with.
What are were some reader reactions that surprised you?
The only response that was surprising was the one star review on Amazon by someone who was impatient with all the descriptions and details and saw Jim’s character as “screwed up” blaming his parents and got bored. But, that’s not surprising from someone not interested in people’s internal lives.
In Worship of Hollow Gods, James Sniechowski bears witness to the world of a sensitive, nine-year-old boy, subjected to the underbelly of his Polish Catholic family in working class Detroit. The year is 1950. The family gathers for a Friday night family poker/pinochle party. The outcome reveals a world no one ever talked about then and are forbidden to talk about now—the unspoken, the impermissible, the reality beneath every family’s practiced facade—and what lies beneath when the front has been ripped away.
As human beings we know what is right and what is wrong. We’ve read scripture and can discern what God requires from us. However, despite this knowledge sometimes we walk into temptations. As if we cannot control our selves. This is called the fallen nature. This book is about how to defeat that fallen nature and challenge oneself to be stronger against this nature no matter how deeply embedded. Only then can we know the true power of God. Only then can we, as human beings, discover true spirituality.
David Piper has provided enough scripture to back up the material in this book. This way the idea of the fallen nature is not just speculation. Providing scripture also provides some sort of direction for the person to begin taking stock. For a person to begin making that change in their own selves. Scripture is the guiding light in this endeavor.
The book has a firm tone, but there is also an understanding that at times one may feel like the fallen nature is more powerful than they are. To this, the author offers understanding and scripture to help one get through it. His writing is coloured with passion and dedication to his cause.
This book takes the reader through a step by step process that makes it an easy read. The reader is led towards understanding of the fallen nature first. Then they are led towards understanding of the new nature. Through these two steps, one cannot help but audit themselves. They cannot help but see their lives for what it is now and what it could be. David’s enthusiasm for discovering the new nature is almost infectious. Then he takes a detour to backsliding and God’s power to restore. These are two very important points to pass by before really embarking on the journey towards a new nature.
The book is filled with personal reflections and stories about David’s life. This makes the book come alive. It provides the reader with a companion with whom to take the journey and share troubles.
The book is informative, enlightening and evocative. This book would make a great read for someone who has been feeling frustrated in their ability to stay true in their spirituality. For anyone who finds themselves constantly backsliding. For anyone who simply wants to see if their life is headed in the right direction or if they have given their fallen nature too much power.
pages: 284 | ASIN: B07QDPKYM3
Eurydice Osterman discusses the evolution of worship and shines a light on the process of change and the reason for said change. He has a keen eye for important markers in the history of worship like the element of the Gregorian Chant, for example. The discussion about the growth of music annotation and conflicts over alternative worship is very enlightening. The author mentions the difference between religious music and sacred music, which most people would not guess exists. The book also talks about the rise of a religion without responsibility as one of the whys of change. Eurydice urges on the importance to distinguish between enthusiasm brought forth by the Holy Spirit and man made excitement in the context of worship.
The author has an obvious passion for the subject of worship as well as a deep desire to ensure it is done exactly as God requires. He has conducted extensive research into the subject as the book heavily references the Bible. This gives the book quite a bit of authority and gravity. The author also provides a resource at the back to help worship leaders and other church authorities pick the most appropriate songs.
I really appreciated the direct delivery of the material and found it’s ability to easily communicate ideas to be quite brilliant. The subject is relevant and well supported by scripture.
Pages: 95 | ASIN: B0794SVDRK
Reinhold Commons Webster likes being in church. His family hopes he will follow the priesthood path, and his only desire is to be an altar boy. However, he is thrust into an abyss of sadistic abuse. He watched his friend penetrated with impunity until he could no longer hold on to life. The same end awaited him. Therefore Reinhold makes a deal that provides him with a little reprieve. With no one else willing to help him or the others, this deal is his only hope. The deal does nothing to erase what has already happened but what comes next will have to be enough.
This story, albeit short, is aggressively evocative. Written in such detail, the candor of it is well justified by the desire to shine a light on this abomination. The author also puts a spotlight on the role of parents and other authority figures in all of this. Their adverse reactions to the damaging situations the victims are plunged into. Figures who choose to ridicule these children rather than save them from their plight.
This is a very purposeful book. It might seem a bit crass, but the painful detail in this story is very necessary and intentional. It works to ingrain an image that would potentially start a movement for the rescue of actual victims. The end is quite alarming and should serve as a warning to perpetrators.
The confessional is a place where people go to seek solace and relief from the burden of sin. However, in this instance the title serves as a reminder that these places represent personal hells for some people. As a reader, one cannot help but weep for the poor boys. One cannot help but advocate for the punishment of the perpetrator. This is the extent of the writer’s to appeal to the reader’s soul by use of words and language.
This story should be used as a rallying call against child abuse everywhere and especially of the sexual sort. It should stand as a war cry for abused children everywhere to appeal to their parents for help. It is evocative and stern in no uncertain terms. The author’s passion for this cause is obvious and this story is engaging and thought provoking.
Pages: 49 | ASIN: B07PGTS8LC
Tags: A Peerless Short Story, A.K. Kuykendall, abuse, AK Kuykendall, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, bible, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, catholic, child abuse, church, contemporary, ebook, faith, fantasy, fiction, god, goodreads, horror, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, priest, publishing, read, reader, reading, religion, sexual abuse, shelfari, smashwords, story, The Confessional, writer, writer community, writing
Young Jim has reached adolescence and is struggling with where he fits in life. Mostly because he doesn’t know himself well enough at this point to figure out where he feels most at home. He doesn’t fit in school. He joins a gang where he can only hope to belong, but never really does. His home is more house than home with both his parents living almost separate lives. Will the relationships he fosters be meaningful enough to withstand the tumult of adolescent existence?
Jim’s story is quite representative of what teens go through. The author has woven an almost poignant tale of Jim’s struggle to find a home. The story is thoughtfully narrated with an evocative plot and colored with insightful observations. Most of all, it is candid. All has been bared for the reader to see and experience. The reader is pulled into this abyss of raw emotion and overwhelming teenage confusion from the minute Jim celebrates his entrance into the Lancers (the gang) to the point where he loses his friend.
The book makes sparing use of dialogue and utilizes mostly internal dialogues between Jim and the ‘Voice’. The reader gets in depth peeks into Jim’s mind. This helps carry the story and paints a clearer picture of what Jim must have been going through. It is actually easy to lose oneself in Jim’s mind as it is a web of unanswered questions, self-doubt and all-around uncertainty. This is brilliantly executed and is well suited to the plot.
The book is written in plain language that is easy to understand, utilizing simple language to create striking imagery. Keeping the focus on the intriguing characters rather than on some grand literary design. Each character represents some form of human insecurity or peculiarity. Almost every reader will recognize themselves in one or more of the characters. Thereby enhancing the bond between the reader and characters for a more fulfilling experience.
This book left me feeling… haunted (I suppose that’s the right word). Although in the end Jim seems to be settling down, I felt that his questions of where he really belongs and his purpose have not been fully covered. This begs the question; will human beings always carry a degree of uncertainty with them?
This is an exceptional installment in the Leaving Home Trilogy. The first one was an absolute delight, the second one is undeniably beautiful and I am positively giddy for the third.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07CPDY81Y
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