August 11, 2017

Book Review - The Two of Us


The Two of Us

by Victoria Bylin

Finding a Lasting Love

This was my first read for any Victoria Bylin book, and I really enjoyed the way she could emphasize her theme of the "two of us" throughout the novel. 

 Lucy and Mia were very close as sisters, as Mia had raised Lucy after the death of their mother.  They eventually found themselves living in the same town, Echo Falls.  Lucy’s plot line revolved around her marriage to Sam, a military man.  Lucy, young and pregnant, struggled to accept Sam’s obligations to his job, and her own trust in God’s plans for her.   

Mia, a nurse practitioner, felt she had a calling from God to work on a Medical Mission team.  Having been jilted by several former boyfriends, Mia found it difficult to trust fully in her developing love for Jake.  Jake understood her goal to work at a mission clinic because he, too, had a goal to develop a camp, Camp Connie, for boys who have lost a parent in the line of duty. But what about the love they had for each other? The conflicts between all of their dreams meant decisions had to be made.

The stories of Jake and Mia and Lucy and Sam were emotional, romantic, and interesting to me.  But I think Bylin truly excelled in her description of Jake’s parents, Claire and Frank, as they struggled to cope with Claire’s Alzheimer’s disease.  The frustration of Claire’s repetitious conversations and forgetfulness in their daily lives was so realistic, and illustrated the agonizing path of the courageous caregivers who must watch her so diligently and patiently.  The lasting love between Claire and Frank was very special.

I felt that some parts of the story were a bit too coincidental, but nevertheless, the book definitely held my attention.  It was a quick read because I became so involved in the characters’ lives that I just had to find out their destinies!

This book was given to me by Bethany House/Baker Publishing Company for my honest review.  This review reflected my own honest opinions.

June 24, 2017

A Book Review - Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl


Dark Deception

(Defenders of Justice, Book 2)
by 
Nancy Mehl 

Dark Deception, which followed Fatal Frost in the Defenders of Justice series, was very suspenseful with likeable main characters that one wants to succeed and be happy.  The novel revolves around Katie O'Brien (aka Emily Lockwood, her Witness Protection moniker), who witnessed her twin sister, Kelly, murdered.  Kate escaped injury, felt the guilt of that, and eventually testified and made an identification of the suspect, Gerard, who was arrested, tried and sentenced for the murder as the B.E.K (Blue Eyed Killer.)
However, a new development caused the release of Gerard from prison.  Will he find Katie is her new "safe" place, in Shelter Cove?  Will he come for revenge?
Tony Luca, a U. S. Marshal,l has guarded Kate through much of her ordeal, and their relationship and feelings have grown for one another.  Tony must struggle to stay on a professional basis with Kate, and she questions her trust in him at times.  Both Christians, they discussed the issues of trust and faith in God.

The unraveling of the B.E.K. murders was a complicated one, with many surprises, along the way.  Was the killer just one man?  Was every man the person he seemed to be?  This was just the way I like a murder/suspense story to be - posing questions and then slowly revealing answers.  The desire to keep reading will be strong as everything is sorted out

I highly recommend Dark Deception as a fun read that will keep one interested to  the very end.

A copy of this book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.  


March 15, 2017

A Review - Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson

Leading off the new Tracie Peterson series, Heart of the Frontier, Treasured Grace introduced the sisters, Grace, Hope, and Mercy.  Grace, the main character, was the widow of Rev. Martindale; it had been a marriage of convenience as he needed a wife in order to set up a mission in the west and she and her sisters needed a way west after the death of their parents.  Grace was a respected healer among the people of the wagon train, but when she tried to use her gifts at the Whitman mission, Dr. Marcus Whitman grew jealous and refused her the right to do so. 

At the mission, she met Alex Armistead, a Canadian fur trapper, and although they both wanted to deny it, there was an attraction between them.  When the measles epidemic broke out among the people at the mission, it also affected the nearby Cayuse Indian tribe.  Because so many died, the Indians blamed this on Dr. Whitman and took their revenge in a horrific way.  Grace was away, helping a friend during the raid, but her two sisters, especially Hope, suffered greatly from the attack. Alex was always there to be of help, but in indirect ways, as he had so much on his conscience from his early days.  He had grown apart from God, while Grace held fast to her beliefs. Their spiritual journeys are part of the story.

If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy this realistic story concerning the journey to Oregon and the missionary, Dr. Marcus Whitman.  The hardships of the trail and the fear of Indian attack were real to the early settlers and were well described.  Yes, Grace seemed to be tough at times, but then she had to be to survive herself and to help others.   I look forward to the upcoming books in the series.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House for my honest review.

February 23, 2017

Heinrich Tietje's Story from Kerstin

When Herman Hinrich Johann Tietje (born 7 Mar 1835) and his wife, Catharina Maria Schwiebert (born 20 Oct 1840), decided to immigrate to America with their family, two of their older children chose to remain behind as they were already married with children and had jobs in Germany.  

 Dietrich, the father of Wilhelm (Dutch Bill, husband to Kate Spoering) and Dietrich's brother, Heinrich, stayed in Germany where they raised their families.  Heinrich, the younger brother of the two, was Kerstin, my German correspondent's, great-great grandfather.


Marie and Heinrich Tietje are sitting in front.  They would have been Wilhelm, "Dutch Bill" Tietje's aunt and uncle. ( Bill was married to Kate Spoering.)  In the back on the far left is Ida, their daughter, and her husband Dietrich Luhrssen and their child, Margarethe.  The others are grandchildren and spouses.

Here Kerstin writes the story of Heinrich Tietje from Bendingbostel:

“Heinrich Tietje, my great-great grandfather of my mother’s family line, was born 22 June 1862 in Verdenermoor in Germany.  This is a very small village and today a protected area in Lower Saxony in the north-western Germany.  The Verdener Moor belongs to the parish of Kirchlinteln in the district Verden.  It is surrounded by the Linteln Geest, also called Verden Heath, which is dominated by woods, hills, heath and small villages.  Today many people decide to build new homes there or to buy old cottages in the region because of its picturesque landscape and its location close to the cities of Bremen and Hannover.


Heinrich was the second son of Hermann Hinrich Johann Tietje and Catharina Maria Schwiebert.  He and his older brother Dietrich decided not to immigrate with their parents, brothers, and sisters in 1888 and stayed at Germany.  That was because they had jobs and were married and their first children were born.  Heinrich’s wife was Marie Therkorn and they married in 1882.  She was born maybe in Rotenberg and had lost her parents very early when she was a child.  So she grew up on a strange family and told often about her very poor childhood.  Sometimes she had no shoes to walk with.  There are some photos when she was getting old and she nearly got to 100 years old, living in Bendingbostel and was very alert.


After their marriage, Heinrich and Marie often moved and my mother remembers villages like Jeddingen and Cordingen where they lived before they moved to Bendingbostel.  Heinrich got the job as a stationmaster in Bendingbostel and they first lived in the house of the rail station with their children.  He had to fulfill a lot of different tasks as a stationmaster, for example to leave the barriers down for trains at specified times and to look after tracks and signals.  I think it was a very responsible job and one had to be very reliable.  My great-grandmother Emma often told about the nice garden around the stationhouse.  They had a big swing there, also a big baking oven outside where they baked their own bread.  Heinrich had five children: Ida, Emma, Heinrich, Karl and Gustav.  The three boys were all born in Bendingbostel.

The station at Bendingbostel


In 1905, he built a house with a garden and a small outbuilding in Bendingbostel “An der Bahn Nr. 30” and lived there first with his wife and daughter Emma and her husband, Hinrich Hoops.  Emma’s three children were born in that house.  After Emma moved away to Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg, the other daughter Ida and her husband Dietrich lived together with them.

In the small outbuilding they had some goats, pigs and a small smokebox and Heinrich owned some beehives.  In the garden, they had some fruit trees and a lot of vegetables.  During the Second World War, when my mother was a small child, they were so hungry and often visited Heinrich and Marie in Bendingbostel because there were so many good things to eat there and it was safer than the city in Hamburg.
The house in Bendingbostel

On Sundays, Heinrich and Marie liked to go by coach to church in Visselhoevede.  There Dietrich, Heinrich’s brother and father of William (Dutch Bill), was living and they met there and went to church together.  They were all very religious and praying before meals was a duty.  For example, “Come, Jesus, be our guest and bless the things you gave us.”  “We thank you, God, for food and drink.”  In German language, it sounds better because it rhymes.

And everyone I knew – my great aunts, my mother and others – talked about Heinrich’s indescribable strictness.  Especially while they were eating, nobody was to talk a word and one hand had to be under the table.  Once my mother, three years old, was on a visit and did some mischief.  He took her and locked her up into the dark cellar for a long time.  She never forgot that feeling of fright there in the dark and coldness, and her grandma found her later, totally exhausted.

Emma’s children, Hertha (1906), Hilda (1907) and Arthur (1909), were born in Bendingbostel in Heinrich’s house.  Aunt Hertha told about her one year in the small school in Bendingbostel, where a few children of different ages sat in the same room, the small ones in front and the older pupils in the back.  When she was seven years old, she moved with her parents, sister and brother to Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg.  Her whole life, she was longing for that wonderful life in the country when she was a child.  She often told how wonderful it had been for the children and theat they spent all holidays in Bendingbostel with Heinrich and Marie.  The new life in the city with apartment buildings was a great change for the children from the country.
Heinrich with his beehives

Heinrich, his brother Dietrich, and many people found jobs at the railroad because in 1873, there was the beginning of a new age for the railroad in the area of “Luneburger Heath.”  A new railroad line was built and a lot of small villages like Bendingbostel and Visselhoevede were bound on the rail network.  The “Uelzener Railroad Line” was 97,4 km long and connected from West Bremen-Langwedel-Uelzen-Berlin to the East.  First, it had been one track.  This track was also called America Line because it connected the east to towns like Bremen, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven where thousands of immigrants went to leave their country and to get by ship to America.  During the Second World War, it was of great use for the army, therefore it was often attacked and demolished.  During the lifetime of my great-great grandfather, it was a good time for the railroad and very many people used this railroad line.  Today there are many stations empty and a lot of tracks are moved away.  Some stations are still operating and mostly used by tourists.
Maria Tietje at 95 in 1959

I remember as a small child that my parents, sister,  Aunt Hertha, Uncle Arthur and his wife and my great-grandmother Emma made a day tour to Bendingbostel..  They wanted to look after the house because Marie and Ida had died and the house had to be sold.  I remember a cobblestoned road in front of the house.  The house was of red-brown clinker and there was a big front yard.  I never forgot the smell of different flowers in the garden.  The garden was overgrown, but you could find some flowerbeds with dahlia and behind the garden, I saw some railroad tracks.  We picked a lot of apples and other fruits.  It as summer 1966, I guess, and I’ll never forget that warm, sunny day adorned with flowers, which had been the day to say farewell to Bendingbostel and a part of the family history.  In following years, we came back to visit the family graves, but the house was sold and I never walked through Heinrich and Marie’s garden again.  I’ve a photo from their gravestone in Bendingbostel.  Heinrich died on 22 Sept 1937."


Here rests in God the stationmaster in retirement
Heinrich Tietje
22 June 1862 - 22 Sept 1937
Maria Tietje
born Therkorn
26 April 1864 - 7 April 1964
Far away from our eyes,
But near to our heart




















 (This post originally appeared on my former blog, A Face to the Sun, on September 21, 2011.)



Finishing the Tietje History

                            Kerstin writes about the
ancestors of
Hermann Hinrich Johann Tietje (Henry)
back into the 17th century:

"Henry's grandparents, Johann Tietje und Margarethe Bokelmann from Verdenermoor.

The grandfather was Johann Tietje, born June 7, 1758 in Neddenaverbergen and died after 1811 in Verdenermoor.  His name was sometimes written Tiedge.  He was Lutheran and his address was Hof. Nr. 5 in Verdenermoor, and in other sources, Hof Nr. 84.  He was a Neubauer, a new farmer.

Johann's father, Henry's great-grandfather, was Jurgen Hinrich Tietje, born April 8, 1714 in Neddenaverbergen and died December 16, 1784 in Neddenaverbergen.  He married Anne Marie Winkelmann in Verden St. Andreas on November 25, 1744.  Anne Marie was born August 29, 1719 in Neddenaverbergen and died January 1, 1773 in Neddenaverbergen.  The great-grandparents lived on Hof (farm) Nr. 13 in Neddenaverbergen and he worked as a Halbmeier.

Johann, Henry's grandfather, had six sisters and brothers:
1. Dierk Tietgen, born 1745 in Neddenaverbergen and died 1820 in Neddenaverbergen.  He inherited Hof. Nr. 13 and lived there with his family.  He married Anna Margaretha Tietgen (1753-1810).
2. Trina Alheit Tietje, born 1747 in Neddenaverbergen.
3. Anna Engel Tietje, born 1750 in Neddenaverbergen.
4. Peter Tietje, born 1752 in Neddenaverbergen.
5. Jurgen Hinrich Tietje, born 1753 in Neddenaverbergen.
6. Christoph Tietje, born 1761 in Neddenaverbergen and died before 1819 in Verdenermoor.  One of his sons, Diedrich (1799-1844), lived in Bendingbostel later.

Henry's grandmother, wife to Johann, Margarethe Bokelmann (sometimes Bockelmann) was born August 10, 1765 in Neddenaverbergen and died February 20, 1811 in Verdenermoor at the age of 43.  They married November 22, 1787 at St. Andreas in Verden.  Margarethe's parents were Johann Hinrich Bokelmann, born about 1732 in Neddenaverbergen and Engel Meinke, born about 1735 in Westerwalsede.  They had eight children.

There was one job of Henry's ancestors that followed down the Tietje family line - the Meier.  Henry's grandfather, great-grandfather, and gg grandfather were Halbmeiers (Half Meier) and his ggg grandfather was a Viertelmeier (Viertel = quarter)*.

This is the photo of a very old painting in oil colors, where you can see on the left side the old timber-framed farmhouse from our Tietje family. When the father of Mrs. Bokeloh, the today’s owner of Krusenhof, Verdenermoor 1, had been in war captivity in France 1944, he had an old photo from the farm and asked a painter, a Mr. Brandt, to paint it. In the painting you see the old farm with its very modest buildings of former times, because they settled in poor moor land. Henry’s house on the left was pulled down in 1890, after immigration. So the photo must have been very old, before 1890. Mrs. Bokeloh owns the old contract of sale.

A Meierhof (sometimes also written Meyerhof was a whole farm and the Meier was the administrator of the estate.  A Meierhof had a number of dependent peasants who were obliged to pay taxes.  The hof could also include forests, gardens,mills, fish ponds, etc.  Today, especially in Northern Germay, many of these buildings are still known as Meierhof.  There usually was an allocation of duties, so the Halbmeier was responsible for half of the farm duties and the Viertelmeier only for a quarter part.

The farm, Verdenermoor Nr. 13 from Henry's grandfather, Jurgen Hinrich Tietje, a Halbmeier, for example, was inherited by his oldest son, Dierk (1745-1820), and he was a Halbmeier again. Later his son took over the farm and was also a Halbmeier.  A farm was usually inherited by the oldest son.  The other brothers and sisters had to find homes and other employment when they were grown.  From what I have found out, all the brothers became farmers. 
Johann Tietje had to find another place to live.  Henry could not read or write, according to the U.S. census, and he inherited a very poor farm.

The family line of the Tietjes of Verdenermoor back in the past...
1. Hermann Hinrich Johann (Henry) Tietje and Katharina Maria Schwiebert (Immigrants to America)

2. Henry's Parents - Johann Tietje (1758-1811), Neubauer, and Margarethe Bokelmann (1765-1811)

3. Henry's Grandparents - Jurgen Hinrich Tietje (1714-1784), Halbmeier Hof Nr. 13, and Anna Marie Winkelmann (1719 - 1773)
4. Henry's Great Grandparents - Dierk Tietje (1685-1732), Halbmeier, Hof Nr. 13, and Adelheit Storch

5. Henry's Great-Great Grandparents - Jurgen Tietje (Tietgen) (1656-1718), Halbmeier, born in Nordkampen next to Walsrode and died in Neddenaverbergen Hof Nr. 13 and Anna Hesterman (1653 - 1713)
Jurgen took farm Nr. 13 over because of marriage.  Anna Hesterman had inherited the farm Nr. 13 in Neddenaverbergen in 1680.  You find in the Lower Saxony State Archive of Stade: "Jurgen Tiedgen disputes with the heirs of the "Obersten Schacht" (perhaps a govt. agency) in Verden because of payments for the purchase of wine."

6. Henry's Great-Great-Great Grandparents - Lambert Titken, born about 1620 in Nordkampen/Walsrode, buried in Kirchboitzen.  He was Lutheran and lived in Nordkampen Hof Nr. 10.  He was a Viertelmeier and married in about 1648.  There is also a daughter, Anna Elisabeth Titken, who married about 1650, Rippe Kruse (1630 - 1700) from Bessern bei Verden.

Some history on the origin of the Tietje line in Walsrode:
The first ancestor who settled in Neddenaverbergen was Jurgen Tietje (Titken) from Nordkampen/ Walsrode, who married Anna Hesterman who inherited Hof. Nr. 13 in Neddenaverbergen. That family line Tietje has its origin in Nordkampen in Walsrode before the first ancestor moved to Verdenermoor.  There are two more Tietje lines in Neddenaverbergen who seem to have the same origin in Walsrode.

Nordkampen/Walsrode is a small village in the district of Heidekreis in Lower Saxony, Germany, near Verdenermoor/Neddenaverbergen.  The first recorded mention of the town is dated 986. In 1383, the dukes of Brunswick and Luneburg granted Walsrode a town charter.  In 1626, there was extensive destruction in the town by the troops of Count Tilly during the Thirty Years War.  In 1757, the town was totally destroyed by a catastrophic fire. Unfortunately, that is probably the reason it is now impossible to find more sources for family history there.  In 1811, during the Napoleonic era, Walsrode became a border town between France and the Kingdom of Westphalia.  In 1866, Prussia annexed Walsrode and in 1890 the railroad reached there.

I am aware that this work is not really finished.  Maybe there will be other facts which will be added or corrected later.  Hopefully, there will be more photos or other documents to add later."

(This post originally appeared on my former blog, A Face to the Sun, on January 1, 2012.)