Thursday, February 5, 2015

Baxter Road Miracle ~ a delightful story filled with hope and promise by award winning author Carlene Havel

Can faith move mountains? The Youngbloods are about to find out. 

Henry Youngblood is determined to plant a new church in Buffalo Creek, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Meanwhile, his pregnant wife worries about paying the bills. One daughter dreams of a college education she cannot afford, and the other wants nothing more than popularity. It will take a miracle for the Youngblood family’s dreams to come true. 

Excerpt  Ellen listened to the sounds of pencils scratching in the dining room, hoping her teenaged daughters missed their father’s abrupt announcement. She rubbed Henry’s back, struggling to understand the situation. “What do the deacons want to do? Shop around for another piece of land?” 

“They don’t want to do anything,” he said. “Sit tight. Take a wait and see attitude. Die on the vine.” Henry shrugged Ellen’s arm away and removed his suit coat. “I’m so sure it’s God’s will for us to build our new building in Buffalo Creek.” He turned to face his wife. “Where have I gone wrong?” 

“Oh, honey. This isn’t your fault.” She picked up his jacket. “Do you want me to fix you something to eat?” 

"No. I’m too upset to think about food right now.” 

“Let me hang up your coat,” Ellen said. Henry followed her to their bedroom, where she put his jacket on a hanger and smoothed out the wrinkles. Henry never stayed long at the churches he pastored. The usual end of his employment came when conservative church leaders opposed her husband’s big plans. By now, the pattern was familiar. Henry would take on some small, half-dead church and double or triple the attendance within a year. With an overflowing sanctuary, he would begin to push for expansion or replacement of church facilities. The cost of Henry’s recommendations would spark heated controversy, and soon the Youngbloods packed up and moved on.  "

"Did the deacons ask for your resignation?” Ellen asked. 

“They didn’t have to. I gave them notice on the spot.” 

She patted his shoulder. “Maybe you should pray about this.”

My Review:  Reverend Henry Youngblood believes he’s being called to Buffalo Creek to plant a church. With little money and a strong dose of hope, he obtains a small slice of property and begins to build the church himself.

Henry doesn’t give up. His offer to help an unassuming gentleman secures the loan needed to continue. Materials and equipment are bought at salvage yards and the air conditioning and heating system is amazingly put together without instructions.

Unfortunately, all is not well with the Youngblood household. His wife is disappointed at the additional expenses and their two teenage daughters are unhappy at being uprooted to attend a new high school. While his oldest, Pauline, yearns for college, the youngest, Susan, only seeks popularity. Her actions land both girls in trouble.

With a new baby on the way and finances growing thin Henry confronts a city official who challenges the easements rights of the building. A miracle is needed to save the church and the Youngblood family.

Ms. Havel is an accomplished writer who delves into the emotional background of her characters. While Henry is the force of hope in this novel, his wife and daughter’s personalities and back stories are well thought out and delivered. Baxter Road Miracle will warm your heart. I highly recommend it.

About the Author:  Carlene Havel has lived in six US States and two foreign countries, and has traveled extensively throughout the world.  She is very active in her church and has a degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Carlene and her husband Glenn are both proud to be native Texans.


Carlene Havel said...

Thank you for spotlighting "Baxter Road Miracle", Vicki!

Julie b Cosgrove said...

Highly recommend this novel- even if you are not a child of the 1960's, you will love the inspiring tenacity of this preacher and his real family. No sugar-coating!