Thursday, July 5, 2018

It's America. {2018}


Hope y'all had a fabulous 4th of July! God bless each and everyone of you, and God bless America. <33 


It's a kid with a chance 
It's a rock 'n roll band
It's a farmer cuttin' hay
It's a big flag flying in the summer wind
Over a fallen hero's grave

It's a man on the moon
And fireflies in June
And kids selling lemonade 
It's cities and farms, it's open arms, one nation under God
It's America 



On the days those Twin Towers came down
His whole world turned around
He told them all, 
"Can't play ball, there's a war on now"
Marched right in with a few good men
And joined the Marines
At 19

He's somebody's son 
In a hole with a gun 
In a foreign land
Trying to hold on to his American dreams
19


Yes, I'm a day late. But honestly, can we celebrate America too much? 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Another Adventure.



Happy weekend, readers. (Do I start every post that way? Well, probably...)

Yes, I'm leaving y'all again, as you may have guessed from the title. A group from my church is leaving today for a missions trip, and we'll be returning next weekend. (We're participating in the same ministry as we did last June, which I talked about here and here. ;))

Because of this, there will be no 'real' post here today or next Saturday. I look forward to getting back into the groove of things in July, which will include sharing with y'all about this trip! 

Prayers for safety and a God-filled week would be appreciated! <3


Off to another adventure,
~Faith 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Letters from Home by Gracelyn Buckner {Book Review}


~ Description 

It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.
~General Robert E. Lee, CSA

Marigold Ruth Bryant and Rueben Collins lived the life of farmers in Western North Carolina during the early 1860s. But times are changing. With the attack on Fort Sumpter, Marigold and Rueben’s lives are turned upside down. Meeting legendary figures in the war, they must decide what they truly believe. Follow the steps of these simple farming families and discover more about the lives of those impacted by this conflict.


~ My Rating 

3.5 stars


~ My Review 

Letters from Home was a nice story, that fairly accurately showed every day civilian life during the Civil War. The fact that it's set near my home made it more enjoyable, as I recognized town and landmark names. 

The characters were well-done and mostly relatable. There were a lot of them to keep track of however—something that usually bothers me—but the character list near the beginning of the book helped with that. 

There were a few inconsistencies throughout the book that caused me to lower my rating a bit. 

*Spoilers through the next two paragraphs*

A man from town comes to the home of the main character, nearly frozen from the weather, to tell the family of a raid that just took place. Instead of asking the poor man what happened, prompting him to traipse through a snowstorm to tell them about it, Marigold's mom sends her out in the storm. She walks to town, visits two families, and ends up drinking ice tea with the colonel's wife, with no mention made of the cold weather. Wait...what about the blizzard? :P

There was also a Charles mentioned a couple times...I never did figure out who he was.

Toward the end of the book, Marigold receives a letter saying that Rueben was captured by the enemy and she worries about. But up until that time, she hadn't heard from him in months and she was 'okay' with that. So...why the sudden worry, when you at least know he's alive now?

*end of spoilers*

Inconsistencies aside, I did enjoy the story, the peek into the horrors of Civil War POW camps, and the inclusion of real events. If you enjoy stories about the Civil War, you'd probably like this one! :)


**I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**

Monday, June 18, 2018

In Bloom by Kayla Aimee {Book Review}


~ Description 

At some point in life, every woman struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Whether fueled by a culture of makeover shows, by the lingering memories of mean girls, or by events and regrets much more wounding to the soul, our thoughts can become so conditioned by self-doubt that it's often the primary lens through which we view ourselves or expect to be viewed by others.

But what if we could rewrite the narrative? What if we could exchange our uncertainty for an abiding confidence? And what if in unearthing our worth, we uncovered our purpose as well, becoming free to unleash our gifts within community and find ourselves in complete communion with our Creator?

In this fearless, funny, and refreshingly relatable chronicle of her own metamorphosis from the insecurity that once held her captive, author Kayla Aimee unfolds the blueprint for women to:

• Identify the deep-seated sources of our assumed inadequacy and replace them with steadfast truths of affirmation
• Embrace the boldness and courageous confidence of who we are in Christ
• Replace our need for approval with the promise of an enduring acceptance
• Uncover our purpose, unlock our potential, and celebrate our unique personality

To every woman who longs for belonging, this journey through Kayla's inviting prose, biblical promises, and journaling prompts will help guide her from restless insecurity to a beautiful becoming. We weren't made for being captives; we were made for being captivated, for fully embracing the truth of who we've been created to be.


~ My Rating 

5 stars


~ My Review 

Wow. That's literally what I thought every time I sat down to soak up some more of this book's goodness. While reading this beautiful book, I alternately laughed until I physically hurt and blinked to keep the tears at bay.

I read the author's first book a few years ago, and having followed her blog ever since and falling for her way with words, I jumped at the chance to review her new book. And I'm so glad I did.

With her signature southern charm, Kayla Aimee tackles the tough topics of shame, insecurity, self-doubt, and inadequacy. Instead, she encourages women of all ages to live with purpose, boldness, and unabashed confidence in who they are in Christ.

She doesn't shy from the hard stuff, but rather lays it all bear, open and raw before a world of readers. Throughout the book, she even goes as far as to open up about vulnerable areas in her own life and past—mistakes she made and decisions she now regrets.

One woman's story of embracing life and love in the way God meant it to be is full of twists and turns and heartache. It's real, it's raw, but it's so beautiful.

In Bloom is 200 pages of confidence-building, grace-offering encouragement. I would recommend it to any woman or young lady who's ever felt like she didn't measure up, like she wasn't enough, like she didn't matter. <3


**I received a free copy from B&H/Lifeway in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Father's Day 2018 + Giveaway Winners


Happy Saturday!

(Actually, happy Friday night, as a very tired Faith is writing this ahead of time because tomorrow will be too busy to think about blog posts. xD)


First off, a happy Father's Day to all the beloved dads out there. Y'all are super special. The protector, the leader of the home, the head of the family, and the one who's to hold it all together. I don't know what we'd do without ya. <3


Am I forgetting something? *innocent smile* Ahh, yes, the giveaway winners. Probably the only reason some of y'all are reading this. xD

Okiedoke! First place (the journal and pens) goes to Abigail Harder. Second place (books and bookmarks) goes to Kaitlyn K.!

Congratulations, girlies! I'll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses, and prizes will go in the mail first of the week. ^_^


Have a blessed weekend, y'all! <3

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Quest for Leviathan by Amanda Tero {Book Review + Blog Tour}


Are sea monsters a real thing? What about fire-breathing dragons? According to the Bible, there is a fire-breathing sea creature who really existed: the leviathan. Amanda Tero brings this dragon to life in her newest short story, "Quest for Leviathan." Join Anath and his crew of ninety-nine rowers as they face the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the power of Leviathan.

About the Story


Leviathan took the life of his father.



Anath has spent three years preparing for the voyage that will end the threat of Leviathan. Yet as the Valor launches into the depths of the Mediterranean, an inward quest also begins, taking Anath to depths he is not willing to face.






Review 

I've been pleased with every short work I've read by Ms. Tero. This fictional take on the tale of the leviathan from Job 41 was no exception. 


The story itself was great, offering clear detail without being wordy. The setting was well researched and I enjoyed the connection to Job 41, a chapter that has always intrigued and yet confused me. 



The theme and message of God's plans above our own was tastefully done, speaking to me without overloading the few short pages. 



4.5 stars! 



A favorite quote ~ “I prayed the Lord would bring you home alive. That He would reveal to you the greatness of His plans above your own.”





Giveaway

Amanda is giving away TWO print copies of "Quest for Leviathan" to one winner — one for you, and one for your friend!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short  stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. 


You can connect with Amanda on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, her website, her blog, and by email (amandaterobooks@gmail.com).


Tour 

June 8 – With a Joyful Noise (Release Day Post)
               Resting Life (Spotlight, Review) 
              The World of the Writer (Review) 
              Authoring Arrowheads (Review)
              Purely by Faith Review (Review, Interview)

June 9 – Victoria’s Book Nook (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
              Bekah’s Books (Spotlight, Review, Interview)

June 11 – Clothed with Scarlet (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
              Reveries Reviews (Review)

June 12 – Chosen Vessels (Spotlight, Review)
              My Purple Pen (Review)
              Read Another Page (Review)

June 13 – Once Upon an Ordinary (Review)
              Maidens for Modesty (Review)
              Yahweh Sisters (Review)

June 14 – Honey Rock Hills (Review)
              Life of Heritage Corner (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
              Kaylee’s Kind of Writes (Review, Interview)

June 15 – The Red-Hooded Writer (Review)
              Blossoms and Blessings (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
              Lit Aflame (Review, Interview)

June 16 – The Left-Handed Typist (Review)
              Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review, Interview, Giveaway)

June 18 – Great Books for God’s Girls (Review, Interview)
              Peculiar Miss Darcy (Character Interview)

June 19 – Done in Love (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
              Creating Romance (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 20 – Keturah’s Korner (Review, Interview)
              Rock and Minerals 4 Him (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 21 – A Baker’s Perspective (Review, Giveaway, Character Spotlight)
              Christian Author: A.M. Heath (Review, Interview)

              Views from the Window Friend (Review)
              Hunting for Truth (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)

June 23 – Reading on the Edge (Spotlight)
              Summer Snowflakes (Review, Giveaway)


June 25 – With a Joyful Noise (Giveaway Winner Announced)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Third Blogiversary {A Giveaway}

Greetings, readers!

I'm officially back from my May hiatus! (Yes, I was supposed to post last week and forgot. xD) If you'd like to hear about my May trip, I'd suggest keeping an eye on my other blog next week.



And speaking of blogs... This weekend marks three years since I joined the blogosphere! Blogging has definitely been a journey for me, and one that I have very much enjoyed. I'm not sure where life will take me in the coming years, but for now I'm sticking with blogging as a hobby. Stories by Firefly is my writer/author platform, and Chosen Vessels is my little spot to share my thoughts and my faith.

A blog wouldn't be nearly so much fun without all of my lovely followers. As much as I would love to give something special to each and every one of you, it's just not a feasible plan. So I'm doing the next best thing—a giveaway with two winners!



First Place will receive this darling leather journal. The front has a quote from 1 Corinthians 13, and the inside pages have a variety of encouraging quotes along the bottom. This winner will also receive two gel pens. 


Second Place will receive two books from my shelves—Jilted by Varina Denman & The Stout-Hearted Seven by Neta Lohnes Frazier—as well as a few bookmarks from my collection. (I have not read either of these books, and therefore cannot recommend them or offer content warnings.) 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sorry, international friends! These prizes are US only due to shipping costs. :( However, if someone who is not a resident of the US wins one of these, I will offer them e-copies of either of my books, and the prize will go to whoever would have been 3rd place.

Best of luck! <3