Saturday, March 11, 2017

Clouds // A Poem

A lovely Saturday morning to ye, dear readers! Today I have a poem for you all. (Because Faith can't come up with a decent post of another sort, you think? No, of course not...)

I wrote the following poem off this picture that I tool while walking up our road...enjoy. :) And in case you're wondering, yes, that's a cemetery in the background... *ahem* 

rain clouds gather
so grey and dark
above green tipped trees 
the ground below 
a dusty surface cracked and plowed 
its dry
it needs water 
falling from the sky 
just like our souls
our hearts 
we need the love
the hope
the goodness
the peace
the redemption
the mercy
that comes from Christ alone 
He comes over us like a mighty cloud
showering us with His grace 
covering us in His protection 
enrapturing us with His beauty 
He will never leave us
never forsake us
cling to His promises... 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sisters in Christ ~ Soleil B. ~ March 2017

Hello everyone and welcome to the March edition of Sisters in Christ! :) Today's special guest is Soleil B. who blogs at Thoughts from a Daughter of God and Reviews by Soleil. She's a super sweet girl -- fellow reader, writer, and blogger. Sit back and enjoy! :) 

Welcome to the blog!! Introduce yourself to the readers, Soleil! :) 

I often label myself as a reader, writer, dreamer, and adventurer. There is hardly a time I don't think of some new story that is just waiting to burst forth. When I'm not in my own world and entertaining my characters, I am often in the mountains with my family or traveling to new places. 

Let's talk about blogging. What inspired you to start a blog? 
I can't fully recall what inspired me to begin blogging. I just had a love of writing, and blogging was a way I could expound on that. I wasn't on much social media, and this was an outlet where I put down my thoughts on everyday life and struggles. I'm not the most steadiest of bloggers, nor the most well written one, but I do enjoy it.

Did you read other blogs before starting your own, or was starting a blog what thrust you into this amazing world we call The Blogosphere? ;) 
I followed a few blogs, mostly those by young women who were serving as missionaries. I have generally been on a smaller scale of following until recently. I would say that the past few months is when I experienced the "Blogosphere" and connected with others. I've gotten to know some amazing bloggers lately, and have enjoyed reading their post, and chatting with them about everyday life.

How did you find my blog(s)? 
*tries to think back that far*  XP Umm. Was it thru Jaye L Knight? I think it was through her, but if not than it was from the Valentine Writing Contest last year. I'm terrible at remembering dates XP and time just goes by so quickly.

Ohh yes. The contest. ;) 

Okay, onto the faith-related questions... What's your favorite Bible verse, chapter, and book? Why? 
That's hard!!! I have always loved Exodus and I had a great time studying thru Romans with my church last year. A favorite verse of mine has been Ps 56:3 "When I am afraid, I will trust in you"

What Bible verse(s) have really helped you through some rough times? 
Same verse as above. Whenever I am scared, or don't want to go through with something, I repeat that verse over and over again.

"I have called you by name, you are mine" Is 43:1: It is a good reminder that I am God's, and that he wants me. That he knows who I am and has a purpose for me.

Ps 34:18: This one I read a lot when family and friends have passed away.
Isaiah 56: Knowing that death isn't the end, and that sometimes it is for the better

What is one event in your life that really strengthened your Christian walk? 
I've seen many different things, though perhaps not in the way other people would fully understand as it being a "God thing." And being so young I am still learning so many things, but I think perhaps an event that has brought me closer to God was foster care. We adopted a little girl 5 years ago, and from that time on, I have seen God heal my family and I, as well as her. She is such a light and joy to our family, and I am so blessed that God placed her with us. Anytime I look at her I can only imagine how God will continue to use her in the future. 

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. <3 

Any Bible reading tips? 
I'm a writer, so I love writing stories. One way I studied was I went through the book of Exodus taking notes and reading through it all at once. It's amazing what you can miss if you don't look close enough, and in "researching" for a story idea, it often gave me the opportunity to grow in the word. So when you read, I recommend you take notes. Whether you make a list, or just write down a few new things you learn, it will help you keep it to heart. Don't ignore certain parts of scripture because you think it old and outdated, God deemed it important enough to be in the Bible, so it is still applicable for us to learn from.

Annnnddd, the reading/writing questions... On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most), how much of a reader would you consider yourself? What about a writer? 
reader: 10. I read all the time, and often carry a book around with me....just in case ;)
writer: 8.5 I call myself a writer, but don't always have the time. I've written a couple rough draft novels, and a few short stories. I have plenty to write about, but I am waiting for the right time to begin them. 

Where's your favorite place to read and/or write? 
Usually my bed. XP It's a comfy spot and I enjoy writing downstairs in our guest bedroom. I have christmas lights decorated, so it gives it a cozy atmosphere.

What's your favorite author(s)? Favorite books by them? 
Jenny Cote-The Fire the Revelation and the Fall
Christa Kinde/CJ Milbrandt -Pursuing Prissie, Rakefang
Morgan L Busse- Daughter of Light
Marissa Meyer- Heartless
are just a few, not even including all the amazing writers I've found or have published recently

What are some books that really impacted your young life? 
...It may not be exactly what you meant, but Nancy Drew impacted me a lot lol. I actually told my parents a fact the other day because of those books and felt quite accomplished. All those mysteries and days reading paid off for something. *laughs*  
Chuck Black definitely. His were the books I have read hundreds of times over and over again. He is probably what started my want to write- my first novel was inspired by his ideas in his Kingdom Series. His books also put the scriptures in a new light. There are many others that have affected me over the years from authors like Jeff and Alyssa Bethke, and David Platt for starters.

I haven't read any of Chuck Black's books, but I'd like to try them out. :) 

How about a few random questions to wrap it up? ^_^ If you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would it be? 
only one word?? 
Wow. Had to ponder this for a bit. If someone was to only know me by one word, it'd probably be 'thinker' or 'dreamer'

*smiles* Love those. 

Any pet peeves? 
Whenever I get asked this question, or think about it, I always forget. Then when the pet peeve comes around I'm like "How could they?!" lol. Book related stuff is wen the bend or food pages/cover on a book. Life wise I can't seem the think of anything 

Favorite songs? 
Come Thou Fount by All Sons and Daughters
Priceless by For King and Country
Speak Life by Tobymac


Thank you so much for joining us today, Soleil!! :D Everyone be sure to check out Soleil's blogs (links at the beginning of the post). Have a blessed day! <3 

Sisters in Christ, 

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher {Book Review}

~ Description 

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It's a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn's shipboard romance to blossom. 
But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World--isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father--his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him? 
When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not--bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not. 
Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge? 

~ My Rating 
4 stars 

~ My Review 

Eeps! What a lovely story of an Amish community in 1730s America! The romance was sweet, the descriptions poetic, and the mystery well-done. I am definitely enjoying the Amish Beginnings series. :D 

**Minor spoilers to follow, particularly for those who haven't read book one, Anna's Crossing.** 

Felix and Bairn were probably my favorites in this book. Bairn's journey to discovering who he is and what really matters to him was sweetly told and realistic. Felix can be a bit of a menace at times (okay, most of the time ;)), but he's cute and boyish. I really loved seeing the brothers' relationship grow and strengthen in this book! 

The whole storyline of the newcomer made me fume, gag, and shake my head in utter confusion. I can't say much without giving it all away, but let's just say, if you're planning to read this book, you're in for quite the ride. ;) And Jacob and Dorothea and all THAT... just, ahhh!! xD 

I became a bit annoyed for some things Anna did (or didn't do) towards the end, and ended up knocking of a star for that reason. I mean, I understand that she had been betrayed. But he wasn't the one who betrayed her! **spoilers ahead** I didn't feel like she was treating Bairn right in those chapters, and not being very understanding. But it turned out well, so I'm happy. :) **end of spoiler** 

Another thing that bothered me was the Ephrata Community/Cloister and their ways. Some things they believed sounded cult-like to me. Although their practices weren't shown as right, the ones I disagreed with weren't exactly shown as wrong either. 

All in all, a good book and a satisfying read. I will definitely be reading book three, The Return, come summer! :D 

**I received a free copy of this book from the Revell Reads program in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Be Different.

Yes, I know. No post last Saturday. Sorry about that. :) After writing a post every day for the blog party at Stories by Firefly, I didn't have it in me to write something posting-worthy. 

I'm sitting down to write this post later this evening instead of this morning...or all day... Because I haven't felt like writing a 'good' post. Typing it out and admitting it, I'm making myself sound lazy. But I don't mean it to be. I had originally intended to write a post on faith and what it looks like to have a 'living faith'. But that's not what's on my heart right now, not this evening. 

(A ramble and a rant -- maybe that's what I should've titled this post, as it's already became a bit of a ramble and it's only going to worsen.) 

As I mull over all these thoughts racing through me, I'm left wondering how I can write things that are uplifting and encouraging, when I'm not sure I want to be uplifting or encouraging. Maybe I don't need to be either. 

Maybe hard and honest is what we all need to hear this evening. So I'll go with that. 

Since we're going with hard and honest, here's some facts for you: 

>> I'm human, you're human. Everyone on the globe is a human being, created in the image of God. 

>> We all sin daily, hourly even, and fail Christ. Yet He loves us -- each and everyone -- with a love stronger and more powerful than death and the grave. 

>> Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, your sins, and the sins of every other sin-sick person that exists now, has existed, or will exist. We're all equals and He loves us all the same. 

Assuming we're all clear on this, let's go one step further. If we're on the same level as the rest of humanity, what makes us different? Or better yet, are we different? 

As Christians we are -- we are different. We have Jesus Christ residing in our hearts. But is that obvious to those around us? Are we letting His light shine? Are we being a peculiar people, ambassadors of the cross? 

Maybe a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance bad-mouths you, talking filth and spreading lies behind your back. Maybe there are people in your life who are cruel back-stabbers. Maybe you've been hurt, time again, by their lies, deception, and falsity. 

If you're like me, these what-ifs are bringing specific instances to your mind. Chances are, the people who wronged you never apologized and amends were never made. 

But... That isn't really what matters. Is it? 

Luke 21:17 tells us that we will be "hated of all men for My Name's sake", so we expect should opposition in our lives. We are living in a world that's been marred by the fall of man. How can we expect our lives to be perfect? 

The truth is, it matters little what people think of us, what they say behind our backs, and even how they treat us. What does matter is how we treat them

When they talk behind our backs, do we talk behind their's? That's not showing Jesus' love. 

When they spread lies, do we turn away and ignore them? Jesus wouldn't. 

When they hurt us, do we try to hurt them back? To be spiteful? Jesus says to turn the other cheek. 

Believe me when I say I'm as guilty as anyone else of being uncaring, of not showing Christ's love. Of turning away, thinking "they're too far gone." Nothing is beyond God's great grace. 

As Christians, we're called to show Christ-likeness. Not just to those we like. Not just to those who like us. But to everyone. Jesus died for everyone, loves everyone. Who are we to deny them eternity in heaven? We may not see it that way, but when we turn them aside, we aren't leading them to Him. 

Jesus was a friend of sinners -- all sinners. And we should be too. I'm challenging myself and anyone reading this to love more freely and be a better light for Christ in the days, weeks, and months ahead. What better way to minister to the lost than to show them love -- true love. 

There are plenty of other sinful people in the world to lead these people astray. Let's be the different ones -- the ones that stand out. The ones that, when the world looks at us, they say "they're different. I want what they have." 

This post is quite different from what I've been posting lately, but it feels right. Hopefully you got something from it, and God bless you all. <3