Saturday, December 31, 2016

Destroy by Tricia Mingerink {Book Review}

(Minor spoilers if you haven't read books 1-3...) 

~ Description 
Before the war, before the Blades, before the Leader…

There was a boy and a scullery maid and a secret shame.
One moonlit night of blood and knives destroyed their country and their lives forever.

The Leader failed to die, but will he also fail to lead?

~ My Rating 
5 of 5 stars 

~ My Review 
First off, I have three things to point out about this book. I loved it, it was amazing, and I need Deliver (book four) NOOOWWWW. 

*ahem* Okay, so this book in The Blades of Acktar is a novella that goes between book three (Defy) and book four (Deliver). 

I wasn't sure what to expect going into it (I mean, no Leith and Renna for the most part?!) but I shouldn't have worried. As usual, Ms. Mingerink has crafted an amazing story that will stir your heart. The Christian messages bled through so well, and the story was superbly done all the way around. 

When I met the Leader in Defy, I wasn't sure what to think of him. I certainly had reasons not to like him (LEITH!!!), but he was also saving Renna from something she dreaded terribly. I can happily say this book changed the way I looked at him. And Addie! She was so sweet! I absolutely loved their relationship... <3 *huggles charrie* 

So yes. This book tore my heart out and ripped it to shreds (nothing new with TBOA but totally worth mentioning) and showered me with feels. Amazing. <3 

**I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 

Friday, December 30, 2016

I Have Been Blessed.

Y'all, I've just came upon a glorious conclusion. Not really a conclusion I guess, as I knew this before today, but maybe I'm just now realizing it fully. 

I just received a precious and sweet e-card from a dear friend. Followed by a super sweet email from another special friend. (Not mentioning any names, but y'all know. *wink*) 

I am just so blessed, y'all. So very blessed. I have did nothing to deserve either of this lovely ladies, or any of my other in-person or online friends. 

And yet God has gifted each and everyone of them to me. <3 It's precious, y'all. I'm so very blessed. 

*hugs everyone* I've got writing to do, but I just had to share this feeling that's on my heart right now. Have a blessed day all, and remember that it's the little things that matter. <3


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Let's Keep Christmas by Peter Marshall {Book Review}

Please pause here to note my beautiful picture...okay, we can move on. 

~ Description ~ 

One of the most beloved ministers of this century reminds us that Christmas means the birth of Jesus Christ--the gift of God with us. Marshall also celebrates the family customs that make the holiday so special. Wonderfully illustrated, this Christmas keepsake is perfect for traditions and family reading. 

~ My Review ~ 

This is great little short book, a sermon actually (and one that Dad has read from in his Christmas sermons several times). My family has an old copy (in the above picture) that we bring out every Christmas season and place on the coffee table next to the family Bible and a few other Christmas books. 

"So we will not 'spend' Christmas nor 'observe' Christmas. We will 'keep' Christmas – keep as it is... in all the loveliness of its ancient traditions. May we keep it in our hearts, that we may be kept in its hope." 

Beautiful. What Christmas should truly mean to every Christian <3 I would recommend this to anyone.

Have you read this book?
Does your family have any special books you bring out at Christmas? 
Do you take pictures with plaid, old books, and dried flowers? :) 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Noelle's Gift by Amanda Tero {Book Review}

~ Description 
Mama needed happiness for Christmas, but Noelle was only eight. What gift could she give? A short story.

~ My Review

5 of 5 stars 

This was a beautiful short story, weaving together Christmas, family, the innocence of a child, and music. <3 It reminded me a lot of the classic Christmas story, "Christmas Shoes", with a twang of sadness. I truly enjoyed the story and would recommend it to any age. :) 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Our Christmas Bear by Sarah Brazytis {Book Review}

Hey everyone! Long time no see, over here, huh? *wink* But I'm back now, with a couple posts for the 12 Days of Christmas linkup going on over at Stories by Firefly! A book review today, and hopefully some more coming between now and Christmas :) 

~ Description

For three years, the widow and her two daughters, Rosetta and Bianca, have lived alone in the cabin on Mr. Heaton's vast estate. But this winter they have a visitor. What would bring a man to their lonely home in the bitterness of sub-zero weather? Is he the only man who is in the forest this winter? And why does he have such a mysterious name? 

Loosely based on the old tale of Snow-White & Rose-Red, this is a Christmas story the whole family can enjoy. When good and evil come face to face in the snowy woods, which will prevail?

~ My Rating 
4.5 stars

~My Review

Intertwined with colorful pictures, Our Christmas Bear is a charming story with a delightfully Christmas feel! 

Rosetta and Bianca were cute characters that made believable and sweet little girls. "Bear" was probably my favorite. I was a little suspicious of him at first, but...without giving spoilers, let's just say that I loved the ending. *wink* 

All the way around, this was a sweet story – a great children's story or a read-aloud for the entire family!! I recommend it! :) 

**I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Silly Feeling by Willowy Whisper {Book Review}

~ Description 

Church camp is one week. Five days. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing. She's just being silly... 
But Hannah can't rid the feeling, and as the week unfolds, she wonders if perhaps it's not such a silly feeling after all.

~ My Rating 
4 stars 

~ My Review 
Woah... With the title of 'Silly Feeling', this detail-rich story was anything but silly. When I read words like 'church camp' and 'crush', I was expecting a light-hearted story about a couple teenagers. 

But I was wrong. 

This story was deep and heartfelt, moving and fast-paced. Although it's great as a short-story, I think this could've also been a fabulous novel. :) All the characters were fun and felt realistic. Nick and Morgan were my favorites – Nick's story *almost* made me cry. :') Hannah was a great character too, and I'm dying to know if she was right in her thoughts on her 'rescuer'... ;) 

The storyline of the arson did creep me out, to be perfectly honest. But I also found it interesting. I applaud Miss Willowy for tackling that difficult subject and I think she pulled it off really well. Also, I felt like the storyline of Marti and Taylor was a bit unnecessary. But since it didn't conflict with my enjoyment of the rest, I was able to deal with it. ;) 

All in all, this was an exciting story! :D 

**I received a free e-copy of this story from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving // 2016 Blessings

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV

// I'm thankful for the snow of winter and the ability to enjoy it with my family. 

// I'm thankful for the warmth and sunshine of spring. 

// I'm thankful for tiny flowers growing by the woodshed and dirty hands from planting potatoes. 

// I'm thankful for a new room and beautiful bookshelves. 

// I'm thankful for time spent at this place – camping and enjoying good times with friends and family. 

// I'm thankful for dogs who's ridiculous positions make my day. 

// I'm thankful for summer days spent swimming and soaking up the sunshine. 

// I'm thankful for the beauty of a thunderstorm.  

// I'm thankful for my family and the place we call home. 

// I'm thankful for the opportunity of an internship at the art center this summer. 

// I'm thankful for the free-time this summer that allowed me to do (and win) Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time. 

// I'm thankful God can take broken things and make them beautiful. 

// I'm thankful for the beauty of God's creation.

// I'm thankful for fall and all it brings. 

// I'm thankful for the ability to read, books, and the stories found inside their pages. 

// I'm thankful for writing and the happiness it brings me. 

// I'm thankful for freedom and this country we live in. We have our faults and plenty of them, but we're still free. 

// I'm thankful for the history that surrounds my home.  

// I'm thankful for laughter and humor, smiles and joy.  

// I'm thankful for tree harvest, and all that November entails for my family. 

What about you, dearest reader? What are you thankful for? 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas by the Sea by Beth Wiseman {Book Review}

Faith didn't have a specific post planned for today. And here it is Saturday night and Faith doesn't have time to write a 'good' post now (in other words, she wants to read/write instead... ;)) So I have a book review for y'all of a Christmas short story I read last week. :) Hope it's enjoyed! 

~ Description 
Parker McIntyre is late evacuating Galveston Island prior to a hurricane, despite advisement from local Texas authorities. When Parker becomes trapped in rising floodwaters, he is going to drown if help doesn’t arrive soon. Fearing death and questioning his faith, he thinks about the young son he’ll be leaving behind.
Alexandria Hanson is on her way off the island to escape the immediate storm threat, but she spots a person trapped in the water. Alex—as she’s called by friends and family— isn’t adventuresome by nature. Helping the man is going to require great personal risk, but she can’t leave him to die.
As Alex joins Parker in the murky Gulf waters, a dangerous situation becomes even more serious as they wait to be rescued. With only each other to lean on, they attempt to quell their fears by praying together and sharing stories.
If Parker and Alex leave the island alive, will they have a chance to explore their feelings during the holiday season? Or will the opportunity be lost forever? 

~ My Rating 
4.5 stars 

~ My Review 
Wow, talk about suspense!! :D My heart was literally pounding through the beginning to middle of this story. I LOVED the 'trapped-in-a-hurricane' setting, and strive for survival that first bonded Alex and Parker. And Spencer was an absolutely adorable child. :) 

*mild spoiler* One thing I didn't exactly 'like' was the abrupt kiss between characters who didn't know each other very well at all. *end of spoiler* 

All in all, this was a great Christmas short-story. With a unique tale and well-rounded characters, it was packed with meaning and love. I finished with happy feelings, enjoying the hints at what would soon follow in Alex and Parker's lives. :) 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Three Day Quote Tag // Day 3

Monday, the last day of the tag. I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I've enjoyed sharing the quotes with y'all! :) 

Again, for details and whatnot see Saturday's post. :D 

**from Pinterest** 

I this one. Can't we all agree that this is the greatest love there could ever be?!? :'D


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Three Day Quote Tag // Day 2

Day two! Again, I'm not going to tag anyone. But if you want to do this post, please feel free. (And leave me a link so I can check it out! :D) For details and the rules for this tag, check out yesterday's post. ;) 

**from Pinterest**

I really love this quote. I got the results from the poll I had up awhile back (it was a three way tie, by the way... :P), so I'll be doing a post on 'broken vessels' sometime soon...and probably using this again. :) 

Have a blessed Lord's day! 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Three Day Quote Tag // Day 1

Hey everyone! Hope you're all having an awesome Saturday. :D 

A tag, yes. A rare occurrence on this blog. But this morning I realized that I didn't have a post planned for today. So instead of my abandoning the blog again, I shall do this. Onward!! 

Kaitlyn K. from Twin Thoughts tagged me for this tag aaaggggeeeesss ago. (Thank you, girl!!) And I kind of...forgot? Anyway, here goes. ^_^

The Rules: 
-- Thank the person who nominated you. (Done.) 
-- Nominate 3 new bloggers every day. (Um...I'm going to skip that part. #cheating) 
-- Post a new quote every day for 3 consecutive days. (Okiedoke!) 

**from Pinterest** 

Also, happy belated Veterans Day! Yesterday kind of slipped by without a blog post of my own, but it was still on my mind. :) 

See y'all later! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sisters in Christ ~ Rebekah Eddy ~ November 2016

Welcome everyone! This is the eighth edition of Sisters in Christ. Yaysies! :) Today's guest is Rebekah Eddy from Rebekah's Remarks and Simply StoriesShe– 

I decided to steal Faith's blog for today. Because, you know, if she gets too much attention on here all by herself it might make her too stuck up or something. ;) so today I'm taking the spotlight! *cue glitter, confetti, and fanfare*
Also, because she invited me to do her Sisters in Christ question and answer thing. Which I was thrilled to do, of course!! :D So here are her questions and my answers. :) Sit back and enjoy a dose of Rebekah's Random Remedy (Warning: to be taken without water or you might snort some out your nose. Directions: Intake in small quantities. Do not overdose for fear of too much awesomeness. Helps with excessive feelings of melancholy and incessant crying or lack of merriment.)

*snickers* Yup. This will be fun, y'all. Rebekah, go ahead and give an introduction. ;) 

Pretty sure you all know me already from my blog (or blogs if you're a dedicated stalker ;) but I'll give you a few basics for those of you who might not follow me, and a couple fun facts even my best friends might not know about me for those of you who do. So count yourself warned. ;)
The basics everyone should know:
-I am a brand new adult (as of August) and freaked out about the thought of having to vote this year.
-I am a Christian, homeschooled pastor's daughter
-I come from a big family and LOVE IT
-I am a self published author
-I love reading and I have a passionate love for most music styles
Some random facts:
-I really don't like it when people read over my shoulder. Like REALLY don't like it when people read over my shoulder.
-when you first meet me in person, I will probably come across as shy...but once I've been around you for an hour or two...I won't be. In fact, I'll PROBABLY talk your ear off.
-there is one board game I have never lost to anyone. It's called Sequence.
-I have driven our twelve passenger van in my bare feet before. (Don't worry, I never left our property. ;)
-I go on and on about things. And have I mentioned that I talk a lot?
-my favorite emoticon is the winky face. I use it...quite a bit.
True to my character, I gave a long winded intro to myself that hopefully gave both insight and entertainment. ;)  

*whisper* I drive barefooted a lot... 

*takes a deep breath* NOW I will go on to answer Faith's questions. :P

What inspired you to blog?
Well, my sisters had one, and so I wanted one. I thought it would be fun to have a place where I could share my stories, poems, songs, random musings, pictures, and life happenings. (Which it has been. A ton of fun. :)

Did you read other blogs before starting your own, or was starting a blog what thrust you into 
this wonderful world called the blogosphere? ;) 
I read the occasional post that my sisters wrote, but really it was having my own blog that connected me to you all. ;) 

How did you fine my blog(s)? 
I think it was through either Mrs. Marlow's blog, Jesseca's blog, or you leaving a comment on my blog. One of those three.

That sounds right. XD Lets talk about some spiritual things. What's your favorite Bible verse, chapter and book? Why?
I have two favorite passages right now: Psalm 25:4-5, and Job 39:19-25. My favorite chapter in the Bible is probably Romans 6, and my favorite book in the Bible is a tie between Psalms and Proverbs. But it's hard to choose. The whole thing is awesome. (Excepting Leviticus, Numbers, and the Song of Solomon. Those ones still give me trouble...) 

What Bible verse(s) has helped you through some rough times?
Psalm 100 has been a reminder to me of just how praiseworthy our God is when I feel like He's somehow undeserving of our worship. Psalm 23 is a reminder that God is with me no matter what. The beatitudes are a reminder that even though I might have troubles here on earth, if I trust in God and obey him with my whole heart, I'll be getting a reward in heaven.

What is one event in your life that has really helped strengthen your Christian walk?
I went on a short term missions trip to Ethiopia when I was fourteen that really helped me grow closer to God. The way those Ethiopian Christians showed their love for our God, the way they put up with so much hardships in order to be called His was such a beautiful testimony. I learned so much from their example.

I would LOVE to go on such a mission trip. :) 

Any Bible reading tips?
I have one: no matter what stuff you have to do any given day, no matter how much free time you do or don't have, spend at least a little bit of your day in Gods Word. It adds up. Sit down and read a Psalm. Sit down and read a chapter of Isaiah. Whatever. Just read a little every day. Satan is going to try to mess your time with God up, but the more you do it, the harder it will be for him to pull you away from it.

On a scale of one to ten, how much of a reader would you consider yourself? What about a writer?
I'd give myself an eight on reading, and probably a nine for writing. Life/family comes before both things. If I lived alone in a secluded cottage on a mountainside, both would be ten. ;)

Wouldn't that be awesome... :P

Where is your favorite place to read and write?
In my bed. Hands down. Usually with my book/computer/notebook/iPad spread around me with pencils and pens and various research books if needed. Preferably with a mug of some kind of hot 
beverage nearby and a plate of cookies or bag of candy. And some wipes or a napkin so I don't get my keyboard sticky. Very important. I can't stand sticky keyboards. 

Favorite author(s)? Favorite book(s) by them?
Ah, smart woman. Thank you fir adding those s's. ;) We all know how terrible I am at choosing just ONE favorite. B-) Here are a selected few of my VERY TOP FAVORITE AUTHORS:
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings
C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia, Surprised by Joy, The Screwtape Letters
Andrew Peterson: The Wingfeather Saga, Pembrick's Createrpedia
Trenton Lee Stewart: The Mysterious Benedict Society books
L.M. Montgomery: The Anne of Green Gables series, Story Girl books
Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys
Baroness Orczy: The Scarlett Pimpernell books
A.A. Milne: the original Winnie the Pooh books
And that's only naming my very top favorite authors and my very top favorite books by them. I could name SO MANY MORE. Count yourselves lucky. ;)

*whispers* You're welcome for the s's... 

What are some books that really impacted your young life?
"The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom I read when I was about eight or nine. That book really impacted me as well as "If I Perish" which I read when I was ten or eleven. Also, after reading "Bruchko" I was determined to become a missionary. Boy, that was a season of life...I read a lot of missionary biographies around the age of twelve and they all impacted me in one way or another, I just can't remember all the titles.

If you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
Spontanious. Random. Bubbly. Quirky. That's four. Bother. Ok, so choose your favorite of those ones. It doesn't matter, they all fit me. ;)

Haha, love those! :)

Any pet peeves?
DON'T GET ME STARTED. I took a whole blog post on this not that long ago, and I plan to give another one soon. So for the sake of time, I'll give you five if the ones which bother me the most:
-The Theory of Evolution. There are so many levels of wrong and illogical reasoning behind this theory, I could (and lots of people have) devoted their life to pointing out all the mistakes in it.
-Abortion. Guys, this is a big one for me. I know it will probably get me a lot if flack online, but I am a STRONG prolife person. It's just so wrong to take the life of a baby in the womb...not to mention horrific and monstrous. Why do it? Just WHY? 

-Political Debates (especially presidential ones). We all know you're both lying through your teeth. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see you're only saying that to up your number of votes. You're just being depressing to those of us who have to vote for one of you jokers or forever hold our peace. Just 
stop already.
-The Romance Genre. My theory on this subject is a little bit goes a long way. Kisses do not, I repeat, DO NOT have to take up a whole page/scene to describe. PULEEEESE. It's so awkward.
-Misusing/interpreting the Bible to Support YOUR Way of Life. The Bible is not something you should change to fit with the way you live. Your life should change to fit what the Bible teaches. Please.

Favorite songs?
This changes every week or so. ;) Currently, my favorite songs are Stars (as sung by Collabro), Stressed Out (by Twenty One Pilots), and Ireland's Call (as sung by Celtic Thunder). Do I happen to have them stuck in my head? Yes.

Well, I want to give a big thank you to Faith P. for being willing to host this fun questionnaire
 thing. I had a blast answering these, although I may have stressed out (darn, now I have that song stuck in my head again. It happens. Every. Time.) at the pet peeves question JUST A LITTLE, the rest was awesome. ;) Hopefully I didn't stress HER out (there it goes again...) that much when I didn't send in my answers until two days before this post was supposed to be published. ;P #procrastinatortothebitterend
Anyways. *cough* Hope you all had fun reading about my quirky self and got to know me better through it.

Thanks again Faith! You can have your blog back now. ;) 

Thanks for joining us, Rebekah! So good to have you! :) Be sure to check out Rebekah's lovely blogs (links at the beginning of this post) and follow her awesomeness. B-) 

Also, I'll be taking a break from Sisters in Christ next month for Christmas (YAYY!!) but these posts will resume in January. :) 

Sisters in Christ,

**Excluding the first two, all images borrowed from Pinterest.** 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Be a World Changer.

I know, I know... No post all last week. So sorry about that! I'm here today with a post, though. I hope you enjoy. :) 

Do you ever look at the world around you and feel a compelling urge to do something about it? Like you're supposed to be doing something – anything – to change it? To make a difference? To shine Christ's light? 

I know I do. 

And we are supposed to be doing something. As Christians, each of us have a job to do for God's eternal kingdom. Spreading the Gospel. Winning souls. 

Yet it often angers me to see it all – the evil and wickedness in this lost, dark, dying world. It's wrong. It's dishonoring to God. If those people (I'm very bad to categorize) can be so blatantly sinful, why should they be offered the chance of salvation? 

But God reminds me that I'm a sinner too. And just as bad of one as anyone else. No sin is 'better' or 'worse' than any other. (I'm almost off this rabbit trail. Promise.) We're all sinners, but there is a difference in some of us. 

Those of us who have been bought with blood, redeemed through Jesus' sacrifice, have an advantage. Namely, to live eternally in the presence of our Lord, to dance and sing praise 'round His throne.

But that isn't where it ends. After salvation, we have a job to do. A duty to fulfill. Jesus' love needs to be spread. His light needs to be shone into the darkest of places. His beautiful gift of salvation needs to be made known to everyone. 

Sure, it won't be easy. We live in a world that has been 'going downhill' since the fall of man. There are a lot of people who aren't going to want to hear about Him – aren't going to want to even listen to what you have to say. 

But maybe sometimes we don't even have to speak. How we live, the words we say, and how we conduct our day-to-day lives, should be shining examples of Christ-likeness for the world to see. 

Don't left people's unconcern, shrug-offs, and negative replies put a damper on your faith or your ministry. We don't have to be oppressed by the evil of this world or its wicked power. Jesus has already overcome Satan. 

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 KJV

I was looking up something in the book of Acts early today, and a certain verse just jumped out at me. (Yes, I'm just now getting to the cause of this whole post.) The heading/subtitle on this part of chapter 17 read 'Thessalonica: "Turned the World Upside Down"'.

“And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”
Acts 17:6 KJV

Stop and think about that for a second. These people, these early Christian were risking their lives, yet it was then that God blessed their efforts. It was then that souls were saved and lives changed. 

I believe it's safe to say that America could use a good dose of 'being turned upside down'. Are we in agreement? 

Join me in praying and making it your conscious, daily desire to let His light shine. Let's turn America into a Thessalonica. <3

Have a blessed week! Go out into your Thessalonica and be a world changer for Christ... 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Wish by Beverly Lewis {Book Review}

~ Description
Leona Speicher got the "sister" she'd always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County Amish farmland. The Arkansas newcomers seem to be everything a devout Plain family should be, and Leona can't help comparing Gloria's engaging young parents to her own. 
Leona's cousin shows a romantic interest in Gloria around the same time as Gloria's older brother expresses his fondness for Leona--it seems likely the two young women will marry into each other's families, remaining close friends for life. Thus, Leona is shocked when the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear after being expelled from the church for reasons no one will discuss. Despite Leona's pleas, Gloria goes with them, leaving more than one broken heart behind. 
When Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona after a silence of several years, Leona makes up her mind to persuade her friend to return to Lancaster County and the Amish ways. Leona's new beau, the deacon's son, is alarmed when Leona decides to go after Gloria. Will Leona's dearest wish lead to her own undoing? 

~ My Rating
5 of 5 stars 

~ My Review
Ahh, this was such a satisfying read. :) I hadn't read any Amish fiction since...February? So it was great to be back in the world of Pennsylvania Dutch, horse drawn buggies, and simplistic living. I read the majority of it in three or four days, but if I hadn't had other things to keep up with I could have (and would have!) settled down and read it all at once. :) It had an engaging plot line, lovable characters, and an ending that allowed me to breathe a sigh of contentment and go to bed without a headful of questions. 

I know a lot of people think 'romance' when they hear Amish fiction, but this one really wasn't centered on that. Sure, there was mentions of a courtship and a sweet moment or two, but that was really all. :) 

> Leona was such a sweet, innocent girl! I enjoyed reading her POV and her loving concern for her friend Gloria made her so endearing. :) 
> Gloria was an interesting character. I wasn't sure what to make of her at first, but in the end I loved her too. :) Her struggle with what she wanted with her life was very realistic, and I appreciated how she didn't just wake up one morning and suddenly know what she was going to do – as seems to happen too often in books. 
> Tom was a super sweet guy character in the book. I loved he and Leona's courtship!! <3 And while I'm talking about Tom, I just have to mention Danny – Tom's younger, deaf brother. He was a minor character, only mentioned a handful of times, but I really enjoyed his parts. :) (By the way, I would totally love a sequel or a short spin-off story with him and Linda...just sayin'... ;)) 
> Orchard John... Oh goodness, where do I begin?! How he pined over *her* all those years shows how sincere his heart, and he was just such a great guy! I loved his name too. I mean, who doesn't want a cousin named Orchard John who takes walks with his girl and loans books? ;) 
And lastly, I just have to say that I loved the character of Dawdi Benuel. Such a sweet grandpa! <3 

Overall, this was an amazing book. I would heartily recommend it! :)

**I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Same Dress, Different Day by Juliet Van Heerden {Book Review}

People affected by a loved one's addiction suffer silently in church pews. I was one of them. I'm Juliet. Sometimes I wish I could be someone else, with another name altogether, someone whose life is more comedy than tragedy. During the twelve years I was married to a cocaine-addicted Christian, I was overwhelmed with isolation and shame as I sat next to my ex-husband in church week after week. No one fathomed our family skeletons. How could I tell anyone? God stirred my spirit to seek personal healing and give voice to my reality. Through Him, I found freedom from silence and redemption for the life dreams I thought were forever lost. Same Dress, Different Day: A Spiritual Memoir of Addiction and Redemption chronicles my journey from victim to victor as I struggled to break free from codependency's suffocating cycle. I learned to see my Savior as the soul mate and provider my chemically dependent spouse could never be. God's healing grace is not only for the addicted, but also for the broken ones who love them. 

~ My Rating 
3.5 of 5 stars 

My Review 

(Well, this is a new experience for me. Reviewing a memoir. We'll see how it go. ;)) 

Through the lens of Juliet's charming first person writing, the reader accompanies her on a journey from a failed relationship in her teens-20s, to her first marriage and on through the ups and downs of her husband's addiction to illegal drugs (mostly cocaine). She supports him wholeheartedly as multiple times he goes through detox and rehab, only to relapse again and again. I do not believe in divorce in the typical sense, but I also don't think God expected her to stay in that abusive situation (not physical, but it's still abuse). I was totally cheering for Juliet when she packed up her belongings and handed him those divorce papers. 

As Juliet recounts the heartbreak surrounding her first marriage, she also shares how God's mighty hand was shown through those difficult years. She tells of friends who stood by her and Jon (her husband) no matter what, and she tells of people who turned away once they learned of his addiction. 

Although this was a good book – amazing story of God's unfailing love and grace – it just wasn't for me. After taking forever to read the first half, I ended up skimming much of the 50%–70% of the book. But then from about 75% through out (surprise of surprises!), I enjoyed it. :) Especially the last chapter!! <3 Juliet and AndrĂ© are such a sweet couple! :) 

There were a few reasons that interfered with my enjoyment of this book – I didn't agree with several of the authors religious views. For one, ghosts. Mini rant here, but there is no such thing as ghosts. Only the Holy Ghost and I'm pretty sure He didn't try to suffocate her with a pillow... Just sayin'. 
There was also a reference that the devil had 'won back Jon's soul'. Um...this is not possible. Either he never was truly saved, or he still is. Salvation cannot be lost. 

All that said, I did end up enjoying parts of the book more than I at times thought I would. :) I would recommend this book to those who enjoy this sort of memoir, and certainly to anyone who has experienced addiction or codependency.

**A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, through BookCrash.** 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sisters in Christ ~ Blessing Counter ~ October 2016

Hey everyone! This is the seventh part of Sisters in Christ. I can hardly believe it! Are you enjoying this as much as I am? :D 

This month, our special guest is Blessing Counter from Counting Your Blessing One by One. Be sure to check out her blog! :) (Cool fact here, Blessing and I are in the same online ASL class this year! We had no idea until the first week of class. How awesome is that?! XD) 

Welcome to the blog, Blessing! Go ahead and introduce yourself. :) 

I’m an ordinary 16 year old, country girl with an extraordinary view on life :) I’m a Christian saved by grace, a daughter of the King. I also have a great love for books, cameras, and music, and I am homeschooled with my 6 other siblings. Oh yeah, and my friends consider me an English nerd ;P 

Since we're here because we met through blogging, let's chat about that. What inspired you to start a blog? 
Well, my desire to start a blog first started after I discovered that amazing thing called photography. Pictures started collecting and I really wanted to do something with it :) I also wanted to be able to share about my family, though it ended up in a slightly disguised way ;) 

*whispers* And her photography is AMAZING. ;)

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? ;) 
Yes, I most certainly did! I kinda crept into the Blogosphere to be honest. Didn’t comment much, but I was certainly there reading the posts ;) 

I think I did that some too. ;) How did you find my blog(s)? 
think it was after you commented on one of my posts. Had a habit of clicking on people’s names after they commented; so when I clicked on yours, I found that you had a story blog and voila! found ‘em :D 

And I'm so glad you did! Since we are sister in Christ, what's your favorite Bible verse, chapter, and book? Why? 

My favourite Bible verse, also the most commonly remembered, is John 3:16. I’ve known this verse pretty much ever since I could talk. But it was only a few years ago that I was able to more fully grasp exactly what the verse was saying. This verse isn’t just something little children recite for church or camp. It tells how our great and caring Father sent His one and only Son for us. Humans stained in sin and unworthy of such a precious gift. God’s love for us is so special, and we can’t just take advantage of it. 
Favourite chapter…hmmm, probably Romans 5. After the first four chapters in Romans describing the fallen state of man, it’s a comfort to read of God’s gift of justification and salvation. 
And favourite book. Either Ruth, Esther, or Revelation. Reading the story of those two women has always been inspirational to me, and reading about Jesus’ return - well, who doesn’t like reading about that? :) 

What Bible verses have really helped you through some rough times? 
Philippians 4:4 ~ Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 
Psalm 27:1 ~ The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 
Romans 3:23-24 ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (emphasis added. A lot of the time, when people say Romans 3:23, they forget to add verse 24, which I think is one of the most important parts of this small passage!) 

Wow. I know I've read Romans 3:24 sometime, but I'd always paid more attention to verse 23! :) 

What is one event in your life that really strengthened your Christian walk? 
Oh, there are so many events that have happened! Some small, some big, but all equally important in my Christian walk. One of the more recent ones was only two, three weeks ago. It was only a couple weeks before camp started and I had become very stressed out about the way things were going. My family and I had developed a rather nasty cough, I couldn’t hear out of one ear, and though it was time, I hadn’t had - uh - something. There was going to be a water day at camp and I didn’t want to miss it because of - well, you girls know what I mean *blushes* Anyway, I started praying really hard that God would make everything alright by the time camp rolled around. As the time drew nearer, I was getting even more desperate. But then during one of my ‘prayers’ it suddenly hit me what I was doing. I was praying for things that wanted, not what God might want. I was treating my Heavenly Father, who gave HIS ONLY SON to save me from my sins, as some fairy godmother or genie who was subject to my every wish! And I was abusing the special privilege that God had given me to be able to talk to Him. Oh, the guilt that washed over me! *shudders*. It was horrible. I repented and from then on, my prayers, though still far from perfect, changed for the better. They were no longer solely focused on just myself, and my words changed from “You have to make everything work out!” to “If it’s your will, Lord” 
So there! That’s one event that really made me do a 180 in my walk with Jesus. I still struggle with it, but I’m glad that God showed me the wrong in what I was doing there :) 

Absolutely beautiful. :) Thanks for sharing! (And yes, I totally get it. ;))

Any Bible reading tips? 
Dedicate this time to God. Even if your day is crammed full of things to do, sit yourself down in the morning, open your Bible and just read. Even if it’s just a chapter, still concentrate on what you’re reading. Try not to let your mind wander away to your to-do list, or friends, or other books. You’ll still have time later on for those things. For the moment, just concentrate on the Bible and it’s message for you. It’s special. Don’t waste it. (and I’m only saying this because I am sooo guilty of it myself! It’s what I’ve been working on the past few months :)) 

Speaking of other books, let's move on to reading/writing. On a scale of 1-10, how much of a reader would you consider yourself? 
What about a writer? 
A reader, 10. Definitely. A writer …. well, maybe a 5? Even a 4, maybe. Though I enjoy writing, I don’t do it as often as I read. 

(But when she does write it's SO GOOD. ;)) 

Where's your favorite place to read and/or write? 
My bed! It’s not the best place for my spine and eyes - but it IS the most comfortable. 

What's your favorite author(s)? Favorite books by them? 
NO. You did not just ask that. Faith!!!! At least you made it plural xD Louisa May Alcott, Rebekah Morris, Enid Blyton, Elisabeth Elliot, C.S. Lewis, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Melanie Dickerson….and others ;) Their books? An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, Little Women, Little Men; TCR, Gift from the Storm, Graham Quartet and the Mysterious Stranger; Famous Five and Secret Seven, Through Gates of Splendour, Passion and Purity; The Chronicles of Narnia; Little House series; The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, The Golden Braid, The Healer’s Apprentice. 
Really, this list could go on waaayyy longer, but I’ll spare you all ;) 

I recognize some of those – so great! 

What are some books that really impacted your young life? 
Probably George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Corrie ten Boom, Jim Elliot, Gladys Aylward (Christian Heroes: Then and Now) And of course, the Bible! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe helped me understand the salvation story better, and the Little House series, though it may not have impacted me per se, probably did help shape my personality ;) 

Let's do a few random questions before we have to depart... :P If you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would it be? 
Ummm….. thoughtful? And I don’t mean just thinking about others, I mean like thinking about pretty much everything! Thinking about a book, thinking about what that person said, thinking about what to do, thinking about people, just lots of thinking ;) 

I would say you're thoughtful in either sense of the word. :)

Any pet peeves? 
When people consider comic books as reading. ‘Cause really, in my opinion, it ain’t!!!! 
Oh yes, and inconsistent authors. It gets annoying when a girl starts out with golden hair and then at the end of the book she all of a sudden has dark brown hair! Or when a boy has his eighteenth birthday, and then in the very next book it starts out as “Jeff, though only seventeen, had been made a sergeant.” *sigh* 

Haha, same for me! Inconsistencies in books drive me INSANE. XD

Favorite songs? 
Uh, yeah, probably not going to be able to list them all here xD But I’ll give you a ‘few’: Come With Me, Heaven, Sadie (The Willis Clan), We Are the Reason (Avalon), How Can It Be, Light of the World, Loyal (Lauren Daigle), Set the World on Fire, You, The Lost Get Found (Britt Nicole), My Lighthouse (Rend Collective), Hope in Front of Me (Danny Gokey), and Blessings (Laura Story). 

Anything else to add? Goals for this year? 
Well, I actually don’t have a lot of goals this year. Just one, really :) 

Survive Grade 11. I may or may not have bitten off more than I can chew :P This year, I’ve got British Literature, Chemistry, ASL, Fiddle, Piano, Baking, Careers, and very possibly Gr. 12 Math and Biology. So. We’ll have to see what happens ;) 

And something I’m REALLY looking forward to is meeting my new baby brother or sister! Only a few more months to go!!!! :D 

Best of luck with school! Aww, yes, new sibling! <3

Thank you so much for having me, Faith! I really enjoyed doing this, and you’re genius to have come up with such an amazing link-up! ;) 

Thank you for joining us, Blessing!! :D 


Everyone, be sure to check out out Blessing's blog and come back next month for our chat with Rebekah Eddy from Rebekah's Remarks and Simply Stories. :)


**All photos from Pinterest.