Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe {Book Review}

~ Description 
Cousins are forever, or at least they’re supposed to be. 
What happens when your world falls apart and your dreams are mocked by those closest to you? 
Destiny’s idyllic childhood full of laughter and cousins abruptly ended when her mom uprooted the family to move them across the country with strict instructions to never talk about Swallow Ridge again. Eleven years later Destiny moves back to her hometown, determined to find her cousins… and answers. 
Plagued by generations of bitterness and manipulation, Destiny hides her life-long goal - unwilling to let anyone else trample her fragile dreams. But life in the cozy town full of dandelions teaches Destiny there’s more to life than what she’s been taught. 
Is it possible Swallow Ridge not only holds the answers Destiny so intensely searches for, but also the hope? 

~ My Rating 
4 stars 

~ My Review 

A cozy and whimsy read! 

To be totally honest, I would have to say that I signed up to review this book 99% because it has the word 'dandelion' right there in the title. I mean, aside from my book and a book by Karen Kingsbury, I'm not sure I know of any other books that have that. So I just had to read it. ;) And I enjoyed the part dandelions played in the storyline and the theme of the book!

My favorite part of the book would have to be Destiny's spiritual and writerly journey. I could really relate to that. I mean, most (if not all) the people in my life know that I'm a writer, but it can still be difficult to open up to someone about it. 

However, after reading several chapters into the book, I was a bit confused. By the synopsis, I expected more of a girl-searching-for-her-cousins thing. Instead, it was more focused on Destiny's journey to find herself. Which was okay! Just not what I was expecting. :) 

It really was a sweet story, and I enjoyed the cousin-friendship theme of the book – not something you see often! 

3.75 (if thats even a thing...) stars!

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Living Faith.

This is not the post I had planned for today. Last night, as I sat down to write or at least get head start on today's post, I glanced over the meager notes I had for the topic I'd planned. And I frowned. Sure, it's a good topic. But it's not really on my heart right now. I don't feel like writing it right now. You see, I like to write what I feel. What God has been showing me. 

So, I scrolled through some old draft posts and quickly found this one, that I started this spring. I finished writing it, tided it up, and here it. I hope y'all enjoy. :) 

Yes, that other post will probably appear here sometime, but probably not for a few weeks. In the meanwhile, I have other things planned. ;) 

I sit down to write this post and I honestly have no idea what I'm doing. I want to write something good. Uplifting. I want to encourage you all in your Christian walk. 

I want to write about faith. 

No, not capitalized Faith. (Writing about her might get lengthy, not to mention boring.) Lowercase faith. The faith of 'good people'. The Christian faith. Faith that God will take care of His people. Faith in God's love. Faith that will carry us through no matter. 

And I could go on and on. But what is faith? The Dictionary App defines faith this way: 

  1. confidence or trust in person or thing: faith in another's ability. 
  2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact. 
  3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

From these definitions, we can derive that faith is a confidence. A trust. And a belief. But... with no proof. 

Faith isn't just believing that a God exists somewhere out there. Faith is believing that God's presence is surrounding each and every one of us, every second of every day. 

Faith isn’t just believing in a God we can’t see or touch. It’s trusting in Him at all times. We don’t need to understand the mind of God, and we don’t need to agree with the choices He makes. We need to obey, and to trust regardless of what the outcome may be. 
~ Darlene Schacht

Something I read awhile back said to ask God for a "living faith." What do I mean by that? I mean, a faith we live out 24/7. A faith that is as plenteous on those terrible Mondays as on those encouraging Sundays. 

A living faith is believing even when all else is against us... 

A living faith is trusting the True Light even when surrounded by darkness... 

A living faith is clinging to Him even when it's all falling apart around us... 

A living faith is the kind of faith every true Christian to have, day in and day out... 

Have a blessed week! <3 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Don't Give Up, Dearest.

As I talked about briefly on Stories by Firefly a few days ago, this is National Suicide Prevention Week in America. I had an entirely different post planned for today (which y'all will probably get next week *wink*), but after some contemplation, inspiration, and prayers, I decided to write about this. Hopefully it makes sense to someone. 


It's a sticky subject. One that most people shy away from. Which is sad, really...when you think about it. It's a wicked disease, stealing people away. Why don't we know more? Why didn't I know more until this week? I claim to be writing a book that deals with the topic, and yet I was sorely under-informed. 

> Did you know that there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses a year? 

> Did you know that, globally, someone commits suicide every 40 seconds? That's around 800,000 a year. 

Did you know that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 25-34? And the third-leading cause of death among people 15-24? 

Yeah, I didn't know either. And it's saddening. Why do people choose to take their own life? Honestly, I don't know because I can't relate. But here's what I've seen to be reasons given. 

Because they feel like they don't belong. Aren't needed. Aren't wanted. Aren't loved. That life is just too hard. That it's not worth it. That the people in their lives would be better off without them. 

It's breaks my heart to think that there are people around me, maybe even people I have encountered or frequently encounter, who feel this way. No one should have to feel like they aren't loved, aren't needed, or wouldn't even be missed. You may think no one does, but I promise you there are people right now who care about you. 

I don't know who's reading this. But if you've ever felt like that – like it's just not worth it, that you're too tired to go on, like dying is a better option that living...let me remind you of something. 

There is so much in this life you've yet to experience. Whether you're six, sixteen, or one-hundred and three, there will always be more sunsets to see. More laughter to share. More stars to gaze at. More smiles to create. More sunshine to soak up and rain to dance in. More people to love and be loved by. 

We live in a sinful and broken world, but there is still good. Why? How? Because God is good, and He is here among us. 

No matter what you're trying to escape, ending it all is not the answer. You're worth so much more than that. You are completely and wholly loved by the Lord of the Universe. He died the cruel death of the cross out of His all-powerful love for you. To redeem you. Life is hard, but when it's lived for His glory it's so worth it. 

God has a beautiful plan for every heart He has started to beating. Don't give up on that plan. Don't bring the story that He is writing of your life to an abrupt end. 

You are special. 

You are loved. 

You are dear to His heart – so very dear. 

Don't give up, dearest. 


If you're struggling with suicide or feelings of unworthiness, reach out to someone – a friend, a family member, just someone who cares. And most importantly, reach out to God. Don't suffer in silence when He's only a prayer away. Speak up and reach out. Just don't give up. 

*source, Pinterest 

Want more? Take a look at this post on Letters to Jayna. The night can't last forever. Morning is coming, my friend. <3 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Bookish Tag.

Happy Saturday, friends! Faith @ I Like That tagged me for the Bookish Tag, and since I hadn't did a tag here in ages, I thought it would do this today. :D (No, this is totally not a get-out-of-jail-free-post because Faith didn't have anything planned for today. Of course not.) 

The Bookish Tag Rules:
-You must be honest.
-You must answer every question.
-You must tag at least 4 people.

1 ~ What book has been on your shelf the longest? 
Probably some of the American Girl series (I think Addy and Molly are my oldest) or Escape by Mona Dunckel and Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop SUey World by Deb Brammer. Those last two were reading for like...second grade, maybe? 

2 ~ What is your current read, your last read, and the book you'll read next? 
I'm currently reading Millie's Grand Adventure by Martha Finley (book 6). I just finished reading Millie's Steadfast Love (book 5) last night, and the next book I'll read will be Millie's Reluctant Sacrifice (book 7). 

3 ~ What book did everyone like, but you hated? 
Well, I wouldn't say I *hated* it, but I didn't love The Hobbit...and nearly everyone does. XP

4 ~ What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't? 
Probably a classic. I have super nice copies of Heidi and A Little Princess, and I haven't read either of them. :P 

5 ~ What book are you saving for retirement?  
*has never really thought about that* I don't know...something like... Maybe Les Miserables or Moby-Dick or something. 

6 ~ Last page: read it first, or wait 'til the end? 
*coughs* Um, well... *coughs again* I wouldn't say I read it first, but I have been known to look ahead in books... *hides* 

7 ~ Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside? 
Um, very interesting! I'm a writer, y'all. The acknowledgments are important. I love reading the acknowledgments of books I've beta-read, or other indie-published books, and finding names I recognize in the acknowledgements. ^-^

8 ~ Which book character would you switch places with? 
*shrugs* I don't know. I think I'll keep my own life. ;D 

9 ~ Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?) 
Yup! Most of the books I have that have been given to me by specific people make me think of them, whether friends or family members. :D 

10 ~ Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way. 
Who was Anne Frank? by Ann Abramson.   and of the stuff they were getting rid of, they were like "take whatever and get rid of the rest." So we gained a couple random kid-books that way. xD 

11 ~ Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
Not that I can...think of? *wonders if this is a bad thing* 

12 ~ Which book has been with you most places? 
Probably my Bible. :) 

13 ~ Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad later?
*ignores the 'high school' line bc I'm still in high school* Poetry, probably. I hated it when I had to read a ton in 7th/8th grade. But some of it isn't so bad now. ;)

14 ~ Used or brand new? 
Brand new for the price of used... What? That's not an option? *whistles innocently*

15 ~ Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?  
I don't think so... Wait, is that the guy who... Oh, no, nevermind. I haven't. XD 

16 ~ Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book? 
Uhh... Heidi, perhaps? I haven't read the book (started it several times and couldn't get past like chapter three), but the movie is pretty good. 

17 ~ Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks included? 
Alllwayyysss cookbooks. Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman, for you FoodNetwork fans) are known for it. 

18 ~ Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take? 
My dear friend, Rebekah. Our reading preferences are almost scarily similar. ;)

19 ~ Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving? 
Actually, yes. I started Dare by Tricia Mingerink, the first in a fantastic fantasy series, on a whim and ended up falling in love with the series. They're sooo good!!! :D 

I tag... 
Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh 
Florid Sword @ The Writer's Song
Libby @ GeoTurtle

Hope y'all have a great week! <3 

*sneakily posting on Sunday evening and back-dating to Saturday to keep things on schedule* 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sisters in Christ ~ Libby May ~ September 2017

Hello, friends! 

So...we kinda took July and August off from SiC. That was partially intentional (everyone needs a break) and partially because I hadn't actually asked anyone else to take part. *ahem* 

But now it's back. :) I can't promise there will be a chat every month (maybe bi-monthly?), but I hope you enjoy them whenever they appear. ;)

Today's guest is Libby from GeoturtleWelcome to Chosen Vessels, Libby! How about introducing yourself? :D 

Hi all! I’m Libby. I love Jesus, writing, reading, crocheting, chatting, listening to Spotify, hanging out with friends, praying for people, and teaching my Sunday school 3 year olds.

And blogging, right? *wink* What inspired you to start a blog? 
I had a blog previously, called It was Betta fish Information site which got old really fast, no matter how much I love Bettas. After that I was going to start a blog, but that never really got off the ground. When I discovered that Mrs. Marlow, the author of the Circle C Series, had a blog, I started to get to know some girls off of her chat box, and when I got up and running Mrs. M presented it to the world for me, and that’s how I got my first followers.

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? ;) 
Oops. Lol. I sort of answered that in the previous questions. When I did start my blog, I read all over the place and got inspiration for posts and friends, but I already had a blog and was checking out what my audience liked to read.

Haha, that's okay. How did you find my blog(s)? 
I found your delightful blog on Mrs. M’s blog, the Circle C Adventures.
Changing the subject, what's your favorite Bible verse, chapter, and book? Why? 

OH MY. Can you pick a favorite ever? Currently I’m working on memorizing Romans 3:21-31, so that’s pretty good. I guess I have to say whatever I’m currently reading is my favorite. In general, my favorite is Psalms, Isaiah, Romans, I really like all the gospels, and my favorite verses are 2 Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” As well as 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to men, but God is faithful, and will not suffer ye to be tempted above such as you are able, but with the temptation also provide a way to escape, that you might be able to bear it.” And last but not least,  Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” I’d better stop there, but I’m gonna squeeze in Psalm 84:11. :)

You can never had too many favorites. :) What Bible verse(s) have really helped you through some rough times?
Most all the favorite verses above have really helped me in life and that’s why I have memorized them, because I ran back to them so many times.

What is one event in your life that really strengthened your Christian walk?
As a young girl raised in a Christian family, my parents really instilled the fact that we girls need to guard our hearts for our future husbands. 

That was a constant challenge for me because I’m so loud and talkative and I love hanging out with my friends. An besides that, somehow all my friends seemed to be guys. So keeping my heart guarded was something that always had me running back to God and His Word and I’ve had that as a constant growth promoter for me, because I’m still praying for Prince Charming, and living for the Prince of Peace.

Great reminder. <3 Any Bible reading tips? 
Yes! Read when there is no one around. And always pray before you read. And one more thing before we exit this section, ask God to draw you closer in each situation. I found that whenever I catch myself praying for Him to keep me safe, I also make it a point to ask Him to grow me and draw me closer through that situation. It’s really a very strengthening and trust growing thing that I’ve been trying out. :)

Speaking of reading... On a scale of 1-10, how much of a reader would you consider yourself? What about a writer? 
I’m a very big reader, I’d say about a 9, since I am careful about what I read, so that sort of cuts back on what I can read.
As a writer, 100%... Oops. I mean 10. I’m writing all the time. ALL THE TIME. 

Where's your favorite place to read and/or write?
At my table in our office room. Especially at night when all my roommates are sleeping and I have Jesus and the house to myself.

What's your favorite author(s)? Favorite books by them?
I cannot even answer this question. Um… Well I really like some of Jules Verne's classics, William Hobbs, Jenny B. Jones, (not Junie B. Jones) As well as Jenny Cote, who writes The Epic Order of the Seven.

Jenny and Junie – there's a big difference. ;D What are some books that really impacted your young life? 
The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer, which was given to me by a good friend on my 17th birthday. That book has changed me forever.
I also like the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, another book recommended by friends. 
The book Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank L. Houghton. Really impacted the way I look at my life and approach relationships with family and with my Sunday School kids.
How about some randomness before we sat farewell? If you had to use one word to describe 
yourself, what would it be? 

“Rule Breaker,” because I used more than one word. XD I’m frank, loyal, devoted, loud, and a leader, but always fun.

Any pet peeves? 
Yes, I hate tiny holes. Like when there are millions of tiny little hole without uniformity, it just kills me. Shivers up my spine and I’m ready to throw up. It’s weird, but it gets me every time. 

Favorite songs? 
AHH!! I was hoping you’d ask that. It always changes, but “Beloved” By Jordan Feliz, “I Will Not Say Goodbye” by Danny Gokey, “Long Long Time” By Brennley Brown, and “The Happy Song” By Jamie Grace.

Anything else to add? Goals for this year?
Well, for me I feel like the year is almost over, but I’m hoping to finish reading all the way through the Bible by 2018. I’ve got the New Testament left.

Haha, true. Maybe I need a new set of questions for this blog series. XD 

Thank you Faith for having me participate in this thing you do. It was a lot of fun to answer. :)

Thanks for coming over, Libby! 


Be sure to check out Libby's blog @ Geoturtle! Thanks for reading!