A Rich Week

Life has been very full the last little while. And I’m loving it.

Last week was mostly spent tidying up after moving, finding new homes for all our things, etc.

This week, I worked two full days at my new job (helping out a family; SO much fun!), and starting a project I’ve taken a break on for the last two to three years: School work. And, while stretching, and while I am behind (I’m working on it, I promise!), I’ve been enjoying it so much.

I never officially finished highschool. I guess you could say I’m a dropout, but when I stopped doing it, I was just starting to get my website up and running, and was learning a TON about webdesign.

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For the last two or three years, that has been my life. And it still is. I’ve still got a lot to do there. I have no idea how I’m going to balance it all, but I figure if I want something bad enough (like having the chance to learn more and still get my website work done), I’ll find a way to do it.

So this week, in between thinking about all the different things I need to do or keep in mind when working at my new job (like remembering to get noisy jobs done before nap-time!), I’ve been studying the ancient Americas. Did you know that advanced civilizations popped up in Central America before the Mayans—or at least ran concurrently with them? Or that in the Pacific Northwest, there were tribes of Native Americans who owned slaves and had a very defined caste system, as Captain Cook discovered when he visited? Or that some Native American cultures spent years planning some of their feasts?

I didn’t know those things. And between several different books that I’m currently reading right now that are scheduled in our school curriculum, I am finding a few fascinating tidbits.

Which is why I wanted to go back to doing school in the first place, so YAY!

I’ve also been reading Peace Child, and although the first chapters are fairly disgusting and hard to read, the transformation that I know is coming is going to be amazing to see too. And their reasoning behind why and how they did certain things…wow. Don’t get me started. Add in the language used to tell the story, and it’s a masterful book, which makes my readerly heart very happy!

So that’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately. Have you learned anything interesting or done something new (or the first in a long time) this past week?

What Dreams May Come Review and Blog Tour

My brother and I bounced along in the back seat of the truck. Praise music was turned on fairly loudly in the front, and every once in a while one of us would look back to check on our load and make sure everything was staying in place. Already, we had stopped five or six times to try to tighten up straps enough to keep the tires on top of the things packed underneath them on the loaded trailer. It was a chore to make sure that they didn’t jiggle too far out—at one point, we had ended up with a tire dragging on the road, which isn’t very optimal in a high-speed zone!

However, by now, two and a half hours into our journey, things seemed to be settling down a bit. We were all heaving a tentative sigh of relief, especially since the last stop for a check had revealed that the most recent tighten-down and re-threading seemed to have worked. Finally able to relax some, and ready to enjoy the scenery, I checked the two chickens perched right behind our heads one more time. They seemed to be doing fine, with their cage securely fastened by a few bits of twine string to the bars across the back window of the truck. Their feathers were being blown around some, but not as much as they had been before we wrapped a coat around the more exposed sides of the cage.

Tugging my Kindle out of my bag, I was excited to finally be able to start the book I’d been waiting for several months to read, What Dreams May Come. And as the native bush, creeks, the occasional waterfall, and rivers slid by outside (and the chickens and tires stayed in place behind us), I lost myself in the story.

What Dreams May Come Tour Banner

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support this blog and my reading habits, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

I don’t quite remember what I expected when I started reading What Dreams May Come, aside from a fascinating story, but it did not disappoint in the slightest!

About the book:

What Dreams May Come by Alana TerryShe’s got her heart set on becoming a missionary. He’s determined to recruit her for the job.

But is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Susannah’s convinced that God has called her to the mission field. That’s why she’s serving him with single-minded focus in Orchard Grove, waiting for the day when she can leave her small town to take the gospel to the nations.

Is falling in love with her missionary recruiter part of God’s plan for her life or a distraction from the real goal?

Scott loves his life. Traveling the globe, offering spiritual support to missionaries around the world offers enough excitement that the loneliness hardly ever gets to him…

Until he receives an application from a young girl with a heart for the mission field as large as his own, a young girl he finds himself falling for even before they get the chance to meet face-to-face.

Unfortunately, a promise Susannah made to her family may tear her and Scott even farther apart than the miles that separate them.

Book one in an inspirational sweet romance series by award-winning Christian author Alana Terry, who has won awards from Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, Grace Awards, and several others, What Dreams May Come is based off of the author’s own experiences falling in love with (and eventually marrying) her missionary recruiter.

My thoughts:

Oh, this book. I hope I can get it in print one day—I really enjoyed it!

The thing that most caught me off guard, I believe, was the fact that this story deals with an immense amount of pain—Susannah faces not only losing a parent, then a boyfriend, but the loss of a pile of dreams because of one commitment that could not be put off. Although this dealt with some pretty heavy subjects, it never came off as too much (although it was agony to have to stop part-way through!), nor unrealistic. I loved it.

There were times that I was almost crying with Susannah as she faced supporting her sister while somehow dealing with her own loss. Things came crashing around her more than once, and each one was so realistic.

Then, too, there were times I was laughing out loud due to different circumstances—whether from comedy, courtesy of a very curious but somewhat confused child (Woong is absolutely adorable!); or sheer relief that the things I thought might happen didn’t.

What Dreams May Come Quote

Pain, hope, and love mix to make this book a one-of-a-kind romance (well, in my experience, which is admittedly not as informed as it could be!). However, in the experience I do have, this book struck a deep chord with me.

I, too, like Susannah, have had hopes and dreams dashed when I was least expecting it. The struggle—the agony of loss—came through in this story without the hype often found in other books. And Susannah’s struggle, not only to come to grips with the past but try to make sense of the future, were ones I’ve faced in the not too distant past. So in some ways, this story felt like my story—so the solutions and hopes expressed in this felt like mine to claim too.

One of my favorite quotes was:

He is the God who finishes what he begins. He is the God who brings it to completion. … He doesn’t place a calling on your life and fail to bring it to pass.” —Grandma Lucy

In all, I came away from What Dreams May Come feeling immensely encouraged, eager to find the next book in the series, and grateful to have had the chance to read this. If you’ve ever faced loss or want a sweet romance with a bit of the deeper struggles of life thrown in, I think this might be a good choice for you!

Note: I received this book for free from the author, and chose to share my opinions of the book.

Buy your copy here.

Alana Terry Author PhotoAbout the author:

Alana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second. You can find her on her website at AlanaTerry.com.

Guest post by Alana Terry:

The cat’s out of the bag! Back in 2016, I wrote What Dreams May Come, a novel that was based on the way my husband and I fell in love … fourteen months before we ever met! It wasn’t until just before Christmas that I told Scott the romance novel I’d been writing was actually our true-to-life love story, and he was even more surprised than I hoped he’d be! Watch the video to see his reaction.

Christian Book.com GiveawayGiveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a $50 CBD gift card!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Other blog stops:

A Baker’s Perspective, February 8
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 8
Reading Is My SuperPower, February 9
Bigreadersite, February 9
Blogging With Carol, February 10
Zerina Blossom’s Books, February 10
Bibliophile Reviews, February 11
Purposeful Learning, February 11
Christian Author, J.E.Grace, February 12
C Jane Read, February 12
The Fizzy Pop Collection, February 13
Maureen’s Musings, February 13
Mommynificent, February 14
Texas Book-aholic, February 14
Mary Hake, February 15
Remembrancy, February 15
proud to be an autism mom, February 16
Avid Reader Book Reviews, February 16
A Greater Yes, February 17
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 17
Janices book reviews, February 18
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 18
Carpe Diem, February 19
margaret kazmierczak, February 19 (interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, February 20 (guest post from Mindy)
Pursuing Stacie, February 20
God is Love, February 21
Joy of Reading, February 21

Let’s discuss: What do you enjoy reading on long trips? Or do you do something else then? What’s one book that has encouraged you in an area you had recently struggled in?

New Home, New Memories

Well, moving week is behind us now. And I’m thankful.

At the same time, it was hard to say goodbye to our old place. I have some wonderful memories of being there, and even more great memories of living in that area. Over the last eight years, we haven’t moved any further than about 10 minutes’ distance from any one place, even though we lived in four different houses in that time.

This time, it’s four hours away. And I miss our friends from over there.

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Still, I can’t help but be thankful. We aren’t renting any more. Yes, we’ve got a mortgage, but this is our house. We were able to choose where we could go. And I love this place already, even though we’ve only lived in it for a week! We have wonderful friends over here, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them (and others in the area) even better over the next few years.

During this move, I’ve realized I’m also very thankful for my memories. While it was hard to say goodbye to an area that was very much home for eight years, I’m thankful that I can remember all the good things that happened there. Like I wrote the day before we moved,

There will always be a part of me left behind here. Life was lived to its fullest many days. There were heartaches and joys in the three years we’ve lived in this house—one dear sibling was added to the family, and another was taken away. I’m thankful for the time we’ve spent here, and the memories, and in some ways, I’ll miss it.

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Now, we’re working on developing new memories…growing deeper as a family, getting to know each other better. We’re all thrilled that my oldest brother can live with us again, since his work is only six minutes’ drive away. We love being able to hang out again.

God is good.

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These guys? They’re experts at this unloading thing by now!

We’re still settling in, for sure. I haven’t finished unpacking yet, because I don’t have a place to hang my dresses yet. I’m thankful for room in Mom’s closet, and for the fact that an old solid-wood wardrobe was left here, which I’m currently refinishing (that post will be coming soon!). The house is mostly tidy now, and Mom got all our books sorted and up on shelves again which is wonderful! I love seeing all our books together in one place. Makes me want to get reading again. 🙂

There’s this huge old ivy bush at the front of our place, and right now my youngest siblings are having heaps of fun climbing to the top and bouncing down the sides. I love watching them play together and enjoy each other’s company! God is good! I’m so thankful for all He’s done!

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Well, I’d better get out and do some more sanding on the wardrobe. I glued a few cracks this morning (one that I inadvertently crunched earlier after I glued and sanded it a couple days ago—oops!). Just a bit more to do there, I think, and then I can apply the stain/varnish stuff. Can’t wait to see what it looks like in the end!

What are you working on right now? What’s one memory that you have that you’re thankful for?

Writing Inspiration Resources — Where I’m Finding Motivation Right Now

We’re currently in the thick of moving preparations at the moment. It’s Wednesday; we’re moving Saturday, and there are still some cleaning jobs, final yard clean-up, and last-minute packing to do yet! But we’re getting there.

My writing time lately has been struggling quite a bit. We’ve been spending a lot more time with other people (mostly goodbye meals), and the stress of having things in limbo especially this last week has really made it difficult to focus. I never realized before what part a tidy, “normal” environment plays into my creativity levels! It’s a fascinating thing to think about.

Anyway, I have wanted to continue doing at least a little writing, just to keep the practice in, so I’ve been pushing myself to do 100 words each day in my story. Keeping going in the midst of change is hard, but at the same time it’s also refreshing to have one constant I can count on in my life.

I’ve also been working on “fueling up” as much as possible, and I thought it would be fun to share a few places I’m finding inspiration these days with you!

Writing Inspiration Resources — Where I'm Finding Motivation Right Now

  1. Read updates from other writers. I frequently stop by Lydia Howe’s and Kate Willis’ blogs, because they often talk about writing. Seeing other writers struggle with their stories, fight through, and make progress, has always inspired me, so I’m gleaning as much inspiration from them as possible.
  2. Shawn Smucker’s writing updates. Technically, this should fit under the previous point, but I’ve appreciated the thoughts he’s had to share so much recently that it deserves its own place in the list. 🙂 His goal is to write 1000 words every weekday, and each day before he begins writing he does a short journal entry or pep talk for the day. So far, I’ve found it helpful and encouraging. And it makes me itch to start writing more myself, so YAY!
  3. 2018 Author Olympics. A.M.Heath has apparently come up with this–it’s a self-paced olympics for authors, that runs alongside the winter olympics. I’ve never participated, but I’m hoping I can this year! From the description: “Each author sets their own daily goals in the hopes of earning a virtual medal by the end of the day.”
  4. Three Day Word Wars. Again, something I haven’t participated in yet (schedules don’t always mesh very well!), but this is a community of writers who write as much as they possibly can over a three-day period, send in their final wordcounts, and whoever has the most at the end wins a prize. Pretty fun. I’m hoping I can join in next time, but we’ll see! The next one is running from February 22-24.
  5. Read good books. I’m just over half-way through an apologetic, Cold Case Christianity (I mentioned that in an earlier post sometime). I’m also part-way through a novella that’s taken me over a year to read. As soon as I’ve finished that, I’m planning to read several books from authors I know I love—I always find lots of good inspiration there! Good writing, both non-fiction and fiction, often inspires me to work on writing myself.
  6. Listen to piano music. I’ve loved some of Thad Fiscella’s songs for a long time, and often find his music inspiring.
  7.  Keep writing. As much as I might struggle to have this on the list, it really is helpful. My goal is to do at least 100 words per day. Often, I average just above that, but at least I keep moving a little!

What are you doing to keep yourself inspired and moving in your work right now? Do you struggle to focus when your surroundings are changing?

‘Tis so Sweet Book Review (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

I knew it was possibly a little foolish to sign up for yet another blog tour so close to our moving date, but I really couldn’t resist last week. I loved Faith Blum’s last release, All the Way the Savior Leads, and ‘Tis so Sweet was a novella, I figured it would probably be safe.

So one hot afternoon after the author sent it to me, while Dad drove our family out to the ocean to cool off, I read. Then, my little sister and I played in the surf and got ourselves thoroughly soaked, having the time of our lives. When we were done cooling off (and trust me, even the cold south Pacific feels good on hot days!), and everyone else had had a good swim, we headed home again—and Dad took the longer, scenic route to get back. Which gave me just enough time to finish this book.

I loved it. A whole book (hey, a novella counts, right?) plus a nice hour at the beach? Just perfect.

'Tis so Sweet Tour Banner

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support this blog and my reading habits, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

About the book:

'Tis so Sweet by Faith BlumTrusting God is hard.

Eleanor Miller has never lacked for anything, but she wanted to become a schoolteacher anyway to instill the love of learning into other children. Unlike what happened with her brother, Grover.

Grover hated school and authority. He rebelled any change he could. When he almost killed a man, their family was torn apart and he was disowned.

Eleanor understands her father’s decision, but she worries she will never see Grover again. Will she find out how sweet it is to trust Jesus in everything no matter what happens or will she stop trusting Him completely?

Available now on your favorite eBook platform.

My thoughts:

The historical setting of this book was probably the first thing that drew me in. Although the language used felt almost too modern, I loved the Laura Ingalls feeling to the story, what with old-time school teachers and the like. After that, the story itself grabbed me. I instantly felt sorry for Eleanor and Mr. Miller, when they’re trying to deal with Grover. And the poor boy, not directing his life correctly…I probably felt most sorry for him.

The story progressed fairly fast, and there were quite a few time gaps, but the characters grew through that time, which was good to see. The overall theme—that of learning to trust the Lord whatever happens—is an important one, and I appreciated how that was brought out as well.

I did struggle with one part, where someone was hung…the emotions there, while fairly realistic, did feel “off” somehow. I don’t really know how to describe it. But since I’ve gone through something similar with my brother, my sense of “off” there could simply be due to the fact that it’s hard for me to read about anything related to that kind of a death. It just struck me as not being quite accurate. However, even in that, the theme came through pretty well, and I appreciated the way it was applied.

In all, this short book was a lovely companion to the series (or at least, the amount of them I’ve read!). It follows the same general theme of making a song the driving point of the book, and the song appears in different pertinent situations to help illustrate the main theme. No matter what happens in life, we still need to trust Jesus. And as we all know, that’s not very easy—but it’s so worth it! I think this story brought that fact out beautifully.

I received this book for free from the author, and chose to share my opinions about it.

Buy your own copy here!

About the author:

Faith Blum, AuthorFaith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and spend time with her husband. She lives in Wisconsin in a small town with her husband and cat where she can write to her heart’s content during the day. Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ.

Giveaway!

Giveaway!

Faith is offering three prizes:

  • Grand prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1st Prize: eBook of ‘Tis So Sweet
  • 2nd Prize: Prize: eBook of ‘Tis So Sweet

Enter here!

Preorder opportunity:

He Hideth My Soul by Faith Blum‘Tis So Sweet is a companion novella to Faith’s next novel, He Hideth My Soul. Faith is excited to announce that He Hideth My Soul will be published on February 26th! And it’s now available for preorder for just $0.99. Reserve your copy today!

Other tour stops:

January 26
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Inksword – Author Interview
Wildflower Acres – Book Spotlight

January 27
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Spotlight
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections – Special post from the author

January 29
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Book Spotlight
Purposeful Learning – Book Review

January 30
Janice’s Book Reviews – Book Review

January 31
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

What song has challenged you lately in an area you need to grow in? What song has encouraged you lately?

A Song Unheard Review and Blog Tour

Who was the girl laying on her bed reading this afternoon instead of doing the cleaning and sorting she really should have been working on in preparation for moving in a couple weeks?

Me. Unashamedly, me. Because, “I only had eight chapters left…” and please don’t mention the fact that I wasn’t even to the three-quarter mark yet!

Ahem. Yup. I didn’t even take time to move my planner from my nightstand to my desk, like I always do every morning. Turns out, I spent most of my day thinking about the story and wishing I could get back to it instead of reading—which, of necessity, meant I didn’t get much else done either.

But that’s okay, in this case, because I needed to get it read and reviewed and the review scheduled so I didn’t have to think about it later. It was one of my goals for this week. Promise.

A Song Unheard Tour Banner

Some of the links below may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support this blog and my reading habits, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Oh, this book. I expected to enjoy it, but also to get annoyed with it (both of which were true about the previous book in this series, A Name Unknown). While A Song Unheard didn’t quite hit the five-star mark for me—I’m trying to only use that for the books that completely blow me away!—I still loved it immensely. And one day, I hope I can sit down and re-read the entire series. Just because they’re lovely books, with sweet stories set in an intriguing historical time period.

About the book:

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

My thoughts:

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. WhiteHistorically speaking, A Song Unheard dragged me in and wouldn’t let go. White did an incredible job building her story in such a way that you almost feel like you’re there, and I didn’t find anything that took me out of the setting, once in it, either. I loved getting to see another side of World War I through this story, too—as the author pointed out near the end of the book, there are few stories set in this time period, so that made it more intriguing. And definitely lovable.

I loved all the characters—even the villains!—each was very well developed. Margot probably won the most laughs from me, though. Her almost too-smart attitude, combined with her knowledge and the fact that she had a hard time controlling her tongue were all endearing and humorous to observe. My most favorite quote probably came from her, too:

“How old are you, anyway? Thirteen? Fourteen?” [he asked.]

“Two hundred and thirty. I look young for my age.” (She was fourteen!)

The romance ended up quite sweet and loveable, and I didn’t gag like I thought I might. That, too, was nice.

In the end, I really enjoyed the chance to read A Song Unheard. The writing style was poetic, and the suspense and mystery were just perfect—not too much to be too concerning, but enough to make me keep turning pages in the hope that maybe I’d get it figured out in the next chapter! The Christian element, too, was there, and very well done. One statement one character made (or implied) confused me a little—that of the Methodists and Catholics being on similar ground. From a historical standpoint, that did make me question the opinion a little (although my idea of what Methodism looked like in the early 1900s may be skewed as well). Otherwise, this seems to be a well-researched book, so if you’re looking for a cozy historical fiction with a splash of romance, this might just be down your alley!

I received this book for free from the publishers, and chose to share my opinions of the book.

Buy your copy here.

Author Roseanna M. WhiteAbout the author:

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

A Song Unheard GiveawayGiveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Other blog stops:

Fiction Aficionado, January 11
History, Mystery & Faith, January 11
Genesis 5020, January 11
Bookworm Mama, January 11
A Simply Enchanted Life, January 11
Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 12
Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 12
Blogging With Carol, January 12
Multifarious, January 12
proud to be an autism mom, January 12
Faithfully Bookish, January 13
Christian Bookaholic, January 13
Karen Sue Hadley, January 13
Mary Hake, January 13
A Greater Yes, January 13
Remembrancy, January 14
Blossoms and Blessings, January 14
Just the Write Escape, January 14
Connie’s History Classroom, January 14
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
A Reader’s Brain, January 15
Rachel’s Back Talk, January 15
Smiling Book Reviews, January 15
Cordially Barbara, January 15
Pursuing Stacie, January 15
The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 16
Kat’s Corner Books, January 16
The Artist Librarian, January 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 16
Bigreadersite, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Seasons of Opportunities, January 17
Moments Dipped in Ink, January 17
Baker Kella, January 17
Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, January 17
God’s Little Bookworm, January 18
allofakindmom, January 18
The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18
Inklings and notions, January 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18
Pause for Tales, January 19
Have A Wonderful Day, January 19
Just Commonly, January 19
Bibliophile Reviews , January 19
Janices book reviews, January 19
Radiant Light, January 20
The Power of Words , January 20
Book by Book, January 20
CAC Devourer, January 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 20
Splashes of Joy, January 21
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 21
Neverending Stories, January 21
Faery Tales Are Real, January 21
A Baker’s Perspective, January 21
margaret kazmierczak, January 22
The PhD Mamma, January 22
Cafinated Reads, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 22
Romances of the Cross, January 23
Purposeful Learning, January 23
Rachel Scott McDaniel, January 23
Carpe Diem, January 23
Simple Harvest Reads, January 23
Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, January 24
Henry Happens, January 24
Joy of Reading, January 24
Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 24
Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 24

Let’s discuss: What’s one historical fiction that you’ve really enjoyed recently? What is the most unusual historical setting you’ve read about before (as in a time period there aren’t many books about, etc.)?

Micah and Mary

Currently, I’m doing a reading plan that involves reading ten different chapters in ten different books of the Bible per day. For me, it’s a fairly flexible one—some days, I only end up reading one chapter, other days it’s just five, but I always aim for all ten. The way this particular plan is set up is that once you finish reading a certain “section” of the Bible, you just start it over—and that can cause some interesting mashups at times!

A few days ago, several chapters really stood out to me, and I thought I’d share my notes from them today, as I’m still thinking about them this morning.

Key texts: Mark 14:3–9, Judges 17–18

Mark 14: The gift Mary gave Jesus (“ointment on his feet”) was to be talked about wherever the gospel was preached, forever (see vs. 9).

In Judges 18, something else has happened that will also be spoken of for a very, very long time: Micah, an Ephraimite, “did that which was right in his own eyes” (see 17:6), and made himself both graven and molten images. He then created a priest in a weird mix-up of calling these images “the LORD”, thinking he was worshiping the God of Israel.

It was an evil combination of true and pagan worship, and it happened while the house of God was at Shiloh…he still had access to the truth, but he decided to do what he thought was right.

And by that one perversion in one man, one family, everyone in Dan (well, at least the ones who came to live in a nearby city) ended up being drawn away too. This lasted “all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh,” “…until the day of the captivity of the land.” (See vs. 30-31.)

Of course, we don’t really know which captivity this was (or at least, I haven’t taken time to study that part out!)—it may have been as far out as the Babylonian captivity, or perhaps a closer, smaller one. It’s hard to tell.

What we DO know is that this perversion, confusion, and sin, lasted a long, long time.

Morning Devotions: Micah and Mary

One sacrificed everything for her LORD.

One didn’t even bother to figure out or ask what his LORD required.

One did perfectly, and caused great blessing.

One did perversely, caused great confusion, and drew many away from the truth.

Which one am I?

Both may have considered their decisions inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. It’s easy for us, me, to fall into that trap, too. Thinking that our little actions don’t really matter.

But they do.

We may never see the long-term results. Mary probably didn’t, although Micah may have, at least to a certain extent. Both thought they were in the right. But what each one did affected many, many following generations.

How am I living my life?

Am I living it right in my eyes, after the pattern of Micah, or right in God’s estimation?

How are my actions now—however inconsequential, thoughtless, or otherwise—going to affect those around me…and the generations following me?

What a sobering thought!

As we start this next week, let us never forget that each action, each decision, does matter. Yes, God gives grace. But we’re still responsible to continue living for Him in everything we think and do.

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” —Ephesians 5:8

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” —1 Timothy 4:16

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” —1 Peter 2:9-10

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” —1 John 1:7

What have you been learning in your personal devotional time lately?

Moving Preparation

Happy Thursday, everyone! The day is brilliantly sunny outside right now, with a few clouds in the blue sky. It’s also pretty warm out there, so I’m sitting inside with a fan on.

Lord willing, we’ll be moving in two and a half weeks. And although that isn’t very far off, I’m also looking forward to having it done. Mom’s done an excellent job of getting packed up as much as possible ahead of time in places like the library, bathroom, and kitchen—getting rid of the stuff we don’t use on a day-to-day basis.

(Which is wonderful, except for times like last night when I was making rhubarb crisp, and some of the ingredients I wanted to use were packed! 🙂 Thankfully, we had substitutes that worked well!)

Moving Preparation 01

I was originally planning on moving a week and a half ahead of the rest of the family, but at this point that doesn’t look like it’s as needed as it was before. I could still go, but we’ll see what ends up happening. I’m praying for direction.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a list of things I need to get done—including get some reviews scheduled for over the time we move. This morning, I got all the pre-uploading stuff done, so as soon as I’m finished writing this, I’ll tackle that again.

For the most part, I feel like I’m pretty-much on track to get everything done that I must get done before we move. That’s a good feeling! After I’m done uploading reviews, I’ll be able to work on other things like making sure I’ve written reviews of all the books I’ve read (fell off the bandwagon for that one these last few months!), or maybe getting some sewing done. We’ll see!

What are you working on today? What’s the weather like where you are?

Book Club Beginnings

Somewhere near the beginning of the year, I came across Tim Challies’ reading challenge. I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen it before, but when I saw the list—and imagined how much it would stretch my current reading habits!—I thought it might be worth a try. Just once.

After all, if I do finish even one portion of the list, I’ll have read some books I wouldn’t have normally read before, so that’s worthwhile in itself!

Some of the books in the challenge will be pretty easy to do, like biographies, or books published in 2018 (for the last few years, I’ve often had the chance to read to-be-released books, or recently released ones, so this shouldn’t be a problem!).

Book Club Beginnings 01

However, other books, such as one about current events, might be a bit trickier. I’m thinking of looking up one by Eric Metaxas, John Stonestreet, or maybe even Ravi Zacharias (you can tell by the first two that I listen to Breakpoint every once in a while!). Not sure yet about any of these, but we’ll see what I can find. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

The first one I’m working on is one that is a bit more challenging for me: A book about theology. Although I really enjoy studying theology to a certain extent, I also can tend to get a little annoyed with it after a while, as many (at least seem to) end up being “better than you” kinds of thinking. Or else I’m just ready to move on to something more applicable to real life!

I ended up deciding on a book that is somewhat theological, although it actually deals more in apologetics, which is another fascinating subject. It’s Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace, and some of the facts and observations he brings out are extremely fascinating!

My second-oldest brother has joined me in reading Cold Case Christianity, as we happen to have both the adult and children’s versions. So in a sense, we’ve created a book club. Each day, we compare notes on what we’ve read, as the subject matter in each chapter coincides well. So far, it’s gone really well, and we’re both learning a lot!

What have you been reading lately? Have you ever participated in a reading challenge?

2018 Blogging Goals

As I was working on finalizing my goals last Sunday on the way home from church, I remembered a footnote that was added somewhere in the planning process: Blog Mon/Wed/Fri. While I am not planning on setting three blog posts as my goal every week this next year, it did reinforce a point to me as I was planning—I needed, wanted, to schedule in time every week to blog.

I’ve been writing online since I was twelve, and in the years since then, I’ve often discovered I love the process of composing my thoughts into something half-legible, and sharing it with the world. I’ve also loved following other bloggers who do the same thing, sharing their thoughts, opinions, and encouragements as the muse struck them.

This Year's Blogging Goals 01

Over the past two years, I’ve sort-of lost out on my desire to blog. But now, in 2018, I want to get back into that. My goal is to post at least one time a week, ending up with fifty-two posts by the end of year. My prayer is that I can encourage the body of Christ over this year.

As I’ve believed for years (and many, many other people have believed before me!), words have power. To some small degree, I feel like I’ve been entrusted that power. And I don’t want to waste it.

So this year, while my goal is to write more regularly (and I’m trying to set aside time on Thursdays to do that), I hope I’ll end up writing more. I hope, no matter how much or how little I do end up writing, it will be an encouragement to someone.

This year, I’m hoping to go back to one of the basics, in some ways. 1 Thess. 5:11 says we need to “edify one another”, or, in other words, “build each other up.” I feel like I don’t know how to do that very well. But I want to try again.

What are you planning to work on throughout this next year?