2017: A New Years Message

2017.png

A year ago to this day I posted a New Years message. It was a message that I myself had just recently learned. I spoke of the strength of who Jesus is. How HE is big enough for all the pain that has ever and ever will be.

I posted it and a very close friend of mine spoke of how much it had meant to her, how the things I had spoken of had blessed her due to the hard year she had had. I was so happy and excited for her.

I was so glad that the post had helped even one person, especially my best friend. I thought contentedly that the post had done the Lord’s purpose, helped my friend.

And, in my human nearsightedness, I thought it had completed it’s mission and that the things I had spoken of had served their complete purpose.

But little did I know that the words I had written would become incredibly poignant to me over the next year.

In February my parents separated. We didn’t see it coming. It was unexpected. And it was hard in ways that you wouldn’t expect.

This year felt like death so many times. And, in truth, I think that it was in a way.  We died as we were. And it hurt like hell. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of pain and sadness and anger. Battles with hate and bitterness, fear, depression, and anxiety for the future. It has been so bitterly hard. 

But the Lord was with us the whole way. AND HE WAS ENOUGH. Jesus WAS and IS enough for the pain, the fear, the hurt. 

This past year often times victory was simply believing that God loved me. And that was the best I could do. It was hard to have faith, it was hard to believe, it was hard to hope. 

But, Jesus brought me through it all. Stronger, and in some unbelievable way, more peaceful and content than before. 

This past year has truly taught me the lesson I wrote of last year. And I am sure every year comes during my life will continue to teach me this lesson. 

In 2017 I have, to and extent, learned to rest in Jesus and realize that He is enough for everything awful. In 2018 I want to learn to hope. Hope with more strength, joy, and belief than ever before.

Hope is something of miracle in and of itself. Hope, even if the dream you are hoping towards doesn’t occur when you want or ever at all, still gives you a gift. And I want it. I want every blessing the Lord wants to give me. And hope is one of those blessings. Sothis 2018 I am making no resolutions. I am merely hoping to hope.

2017 has been so hard, but good. So painful, but necessary. So awful, but so, so much of a blessing. I thank the Lord for it. For us, 2017 was the death of the people we were, the wrong beliefs we held, and the painful monotony of our lives. 

But 2018 will be a year of discovering the people we are and will be, for learning to truths to believe in, and for finding the rhythm of a healthy, God blessed life.

For 2018 I am choosing to hope. I will live with hope and belief that this year is going to be a year of beautiful, bursting life. Hope that God has never and will never abandon us. Hope that tomorrow will be even better than today.

” ‘Hope‘ is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”
–Emily Dickinson
So, to 2017, I say goodbye. Thank you for the blessings you’ve held, even if they sometimes hurt. To 2018, I say hello. I can’t wait to see the fulfillment of my hopes in you. 
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The Twelve Movies of Christmas

The Twelve Movies of Christmas

Hey, guys! I know that for my family finding the perfect holiday film can be hard. The days before Christmas can be stressful with the hustle and bustle, so when you finally get a chance to relax you don’t want to spend it searching for a movie to watch!

So, as my Christmas gift to you, here is a list of twelve wonderful movies your family will love! I have broken them into three categories for your ease of browsing!

Drama is for those of you who like movies that are deep, faith-building, and tear increasing!

Funny & Witty are movies for y’all who just want to have fun! And if there’s a few good messages along the way? Why not! 

Light & Heartwarming is for folks who aren’t looking for deep and profound films or unstoppable laughter. These movies are for those of you just want a pleasant, 90 minute diversion to sparkle their evening up.

WARNING: I am not responsible or legally bound to reimburse or insure against any disaster such as but not limited to: water damage induced by excessive tears, stomach aches caused by exorbitant laughter, and possibly even superfluous amounts of heartwarming fluff.  

P.S. I know the Twelve Days of Christmas don’t start until Christmas day. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a clever post title! 🙂

P.P.S. Movies in no particular order of my favorites. Just alphabetical. 

Okay, enough P.S.’s! Onto the movies! XD

DRAMA

FUNNY & WITTY

LIGHT & HEARTWARMING


A note on content—Several of these movies have some objectionable content in them. I especially don’t recommend watching While You Were Sleeping without looking it up first and knowing what you’re doing. And, as a disclaimer, I am not insuring the cleanliness of these movies to anyone. People have their own standards, so if you’re interested in one-look it up. 🙂 

Alright y’all, this’ll be my last post before Christmas and possibly in December. I hope you all have an amazing time during this holiday season and have a very, Merry Christmas!

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies? Have you seen any of the above? Send me a comment, I love to chat!

Christmas Hymn Spotlight

Greetings, everyone! I hope you are having a lovely Sunday, I am! So this year for Christmas, my mom is having each of us kids study a classic Christmas hymn. Mine is It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. I decided I would share a few of my thoughts on it with you all as it is that time of the year. 🙂 

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear Graphic

Lyrics:
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O’ ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Most people, including me, know the first stanza pretty well. But, I have never really focused on the words of the following stanzas, I didn’t grow up singing hymns at church so it wasn’t a large part of my life. I love many Christmas hymns, carols, and songs, but It Came Upon a Midnight Clear wasn’t one of those. In fact, for quite a while, I was mildly annoyed by it for some unnamed reason.

However, when I started going over the second through fourth stanzas I was a bit blown away. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear had so much more to it than I thought. I would imagine that if I were to look into more of the classic hymns I would find that to be a common theme.

One thing my mom also wanted us to do was specifically pick out the names of Jesus in our hymns. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear doesn’t have anywhere near as many names of Jesus as some other carols and hymns do, but it does have one instance of Prince of Peace (one of my favorites of Jesus’s names) and two uses of King.

I love that it speaks of two promises, covenants, prophesies-whatever you want to call them. The first promise is in the first three stanzas. This part speaks of Jesus’s birth. This is the fulfillment of many prophecies, hopes, years. I mean, think about it, the Jewish people have been waiting for HUNDREDS of years. This beautiful, precious baby is what their hope and faith has been resting on. How amazing is that? 

Then, after the first three stanzas comes the fourth-cause it would be weird if the fifth came next, right? 😛 This one speaks of Jesus’s second coming, the new heaven and earth, and an eternity of peace and joy. I like this stanza best. Not because Jesus’s birth isn’t important or beautiful, but because an eternity of joy is ahead of me and I cannot wait! What a promise, am I right?  

I am so glad I took the time to look over this song fully and with new eyes. It has beautiful meaning. Hopeful meaning. Meaning that matters! 

What about y’all? What’s your favorite Christmas carol or hymn? Tell me all about it! I love to chat! 🙂 

 

BLACK FRIDAY Sales and Author Interview with Gloria Repp

Book Sale

It’s that time of year again! I have been participating in the Black Friday Indie Christian book sales for a several years now and each year the event gets better! This year, along with giving you all the info for this great event, I will be interview the lovely Mrs. Gloria Repp and sharing a giveaway! 

Thanksgiving through Christmas is the time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Books has some great things for you to discover! 
From Nov 24th through Nov 30th, a huge selection of independently published Christian books are on sale. You can find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, we have some freebies for you! Need even more of a reason to support indie authors and fill your shelf with good stories? When you purchase a paperback book through indiechristianbooks you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card!
You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.
A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as “Sold Out.” This is because we aren’t selling those directly through our site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Black Friday Book Sales Giveaway!


 

Gloria Repp

About Gloria Repp: Bedtime? Story time! Gloria Repp’s earliest memories center on the stories her father told at bedtime. “What kind of story would you like tonight?” he’d ask, taking her onto his lap.
She always had an answer, different every time: “About a princess. And a lion. And maybe a horse—a brave, kind horse.” 
After she learned to read, Gloria found stories on her own, but the ones she told herself seemed the most satisfying. Her mother died, her father remarried, she was sent away to school, and on many nights she treated herself to another imaginary adventure.
She became an omnivorous reader as the years passed, and finally she recognized what she’d always wanted to do: write down her stories for children to read. 
She studied the craft of writing juvenile fiction and then began. Her three children seemed to like her stories, so she took the long road to publication and found that others liked them too. Since then, she has taught creative writing, worked as an editor, and written more books—for children, teens, and adults.
Many of Gloria’s books reflect her love for wilderness, and she says that the oceans, mountains, and forests of her childhood in Hawaii and Canada provide an inspiration she has never outgrown. 
Recently, she has been exploring the New Jersey Pine Barrens, an incomparable wilderness of woods and rivers, bogs and ruins. One memorable spring evening, she listened to its frogs and found them irresistible. Before long, the hours of tramping through abandoned cranberry bogs bore fruit, and she began to dream of stories about a tiny Pine Barrens Treefrog named Pibbin. 
Pibbin’s adventures have taken shape, young readers enjoy them, and each year she goes back to the Pine Barrens for more. The Tales of Friendship Bog continue.


Author Interview

How long have you been writing?
Approximately thirty-seven years
What authors have influenced your career most?
The most influential authors for me are: C.S. Lewis—with his imaginative, instructive fiction and non-fiction; Tolkien—with his marvelous worlds, intricately woven with courage, honor, and triumph over evil; and Solzhenitsyn—with his sobering reminder of the cruel environment still suffered by many human beings and the wonderful resilience of men and women in bondage.
Where do you like to write?
In my study is a large alcove that used to be a closet. I took off the door, installed bookshelves, and added a large, comfortable chair. That chair is my favorite place to write, but I can write anywhere that I have a scrap of paper and a pencil.
What is your favorite genre of book to read?
I’m an omnivorous reader, but these days I’m reading mostly fiction and non-fiction centered on New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War. Sometimes I will relax with a mystery or something from another world entirely, like one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s books. I do not care for erotica or books with a sad ending, no matter how beautifully written.
What is your all time favorite novel(s)?
I read in many genres, from mystery to biography to historical fiction. It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since my perspective seems to keep changing.
If you could meet any author- alive or dead – who would it be?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
If you could choose any occupation other than author, what would you choose?
School teacher, middle grade or college level. I’ve done both and would go back in a heartbeat.
When you aren’t writing what do you enjoy doing?
As I look at my “fun” activities, I see that they all have to do with making something:
–baking (cakes, pies, cookies, muffins)
–gardening (creating a flower bed)
–artwork (graphics and coloring books)
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read—widely and deeply. Read in genres you enjoy; re-read books you admire; try to read well-known works that don’t immediately appeal to you.
Study your craft. Take writing courses, whether in person, online, or from books. Follow good writing blogs. Try to use what you’re learning to analyze the books you’re reading.
Write—every day, no matter the subject. Setting up a schedule for studying and writing will yield encouraging results. 
Don’t ever give up! Follow your dream and work to make it come true.
Who will enjoy your books?
Letters I’ve received range from readers who are eight years old to those who are seniors. My children’s books and coloring books seem to be enjoyed by all ages. My novels will appeal largely to women.

Gloria Repp will have two of her books free/on sale during the Black Friday event. Links below! 
A Day For Courage
Secrets at Silver Pines Inn

 

Blog Tour! Review of Bound and Author Interview

Hi guys! Today I am very blessed to get to be apart of the blog tour for Miss Victoria Lynn’s beautiful new novel, Bound. Today I will be reviewing Bound and interviewing the lovely author herself! There is also an awesome giveaway that I will be sharing! So stay tuned for a rollicking time!
bound blog tour banner

Author Bio:

headshot for book and website - CopyVictoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she’s not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at http://www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings.


You can find Victoria on her: Blog, Website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Author Interview

Welcome, Victoria! I am so excited to have you with me today. Now, what inspired Bound? Was it a movie, a book, personal life experience?
It was a picture prompt that I wrote for my blog. While there are a lot of my life experiences intertwined in the book and the stories of the characters, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they are what inspired the book itself. Between that original picture prompt and Gods inspiration, that is what created this book.

How many years have you been writing?

Since I was very small. I have a notebook from when I was nine. I have always enjoyed creating my own worlds. . . probably because I have an extremely active imagination!

What’s your favorite genre to write in?

To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite. Which is the reason that I write under the very broad umbrella of Christian Fiction. I love trying my hand at pretty much everything, except gruesome horror stuff of course. I enjoy fantasy, modern fic, historical fiction of course and many different branches of those.

Have you ever had a story take a turn you weren’t expecting in the least?

In a way, yes. When writing Bound, as the story was still forming in my mind, I was at an event and a plot twist hit my head and I literally gasped out loud and dove across the table for a notebook and pen to record the thought before it could escape. I got a few strange looks that day. LOL! 
Out of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is most like you.
Mmm. . . That is a tough one. After going through them all, I would probably say Dudley from London in the Dark. His personality is most like mine. I am very empathetic, and try to make things better and fix problems. I would have to say so far that he is the most like me, though his story is a little too underdeveloped (since he isn’t a main character) to tell yet.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing or reading?

I love to design things. Sewing would probably be my highest thing I find enjoyment in aside from those two things you mentioned. I got to design and create a wedding dress this year and that was an experience to remember!

If you could meet one author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Dang. . .These questions are so hard!!!! Victor Hugo or E.D.E.N. Southworth.

Favorite book of all time?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Anne of Green Gables, and Three People by Isabella Alden. I could survive on those three.

Biggest book crush? I mean, let’s be honest, we all have one!

Gilbert Blythe. *blushes* All the way. I would marry him in a heartbeat. 

Now, for the most important question of all. Milk chocolate or dark? 😛

I like them both, it depends on my mood. But generally dark chocolate.
Thanks so much for having me, Gabriellyn!
You bet, Victoria! It was great to get to pick your brain! 

Bound Review

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Two souls don’t find each other by simple accident. ~Jorge Luis Borges~ 

Levi thought he was making this journey alone. But when he meets an eight-year-old girl at the train station, that plan is turned on its head. 

Casey is running away and finds out that Levi is too. They decide to journey together and their lives are suddenly bound together in a journey they will not soon forget. 

Both children come from abusive situations and are running from the dangers of their previous life. Levi is confident he can handle this on his own, but when Casey is injured on the journey, he must seek help from the first person that comes into his path, or rather people. Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth are simple farm folk with a heart for kids and a passion for serving God. When their unconditional love and gentle care surrounds Levi and Casey, the troubles of their previous lives melt away and they start to flourish. But when Casey is dragged back into the abusive world she came from, the emotional trauma, pain and distrust resurfaces. Will they be forever bound by their past? Or will God answer their prayers? 


 

Overall Impression

Bound was heartwarming. It tells the story of two sweet kiddos who are lost in more ways than one. I was involved from the first chapter and rooting for the characters all the way. The honest truth is, I wasn’t expecting a story this good. I  read Victoria Lynn’s London in the Dark, and had didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. So, when I read Bound, I was rather awestruck.
Bound, in my opinion is so special because of the level of heart behind it. Not only does it surpass London in the Dark, but it surpasses the level of heart you’ll find in many well-known authors. Bound means something. It is STRONG. It is TRUE. It is God’s HEART. 
Another thing I especially appreciated was that the story wasn’t whitewashed. Something that really annoys me in Christian fiction is when authors whitewash evil. Victoria didn’t do that with Bound. But, at the same time, she found a graceful balance in the amount of evil she showed. Victoria was able to expose the complete total depravity and hellish conditions many children are sadly living in without over doing it. She kept the truth that the world needs to hear without making it unnecessarily dark.
I would recommend Bound to single readers 12 and up and some families. For a few content reasons (more later), I would recommend parents skimming through before handing to very young children. 

Characters:

Levi was a sweetheart. I loved how even though he had been so horribly mistreated and had the people he loved the most horribly treated, he was full of life in his wishes to protect Casey. 
What could have made Levi focused on protecting himself only and trying to gain security for himself above all else, instead nurtured a desire to protect someone who was in the same situation as he was. It was beautiful. 
Casey. Awww! Poor little thing! I loved Casey so much and felt so bad for her. No child should have to go through
 what she did. And, while I understand that Casey isn’t a real child who actually has gone through these awful things, her character is powerful because she puts a face on the thousands of children who have and are living in hell around this country. ‘
Casey was quite a well-balanced character. She had so many God awful things done to and around. She was ‘mature’ in a way that no child should ever be. But, at the same time, her true, un-violated childlike spirit would peek out occasionally. And, by the end of the book, it showed with a true force. Casey was superb.
Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth, (HOW SWEET WERE THEY! ❤ ❤ ❤ ) Mikayla, Jason and the other more minor characters were also done quite well. 

Plot:

From the first chapter, I was drawn completely in. I NEEDED to know how Casey and Levi’s journey would end. From the moment at the train station, all the places between, and our lovely ending, I loved it. 
Victoria did a wonderful job on the character and story arcs. The POV’s made sense, the reactions to new things happening were on point, it all was very cohesive. 
Also, those plot twists with Jason, did NOT see them coming! 
The plot and progression was solid and engrossing all the way.

Bravo, Miss Lynn! 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None
Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Some light descriptions of injuries. Mentions of blood. Children are hit by their parents. Multiple instances of physical abuse-never any sexual abuse. Several intense parts/memories. I would advise for ages 12+. 
Sex/Nudity: None
Other: Some of the plot has to do with drugs and drug dealing-it is looked upon as evil. 

I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

 

Giveaway!

Bound Giveaway

OFFICIAL GIVEAWAY POST!

(This includes all the info on what you will actually be winning!) 

GIVEAWAY LINK!

 


Well, that’s about it for our Bound festivities! Thanks for hanging with me today, guys! I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂

 

Writing: Story Sprints #2

Story Sprint


LOVED

Autumn sunlight held Aubrey in it’s arms and staved off the chill of the brisk air. Small, golden leaves blew down from the white birch in front of the house and onto  the porch swing where Aubrey sat.

Aubrey breathed in a deep, drawing breath as she picked up one of the leaves that had fallen on her blanketed lap. The action tired her weak arms out more than it should have. How long would it be before the cancer took all the strength that she had left?

Aubrey turned to look at the beautiful hills below her home. The greens of summer had changed to the splendid ochers of fall. The world was so beautiful that it seemed to pain her soul. The golden sunlight, crisp air, and the dancing leaves seemed almost to taunt her with their beauty. Mocking her. Mocking what she would soon lose.

Aubrey squeezed her eyes shut and two large tears streaked down her face and dripped onto her lap. Would she miss it? This beauty. Would she remember it ever even existed? Would she…

“Aubrey.” A whispered Voice broke through her thoughts and a warm Presence encased her.

Aubrey’s eyelids popped open and she looked around, surprised when she saw no one. Had she merely imagined it? Aubrey swept her eyes about her property and the surrounding hills one last time before shutting her eyes again.

“Aubrey.” The Voice spoke again. Aubrey opened her eyes, searching. Still, no one appeared. Aubrey rubbed her eyes and squeezed them shut. Perhaps she was just tired. Maybe it was just…

“Aubrey!” This time, the Voice called her with such a strong certainty that she couldn’t deny that It was real.

Aubrey opened her eyes. Sitting on the porch swing next to her was a tall Man.

His presence was all encompassing, awing her with His mightiness. From head to toe, He exuded light. His entire countenance glowed in a beautiful, unearthly way.

Suddenly, Aubrey felt exposed. It was as if every sin she had ever committed was written on her forehead. Her ugly body seemed to scream of her unworthiness before this beauty.

Aubrey yelped and fell off of the swing and onto her knees. Pain jarred her bones and though her weak body protested,  she managed to scramble several feet away from the swing.

The Man had stood the moment she had fallen. He had reached out as if to catch her, but drawn His hand back seeing that she didn’t want to be near Him. Now, He crouched near where she cowered on the porch.

“Aubrey.” His eyes were gentle. “Do not fear. I won’t hurt you.”

“How…how do you know my name?” Aubrey gasped out scratchily, holding a hand up to her eyes to shield herself from the glowing Presence. He was so beautiful that her weak, damaged body felt like some alien deformity in that holy, glowing Presence.  

“I have known you since before you were born, beloved, should I not know your name? Be at peace, I am here to help you.”

Aubrey scooted back a few inches further from the glorious figure before her, a small glimmer of sadness seemed to gleam deep in His eyes. Was He sad she was pulling away from Him?

“Why? Why do you want to help me?” Her voice held disbelief, fear, and some other indistinguishable sentiment.

How she had even dared to speak in His Presence, she didn’t know. Every new second she sat near Him, she felt more and more like something so mean and unworthy that she didn’t even belong in the same place as this Man.

“Because I love you, Aubrey.” The Man’s voice was earnest, passionate, loving.

Through her shame and fear of this glorious Man, a glimmer of longing pulled in Aubrey’s heart. The love in His voice was strong, caressing her name when He spoke it.

“I…I am not worthy of your love. I have been selfish my whole life…I’m getting my reward now.” Aubrey looked down at her weak body, shame filling her and smothering the faint longing in her heart.

“You are right. You are not worthy on your own.”

Aubrey looked up suddenly. She had known this, but His confirmation stabbed deep at her heart. She dropped her eyes from His again, tears beginning to well up.

“But,” the Man spoke suddenly. The hope filling His voice drew her eyes to His almost against her will. “That doesn’t matter, Aubrey. My love overcomes all. Nothing you have done or ever will do can be larger than my love for you.”

A sob rose in Aubrey’s throat. How she wished that was true. How she wished she could reach out and take the love, how she wished…

“You can, Aubrey! You can have it!”

Aubrey gasped as the Man answered the very thoughts she was thinking.

“How…how can I have it?” Hope tinged her voice.

“Accept it. That’s all you have to do.” The Man’s rich, brown eyes pulled her in, glimmering with love. Love she could have.

A wave of doubt filled her. She was unworthy! She was dirty and…

“Please, Aubrey, let me love you!”

The Man’s voice broke through the doubt she was drowning in and offered her a safe escape.

“I accept!” The cry broke from Aubrey’s lips.

The split second she spoke, everything changed.

The fear, doubt, and shame was blasted away with such an overcoming wave of peace and love that Aubrey shut her eyes in it’s surging strength. A groan came from somewhere deep within Aubrey, pain and sorrow seeping out with it.

Aubrey felt the Man’s arms about her. He lifted her to her feet. Aubrey gasped as she opened her eyes, it was as if a lense had been taken away from her eyes.

She thought the Man magnificent before, but now, the true depth of His love, power, and beauty was unveiled before her and it took her breath away. Awe filled Aubrey’s heart. She couldn’t even begin to comprehend the love before her.

Tears spilled over Aubrey’s cheeks and she was unable to speak. The Man pulled her into a deep embrace. The warmth of His touch healed long broken places in her heart. Aubrey sobbed as the pain of her life was washed away.

Aubrey’s vision began to darken and the Man grew further away, but she was not frightened. A soft voice, the Man’s, whispered in her ear.

“You are loved…”

Time stilled and all grew dark.

Aubrey opened her eyes, feeling as though she had been asleep a long time. She sat on the porch swing, her blanket still tucked comfortably about her legs. The leaves still blew softly, the sun shone goldenly, and the air blew crisply as it had before. Nothing appeared to have changed.

But, Aubrey was not as she had been before.

Aubrey glanced to the side of the porch swing where the Man had first appeared. A large, leather book sat on the swing, it’s gilded pages glowing in the autumnal sunlight.  

Aubrey picked the book up and leafed through it’s pages. It was enormous and seemed to have many books in one. Closer to the end, Aubrey paused as something caught her eye. A small cross was marked next to two passages. The cross flickered for a moment, then disappeared.

Aubrey’s eyes crossed over the passages that had been marked by the cross.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The word soaked into Aubrey’s soul and testified their truth.

A small smile flickered along Aubrey’s lips as she continued to read, feeling stronger than she had in years.

She was loved.


 

I hope you all enjoyed this latest story! Comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see more story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of LOVED?

Book Review: Kristian’s War

Kris Anders, a dirt-poor farmer, lives in a land where evil forces take the form of men. The sins of his past weigh heavily on his mind. When a stranger directs him to take a new path, Kris begins the journey of a lifetime towards a distant King who is rumored to solve all problems. But then a ruthless soldier is dispatched by the ruler of the dark land to capture or kill Kris. Everything leads to one final fight, where Kris must defeat the demons of his past or die.

Marine Corps veteran Peter Wisan delivers a gripping, tactical take on the spiritual journey in a blend of heart-stopping action and heart-rending loss. Order a copy now…if you have what it takes to join, KRISTIAN’S WAR.

 


 

Overall Impression

Kristian’s War is, I believe, a modern retelling of Pilgrims Progress. And, just as a disclaimer, I have never fully read Pilgrims Progress, but as a child I used to look through an illustrated version often so I remember many aspects of the original story.

This was powerful. The power of this story isn’t in the characters or writing, it’s in magnificent truth of the story. The allegorical content is excellent and the story reflects the mighty truths of our God’s lovingkindness, grace, and strength. It’s excellent!

I would recommend to families  (With some caution, see ‘Warnings’) and single readers 14+.

 

Characters:

The characters in Kristian’s War have the same essence as the characters in Pilgrim’s ProgressIn many ways, the style of writing left me feeling distanced from the characters. However, I understand this to be greatly due to the fact that with the way the story and characters are SUPPOSED to be written, you do end up feeling a bit more disconnected. 

Kristian was a good lead. Most of us would prefer to think of ourselves as more like Jack Consistence, who seems so steadfast in the faith. But, the truth is, many of us are Kristian. Kristian who fears, doubts, grows despondent and lax in his efforts. He struggles with lust, self-condemnation, and fear. He is HUMAN. 

Evan, or Evangelist, serves the mentor purpose quite well. He is a great picture of an ardent Christian with their heart set towards the Lord. 

Jack Consistence was my favorite. Just so steady. Lol, I suppose the name gives that away, though, doesn’t it! 

Christi is a great picture of self-wallowing hate, hurt, and sorrow! I look forward to seeing what Peter does with her character. 

Shame, Condemnation, Influence, Past and all the others were good allegorical baddies. They were so evil. It was portrayed quite well! 

 

Plot:

The plot of this story is pretty much just Pilgrim’s Progress (from what I remember, that is!) but with many more details, motivations, and truths fleshed out. 

Kristian’s War is a long journey, constantly going from hardship and victory to hardship and victory. Such is the way of life! 

There are many places where Mr. Wisan’s writing could be improved, but it didn’t stop the power of the story. He conveyed it so well!

Also, I loved all the technical terms Mr. Wisan included in this book. I will never forget what a ‘mike’ is or a ‘bc’. They greatly enhanced the story without making it unintelligible to the typical non-military/marine person! 

 

Wrap Up:

In conclusion, this was powerful story. Poignant messages, strong truths, and magnificent allegories. While I do believe Mr. Wisan has room to grow in his writing skills, he has written an amazing book that reflects the Lord quite well.

I greatly look forward to seeing what becomes of the other characters in The Searchers Series!

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: There are quite a few fire fights in this book and quite a bit of violence. Someone has their eyes gouged out, you hear about executions and beheadings, people are shot point-blank in the skull. I was fine with it all, but I would advise caution with parents of children under 14

Sex/Nudity: A married main character is seduced by several females who represent, lust, porn, and cheating. (The aforementioned is not just sensational there is a very good purpose for it. And it’s non-graphic.) There is mention of reproductive system in a non-gross, non-sensational way. 

Other: A character has an abortion. It is considered a bad thing. 

While I would not advise handing this book over to a kid who hasn’t had the facts of life presented to them yet, or is very uncomfortable with violence, nothing in this is unnecessary or majorly graphic. It all serves a purpose. 

 

“I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.”

Writing: Story Sprints #1

Story Sprint


Hey, y’all! I am trying something new this week. I am hopefully gonna be releasing short ‘story sprints’ either every week (HOPEFULLY! IF I UTTERLY FAIL I NEVER, EVER SAID THIS!) or every two weeks.

To start off my story sprints is a fun bit of fantasy entitled, Endure! Enjoy, guys!


ENDURE

Darkness settled over the East. Heavy, roiling clouds rolled westward. Menacing yellow lightning fingered it’s way across the black sky.

“They have come.” Markian’s voice came from over Nikaia’s shoulder. A shudder coursed along Nikaia’s spine both from the reality of  her brother’s words and the icy winds that blew from the East.

“So they have…” Nikaia’s voice was soft, ending in a trembling whisper.

There was no evading the Order now. They had found them. Two, warm tears dribbled down Nikaia’s face as  deep fear and defeat filled her heart. Their doom had come. Every moment the clouds moved closer so did the cruel deaths that awaited them. Markian must have perceived her thoughts for he placed a strong on her cold shoulder.

“Nikaia.” His voice kept Nikaia from drowning in the helplessness and fear that clawed at her heart. Nikaia turned but stared at the ground. She didn’t want to look her brother in the eyes, to see the certainty of death that she felt reflected in his face.

Markian placed his warm hands on Nikaia’s face and gently tilted her head upwards so that their eyes met. Markian’s eyes practically glowed with intensity and strength.   

“I will protect you. We will not die today, my sister.” Markian’s voice grew low and passionate. “We shall endure this day as we have endured the days and the Order before. Have hope, dear one!”

“How do we endure?” Nikaia practically screamed, a sob catching her voice at the end. “How do I have hope when there is none left inside me?”

Markian’s brows furrowed and his eyes pierced Nikaia to her very soul. “Because, my sister, there is else left for us! There is only hope.”

Nikaia’s lip trembled and she looked again to the ground.

Markian’s voice rose in intensity and volume. “Nikaia! They…” he pointed to the darkened East. “They have taken everything from us! Do you now let them take your hope as well? Will you let them steal the last vestige of value from your life?”

Nikaia swallowed and turned to look at the eastern sky. Menacing. Dark. Overshadowing. The Order had taken everything from her and Markian. Their family, their home, and now…her hope? Would they have her hope, too?

Nikaia squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her jaw. She felt Markian’s eyes watching her as the battle raged inside. She could only hope she was strong enough to win it.

Will they have my hope too? The question came in her head again. Thoughts of despair, helplessness, and fear fought for her attention at every side. But, amidst the clamoring of the despair, a small answer was spoken in her spirit.

No. No, they will not.

Nikaia opened her eyes and looked again on the ever nearing darkness, a flare of hope lighting in her soul.

“No!” Nikaia voiced, strength mounting at the word. She looked to Markian. “They shall not have our hope!”

Markian’s eyes glowed with passion, love, and…pride. Taking his sister’s hand he gave it a squeeze. “No, dear one, never shall they have it!”

Together, Markian and Nikaia turned to watch the approaching darkness and the Order that followed it. They would endure.


 

I hope you all enjoyed, comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of Endure?

Book Review: The Green Ember

Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

 

 


 

Overall Impression: 

Okay, guys, from reading several of my Goodreads friends reviews I knew this book was gonna be great. I have wanted to read it for quite a while now, so I was uber excited when I purchased it on kindle this last Friday night. I read a lot over the weekend and finished today. 

The Green Ember is a story that pulls you in and won’t let go until you have finished it, and even then, you are want, need, the next book! The story was incredible, the characters deep and involving, and the plot superb!

Another thing I greatly appreciated about this book was the fact that it was one hundred percent acceptable for children AND one hundred percent a legit story! So many books written for children are either dumbed down, as if the authors think that kids can’t understand anything that isn’t simple, or they hold waaaay to many grown up ideals/aspects. To find a series that is a rollicking adventure full of deep story that is as clean as a baby’s behind is awesome! 

I recommend this story to all readers! Families, kids, teens, and adults will all enjoy this fun adventure! It has great depth, story, and characters! I hope that this book becomes as famed as it deserves to be! It is an epic story worth the read!

 

Characters:

Heather was such a great, strong character! I can’t wait to see what becomes of her in Ember Falls. What made Heather so amazing was that she wasn’t trying to be awesome! She wasn’t one of those I-can-kick-rear, I-am-strong-and-independent, don’t-touch-me-I’m-tough, types. Her character was one of was warmth, love, and self-sacrifice. She was brave, kind-hearted, and a warrior when it came to her family. Her moments of absolute epicness came from her just doing the right thing! She wasn’t showing off, she wasn’t out to prove something, she was protecting those she cared about and doing a dang good job!

Picket was a bit more difficult in some parts than Heather. He was out to prove something. His character motivations were written very well. And while sometimes he could be a pain in the neck it didn’t stop his true self from shining through to the reader. He is a fighter! A fighter who is overcoming his fears and will do anything to protect those he cares about! His absolute awesomeness in the end was great! I loved the redemption he brought to his family name! 

Uncle Wilfred and Smalls were great characters! Their interaction was written so well! It speaks of a deep love and history beyond what we have seen! I loved these characters, Mr. S. D. Smith did a wonderful job!

Helmer was an absolute jerk! But I loved the parts of the story with him in it! I foresee great things and redemption for his character! He has far to go but has also come far!

Emma, Kyle, Gort, Lord Rake, Maggie, and all the other background/secondary characters were done profoundly well too! I really enjoyed the development and history of these characters and this story!

 

Plot:

The Green Ember starts off showing the soft pace of life which Heather and Picket live in. It’s beautiful, simple, and happy. It brings to mind several scenes from the Shire in Lord of the Rings. But, quickly, the plot takes off with unexpected events. Heather and Picket are tossed into a world of violence, intrigue, and secrets! 

Themes of hope, despair, and treachery are all mixed into this fun adventure. The Green Ember has the history and feeling of a fantasy epic. The stories of the great King Jupiter, Captain Blackstar, and Whitson Mariner all develop the world and give it a feeling of reality. 

The setting of most of the book is very unique and exciting.  I won’t spoil it by telling you all about it, but it’s pretty epic.

Some of the plot ideas are at first appearance akin to Redwall. However, I find The Green Ember much more enjoyable than Redwall. It’s characters are far more relatable, the story much deeper, and the world of Natalia so much more real! 

 

Wrap Up:

To reiterate all I’ve already said, the characters were superb and plot amazing! I loved this story and greatly hope that someday when I have this thing called money, (:D) I will be able to buy all the books, both paperback and audio, as well as fan apparel! I love this story and cannot wait to go and read Ember Falls. Well done, Mr. S. D. Smith! I applaud you! 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Some mild descriptions of injuries. A lot of fighting, family of MC’s are taken by evil characters, torture alluded to, death talked about, rabbits die, some scary scenes where MC’s are pursued by bad characters. Would recommend for ages 4+.

Sex/Nudity: None

Blog Tour! Spotlight on Heirs of Tirragyl

Hi guys! Join me today to see a special spotlight on Joan Campbell’s newest fantasy novel, Heirs of Tirragyl! Make sure to go all the way to the bottom to find info on a giveaway and Facebook party!


About Heirs of Tirragyl35644582

Love live the queen . . . ?

Since birth, Nyla has shared everything with her twin brother–royal tutors, the right to the throne of Tirragyl… even their soul. Many believe it wholly belongs to Alexor and should be returned to him regardless of the sacrifice–Nyla’s death. However, her future isn’t the only one in question.

A threat looms over the kingdom. The influential Lord Lucian intends to seize the Grotto, an underworld settlement known for harboring fugitives. And if legend is to be believed, it is also the hiding place of the most powerful of objects, the Guardian Rock. As Nyla fights for her life, she realizes she’s not only a soul heir but also the sole hope for the kingdom’s survival.


About the Author

Joan Campbell is notoriously bad at finishing things but, ever since she found the key to the portal, she’s been escaping into worlds far more intriguing than her own. In her word-spun worlds, magic can be harnessed, kings and queens rule supreme and ancient books contain coveted secrets. Her characters face division, danger, their own fallible natures and—ultimately—grace. While her husband and two daughters have learned to fend for themselves, a hungry whine or meow inevitably breaks the spell and brings Joan back to her everyday life in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here Joan wields a tennis racket instead of a longbow and trains writers instead of warriors, knowing full well that the pen is mightier than the sword. Chains of Gwyndorr was a gold medallist in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.joan-campbell.jpg

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon Author Page //


Where you can find Heirs of Tirragyl

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks // Goodreads


Now onto the fun stuff! 🙂 Giveaway and Facebook party! *woot woot*

Giveaway!

Want to dive into a new world of fantasy? Enter to win an e-copy of Joan Campbell’s Heirs of Tirragyl!

Find the entry page here!

(Open Internationally!)

 

Facebook Party!

Calling all book readers! Join us as we celebrate Joan Campbell’s release of HEIRS OF TIRRAGYL, book two in The Poison Tree Path Chronicles, on October 14th from 10AM to 12PM EST (4PM South Africa Time, 9AM CDT, and 6AM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with the author, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Morgan Busse and Jill Williamson will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun. 

You can find the Facebook party here!


 

And, last of all, make sure to check out the other awesome posts by my fellow blog tour-er’s! 😉 

Have a blessed day, y’all!

 

Monday, October 9th 

Tuesday, October 10th

Wednesday, October 11th

Thursday, October 12th

Friday, October 13th

Saturday, October 14th