December 31st: A New Year’s Message

At midnight we will cross over into 2017, and this year, I have a challenge for you. I’m asking you all to do one thing…remember

Remember the Heart of Christmas. Well, that’s easy enough, right? Not necessarily. I am not just talking about the tingly feeling that you get on Christmas morning, or the warm feeling you get when you hear your favorite holiday song. But to remember Jesus

This holiday season I was in the living room with my family, we were watching the news. On came a story, a little girl had been brutally murdered. How awful! But if that wasn’t bad enough, the suspects were the child’s mother and her boyfriend. How horrible is that, right? How can you be evil enough to beat your own child to death?

I sat there on the couch, and a thought came to my mind. There is so much tragedy in this world. It wasn’t a question, I wasn’t looking for an answer, but one came anyway. JESUS. The word was spoken into my brain the instant after my thought.

At first I was like “…yeah, I know. Jesus was born for us, that’s great,” But the more I thought about it, the more awed I was. In one word, all the tragedy and sadness this world as ever known and ever will know is answered. Jesus is big enough for all of it!

That experience has led to this post. As well as the knowledge in my heart that I don’t have to understand why the bad things are allowed to happen, I only have to realize that He is big enough for them. 

2017 is scary to a lot of people. Whether for political reasons, personal problems/goals, or simply fear of what it may bring on all fronts. At some point this year, every one of you will despair. But! In that moment, rememberJesus. He is enough.

So this is my challenge to you: when you are upset this upcoming year, try to remember that God loved us enough to send down His only Son. Every time you see a news story, Facebook post, or tweet that spells doom, all you have to do is remember Jesus.

2017 is going to be a year for tragedy. Just like every other year since Adam and Eve sinned, there will be death, strife, and sadness. But, it will also be a year for love, grace, miracles, redemption, hope, peace, and happiness

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33

Happy New Year 2017! 

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Book Review: Kate’s Choice

 A rediscovered Louisa May Alcott literary treasure is set to follow in the footsteps of The Quiet Little Woman. From Little Women to The Inheritance, Louisa May Alcott has charmed generations of fans for more than 150 years. Her unrivaled legacy includes this rediscovered gem that begins… “According to her father’s wish, Kate was to live for a while with the families of each of her four uncles before she decided with which she would make her home. All were anxious to have her, one because of her money, another because her great-grandfather had been a lord, a third hoped to secure her hand for the son of a close friend, while the fourth and best family loved her for herself alone.

 


 

Overall Impression

What a lovely story! This is the sweetest short story I have ever read! Truly, Louisa May Alcott was and still is one of the finest author’s in assistance. Her stories are beautifully crafted. This is a wonderful Christmas story sure to delight you and yours! 

 

Characters

Kate is such a sweet girl. She has a sense of duty, a spirit of kindness, and loving heart. She is a beautiful character who is easy to like and sympathize with. 

Grandmother as well as all the servants are delightful. 

Grandmother’s children, while not ‘bad’ people have forgotten the woman who raised them. Kate is just what they need. 

 

Plot

The story is charming. It holds the heart and love that Little Women did. The story, though short, is powerful.

My heart quickly warmed to this story. I love reading it around Christmastime.

It’s a great read for both families and single readers!

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: None

Sex/Nudity: None

Book Review Bundle: Advent Adventures

1256825In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.


 

Overall Impression

This was the first advent book  I had ever read with my family. And I must say, it was quite a nice experience. These books are an engaging way to celebrate Christmastime.

I will say that the writing in this series isn’t excellent, some if it isn’t even very good, but the stories themselves? Ah-mazing! So just know ahead of time, the writing is a bit weak, but the stories are good enough to balance it out! 

This series is incredibly unique. Each shows the same few weeks/months from a different character’s POV. Thus, you find yourself witnessing the same events but learning different details, seeing the same characters, but from a different view. One thing I love is that at the end of each book you find yourself at the same place…the manger. 

This is a fun series I would recommend to both families and single readers. Even if you aren’t interested in reading the advent part of it the stories are still fun to read around Christmastime!

 

Characters

Jotham is a brat in the beginning. But aren’t we all at some point? He doesn’t, however, stay in this part of his arc long. He is a good character, not my favorite, but still good. 

Nathan is one of my favorite characters in this series. He is just awesome. His quick responses and clever disguises are quite fun.

Decha of Meggido. Ek! This guy is evil! He is a great baddie, easy to hate, and appropriately evil.

It is neat to see some of the prominent people in the Nativity story in this book. Namely, Zachariah, Elizabeth, and baby John. Not to mention Jotham’s relation to Joseph! 

 

Plot

The story starts off with Jotham’s disappointment at not being allowed to go to Jerusalem with his brothers. Soon after he finds himself separated from his family and captured to be sold as a slave! From there all sorts of adventures ensue! 

 




7641046 In hard-to-put-down chapters, this engaging story takes readers through Advent to Christmas as they follow young Bartholomew on his adventures. You will accompany this delightful boy from the time Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, through his enslavement to a tyrannical master, his escape with Nathan, and his stay at the community of Qumran, to this reunion with his family and the wonderful climax in Bethlehem. Along the way he makes a new friend, Jotham, whom many readers grew to love in “Jotham’s Journey”.Following each chapter is a spiritual reflection that gives readers an opportunity to respond personally to a spiritual truth embedded in the story. Ideal for individual reading or family devotions.


Overall Impression

I have read 3/4 of the Advent Adventures, (still need to read Ishtar’s Odessy) and out of all of them Bartholomew’s passage is my absolute favorite!

Both Jotham and Tabitha’s stories were more centered around personal problems. Their own struggles, false beliefs. Bartholomew’s passage felt more…I don’t know, religiously centered. (Not that I think the other’s didn’t have great messages, but this was more Christmas-y to me.) 

Characters

Bartholomew was also a far sweeter person than either Tabitha or Jotham. I loved him soo much! He was much easier to sympathize with. His story kept me reading for hours. He (along with Nathan) was my favorite character of all. I love Bartholomew’s quick thinking and action. 

Yet again, I loved Nathan. He so kind, and epic. Just love this character.

The head priest guy at Qumran (can’t remember his name!) was so frustrating! I really hate people like him in books! But, he served his purpose. 

Plot

Great story! These stories have a general theme of the main characters trying to reconnect with their parents. I was rooting for Bartholomew all the way! 

The plot wasn’t quite as fast paced as Jotham’s Journey, but I didn’t mind this. I love getting to see this side of the story, the pieces that weren’t shown in Jotham’s Journey or  Tabitha’s Travels. 

Engaging and fun! 




8528987Following in the footsteps of the immensely popular Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage, this captivating story will take families through Advent to Christmas as they share in Tabitha’s adventures. Curious, competent, and courageous Tabitha is the daughter of a shepherd who is taking his family on caravan to his birthplace. Along the way, she meets and becomes friends with Jotham and Bartholomew, watches as Romans take her father prisoner, spends time with Zechariah and Elizabeth, helps Mary and Joseph just before Christ’s birth, and ends her travels at the stable in Bethlehem. With day-by-day readings, reflections for family devotions, and advice for making Christmas a meaningful season of worship, Tabitha’s Travels continues the beloved tradition of celebrating Advent with your family.


Overall Impression

This was my least favorite of all the stories. It was also the weakest. I read once, may read again in a couple years, but nowhere near as good as the other two books. 

Characters

I really didn’t like Tabitha. She felt like a totally different character than the Tabitha in Jotham’s Journey. That Tabitha had felt feminine, sweet, and kindhearted. Tabitha in this book didn’t match that character in the least. 

She had this annoyance, jealously thing going about what boys got to do that she didn’t. Some of her feelings/beliefs didn’t even seem reasonable for this time. I am so tired of the tom-boy thing! A girl can be adventurous, smart, and capable without wishing she was a boy! Look, I get that there was a lot of stuff back then that wasn’t fair. I understand! But Tabitha was a downright feminist.

Nathan, from what I remember, was good in this book. (Surprise, surprise!)

I liked Zachariah and Elizabeth in this book. 

Plot

The plot in this one wasn’t as exciting as either of the other books. There was adventure and the plot was engaging enough I kept reading it. 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: This series has some violence. People have their fingers, tips of their noses, etc. cut off. (Not as bad as it sounds.) It shows the danger and evilness of the time. I would recommend parents looking through before reading to kids under 9. 

Sex/Nudity: None

While I did not enjoy “Tabitha’s Travels” much, I would still recommend this series. Fun plots, characters, and settings. Even if you don’t care to read “Tabitha’s Travels”, “Jotham’s Journey” and “Bartholomew’s Passage” are still winners! 

Book Review: The Princess Adelina

4918709From eighth-century Germany comes the stirring tale of Princess Adelina, a virtuous young woman determined to fulfill God’s call on her life. The daughter of an Iona missionary to the German people, Adelina’s world is turned upside-down when a young pagan ruler, Hedan of Thurginia, falls in love with her and takes her as his bride. As a wedding gift, Hedan promises Adelina that he will allow Christians within Thuringia to worship and evangelize freely, spreading the Gospel among his people. But Hedan’s mother, Geila, hates both Adelina and Christianity, stopping at nothing to subvert her daughter-in-law and stamp out the fledgling German church. Based on a true story, this Esther-like tale recounts the deeds of courageous Adelina as she endures persecution, slander, exile, and the impending destruction of her people. Through it all, will Adelina remain faithful to her Heavenly King? Or will she fall away and leave the Culdee church to its fate? Find out in The Princess Adelina.


 

Overall Impression

This book has, since the first time I read it, been one of my favorites. The culture is amazing, the characters wonderful and the story itself? The story is a powerful tale of faith, love, and courage. And the most amazing part about it is that it really happened. This story truly shows the power of God’s hand and the beauty of his plan. I would recommend this to everyone. 

 

Characters

Adelina is truly a heroine. She is one of my favorite characters of all time. In this sweet maiden you find a heart true to the Lord. She is kind, godly, and faithful to her husband even when it’s not easy. This is one of my favorite things about her. Hedan, for a time, is TERRIBLE. But even when another man who is kind and loving comes into Adelina’s life she remains true to her husband. 

Hedan. For quite awhile this man is very angering. He only “loves” Adelina for her beauty, and is quick to believe false testimony against her.He is an evil man. That’s just the truth. But wait it out, eventually, he becomes a wonderful man. He is a great character. 

Gelia, ugh! The woman is shiver-worthy! She is the perfect antagonist! So much evil in one woman. I hate her through and through. 

Five stars for the background characters! I adore Regiswald, Pillung and the others! 

 

Plot

This story is very much like the story of Esther. A Christian girl marries a heathen to protect her people. Not only does she saves them, but ultimately, she saves many more people. 

Be prepared for somewhat difficult writing, it is filled with “thee” and “thou” and many complicated names. This, however, doesn’t detract from the story. Rather it adds to the character and culture of the book. 

I love the rise and fall of this book. It begins a bit slowly, but it quickly gains momentum. It’s one I can’t stop reading. I love the climax and the ending. This book is gold

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Gore/Frightening Scenes: There is some violence in this book and (if I remember right) some mild gore. Nothing horrible, most readers should be fine. There are some frightening scenes, at one point a woman is going to be sacrificed to Woden. She, however, is saved and unharmed. A woman is beaten, this is non-descriptive. A man is somewhat crushed by a tree. There is a battle. A character is threatened with going through fire trials. (Overall, readers 9-10 on up should be fine with this.) 

Sex/Nudity: A woman has her chest bared when she is about to be sacrificed. Nothing descriptive. 

November 30th: A Message For NaNo’ers

And so it ends…for the past month thousands of writers have been feverishly working. They have typed their fingers to the bone, missed meals, and even now many are still writing their hearts out. Such is NaNoWriMo. 

Here is a message for all you NaNo’ers, every word you have written is victory! Every step of progress in your novel, short story, or novella is amazing! As are you! Take this moment…savor it, feel it, remember it. Today you are a champion, a writing warrior, you are victorious

Next time you are discouraged in your writing, remember today. Remember that you did it. You wrote thousands of words in 30 days! Guys! That is amazing! 

So remember…YOU are a writer. You are capable of great things, and not just in the month of November. Take this day with you as a memento of victory, a reminder of your determination. You got this! Write you hearts out!