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!