November Update

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give you all an update on what’s been going on from my side of the computer screen.

Continue reading “November Update”

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Life Verses: Part Two: Jeremiah 31:3

Today I’m continuing my series about verses that have made an impact on me throughout my life. If you want to read part one of this series, click here.

The next verse that really impacted me and was “on repeat” for a season in my life was Continue reading “Life Verses: Part Two: Jeremiah 31:3”

It Will Happen

Time escaped me this week and I’m writing this post last minute, so please forgive me if it’s not as long as normal. 🙂

Recently I had been having a series of dreams about something that I sensed God was trying to tell me was going to happen. I saw an opportunity later that week for what I had seen in my dreams to happen, and I got excited about it. As I waited to see if it would pan out, I began to doubt that God had spoken that to me. Continue reading “It Will Happen”

Abandonment

For so long I have seen “abandonment” as something negative, something to be feared, an action that is taken because of a passivity to take the desired action.  A passivity in love, a passivity in care, a passivity in devotion.  All of these I have seen as leading causes to abandonment.

Abandonment is painful, yes, but recently God has been showing me how necessary it is to our walk with Him.  In order to wholeheartedly follow Him, we must evict everything else that takes up space in our heart.  God wants to own the real estate of our hearts, but we rent it out to lesser things.  God can’t inhabit the places of our hearts that we have allowed to become occupied by worry, fear, doubt, tradition, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, lust, comfort, wanting to go our own way, and more.

In order for God to own all of us, we must abandon everything else.  This abandonment is a painfully positive thing.  An active choice.  This abandonment is trading everything lesser for the One that is GREATER.  This abandonment is letting go but is also taking hold.

For me, abandonment has meant counting all else as loss that I might gain Christ.  Abandonment has meant abandoning myself and embracing Him.  It has meant ending harmful, parasitic relationships, leaving a job and career I had been trying to build for myself, and doing whatever God tells me to do, whenever He tells me to do it.

The effect has been akin to that of going on a zipline over a beautiful landscape instead of trudging through it on foot.  The journey (and the view) is so much greater and faster and more overwhelming and incredibly amazing on the zipline than from the little viewpoint you have on the ground.  It involves a lot of trust to take that first step off the solid platform, but the ride is so much more exciting as you realize you’re just as secure in the ropes as on the platform.  You’re still being held, but you are also moving.  You’re not stuck where you are and you realize what a beautiful sensation the wind in your hair is and how weightless you feel.  Nothing is holding you down any longer; instead, you are held up.

It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s terrifying at first, but it’s a bigger regret to stay on the platform than it is to step out into all God has for you.

It means leaving where you were behind you, but where you’re going is so much better.  I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She had a life planned out for her, but God came in and changed not only the direction of her life, but the whole world.  People thought she was crazy.  People thought she was lying.  People wanted to kill her.  But what do we remember and celebrate? Her humility in abandoning her plans for her life over to God and His plans.

Maybe what God is telling you to abandon in order to follow Him sounds crazy to everyone around you.  Let me remind you that God is the One who knows where He wants to take you.  God is the One who will catch you and hold you when you take that first step (and all the ones after it).  Don’t stay where you are if God is telling you to move.  On the flip side, don’t move when God is telling you to stay.  Abandon your plans, your heart, and your ways to Him; He will direct your paths.

He’s got this.  He’s got you.  And He will never fail you.

A Loyal Heart

A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund is the fourth installment in her young adult historical series, which began with the prequel novella The Vow and continued through the following three books, An Uncertain ChoiceA Daring Sacrifice, and For Love and Honor.

This has been a really enjoyable series that got better with each installment.  Geared towards teenage and young adult audiences, I think it would be enjoyable for adults as well.

This novel follows the story of Sir Aldric and Lady Olivia.  I don’t want to say anything about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away, and there’s not much I can say about these two characters and how they meet without getting into spoilers.  So, I’ll go straight into what I loved about this book.  First of all, these characters are adorable and have fantastic chemistry.  I love the tangles they get themselves into as they learn who is trustworthy and understand more of people’s motives.  The plot keeps moving and keeps you engaged; I literally finished this book in one sitting.  I picked it up and did not put it down until I had finished it.  I loved the storyline, I loved the setting, and I loved the time period.  These young adults novels are definitely winners for me as well as my younger sisters, and address important issues like being trustworthy and having integrity and good character while being wholesome entertainment.

Thank you to the author for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.   All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

“Whole Heart” Passion Album

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while now you’ll remember that I was able to attend Passion Conference 2018, and it was phenomenal! I loved the music and the speakers from the conference, and if you weren’t able to attend, the sessions are on YouTube and you can purchase this album of live music that was recorded at the conference.

When I was offered the opportunity to receive and review the “Whole Heart” album, I jumped at the chance.  This was my opportunity to re-live the conference and sing the same songs we sang there! This album is just as full of surprise special guests as the conference itself was! Check out the list of songs and artists below:

  1. Whole Heart (Featuring Kristian Stanfill)
  2. Almighty God (Featuring Sean Curran)
  3. God, You’re So Good (Featuring Kristian Stanfill and Melodie Malone)
  4. Reckless Love (Featuring Melodie Malone)
  5. Heaven (Featuring Sean Curran)
  6. More Like Jesus (Featuring Kristian Stanfill)
  7. Hallelujah, Our God Reigns (Featuring Brett Younker)
  8. Ghost (Featuring David Crowder)
  9. Ever Almighty (Featuring Melodie Malone)
  10. Great Are You Lord (Featuring Matt Redman)
  11. All My Hope (Featuring David Crowder and Tauren Wells)

Isn’t that awesome?! My favorite songs are Reckless Love and All My Hope, but they are all so good! This is a MUST for anyone who was at the conference or who wishes they were! The variety of artists really lends a versatility to the music; there are slow songs and get up and twirl around songs. 🙂 I highly recommend this!

Thank you to FlyBy Promotions for providing me with a copy of this CD to review, as well as a copy to give away here on my blog.  All opinions are my own.

Also, if you’ve read this far, I’m hosting a giveaway for all my followers.  The first follower to leave a comment on this post (who lives in the continental U.S.) wins a copy of this CD! Giveaway ends one week from today, February 20th, at 9 am EST.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

To The Boy That Loved Me Since He First Laid Eyes on Me

*The following post is the first in an upcoming series of posts about letting people go out of your life.  I’ve noticed that sometimes people are in your life just for a season, and you have to let them go gracefully or feel rejected.  I am in the process of learning how to let go, and wanted to share these anonymous letters with you in the hopes that if you are going through something similar, these can help you grieve the loss of the relationship and move forward into the next season freely.  I hope you can identify with and be blessed by these. (Also, thank you to my best friend over at missionforfaith.wordpress.com for designing the graphics for this post and the previous post.)*

 

I know you’ve never admitted that to my face, but I heard tell of it from members of both your family and mine.  I hate that you want me, because it means I have to hurt you.  You were the friend who made me forgot my troubles, the friend who I had some of my favorite adventures with.  You infuriated me, you annoyed me, you loved me.  As Marcus Zusack says in The Book Thief, “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you is a boy who loves you.”

I wanted us to remain the idyllic friends we were when we were nine.  I’d always had a crush on Peter Pan because I loved the idea of never growing up.  I didn’t ask for the hormones and heartbreak that came with being thirteen, and sixteen, and eighteen.  I wanted you and everyone to want to be around me, but I didn’t want you to want me.  I tried so hard to make you understand that.  I made fun of you, got you in trouble, embarrassed you.  I did all I could think of to make you my entertainment, to protect your pride but wound your ego enough to keep you from getting too close.

I saw right through your facade, from every angle.  I know you so dearly just wanted to be recognized and respected.  I didn’t know how to keep from hurting your feelings while keeping you at a distance.  I saw how your family hurt you and I didn’t want to repeat that.  I wanted to be a safe person but I didn’t want you running to me for shelter.

Can you see? Do you understand? I had my own troubles and pains, and yes, and ran to you to vent about several of them.  But I kept it light. I kept my heart out of it.  I showed you the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the ice cream on top of the tip of the iceberg.  You didn’t know the half of it.  You barely knew any.

But you knew enough to make you think I was running to you for shelter.  No, I ran to you because I knew you were there at my beck and call.  I ran to you because I knew I had you wrapped around my little finger.

You’ve never held my heart.  I let you admire me, but you weren’t the one I cried in anguish over the thought of leaving me.  You weren’t the one who I cried in the shower, into my pillow, staring out the window over.  You’re not the one who made me lose my mind at the thought of losing you.  You’re not the one who saved my life, then made me want to throw it away when you left.  You’re not the one who I couldn’t fathom living without.

That’s just not who you were for me.  But I know that you will be that for someone.

So please, please, let me hurt you now.  Let me let you down now, let me tell you there is no hope for us in the romantic sense.  I don’t love you like that.

I can’t pretend you don’t haunt me.  I see you around every corner, sense you with every slamming of a car door.  I haven’t forgotten you but I can’t stand to have you around.  You want things from me I just can’t give you, but you will get them from someone special one day.  It just won’t be me.  So please forgive me.  Please trust me that you will grow from this if you only allow yourself, and you will be a better person after me, a person you wouldn’t have been with me still around.  You have to stand on your own two feet; you have to find your identity, and I’ll give you a hint: it’s not in me.

I want you to succeed.  I want you to find a woman who loves you with wild abandon, a woman who will see and safeguard your tender, chivalrous, servant heart.  You have great love within you, and you deserve someone who will love you without hesitation.

I get sick every time I think of you, imagining you bitter and small.  I want to hear of the great things you’ve done.  I want you to find your dreams and chase them with everything in you.

You have not failed me.  I want you to know that.  You have never been not enough for me.  You have been a wonderful friend.  But there is better out there for you than me, and better out there for me than you.

So go after the One who is going after you.  Make Him your pursuit and chase Him with wild abandon.  That’s where you will find your freedom, your identity, and your love.  I’m cheering for you.

A Dangerous Legacy

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A Dangerous Legacy is the latest novel from Elizabeth Camden.  As of now it is a stand-alone, but a sequel is on its way.

One thing I love about Camden’s novels is the unique perspective on historical details that she centers on in each novel.  For instance, in A Dangerous Legacy Camden weaves in details about the race to string a telegraph wire across the Pacific, a Panama Canal versus a Nicaraguan canal, and getting running water in the upper floors of buildings.  These are the kinds of technological advancements that I don’t often think of or take time to appreciate, but that I enjoy when Camden brings to light in her novels.

As for characters and plot, this book includes the angsty romance typical of Camden’s works, where the characters don’t like each other but end up having to work together, then end up falling in love, the male character deciding that it just won’t work out, and then the heroine saving the day and the man falling head over heels for her all over again.

So, all in all, I’m a little disappointed that it’s just the same ol’, same ol’ with a new historical focus.  I do like the cover, however, and it was cool that it released on my birthday. 🙂

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Blue Ridge Sunrise

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Blue Ridge Sunrise is the latest novel by Denise Hunter and is the first in the new “Blue Ridge Romance” series.  As a Georgia girl myself, I’m lovin’ these books set in my home state! While this is in its own series, I was delighted to find references to the characters from Sweetbriar Cottage and The Wishing Season.  Like any other by Ms. Hunter, I gobbled this up in practically one sitting; it did not disappoint!

Zoe has always felt out of place in her own family.  She went off to pursue music instead of a law degree, fell for the farmer as a teen instead of a rich young businessman or something, and had a baby at nineteen.  Having now returned to her hometown after the death of her grandmother and inheriting her grandmother’s peach orchard, what will she do with her second chance? Will she stick with her current overprotective, abusive boyfriend, or is there a second chance with her first love? Will she settle down and run the orchard or continue to pursue fame?

Although this had some similar vibes to Becky Wade’s Meant to Be Mine, it became its own story.  Once I got the characters straight, it was fairly predictable, but still worth reading.  It was cute, it was suspenseful, it was southern.  And it oozed charm.  The setting drew me in, obviously, but I stayed in the story because I fell for its characters.  (Having just bought a bunch of peaches to enjoy while reading this story didn’t hurt either.)  I really, really enjoyed seeing the characters grow and come out of their shells, learn to forgive and to let go of the past.  This is a story with a lot of heart that you should not miss! 5 stars!

Thank you to Net Galley and to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*