Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof is the latest book I’ve received from the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild.  They have been sending me several books recently, so the next couple of Wednesdays will be highlighting Fiction Guild releases.

Continue reading “Sons of Blackbird Mountain”

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A Worthy Rebel

A Worthy Rebel is the fifth installment in Jody Hedlund’s young adult medieval romance series (whew!).  A Worthy Rebel centers on the story of Olivia’s younger sister, Lady Isabelle, who is being forced into an arranged marriage to save the people of her village.  When she realizes what a cruel man she is being forced to marry is, she runs away.  A young peasant rescues her, and she thinks she has escaped successfully, but she doesn’t realize is the danger she has put herself and everyone around her in. Continue reading “A Worthy Rebel”

Guest Post: Rachel from Mission for Faith

Today on the blog I am beyond excited to have my best friend writing for you all! Check out her blog here; I’m sure you will love her too!  Continue reading “Guest Post: Rachel from Mission for Faith”

Guest Post: Bo Burnette

Today’s post is from another friend of mine! I’m kind of turning Thursdays into guest post days, if you haven’t noticed from the past couple of weeks! If you missed any, you can check out the previous guest posts here, here, and here. Continue reading “Guest Post: Bo Burnette”

Infected

As the flu season has ravaged its way across the United States, I’ve noticed a pattern.  People become “infected” with the flu, and it starts small–maybe a headache or sniffly nose.  Gradually it becomes worse, but they continue on with their normal routines until all at once, they are completely taken down by the flu and remain so for around two weeks.  Slowly they make their way back into society, but other people catch the germs from them and then the cycle starts all over again.

From this, I noticed a loose parallel to our spiritual lives (except of course it’s a positive thing and not negative like the flu).   Continue reading “Infected”

Thank You: A Letter to My Mentor

I learned so much from you in so little time, and I don’t know that you were even actively teaching.  You were living your faith and any teaching of it was a bonus.  I caught it instead of being taught it.  That’s the kind of life I aspire to live: one so full of faith it seeps out of my very pores and inspires those around me to do the scary things God calls us to.  To step out of comfort zones.  To walk in faith when it looks crazy, when it doesn’t make sense.  To let go of what people think and say about you and cling wholeheartedly to what God says about you.  To have a joy that surpasses all understanding and circumstances.  To have a peace that guides you.  To dream big dreams and follow the dreams God places in our hearts.  To trust that God will provide for what He calls us to do.

I have learned so much from you.  Your faith inspires me in mine.  Keep on shining, keep on following, keep on radiating.  I love you.

The Crooked Path

The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert is the sequel to Child of the River, both of which are published by Thomas Nelson and set in South Africa during the mid-1900s.

This was such a beautiful book! Joubert takes us on a heartfelt, emotional journey through the lives of a group of friends growing up in South Africa during World War II, and the plot line coincides with that of Child of the River.  The characters grab onto your heartstrings and won’t let go! I finished this book in just a couple of days.  It felt like a short story but also a good, hearty one because there wasn’t a moment where the plot dragged or slowed.  I was constantly kept guessing as to what would happen next, which is somewhat unusual in books for me.  I was caught off guard several times by the plot twists, and had four or five burst-into-tears moments and one throw-the-book-across-the-room moment.  The South African setting lent a unique perspective to the second World War, and the message of the book about life being a crooked path yet one worth walking on was beautifully intertwined into the story.  This is a story I will want to read over and over, and tell all my friends and family about.  It is, quite frankly, phenomenal.

Thank you to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild 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.*

Full Circle: A Letter to My Mentor

Thank you.

Those two simple words could never adequately reflect the depths of my gratitude to you.  I doubt anything ever could.

I wanted to take a moment and let you know that I would not be the same person if you had not come into my life.  I wonder if I would be here at all.  You were one of the few people whose eyes I looked into during that season of my life.

I was so worn.  So weary.  So tired.  But also so afraid.  I was afraid of letting anyone in because I was afraid of having to let them go.  I was too weary to cry for help, and most days too hopeless to lift my head and look around for it.

I would never wish those times on anybody, but I also would not trade them for the world.  They have made me into who I am today, but if it wasn’t for you (and the grace of God) I don’t know that I would have made it to today.

Thank you for listening to God and reaching out to me.  Thank you for inviting me into your home and showing me love.  I needed it so desperately.  To look into your kids’ faces and see how much they loved me, to be accepted and loved, unconditionally and fearlessly, was a precious gift.

I am eternally grateful for the time spent with you and your family.  I learned so much and was so refreshed by time away from my house.  There was a peace and a joy that I experienced with your family that gave my heart strength to keep going.

Saying “see you later” when you moved away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because it felt so much like “goodbye”.  And in a way, it was.  It was “goodbye” to sleepovers and park days, to random drop-in visits and to swinging on your front porch.  It was goodbye to being 10 minutes away, because it became over 10 hours away.  It was goodbye to the little things that meant everything.

There’s no denying that’s one of the most brutal goodbye’s I’ve ever said, but out of it I said a lot of new hellos.  They were scary hello’s, no doubt, but they were hello’s just the same.  They were hello’s to finding God’s love in places other than exclusively your family.  Those hello’s made me look for God, and when I did, I found Him in the most unlikely of places.

I found Him in people I didn’t even like.  I found Him in the new.  The new people that needed me to love them just as much as I had needed you to love me.  I didn’t like those people because they reminded me so much of me and what I went through, but as I came to realize that it meant what I went through wasn’t wasted, I also came to love them.

As I loved these people and helped them through their trials (which were eerily similar to mine!), I came to find out that one of them lived one street down from where you had moved from.

It was as if God was saying that not only did my heartache come full circle to heal someone else’s heartache, it was the next street onward.  Forward progress.  I wasn’t stuck in my pain and in missing you, but moving forward.

I still miss you like crazy.  It’ll sneak up on me at times and make me cry.  But I wanted to say thank you for being such a big part of my life, and thank you for following God when He told you it was time to move on.  I’m not the same without you, and I’m so thankful for the times we were together nearly everyday.  Now as we are apart, I’m thankful again, because it taught me to pick myself back up and love again.

God used you to give me hope, love, and life, and now I’m passing those things on to others too.  Thank you for your example to me.  I love you.

 

PS. Now that girl, the one that lives one street down from where you did, is rising up and loving fearlessly too.  She’s ministering to a group of girls and leading them in a study about living loved and overcoming rejection.  What God started with you loving me is still going as girls in my community are learning both how much they are loved by God and how to love others.