Monday, March 20, 2017

"Tu" v. "Usted"

This year, I'm taking Spanish 2. But it was actually last year during Spanish 1 that I came across what I am about to share with you.


The Spanish language has two forms of the word "you." The formal term for someone who you don't know very well is "usted" and the familiar word for close friends, family, and children is "tu." If you were standing in line at Walmart and started a conversation with the person standing behind you, you would use "usted." However, if that person had a child and if you were addressing him, you would use the "tu" form of the word "you." The same goes if you are greeting a friend or family member. "¿Comó estás tu?" "How are you?" It shows familiarity between you and is a recognition of your closeness.

If you've ever read Genesis in a Spanish Bible, you may have noticed that in the Garden of Eden when God speaks to Adam and Eve, the word he uses for "you" is translated "tu." Even in the midst of delivering their punishment for their disobedience, he still says "tu."

Think about how amazing this is. The God of the universe, who spoke and the heavens, earth, and all its inhabitants were created, the God over all the angels, the God who is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end, called Adam and Eve by such an intimate name. Later, when Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, he called them also by this name. Consider the implications of such familiarity.

Remember the cases where you use "tu?" With close friends, family, and children. When God uses this word when speaking to us, He is calling us His family, and His children. This is so amazing! Think back to the days when people came before their kings and queens with petitions. They certainly would not take the familiarity to call their king by such a term. They would instead show utmost respect and honor. They wouldn't dream of being so familiar with their king, much less to have him call them by such a name. But our King, who we also bow before on trembling knees, who is so much mightier than any earthly king, calls us "tu."

Will we live as someone so close to God that He would call us "tu?"

NOTE: Happy Spring! Stay tuned for my new blog design. :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February Highlights 2017

Pauses. Sighs. Scratches head. Sighs again.

How should I describe February? It was a relatively "normal" month. At least, as "normal" as my life ever gets. :) While I didn't get half as much done as I'd hoped, I still accomplished a decent amount and I'm pleased with the overall results.

~Summary~
Okay. I figured out how to describe the biggest portion of my month—stress. For the greater part of February I have been studying like crazy for my amateur radio test to get my operator license. The test was Monday night and I had the most amazing feeling going into it. Instead of being horribly nervous like I thought I would be, I had total peace. Even during the test and while waiting for the results, I wasn't very nervous. And guess what? I passed with 97%! I'm so thrilled. Yesterday morning I got my temporary call sign but I hope to change it to something more personal. I am officially an amateur radio operator! Yay!

Besides radio classes, studying, and lots of school, I've also been continuing to attend two awesome youth groups and build stronger relationships with my friends. My younger sister went to Hume Lake at the beginning of the month and had a wonderful time. While she was enjoying the snow, I had a wonderful time staying with my marvelous grandparents. I always love sitting and talking with them, and I had plenty of time to do so!

A few weeks later we went to Pacific Grove to visit with my grandparents again for a birthday. It was a nice time, and we got several more great sunset pictures. How can you not get good ones when the sun is setting over the ocean? #beautiful ;)

That's my Dad taking a picture. ;)

It was also an interesting experience in that because of all the rain and wind storms, trees were falling left, right, and center and power was out in Pacific Grove for over 24 hours! We toasted bread and heated water for coffee over the fire and managed just fine. By the time we needed to turn on the oven for our pizza, power came back on. Perfect timing. Can't go without the pizza. :)

All in all, it was a good month despite the stress. I would ask for prayers though for my Mom, who found out yesterday that she has to have some major dental work done. Thanks!

~Reading~
February started out as a very good month for reading, I was ahead in my plan for reaching 10 books despite the short month but then it came to a grinding halt as studying grew more intense. I managed to complete only three for a total of 738 pages plus about half of the book I'm in the middle of, A Time to Die, which will be added to March's book list.
  1. Land of Shining Water: The Icecutter's Daughter, Tracie Peterson (331 pages)
  2. Chiveis Trilogy: The Gift, Bryan M. Litfin (407 pages)
  3. Ilyon Chronicles: The King's Scrolls, Jaye L. Knight (397 pages)
However, I can say that all three books were extraordinary! I'd highly recommend all of them and I can't wait to get book three in both the Chiveis Trilogy and Ilyon Chronicles. Hopefully March will enable me to get a significant amount of reading done now that the radio test is behind me.

~Writing~
While I still didn't write nearly as much as I'd hoped to, I did accomplish more than 4,000 words on my Dragon Chronicles, which is actually a lot considering everything else. I also set a record for the most amount of words I've ever written in a day—the new total is 2,612! That was a happy day. :)

I've also been continuing to edit for some friends, and I'm finding that I really enjoy editing. Another accomplishment was writing my first draft of a synopsis for my Dragon Chronicles. I'm really glad to have come up with something that I think I like for it.

~Photography~
It was a good month for photography! With all the rain, there were lots of rainbows and everything looked fresh. In addition to the sunset pictures I have above, I also got to do a brief photo-shoot with my sister and our horses.

In a "normal" year of rain, this river is half the size. (Taken in January.)
This is one of my favorite pictures I've taken! Isn't it gorgeous?



All the above pictures are © Bethany R.

~Great Quotes~
A found a few cool quotes this month that I thought you might like too.

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” -Annie Dillard

"If you ask me what book I'm reading I'll either go into a long winded and enthusiastic summary of the entire thing or just lift the book to show you the title and keep reading." -I can't find the author


I don't think this counts as a quote but . . . here it is. :)

~Blog Posts~
I managed four posts in February, the most popular of which was my January Highlights post, followed by A Question of Honor Cover Reveal and Faith Leads to Understanding. I was delighted to find that I got several new followers this month as well—welcome to the blog! I'm so happy that you found me. You helped me reach 40 google followers!

As far as other blogger's posts, I'll just mention two things here. The blog tours for both A Question of Honor and The Princess and I have begun! Both books release March 3, so if you are interested, be sure to check those out! Click on the book title to view each author's first post of the blog tour. I've been too busy to participate in either, but know that if I could have I would have! Congratulations Jesseca and Rebekah! I'm so excited for you both!

Wow, I guess a busy month calls for a long post but I didn't anticipate this being THAT long. Well, if you read all of that, thanks! I hope you had a great February and have a delightful March!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Faith Leads to Understanding

Have you ever watched the children's movie, Polar Express? For years it has been one of my family's favorite fun Christmas films. For awhile, it became an annual tradition to watch it. A theme throughout the movie is belief in Santa, and the characters in the movie couldn't hear his sleigh bells ring until they first believed in him.


A few weeks back, I read in Mark 4 about Jesus explaining His parables to His disciples. It reads, “With many such parables He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to His own disciples He explained everything.” (ESV)

Today, in Luke 8, following Jesus' parable of the Sower, I read a sort of continuation to this. “And when His disciples asked Him what this parable meant, He said, 'To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that “seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.” ' " (ESV)

I found some very interesting insight into this and I thought you might find it fascinating as well. In the Mark 4 passage, where it refers to “He spoke the word to them,” it is saying that Jesus taught the multitudes in parables. Who are the multitudes in Jesus' day? Unbelievers. Who are the multitudes in today's world? Unbelievers. Who are His disciples to whom Jesus explained His parables? Christians. Non-Christians will not be able to understand the full meaning of God's words as written in the Bible. Only the Christians who take the time to ask God and listen for His answers will be given true knowledge. Faith leads to knowledge and comprehension of the truth that is otherwise unable to be attained. By faith the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in believers and it is of Him that Jesus says, ". . . it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. . . . When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth . . ." (ESV)

As my family and I were discussing this, we came up with another level to it. What is a name of Jesus? The Word. Just as non-Christians cannot understand the Bible—God's Words—until they believe, neither can they understand the Word, Jesus. When non-Christians have so many questions concerning things in the Bible, and Christians try to explain them, with this knowledge it makes much more sense that the unbelievers cannot understand it and tend to keep pressing the same issues. It is impossible for them to comprehend these things until they first believe.

I keep thinking about the bell in Polar Express. They couldn't hear it ring until they first believed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Princess and I Cover Reveal

I know what you're thinking. Wow, two cover reveals in a single month? That's right. Today, I'm joining with several other bloggers in releasing the cover for another book I beta-read, The Princess and I, by Rebekah Eddy.

The Princess and I is an enchanting story of adventure, danger, romance, and heartbreak. Rebekah did a delightful job crafting the plot, and her characters each have unique personalities. I'm so happy to have been one of those privileged to read this before it releases March 3rd. (Rebekah is co-releasing with Jesseca Wheaton's A Question of Honor, which was the other cover reveal I participated in.)

Here is the fantastic cover!


Synopsis
Megan is content with her life, despite her parents' death and her brother Malcolm's job that keeps him busy at the King's castle. But when she is offered the position as Princess Christine's lady-in-waiting, Megan is glad of the change in scenery and accepts it with the hope that she can spend more time with her brother. The promise from Malcolm of lessons in swordsmanship only adds to her enthusiasm.

However, helping keep an eye on the emotional and excitable young lady proves to be much harder than becoming her friend. As rumors of war circulate the castle, Megan strives to encourage her new friend even as she tries to settle the doubts and fears in her own heart when her responsibility in protecting the Princess is put to the test. Follow the unwanted adventure which serves to teach her that loyal friendship, true love, and God's amazing grace will always triumph over revenge, greed, and hate.

Author Bio
Rebekah grew up surrounded by family members who appreciated and read good literature. First, she fell in love with the stories her parents read aloud to her from the Bible and books like The Chronicles of Narnia, Great Expectations, The Hobbit, and Anne of Green Gables. After learning to read on her own, she discovered other fantastic books which helped to build her ever growing imagination.

She completed her first written work at the tender age of eight and now uses it to humble herself whenever the need arises. The story did serve to show her that God had given her a desire to write, however, and from that moment on Rebekah has never looked back or regretted picking up her pencil and becoming an author.

This eighteen-year-old homeschool graduate lives in rainy Western Washington and is currently working on receiving her BA in English in order to further her passion for creating worlds on paper.

Congratulations, Rebekah, for completing another fine tale!

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Question of Honor Cover Reveal

(In advance, I apologize for the odd formatting at the bottom of the page. It does that when I copy and paste certain things.)

At long last, my good friend Jesseca Wheaton is releasing the cover for her latest book, A Question of Honor, the first in her series “Questions of War.” This book captivated my heart with the first words and enraptured me throughout its pages. I quickly found myself lost in the tale, in love with the characters, and lamenting with them in their trials. I'm so happy to be apart of her cover reveal! Without further ado, I present . . .


Isn't it powerful? And here is her book summary:


A man. A child. A war.
When German soldiers invade France during World War II, young Joyanna's perfect world is shattered. In the hands of those who hate her, she battles to comprehend why people can be so ruthless and cold toward those whom they have never met.
David Sullivan, pilot in the Royal Air Force, was certain he would never hate, but a painful loss forces him to either reconsider or do the inconceivable—forgive. He is suddenly challenged by the realization that doing God's will is not easy, but most important. With the lives of freedom-fighters relying on him, he must learn the difficult lesson that he is not in control, but merely one who must surrender his heart of obedience to One greater.
A sudden turn of events lands Joyanna and David in the same country—but for far different reasons. When their paths cross, David finds he must make a decision that will affect them both for the rest of their lives.
Will he chose vengeance, or will he let his life be ruled by a higher standard? A standard of Honor.


I'm absolutely in love with A Question of Honor, and I can't wait for it to be released March 3, 2017. That's right! Just one month away this delightful tale will be revealed to the public. I'm so excited! Congratulations, Jesseca, and thank you so very much for allowing me to be a part of the process of your book.


Author Bio:


Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

If you have ever been fascinated by this time period, be sure to order A Question of Honor the moment it comes out! I guarantee you won't be disappointed with it. Remember, March 3!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Hightlights 2017

Wow. I can't believe that the first month of 2017 is already over. It doesn't seem real. Wasn't just yesterday Christmas? Despite the speed which with this month flew by, January was a very good month.

~Summary~
I kicked off the year with a trip to Hume Lake Christian Camps again with my youth group. That was my best trip there so far! Plus I earned lots of bragging rights because we went during Hume's biggest rain storm in ten years. Despite the pouring rain, I loved every minute of my time up there. The tube run, coffee shop, and band were wonderful, and the speaker was excellent. My favorite parts were simply the great conversations I had with my friends and getting to know them even better.

I mustn't forget the ice skating! All my friends agreed that this was the highlight of our trip. I had the honor of teaching yet another friend (or two, or three) to skate. This year, instead of always being the teacher, I also got a chance to improve as I was challenged by another friend (you know who you are :P). I finally decided that I didn't care how often I fell, and I had a blast! I attempted skating backward (a disaster but fun nonetheless), and did my best to keep up.

Due to the excessive amount of rain, the Boxsled Blitz was cancelled, at least, the normal one. The Hume staff came up with a sort of obstacle course that we did on the ice skating rink. We didn't even place, but I'm pretty confident that our sled would have won had we raced down the hill. Our design was a pirate ship.
In the coffee shop.
Skating.
 
With the rain, the lake filled in a day.
In chapel.
Our pirate ship boxsled.

The river was less than half this size before rain.
This was one of the best weekends of my life! Thank you so much to my dad for taking the youth group, all the counselors, and my wonderful, amazing friends who made this trip so perfect! You guys are the best friends I could have! Thanks.

January also meant back to school, which really isn't so bad. I found myself actually looking forward to starting again.

In addition, the youth leader's wife from the other youth group I'm apart of had me and a few of my friends over to her house for an amazing sleepover.

A new experience for me this month is taking classes every Monday to get my amateur radio operating license. It's time consuming, but I know that it will be worth it to get my HAM license in a few more weeks.

Other than these, January didn't hold very many big events. It was nice to slow down a bit after Christmas and my birthday and enjoy the rain that we so desperately need out here in CA. We've gotten far more rain than all of last year combined and I'm getting to see ponds filled and rivers flowing strong. It's been so long since we've had this much water that I don't even remember seeing most of these as full as they are now.

~Reading~

I didn't quite make my goal of 10 books this month, but I came relatively close. Seven books for a total of 1,894 pages.
  1. Red Rock Mysteries: Hollywood Holdup, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (208 pages)
  2. Out From Egypt: Shadow of the Storm, Connilyn Cossette (346 pages)
  3. The Blades of Acktar: Destroy, Tricia Mingerink (165 pages)
  4. Adventures of the Northwoods: The Vanishing Footprints, Lois W. Johnson (156 pages)
  5. Dragons in Our Midst: Tears of a Dragon, Bryan Davis (363 pages)
  6. The Staff and the Sword: A Cast of Stones, Patrick W. Carr (428 pages)
  7. Red Rock Mysteries: Wind Chill, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (228 pages)
Every one of these books was wonderful! My favorite was probably Destroy. (Of course! It's by Tricia Mingerink!) I also read my first book by Patrick W. Carr, and I was really happy with his writing. If it's any indication, I want to buy more of his books. :)

~Writing~

After a long an unintentional break from writing, I finally started again on my dragon novel. I didn't get too much done, but I'm so happy to be writing again! I ended up writing a little over 1,500 words. I'm also in the process of editing a friend's story.

I think this pretty well sums up my month. I've been really absent from the blogging world lately, but I'm hoping that will change very soon. I hope you had a wonderful month! God bless you all!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 Bookish Recap Tag

Welcome to 2017! I can't believe it's already here. Kaitlyn from Twin Thoughts tagged me for this marvelous book-related tag started by Faith P. at Stories by Firefly. You know me, always ready to write about books. Thank you, Kaitlyn!
Rules
  1. Include the above button in your post.
  2. Answer the 11 questions.
  3. Use as many book covers as you like.
  4. Tag 5-10 people and notify them that they've been tagged.
 Questions
1. How many books did you read in 2016? (Exact if you know, or approximate if not.)
I do have an exact for this. I know what you're thinking: BOOK NERD! And you're right. :) The answer is 85 books.

2. Did you set a reading challenge for yourself and, if so, did you meet it?
 I had set a goal of 10 books a month, so 120 all year. But, life interfered.

3. What was your most read genre this year? Least read?
Most read: Fantasy (about 24) and historical fiction (about 20-25)
Least read:  Biographies (1) and romance (3)

4. What's five of your favorite books from 2016?
This is a terrible question. So I'll just pick my five top series. haha.

The Makilien Trilogy by Molly Evangeline
The Pirates and Faith series by Molly Evangeline
The Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink
Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight
Dragons in our Midst by Bryan Davis
Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers

What? I'm certain you counted wrong. There's only five series listed! :) Anyway, if you haven't heard of or read these series, you really need to. They're wonderful!

5. What's five of your least favorite books from 2016?
 Nobody kill me as I know these are some favorites.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Silas Marner, George Eliot
Shane, Jack Schaefer
Seal of the King, Ralph Smith

I personally wouldn't recommend any of these books to anyone. These were pretty much my only disappointing books throughout the year.

6. What new favorite author did you discover? (Not necessarily that the author is 'new', but that they became new to you this year.)
This was a very good reading year. I found my new favorite author—Tricia Mingerink, and for all intensive purposes I found my second-favorite author—Jaye L. Knight/Molly Evangeline. I actually found MANY new authors but these two are by far my favorites.

7. What's five of your favorite book covers from the year?
There were some really good ones! Here are a few.
Resistance, Jaye L. Knight
Courage, Molly Evangeline
The Pirate Daughter's Promise, Molly Evangeline
Deny, Tricia Mingerink
Defy, Tricia Mingerink

What? I'm not biased! Why would you say that?

8. How many books did you purchase for yourself in 2016? (Exact if you know, approximate if not.)
I bought more books for myself this year than any other year prior. That being said, I'm not sure. I got several of them free on Kindle and bought all my favorites in paper-back. Still, many of them were given to me for Christmas and my birthday. I'd have to say that I bought at least 20.

9. What's the longest book you read in 2016?
Unfortunately, it was also one of my least favorites. Ironic, I know. Seal of the King by Ralph Smith was 749 pages. Yes, you read that number correctly. The longest book I've ever read!

10. What's the shortest book you read in 2016?
Probably Jesseca Wheaton's Beyond the Horizon at 72 pages. I also read a few others that might have been slightly shorter.

11. What's your reading goal for 2017?
I'm not going to push myself since I have a super busy schedule, but I'm going to aim for last year's goal of 120. We'll see how I do!
I Tag
You! If you are reading this and have done the tag, leave me the link to your post and I'll go read it. If you haven't done this and don't have a blog, go ahead and leave me a comment with your answers! I love learning about your reading adventures!

I would say that this year, most of the books I read ranged from 300-400 pages, and I'm very happy with that number. So, while I didn't read quite the number of books I'd hoped to, I read plenty of pages. Here's the complete list of what I read if you are interested. Before you go, be sure to either answer the questions or recommend a book to me. Thanks!

My Reading Year
 
January (2,946 pages total)
  1. Makilien Trilogy: Courage, Molly Evangeline (478 pages)
  1. Makilien Trilogy: Trust, Molly Evangeline (331 pages)
  2. Circle C Milestones: Heartbreak Trail, Susan K. Marlow (166 pages)
  3. 'Nama Beach High: New Girl in Town, Nancy Rue (170 pages)
  4. Pirates and Faith: The Pirate Daughter's Promise, Molly Evangeline (217 pages)
  5. Pirates and Faith: Every Tear, Molly Evangeline (458 pages)
  6. Circle C Milestones: The Last Ride, Susan K. Marlow (175 pages)
  7. Red Rock Mysteries: Instant Menace, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (234 pages)
  8. Red Rock Mysteries: Escaping Darkness, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (218 pages)
  9. Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (499 pages)

February (2,010 pages total)
  1. Daughters of the Faith Series: Shadow of His Hand, Wendy Lawton (148 pages)
  2. What About Cimmaron?, Lauraine Snelling (84 pages)
  3. Sierra Jensen Series: In Your Dreams, Robin Jones Gunn (140 pages)
  4. Forbidden Doors: The Guardian, Bill Myers (170 pages)
  5. Red Rock Mysteries: Windy City Danger, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (234 pages)
  6. Adventures of the Northwoods: The Disappearing Stranger, Lois W. Johnson (142 pages)
  7. The Black Stallion: The Blood Bay Colt, Walter Farley (307 pages)
  8. The Island Stallion: The Island Stallion's Fury, Walter Farley (190 pages)
  9. Pirates and Faith: A Captain's Heart, Molly Evangeline (365 pages)
  10. Golden Filly: The Race, Lauraine Snelling (123 pages)
  11. Golden Filly: Eagles Wings, Lauraine Snelling (107 pages)

March (2,047 pages total)
  1. Silas Marner, George Eliot (202 pages)
  2. Golden Filly: Go for the Glory, Lauraine Snelling (126 pages)
  3. Golden Filly: Kentucky Dreamer, Lauraine Snelling (130 pages)
  4. Golden Filly: Call for Courage, Lauraine Snelling (122 pages)
  5. Dear Enemy, Jack Cavanaugh (288 pages)
  6. The Kingdom Series: Kingdom's Dawn, Chuck Black (145 pages)
  7. Blessed Child, Ted Dekker and Bill Bright (349 pages)
  8. Left Behind: Desecration, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (405 pages)
  9. The Kingdom Series: Kingdom's Hope, Chuck Black (138 pages)
  10. Adventures of the Northwoods: The Hidden Message, Lois Walfrid Johnson (142 pages)

April (2,016+ pages total)
  1. The Blades of Acktar: Dare, Tricia Mingerink (334 pages)
  2. Golden Filly: Shadow Over San Mateo, Lauraine Snelling (119 pages)
  3. The Anne of Green Gables Novels: Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery (308 pages)
  4. Song of the Desert, Katie Grace (307 pages)
  5. Christian Heroes: Then and Now: Jacob Deshazer, Janet and Geoff Benge (219 pages)
  6. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (330 pages)
  7. The Blades of Acktar: Deny, Tricia Mingerink (328 pages)
  8. Kressler Kids Mysteries: The Mystery of the Midnight Tresspasser, Hosanna Emily (_ pages)
  9. Golden Filly: Out of the Mist, Lauraine Snelling (116 pages)

May (1,428+ pages total)
  1. The Oneness: Hive, Rachel Starr Thomson (__ pages)
  2. The Oneness: Exile, Rachel Starr Thomson (230 pages)
  3. Pirates and Faith: Finding Faith, Molly Evangeline (277 pages)
  4. The Blades of Acktar: Defy, Tricia Mingerink (__ pages)
  5. Shane, Jack Schaefer (151 pages)
  6. Ilyon Chronicles: Resistance, Jaye L. Knight (478 pages)
  7. Bonnets and Bugles Series: The Gallant Boys of Gettysburg, Gilbert Morris (168 pages)
  8. Golden Filly: Second Wind, Lauraine Snelling (124 pages)

June (388 pages total)
  1. The Revelation Chronicles: Will's Purpose, Randolph Kay (388 pages)

July (2,314 pages total)
  1. Cedar River Daydreams: Unheard Voices, Judy Baer (140 pages)
  2. Mark of the Lion: A Voice in the Wind, Francine Rivers (507 pages)
  3. Golden Filly: Close Call, Lauraine Snelling (128 pages)
  4. Mark of the Lion: An Echo in the Darkness, Francine Rivers (442 pages)
  5. Golden Filly: The Winner's Circle, Lauraine Snelling (127 pages)
  6. Mark of the Lion: As Sure as the Dawn, Francine Rivers (473 pages)
  7. Adventures of the Northwoods: The Creeping Shadows, Lois Walfrid Johnson (160 pages)
  8. Out from Egypt: Counted With the Stars, Connilyn Cossette (337 pages)

August (1,230 pages total)
  1. A Seven Wonders Novel: City of the Dead, T. L. Higley (380 pages)
  2. Cedar River Daydreams: Trouble with a Capital “T”, Judy Baer (139 pages)
  3. Cedar River Daydreams: Journey to Nowhere, Judy Baer (126 pages)
  4. Cedar River Daydreams: More Than Friends, Judy Baer (122 pages)
  5. A Question of Honor, Jesseca Wheaton (150 pages)
  6. Ilyon Chronicles: Half-Blood, Jaye L. Knight (130 pages)
  7. And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity, Dannah Gresh (183 pages)

September (1,707 pages total + X)
  1. The Seventh Dimension: The Door, Lorilyn Roberts (231 pages)
  2. The Lost Girl of Astor Street, Stepanie Morrill (345 pages)
  3. Failstate: Failstate, John W. Otte (426 pages)
  4. Dragons in Our Midst: Raising Dragons, Bryan Davis (371 pages)
  5. Dragon Keeper Chronicles: Dragon Spell, Donita K. Paul (334 pages)
  6. X (Courtship book)
October (1,319 pages total)
  1. Follower of the Word: Daughter of Light, Morgan L. Busse (376 pages)
  2. Light of Loian: A Light in the Darkness, Heather Sutherlin (215 pages)
  3. Dragon Keeper Chronicles: Dragon Quest, Donita K. Paul (349 pages)
  4. A Seven Wonders Novel: Guardian of the Flame, T. L. Higley (379 pages)

November (2,271 pages total)
  1. Montana Skies Series: McKenzie, Penny Zeller (314 pages)
  2. Dragons in Our Midst: The Candlestone, Bryan Davis (388 pages)
  3. Dragons in Our Midst: Circles of Seven, Bryan Davis (434 pages)
  4. The Wanderer Series: Seen, Heather Sutherlin (139 pages)
  5. Thrilling Action and Adventure Fiction Book: Seal of the King, Ralph Smith (749 pages)
  6. Cedar River Daydreams: Never Too Late, Judy Baer (121 pages)
  7. Cedar River Daydreams: A Special Kind of Love, Judy Baer (126 pages)

December (1,077 pages total)
  1. Madman, Tracy Groot (316 pages)
  2. Men of the Saddle: The Drifter, Lori Copeland (279 pages)
  3. Beyond the Horizon, Jesseca Wheaton (72 pages)
  4. Chiveis Trilogy: The Sword, Bryan M. Litfin (410 pages)

    Thanks for reading! Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Hope at Christmas

Today I'm thrilled to be participating in The Twelve Days of Christmas blog tour hosted by Faith P. This is her second year of gathering bloggers who share various Christmasy posts with the blogging world during the twelve days previous to Christmas. (December 14-25.) There are giveaways, book releases, traditions and recipes shared, favorite Christmas books and movies, etc. A “what Christmas means to me” post is coming soon on Faith's blog. Due to how busy life is, this will likely be my only post during this time.


In trying to decide what to post about, I looked through my list of ideas I've gathered over the last few years. I saw one about hope that I had planned on doing last year but didn't. Lately hope has been coming up all over the place so it seemed a fitting time. Enjoy!

Hope. One word. So important. So full of comfort.

Have you ever watched Christmas movies, read Christmas books, seen Christmas cards, etc. with this continuous theme? Why is hope such a frequent topic in this season? The answer: Jesus. When the almighty God gave up his throne and came to earth in human form, that gave all of mankind the ultimate hope—hope of eternal life! Of forgiveness. Of love. Hope was born at Christmas. The very essence of Christmas is hope.

Romans 8:18 reads, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Because of Christmas, Christians have hope for beautiful future glory. Hope is what gets Christians through difficulty. They know that their present sufferings are nothing compared to God's greatness, love, and forgiveness. By becoming man and sacrificing himself for us, Jesus tore the divide between man and God so Christians have the hope that there is more than just this life. Their hope is in God—the only one worthy.

Live your life with the constant hope and longing for the day when we will meet Christ and spend forever with Him. Most of all, because we as Christians have this hope and so many others don't, share it! Share the good news! Let the world know that they do have hope if only they choose to embrace it. Imagine how wonderful it would be if everyone who is now living hopelessly discovers that there is hope. That is the Christians' purpose while on this earth. Share this hope that we have because of what Jesus did for us.

Isn't it wonderful? We have hope because of Christ's gift to us. Jesus bridged the gap that separated us from God. Now we know that if we accept his gift, we can live forever with Him in a perfect kingdom ruled by the most High! Praise be to God for giving us this hope.

Be sure to visit Faith's blog for a list of other bloggers who are doing other Christmas-related posts. Thank you for including me, Faith!


Please stop by Jesseca Dawn's blog to see her newest published Christmas story!

Also, be sure to visit my blog to see my new wintertime layout! And don't hesitate to let me know if the font is too difficult to read. Thanks!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Where Is the Right to Life?

In school, I wrote the following paragraph as an assignment. After doing so, I decided to share it with you. Maybe you will find that this challenges you, as it did me in writing it.

Whatever happened to the inalienable rights of all men as given in the Declaration of Independence? Where have the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” gone? True, the American citizen possesses these rights, but what of the defenseless? What of those who have no voice? What of them who desire life, but are denied? What of the helpless babe in the womb? What of the pregnant unwed woman who sees no option but abortion? The society of today has made exceptions to the rule granting all humans life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When babies are killed, they lose their liberty and pursuit of happiness as well as their lives. They are discarded as waste, unimportant, and burdensome. Some even use these babies for their own gain. Most call it abortion, but it should be called what it is—murder. It has become lawful to abolish the right to life. Without a voice, babies are helpless to the horrors done to them. Few are standing up for the rights of the unborn. When American citizens refuse to stand up for the rights of babies, then they are giving up the rights that they themselves love without regard to the babies that will never be able to enjoy the experience of their freedoms. Because Americans call these “fetuses” burdensome, they cast them away without a second thought. Who is defending the defenseless? Who is fighting for the freedom of those who have no voice? Who is working boldly toward bringing life to those who so desire, but are denied. Who will help the helpless babe in the womb? Who will stand with the pregnant unwed woman who sees no option but abortion? If even Christians, who have a God-given mandate to stand up for them, will not do so, then how can they expect the nation—and the world—to do what they won't?

This isn't an easy calling. But it is right. Christians need to step out of their comfort zones and enter the pain of the world to come to the defense of those unborn. They are alive, and they need a defender. Will you—will I—take up the call?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Favorite Books

A huge group of bloggers are participating in a book party at Rebekah Morris's blog "Read Another Page." It goes on until this Friday, the 30th. Six blogs (including Rebekah Morris's) are posting their top five favorite books in two genres each day. Every day they offer a prize, and to top it all off, there is an amazing grand prize. You can enter in numerous ways. I'm having a blast at the party so far, and I'd highly recommend heading over there to join in the fun!

Since this has thrown me into a bookish mood (which I'm always in anyways), I'm going to post a few of my favorite books in the mystery, historical fiction, and spiritual warfare genres. Enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway!


For the longest time, mystery was my favorite genre. Lately, historical fiction and fantasy have overruled it, but I still love to immerse myself in a great mystery novel. I am, however, struggling to find good, clean, mysteries for teen readers such as myself. I love ones that keep you guessing and send shivers up your spine. Any recommendations? Following are some of my favorites from a few years ago.

The "Red Rock Mysteries" series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry are wonderful adventures full of twists and turns. I've thoroughly enjoyed each one I've read; my only complaint is that they are over too quickly!

Another series I re-read repeatedly when I was younger was the "No Place Like Holmes" books by Jason Lethcoe. They keep you flipping pages and are just the type that I described above. I wish they were written for my age level!

Yet a third series of delightful mysteries is the "Adventures of the Northwoods" by Lois Walfrid Johnson. They also qualify as historical fiction, set in Wisconsin. I really had fun with both the mystery, and the struggles of the times.



An abundance of these novels decorate my shelves. I can't get enough of good historical fiction. I don't have a specific time period that I enjoy most; I'll read whatever time period I can get my hands on!

At the end of 2015, I discovered Molly Evangeline and her first series, "Pirates and Faith." They are an exciting series set in the Caribbean Sea, 1702. I also appreciated the length of each book; there's nothing better than a good, long book that you can escape to!

Recently, I discovered book one in the "Out From Egypt" series by Connilyn Cossette. Counted With the Stars follows an Egyptian woman through the plagues and the Exodus. It contains a very unique perspective that I enjoyed. I don't agree with all the aspects of the book, but for the most part, it was in sync with the Biblical account.

Francine River's series, "The Mark of the Lion" is powerful! I did a post on how it affected me that you can read HERE. This is set a little after the time of Jesus in Rome and Ephesus. It is graphic, but an amazing series nonetheless.

On a lighter note, I also had fun reading the "Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley, and am now re-reading it with my sister. For anyone who loves horses, these novels are a must!

I've had a great time reading all of Susan Marlow's novels. She has several series for various age groups. Each series is centered around tomboy Andrea Carter living in Fresno, California in the 1880s. My favorite of her series is "Circle C Adventures."

Lastly, Lauraine Snelling wrote a short novel taking place during the Mount St. Helens eruption called "What about Cimmaron?" I enjoyed the unique perspective of the characters.


I don't think that this is technically a "genre," but for my purposes it is. I haven't read too many of these, but I'll share the ones that I have because I've loved them!

Rachel Starr Thomson has a series called "The Oneness." While I've only read the first few, I've been intrigued by the way that the author portrays the spiritual realm.

I've read multiple books by Josh McDowell that are also jam-packed full of the spiritual. To name a few in "The Powerlink Chronicles:" Under Siege, The Deceivers, and Truth Slayers. All were very challenging. I'd recommend all three for teens and adults—mostly teens.

Perhaps this has helped you find more books to add to your to-be-read list. I hope so! If you have read any of the above mentioned books, I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts on them. What are your favorite books in these genres? I'd love to hear your input and make sure you go enter that giveaway right away!