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!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Why I Disappeared . . .

You may be wondering why I disappeared. This time, I have a good reason. :) Multiple, actually. I don't even know where to begin.

I suppose I should start with the biggest reason I've vanished from the blogging world. If you know me either in person or follow Andi's Blog, you should know that my family was threatened by the Chimney Fire. My area was put under mandatory evacuation and our power was out for multiple days. After about two long weeks of watching the smoke and then flames, the fire was stopped nearly a mile and a half away from my house. So, I was a little bit preoccupied and blogging was not on my list of top priorities. Prior to that and since then, I have had school work to do, and now I'm focusing on catching up. I'm also in the process of beta-reading two books for some great friends and trying to get back to my own writing project(s) after a rather long and unintentional break.

However, I am just so grateful that the Lord saved my home from the flames. Thank you to everyone who was praying for me. Those prayers had a lot to do with stopping the fire!

I've been writing a few posts, but felt like this one needed to be written first, so you knew that I was still doing well. :) Keep your eyes out for those upcoming posts!

Oh yes, and as a side note, today is National Buy A Book Day. An author I follow did a great post about it that you can visit HERE.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sisters In Christ Interview

Hello! I just wanted to drop in and let you know that Faith P. posted an interview with me on her blog this morning. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment! We would both love to hear your input!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nature Shots

I recently visited my grandparents in Pacific Grove and pulled out my camera. I only got a few photos of the ocean this time, but I got several of a seagull and my grandma's flowers. To view them larger, just click on the picture. Enjoy!

Isn't the expression cute?

I was so happy with the clarity of this one.

Believe it or not, I didn't take these in sepia. Aren't they cool?

This is probably my favorite of the flower pictures.

I like the framing and colors on this one.
All photos are © Bethany R.

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Any tips for me? Also, as a side note, now that Camp NaNo is over, if you would like to enter the writing challenge but weren't able, I will still be accepting entries for a few more days. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Silent Blade Blog Tour

I am so excited for today's post. I am participating in a blog tour for the release of The Silent Blade. The author, Jesseca Wheaton, is a good friend of mine and a very talented author. I am honored to have been a beta reader for her and also to have written the back cover copy for The Silent Blade. That being said, I am thrilled to say that this novel is releasing today! Congratulations, Jesseca! I can't begin to tell you how happy I am for you. This is quite an accomplishment. :)
When I first saw the cover for The Silent Blade I was amazed. It looks so professional and does a splendid job of capturing the general feel of the story. Isn't it beautiful?
Jesseca Wheaton-Author

 ~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.

Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.

Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin's sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.
When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?
As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?

~My Review~
Reading The Silent Blade left me in awe. From the first page to the last, the book captivated me. It held everything that I had been hoping for—and more. From sword-fighting to a hint of romance, this novel was well-written and exciting. The plot—intriguing. The characters—well formed. The setting—realistic. The whole story remained true to the time period and proved to be well researched. It transported me into ancient Ireland. The plot was well-crafted and flowed easily from one scene to the next.

One area of novels that is always crucial for me to enjoy a story is in the characters. Jesseca went above my expectations. Each of the characters are so . . . real. As I read, I got to know them. I saw into their heart and fell in love with them. They weren't made perfect, but rather with faults and little personality quirks that make reading about them so much more enjoyable. The way that they handled situations was God-honoring and refreshing.

~Summing it Up~
I am so glad that I have been able to read The Silent Blade. I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to all who enjoy reading Christian historical fiction. To celebrate its release, Jesseca is hosting a giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, below is a list of other fans participating in this blog tour. To read what they have to say about this outstanding book, I encourage you to click on the links. Thank you for reading my thoughts on this wonderful novel. Now, pay a visit to Amazon and order The Silent Blade.

Wednesday, July 20th

Mikayla The Bubblegum Ballerina --Review
Blessings Counter at Counting your Blessings One by One --Author Interview
Ivy Rose at  Lakeside Publications --Review, Spotlight
Mallory Beth at Renewed by Grace --Review
Thursday, July 21st

Lydia Dyslin at Through the Wardrobe --Review
Rebekah Eddy at Rebekah’s Remarks --Review, Interview
Abigayle Allison at The Left-Handed Typist --Review, Spotlight
Friday, July 22nd (Publication Day!!)

Blessings Counter at Counting your Blessings One by One --Review
Rebekah Ashleigh at Rebekah Ashleigh --Spotlight
Amanda Tero at  With a Joyful Noise --Review, Interview, Spotlight
Deborah O’Carroll at The Road of a WriterReview, Spotlight
Kaitlyn K. at Prairie Gal Cookin’ --Review, Spotlight
Bethany R. at A Great God and Good Cocoa --Review, Spotlight
Deborah C. at Reading in June --Spotlight, Review
Emily at A Purpose and a Promise --Spotlight, Review

Saturday, July 23rd

Kellyn Roth at Reveries--Review, Interview
Jason McIntire at Elisha Press--Interview
Natasha H. at Looking Through my Lens --Review
Faith P. at Stories by Firefly --Review, Interview
Monday, July 25th

Jesseca Wheaton at Whimsical Writings --Blog Tour wrap-up post

Once again, Jesseca, congratulations. I loved reading The Silent Blade and I'm so thrilled for you. Thank you for allowing me to participate in the blog tour, be a beta reader for you, and write your synopsis. I'm so proud of you! Now you can finally go sit back, relax, and enjoy your accomplishment. Super job!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday, Blog!

*cues confetti*

I made it through three years of blogging! Hurray! This has been a wonderful way for me to make friends, share my life, and have a creative outlet. Through these three years of blogging I have "met" many people and learned that yes, you can have friends over the internet. Each of the people I've gotten to know through blogging have truly impacted my life. Being homeschooled, I am not out and about making too many new friends so having you has been wonderful.

You are what really keep me blogging. I have been one of the most inconsistent bloggers that I know, yet you continue stick with me. Your comments make my day. I love how you are so encouraging, and I can only hope that I am the same to you. You have made my blogging experience most enjoyable. I cannot thank you enough for sticking around. I really appreciate your participation. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Days and Lost People

Quite an interesting title, I know. How do they relate? They really don't. :) So please, bear with my rambling.

I am not overly fond of summer. It gets hot. Where I live in central California, temperatures are usually anywhere from the 90s to the one hundred and teens.  And I don't particularly enjoy heat. Give me rain and cold any day.

Of course, there are benefits to the season. Our pool is often like a jacuzzi. And naturally, no school. :) Most of our summer is busy nonetheless, but there are those days when you have practically nothing to do. Yesterday was one of those days. I read about 500 pages! I read nearly all day, and let me tell you—it felt wonderful. Just lounging around, immersing myself in another world, another time period, another land. It is an escape from reality, but in some cases, also a call to face reality.

So it was with one of the books that I read most of yesterday. An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers is the second book in the Mark of the Lion trilogy. It is set in ancient Rome and Ephesus shortly after Jesus walked the earth. Reading Books One and Two of this series was very enjoyable, but it also a bit depressing at times.

Whenever Rivers described the cities, I felt as though she was discussing America today. Tolerant of everything, all lifestyles, all sins. It opened my eyes to how many people are searching for answers but don't know where to look—or they do but won't humble themselves. They worship whatever god they need at the time, and then move on to the next idol. Their lives are purposeless, without meaning. They engage in anything to please themselves, without thought to consequences or right and wrong. Their motto is live for today. Whatever is right for you is right for you. Supporting and praising sin. Abortion. Transgender bathrooms and locker rooms. Not staying pure until marriage.

I know that America is only one of many countries who have fallen into deep sin. Reading this novel and the first one made me look around. How could I help these lost people? Many times I wonder if anything I do could even make a difference. How can one person change lives? Again, this book helped me see how much difference one person can make, even when he/she doesn't think they are making a change. In this book, Rivers actually used a non-Christian character to convert someone! Talk about God working in mysterious ways.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. To sum this all up: we live in a world headed for destruction. But God has placed each of us in a specific place for a special purpose. Don't neglect that purpose or forget that no matter our circumstances, God has a plan and you can always reach out to others. He will use difficulty to bring others to know Him through us. By trusting God in all things and sharing Him with others, each one of us CAN make a difference in a lost and dying world.

And just a reminder, don't forget to check out my new summer blog design and enter the writing challenge! The deadline is July 22. Thank you!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Writing Challenge #6!

Today I come before you with another writing challenge. I look forward to reading the entries I shall receive! As a refresher, here are the rules:

1) I give you a "moral." (See below)
2) You write a 500-600 word story that reflects this moral.
3) Send it to me via the "Send Me an Email" gadget on the right sidebar of my blog. (Or just through my email if you have my address.) Please include your name or an alias.
4) The due date is July 22. Shortly thereafter I will post the entries.

Your moral is . . .
 Sometimes remaining silent is the best option.

I'm super excited to read what you write! If you are participating in Camp NaNo but you still want to participate in this, you can make your story shorter than 500 words if need be.

And finally, check out my newest summer blog design! Let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 25, 2016


No, I'm not in trouble. :) Let me begin to explain the title: I went to L.I.F.E. Camp last week (June 13-16) and we studied a few of the various spiritual disciplines. Before I talk about that, let me recap a bit of my week of camp.

I was pretty nervous about going to camp this year in particular because it was my first year attending the high school camp. There were only seventeen campers and I knew very few of them. As the week went on, I learned more about studying the Bible and I made several new friends. The awesome thing is, many of the friends I made had actually been attending the camp for the exact number of years as I had. In the small group environment, we finally "met" each other and became friends, for which I was so grateful. Making these friends changed the course of my week and made camp so much more enjoyable for me. (Thanks, you guys! You're the best!)

As far as the activities at camp, we did tomahawk throwing, swimming, slip 'n slide, capture the flag, Apples to Apples (SO MUCH FUN IN A BIG GROUP!), lazer tag, an after-dark hike, and so much more. It was amazing. The staff had all been at previous years of L.I.F.E. Camp and I knew them all. They were wonderful mentors for us!

As I mentioned above, the focus of the teachings was the spiritual disciplines. As a group we made a list of them. They are in no particular order.
  1. Prayer
  2. Silence/Solitude
  3. Fellowship
  4. Bible Reading
  5. Encouragement
  6. Resisting Temptation
  7. Fasting
  8. Scripture Memorization
  9. Meditation
  10. Speaking
  11. Preaching
  12. Worship
  13. Testimony
  14. Celebration
  15. Service
  16. Rest
  17. Accountability
Of course, this list could include many more areas, but these are the ones we came up with. I found this series of teachings to be very fascinating and a great reminder of the things we should be doing. Some of these are easier than others depending on the person, but all are equally important. This is why they are called spiritual disciplines. We have to discipline ourselves in all these areas.

Even Jesus was disciplined. At age twelve in the temple he studied with the teachers. The important thing about learning these disciplines is that they take work. None of them will be easy at all times, and most take training. Jesus also demonstrated this.

Looking at this list, I shake my head. How am I supposed to do ALL THIS?? But I can, it just takes work. If you wish, join me in trying to train toward being better at all these disciplines. Let me know and we can encourage each other! And keep each other accountable. Hey, that's two of the disciplines right there!

Hopefully sometime in the semi close future I can bring you up-to-date on everything going on, but next week I'll be gone at camp again—this time as a counselor! (It's my first time counseling and I'm the youngest counselor.) I'm super nervous and I'd really appreciate all your prayers. Thank you all!

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Blades of Acktar: Defy Blog Tour

Ah yes, The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink. This is a Christian fantasy/fiction series which I was introduced to this year. I am going to start this post by saying . . . YOU MUST READ THIS SERIES!!! I don't care who you are—you have to read these books. They are amazing. From the first moment that I opened each book, I couldn't put it down. If this says anything, they are among my very top favorite books.

Defy is book three in the Blades of Acktar. I am absolutely honored to be a part of the blog tour and release of Defy (see the bottom of this post for other blogs participating in this "tour"). Last night I was thrilled to participate in the Facebook Party celebrating Dare's (the first book in this series) first year anniversary and Defy's release. It was so much fun to chat with the author and her "characters."

The Blades of Acktar series has everything a reader could want. From assassins to orphaned girls struggling to forgive. From lords and ladies to an evil king. From spies to The Resistance. (And, of course, horses!)
Each character is well developed and everyone has a different personality. They are so well-crafted that they seem to be alive. (They ARE alive in my mind!) No details were forgotten in the making of these books. Every plot twists and turns so that it is impossible to predict the ending. Danger fills every page but it mingles with romance threatening to be destroyed.

Now, on to Defy. Can I rate it six stars? Or seven? I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this book.

As I already mentioned, the characters were stunning. The struggles that they face are handled so well and . . . realistic! Leith (my favorite character by far after watching what he has overcome) has so much turmoil in his spirit. He struggles with his past and its consequences. He is being hunted by the best assassins in the land. Meanwhile, he has to get to the assassins headquarters to rescue Renna! The only way to do this runs the high risk of losing his life brutally.

That brings me to Renna. Throughout the story, she is the character to probably grow the most. Originally, she relies on her own strength—not God's. Then, she slowly comes to see that she really does need God, and that He is still there even when everything has gone wrong. She transforms from a young lady trembling at death, to a strong woman who does what is right. And then, the choices she has to make! Oh my goodness. I wish I could go into detail but I won't because I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read the series. Just read it. :)

Brandi, Renna's younger sister, starts the book by being quite the opposite of her usual bubbly self. She resents that she was saved from captivity and potential death and Renna wasn't. She also deals with some pride when she wonders if Renna can stay strong without her. She gets a bit cocky in her faith. After she gets over this, she plans to rescue her sister in any way possible. Which may or may not include disguising herself and joining the army.

Shad remains a steadfast and loyal friend and leader throughout the story. He handles himself well and isn't afraid to do what must be done. He is willing to sacrifice himself for his friends.

Jamie is a wonderful friend for Brandi during this time, and their relationship blossoms. He also remains true to Leith and willingly risks his life to save both Renna and Leith.

Martyn. Oh, Martyn. Through the novel, Martyn faces horrible choices between loyalties. He stands by and watches his best friend be tortured, but finally makes the right choice in the end. His situation is absolutely heart-wrenching. I'm so glad that it turned out well!

Finally, I am going to mention King Respen—the villain of all three books. He is as nasty as nasty gets. As brutal as possible. Horribly wicked. Unfeeling and uncaring—or is he? Watching his role throughout all the books was terrifying. Definitely one of the worst villains I've ever read about.

My friends, I truly can't tell you how much I love this series—this book. After Dare, I didn't know what could top it. Deny did just that. Again, I wondered how the next book could even compare. It did. Defy was terrifying, heart-tugging, exciting, adventurous, dangerous. I could go on and on but you get the picture. I. LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. You have to read this series!!!

Tricia, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful, and God-glorifying series. You are such a talented writer. I am honored to have been able to participate in this blog tour! Please hurry up with book 4!

The sale actually goes until June 4.
Please click HERE to buy Defy!

Below is the schedule for the blog tour. Be sure to visit everyone's pages for more Defy fun!
May 26
May 27
May 30
May 31 – Release Day!
June 1
June 2
June 3

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Golden State

Those of you who don't live in California may think that California got its nickname "the golden state" from the Gold Rush. Others say that it is because of the Golden Gate Bridge. One lesser known reason is shown below.

Yes, this time of year as summer rolls around and the temperatures begin to climb into the 100s, the grass on the hills turn golden. Don't you dare call them brown. Golden. :) California is not made up of just a bunch of surfers. In fact, much of California looks like these pictures.

What would you take a picture of that represents your state?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Quote Tag - 3

Alas, we have come to the end of this tag. Thank you all for joining me! Two of today's three quotes come from C.S. Lewis. (He has some amazing ones, you guys!)

In my case, it's a cup of coffee large enough. ;)

Once more, thank you Emily, Rebekah, and Jonathan. I had a super fun time doing these!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Quote Tag - 2

Here are my next three quotes! Once again, thank you Emily, Rebekah, and Jonathan!

Tomorrow I will finish up this challenge with three more quotes. See you then!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Quote Tag - 1

Good afternoon! I hope that you all have had a good month so far. Now, since I first saw this quote tag, I've not been tagged once. Not twice. Three times!!! Shows how terrible I've been keeping up with all the things I've been tagged for. So, thank you to everyone who has tagged me for any sort of tag, and rest assured that I still hope to do all the tags combined in one post. (Wow! That will be long!)

I'm going to start catching up on tags with this awesome quote tag. I am supposed to post one of my favorite quotes for three days in a row. Rather than post for nine days in a row, I'm simply going to do three quotes a day for three days. Sound fair? I'm also going to refrain from tagging anyone, because everyone I know has already been tagged. ;)

A thanks to Emily, Rebekah, and Jonathan! (In the order I was tagged.) I enjoyed reading your quotes!

Here are my first three quotes:
I stole this one from Rebekah's post.

Come back tomorrow for three more quotes! Thanks for tagging along! (Get it?)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

National Day of Prayer

Today is America's National Day of Prayer. Many Christians set aside this day to intercede for their country, but shouldn't every day be a day of prayer? As Christians, we have the duty to come before the throne of Christ daily. Not only is it our duty to our country, it is our duty before God. It is the only way to save our country from utter destruction. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is our only hope for our nation to be forgiven, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” While this was spoken to the Israelites, to me, this is a perfect description of the world today—proud and wicked. I am not saying that everyone in the world is this way, but I know that for the Christians living in this world but who are not part of it, it is up to them to come humbly before God and repent for the sins of their country. America has chosen to set aside the first Thursday of May every year to pray and intercede for the leaders of this country. Lost though it may be, it is not a lost cause. Can we spend this day in prayer? Will we humble ourselves and repent for the sins of our country? Furthermore, will we make the choice to make every day a day of prayer? Please take the time to plead with God to forgive our country for its ungodly practices and for turning away from Him. In Him there is always hope. Thank you. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the 4th Be With You!

Happy National Star Wars Day! I still have an April highlights post coming and several others that I have wanted to do, but we had a family emergency and I've been super busy. However, I couldn't miss the opportunity of this wonderful day to ask you a few questions that you can answer in the comments if you'd like:

Do you like Star Wars?
Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?
Which Star Wars movies have you watched?
Have you read any of the Star Wars books?
Which is your favorite movie?
If you have watched The Force Awakens, did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
If you have watched The Force Awakens, what were your thoughts on Kylo Wren?
Who are your top favorite characters out of the movies?
Who are your least favorite characters out of the movies?
What are your thoughts on Jar-Jar Binks?

Here are my answers to the questions:
Do you like Star Wars?
I'll let you take a wild guess of my answer here . . . .
Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars!!! I've seen only one Star Trek.
Which Star Wars movies have you watched?
All seven. :D
Have you read any of the Star Wars books?
No, but I have one on my TBR shelf.
Which is your favorite movie?
I enjoyed them all except numbers three and seven. (chronologically) If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be four, five, or six.
If you have watched The Force Awakens, did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
I went to see it on my birthday, as some of you may remember. I did not like it near as much as the others because the plot was just messed up and there were a ton of holes. (Spoiler Alert: Han Solo should NOT have died.)
If you have watched The Force Awakens, what were your thoughts on Kylo Wren?
He was the wimpiest villain I've ever seen. End of story. Sorry to all you who love him.
Who are your top favorite characters out of the movies?
All the traditional ones, Anikin Skywalker (when he was little), Padme, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobe, the droids ;), etc.
Who are your least favorite characters out of the movies?
Kylo Wren at the top. And of course, I don't like many of the villains: Emperor Palpatine, Jabba the Hut, General Grevious, etc.
What are your thoughts on Jar-Jar Binks?
Despite popular opinion, I kinda like him. Yes, a bit annoying, but funny.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Star Wars movies! Have a good day and I would value your prayers for my mom; I don't feel comfortable sharing details at this time. Thank you!

Also, the baby birds I mentioned previously are gone from the nest and we assume that they flew away!

Rachel Starr Thomson is hosting a giveaway on her blog with several Jaye L. Knight books, and many other Kindle books. I highly encourage you to enter! Some of the books she is giving away include a few of her own. I have read two of her books and loved them! I also really like Jaye L. Knight's writing.

Thanks for reading! Happy National Star Wars Day!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Top Ten Villains Tag

Rebekah from Rebekah's Remarks tagged me awhile back and it's time I catch up on the numerous tags I've been nominated for. So, who do I think of as the top ten villains in fiction? I know I'm going to miss several, but here goes.

  1. I was going to start off with Satan although I know that he has already been done by several people, but I don't know how you can do this post and NOT say Satan. He is the ultimate villain. The real-life villain. The threat to all us Christians. However, because villains are supposed to be fictional, I chose Nicolae Carpathia, the Anti-Christ from the Left Behind series. Yes, I know that the Anti-Christ will be real, but Carpathia isn't and is quite the villain.
  2. Captain Mortimer. He's the other one I can't help but say. You are probably wondering who this guy is, and in answer: he is the villain of my story, A Pirate's Tale. I haven't written too much with him yet, but I have every hope that he will turn out to be a super villain, one worthy of this post. :-)
  3. Again, I know that this character has already been mentioned, but I had to choose one from Star Wars, and the biggest villain there is Darth Sidious. He is so evil. A "wonderful" example of a villain—cunning, cruel, heartless.
  4. Agh, I feel like I am copying Rebekah's post because she mentioned this one too but I cannot leave this villain out of my post. The White Witch from Narnia is basically a representation of Satan. She is developed in both the books and movies as a cold-hearted (she does have a heart, but not much of one) and wicked enemy of the protagonist and Aslan. The stark contrast between Aslan and the White Witch makes her evilness stand out dramatically.
  5. King Respen and the Blades from the series by Tricia Minkerink, The Blades of Acktar. This series is so good, by the way. The Blades are trained killers for the king. Need I say more? They don't question orders and don't hesitate to spill blood.
  6. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz is quite the "bad guy." Isn't her cackle so creepy?
  7. Don't laugh: Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations. I mean, killing poor, innocent puppies for their fur? I think she traumatized me when I was little. :)
  8. The Pale Orc from the movie The Hobbit. He seeks only to kill, steal, and destroy. Sound like someone else who was at the top of this list?
  9. Arnold Ernst Toht from the first Indiana Jones movies is another villain high on my list. He stalks the good guys and only wants the treasure.
  10. Merek from The Silent Blade. If the definition of a villain is evil, seeking to kill the protagonists, and wanting to inflict maximum harm wherever he goes, Merek fulfills all three requirements and more.
  11. Yes, I'm going to cheat and add an eleventh villain. Zirtan from the Makilien Trilogy is a well-done villain. Evil describes him well.
  12. And . . .  a twelfth. Captain Francis Kelly from The Pirate Daughter's Promise is a ruthless, cruel, and greedy pirate. Another excellent example of a villain.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my choices of top villains. Do you agree with any of these? Thanks for reading, and thank you, Rebekah for tagging me! My family had fun coming up with some of these!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Recommendation: Blessed Child

Several weeks ago, I told you that I read Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright (both excellent authors!) as one of ten books read in March. It was recommended to me by both my parents as possibly one of the best books they had ever read. That was enough recommendation for me. Within a few days, I'd started reading it and was captivated. The above link takes you to one of several locations on Amazon where you can buy it. It is the first of two books. I have not yet read the second book (A Man Called Blessed) but I hope to very soon.

The plot of Blessed Child follows an orphan boy who was raised in an Ethiopian monastery his whole life. He had never been outside it except for when he was a very young baby but he is forced to flee the monastery when enemies boldly attack. Relief expert Jason Marker and French Canadian nurse Leiah help him escape but don't realize Caleb's special power until later. As the world falls in love with Caleb, his enemies have to stop him before he destroys them entirely.

This story is amazing. In my book, this deserves the highest possible rating.

As I previously mentioned, the plot intrigued me to no end. At the same time that I was at the edge of my seat, I wanted to cry. Caleb's personality is so . . . innocent. It actually made me examine all the things that I might watch, read, or say that I don't think anything about. It amazed me how much of this is not necessarily bad, but it certainly is not innocent. It also made me look at my faith and compare it to this amazing boy's.

It challenged me at the same time that it thrilled me. The characters are well developed and the plot was fabulous. I would HIGHLY recommend it! You must read this. I know that you will thoroughly enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Wonders of Spring

You won't believe what my sister and I just found. We were collecting leaves for my Biology Class and happened to see a cracked open egg on the ground and a whole egg beside it. Of course, we set out to find the nest and when we did . . . let's just say I've never see anything like this before!

Opening the bush...
A peek inside the nest...

Where's Mama?
Mom watching close by
 Aren't these two little guys adorable? Watching them cry for "Mom" was so touching. I can't even really explain it. :) It was like a miracle.