Monday, April 28, 2014

The Quilted Heart by Mona Hodgson


 In Dandelions in the Wind, Maren, a caregiver for the Wainwright family, wonders if she'll meet the right man. In Bending Toward the Sun, Emilie captures the heart of a teamster. And in Ripples Along the Shore, Caroline tries to convince a wagon train master to take her west.


I was really excited to get this book. WWI is one of my favorite time periods, but I'm afraid to say this one was not one of my favorite books. The story and characters seemed to be interesting but I had a hard time following it and keeping up with the constant mingle of other characters. Focus kept shifting from one to another, but that to me wasn't so bad. What really kind of turned me off in this book was the consistent monotone throughout each novella. Occasionally there were peeks and I thought "yes, now this is getting better, I like it!" but then it would fall right back down to the flat monotone I thought I'd just left. I was a little disappointed, I really wanted to like this book. 

Despite that, I think my favorite novella was the first one, with Maren who is almost completely blind. She had a strong heart and didn't let her impairment bring her down or keep her from loving. I felt for her when she spoke of her past, coming overseas to marry but then leaves when she begins losing her eyesight. I wanted to run up to her and hug her tightly.

Mona Hodgson seemed to have  some really great ideas and her writing isn't bad, I think it just needed a little more rise to the bread dough. 

Others may enjoy it, but I'm afraid this time I am not one of them. 

I received this book for free from the publisher’s in exchange for this honest and unbiased review as part of their Blogging for Books program”.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holding My Hand

Good afternoon everyone,

Since Sunday night, if you'll remember was a rough night. I honestly don't know what to do, what I feel, or how I should act. Well, I know how I should act but I'm so astonished that I'm having to do double-takes. 

How is it people can plot and plan and speak with such hatred and then pretend they care the rest of the time? 

I couldn't do it. 

I love people and when they hurt me I try not to let it show. I want to say I've forgiven them, but it's hard when the wound is still fresh and my enemies refuse to turn from their wicked schemes, truly handing over their soiled hearts to Jesus for cleansing. 

The other morning The Lord pulled me into the book of Psalms, reminding me of a few verse about evil people and their boasting. As I was reading these verses I started crying inside (I cried so much this week I think my tear ducks were worn out {Psalms 7:6-7}). The verses described exactly how I was feeling and what I felt was happening. 
"I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies." ~Psalms 17:6-7 (NLT)
My heart prayed those words the other night. Even the next few verses my heart cried out to God. 
"They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart--like young lions in hiding, waiting for their chance. Arise, O Lord! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!" ~Psalms 17:10--13 (NLT) 
But here's the verse that brought real tears to my eyes and hope to my heart.

"Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied." Psalms 17:15 (NLT) 
Despite it all, God is with me; despite what schemes the devil may plan to throw at me using these people, I will still see Jesus. Cause my heart is His, not the worlds. Not theirs, but His! As long as I keep my faith, which no one can take away from me, I will see Jesus. I will be up in Heaven with Him when he decides to call me home. Of course, I pray these people turn to Jesus too because Hell is not a place I want anyone to live in for eternity. But I am glad to say I do not have to worry about where I am going. My faith, trust, and hope is in Jesus.
"You've heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" ~Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT)
So I must continue to pray for them and that they accept the true gift of salvation and turn from evil and give their lives completely over to Jesus! 
"God has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame." ~Psalms 79-10 (NLT)

As for me, He's holding me by his right hand, he will protect me and guide me {Psalms 73:23-34} to a better tomorrow. As He will with you. I will keep living for Him. 
"I have followed your commands, which have kept me from going along with cruel and evil people." ~Psalms 17:4
Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, THANK YOU JESUS!
"You will show me the way of life, granting me joy f your presence, and the pleasures of living with you forever." ~Psalms 16:11 (NLT)

This has been strong song the last few weeks! It lifts my spirits and helps me push forward!

"Courage -Feat. Lacey of Flyleaf" by Orianthi 

Stay Strong and Courageous!

A Lady's Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes


Elizabeth must realize her worth doesn't lie in her inheritance. In order to avoid a forced marriage to a dangerous man, Elizabeth Trelawney flees London. An unexpected stranger arrives to help her, and as they elude her pursuers across Cornwall in the night, Elizabeth realizes her rescuer, Rouan Curnow, is familiar. Their differences in social status kept Rouan from pursuing a courtship with the lady his heart wouldn't let him forget. Now because of dangerous smugglers and local murders, the two are plunged into a reckless alliance that rattles Rouan's fledgling faith in God. The closer they get to Bastian Point---Elizabeth's true home---the more she realizes it is the only place she longs to be.


A lady's honor takes place in in England, 1811, along the coast Bastion Point was the only real home Elizabeth had ever really known, but six years with her parents in London changed the young woman into somewhat of an Ice maiden. It became impossible for Elizabeth to believe anyone could love her for more then money and connections, such as the man her parents chose for her. I don't wanna give too much away, but I will tell you this, upon reaching Bastion Point two things happened to our heroine; She was offered Bastion Point, should she find the treasure that all the possessions and money in the world could not buy, the second was meeting a very special man from a ball she attended prior to her escape, but alas he was in a lower class than herself.

In that time period marrying a man of lower class is purely unthinkable. Still the want we have for a easy and secure future is always with us, who would want to put their lively-hood in something that looked so risky you could see no way to get through it? That's where we tend to forget God is in control, and that he would never allow us to fall into despair. Just as is said in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Elizabeth had a lot to struggle with, something I know I've had to struggle with many times over the years and still have a little bit of a hard time understanding unconditional love. God offers this up so freely, but after her six years in London, with her parents say she was too skinny, too tall, her hair too straight, that none would marry her unless her dowry was large enough. How would you feel with someone constantly belittling you? Making you feel unworthy of any love offered to you? And that all love comes with strings, even God's? It's a painful and horrible state of mind that is just not true. God gave his only son to wash us free of the sins that made us dirty. 

"Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us." ~1 John 4:18

I think this verse is a good example for Elizabeth, she was so afraid of everyone judging her for her mistakes and looks that she could not know what true love is. And this book is a perfect example I think we all need to take to heart on showing true love, not just to family, but to others who have trouble accepting love. I am excited for any more books related to this series, and hope to read the next one as soon as humanly possible!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Feeling Sad but Still Strong

Had a bit of a rough afternoon, but it didn't last long. The rest of my day was great but the end was not. Again, the Devil is using people close to me to hurt me and today I just broke down and cried it out. Some people are so spiteful and manipulative, it gets exhausting and wears you down to the point you just gotta let it all out. 

I saw this quote a couple weeks ago and today God brought it up again when I needed to hear it.

"Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn't want them turning to God." --Movie, God's Not Dead

So, like today, when I experienced some hurt and difficulty of my own, I remembered this quote. Satan's just trying to avert me from God. And, since he couldn't do it by allowing a life free of trouble he is stirring it up. That's okay, even if it doesn't always feel like it and I just want to cry and throw in the towel, I remember God has my back. His arms are secured tightly around me, protecting me and catching all my tears.

Don't give up just because difficult circumstances come your way, take it as a sign your doing something good and the Devil is only trying to avert your attention. That is ALL it is.

Keep turning to God. Grow in Him. The Devil is crying out loud, but God need only whisper because is right beside you.

In Jesus name, #AMEN!

PS: Really wanting to see that movie even more now!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

"He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying" —Matthew 28:6

God Bless You

Thank you for reading my blog and I thank God for giving me this chance to reach out to people. I may not be reaching many right now, but it's one of the stepping stones to getting there. But that's not the only chance Jesus gave me, he gave me a new chance at Life when he sacrificed, gave up his life, for mine. For all of ours! It's a bit of an overwhelming feelings at times, that someone you don't know would trade their life for yours, but once you get to know Him it begins to make sense. That just how much he loved us. 

So Happy Easter everyone! Gonna go eat and fellowship with my family and friends. Have a blessed day!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Be Still: Part III

Welcome back. Here is my last post on Be Still. I hope you've been able to gain something from this. I'm still learning it and striving to do better.

That weekend my parents had planned to go to a christian gospel concert "The Crabb Family" concert. I was excited for them to go (they don't get much alone time or get to go anywhere just the two of them) and have a good time, but due to some sudden circumstances that week my parents decided to take us with them. My sister and I got to stay in the hotel and watch "The Hobbit"! Which neither of us had seen yet. It was nice and fun to get away for a while.

However, during that quiet and peaceful time someone kept surfacing to the forefront of my mind. I cried quite a few times during the movie because it made me think of him (LOTR's were his favorite movies). Long story short, this boy broke my heart not too long ago. After he pushed me away I tried to forgive him because I knew it was the right thing to do. And, honestly, the only way I was going to move past it all. It had been a few months since I thought about him. I'd been focusing on recovering because I had a lot of emotional pain. I really loved him, but not just in a romantic way.
That never got in my way of our brother/sister friendship. But it was all tossed away like a scrap of paper and I lost the only brother I ever had (I'm the oldest of three sisters). It truly tore me apart.

Through our entire relationship God had helped me keep any feelings from dissolving our friendship. No matter what my feelings may have been so long as we kept the brother/sister friendship I would be okay. Romantic feelings will pass, especially when you hand them over to God {1 Peter 5:7}. And so I did.

Even after I told this guy I had feelings for him and he said he wasn't interested, I helped him pursue another girl. I even made friends with her and we got along really well. Ironic, right?

After I finally said enough was enough, I'd been finding it extremely difficult to forgive him. He'd hurt me so bad in the months leading to the end. The arguments, pushing me away, etc,. They churned in my mind and heart until a bitter poison coursed through my veins; that bitterness aiming for my heart. It became so embedded in me that I couldn't read God's word for encouragement and comfort without feeling hurt, angry, argumentative, and confused. When I realized how bad it had gotten it made me even sadder because that's not what I wanted. I didn't want my relationship with Christ to be estranged. He stuck by me, helped me through all those times, and he hadn't stopped now. He didn't want to me lock myself  away with the lights off. He didn't want me to be sad, hurt, and alone. But the only one who could ask for help was... Me.

He was already there and waiting. I began praying. Asking him to heal me. I wanted my that closeness back with Jesus so badly. I had a lot of healing left and only He was going to get me through it.

It took some time. At first it was very hard to push through that hurt, but God sent a random person (though she couldn't have been truly random if God sent her!) my way that helped and put some salve on my wounds.

I posted previously about her: Getting Over Your Ex w/ Jesus! by Deeanna Scott. If your having trouble getting over an Ex-bf/gf than I highly recommend reading her posts. Or even if you aren't, its worth sparing a few minutes to read. Her message felt like it came straight from God! It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Back to that weekend, it had been two months since I started asking for God's help and healing. I had been thinking less and less of my friend so it was strange when I suddenly kept thinking about him for no real reason.
After The Hobbit, I got a notification that he signed up for an app that I had. Coincidence? It made me think twice about it and so I began asking God to show me what it was he wanted me to do. A week of praying and I got my answer: I needed to tell him I forgave him. I didn't know if he harbored any hard feelings towards me since I was the one who technically ended it, but when I thought about it I didn't want him to grow in the same bitterness from regret and guilt as I had been. No matter how much I wanted him to know the pain he caused, I didn't want him to live with that burden forever.

I composed an email (there was no way I could talk to him, if he would have even talked to me) and sent it. I didn't care if he emailed me back; I almost asked him not to. I wasn't there to be a friend to him again. I just wanted him to know I forgave him and even apologized for anything I may have said or done wrong.
He replied back an hour later. Sometimes I really wished he hadn't and just left it to me to assume he received it and did with it whatever he wanted. At least I had forgiven him, finally, and could truly move on.
I was scared to read it, I didn't know if he was going to be angry or want to try being friends again. Neither of which I wanted. But I had to trust in Jesus that there was a reason he wanted me to go through all this. So, I opened it.

I cried. He wasn't angry, but the reply was... so forced. He only said what he said out of obligation. There was no heart or sincerity like before. I might have even overlooked it, but some things he said kind of hurt. Like when he said he had 'already forgiven any feelings he had hurt from me'. So he didn't forgive me but forgave himself for being hurt by me? So did he forgive me or just himself?
After reading his apology, forced or not, I was glad he saw what he had done wrong (he apologized for things I never thought he'd see) and prayed again he would continue to grow from it and would be able to do better now.
However, he couldn't leave it at just that, he had to tell me how he is now (less than two months later) engaged to be married (to a different girl). Why did he need to add that? Why couldn't we have just parted ways without knowing anything else about the other? He already made it clear we could never be friends and I had made it clear I wasn't coming back. So since we're not going to be a part of each other's lives, neither of us needed to know how the other was doing or what we've been doing or what our future plans were. As sad as it makes me to say it, I think he wanted to see what my reaction would be. Why? I don't think I want to know. Since it would just raise more questions and hurt that much more.

Though the apology was bittersweet, instead of letting the bitter part come back inside I asked God to help me accept the good in the email and say goodbye. That's when I realized this wasn't about me freeing my friend from pain and guilt, but freeing me! I had yet to completely let him go. I had been in that healing process and I was finally at the next step: forgiveness for myself. I didn't know it, but God had it all planned out. I sent my final goodbye email, thanking him for apologizing and wishing and blessing him on the rest of his journey.

It was a grieving yet humbling experience. Never in my life so far had I had to let someone once so close and so precious to me, go. But I know he's in God's hands. I'm not God, I can't fix him or change him. I was brought into his life to help him for a season in his life. I didn't walk away empty-handed though. I gained a lot from the experience during and after.

I learned:
  • What it feels like to be loved
  • That God's love is 100x more than even that love
  • Who I'm supposed to rely on completely: Jesus!
  • That I am capable of more than I thought
  • Forgiveness {Ephesians 4:31-32}
  • I'm more secure in myself than I realized
  • And that I am able to truly live out that kind of love {1 Cor 13:4-7}

And I'm learning more as I seek Him.

Throughout that entire experience starting from part I of this post, was that God was whispering* this to me through everything during those two weeks: "Be still and know that I am God. Though these people have hurt you, I will heal you. Though you are sad, I will dry your tears. Though you feel alone, My arms are wrapped around you tenderly but firmly and they will never let you go. I will take care of you because I Love You."

It's an overwhelming yet calming feeling.

*My youngest sister quoted back to me from one of her books during this time as well.
"God whispers because he is close." -- Crash the Chatter Box, Steven Furtick
That couldn't be any truer. :) GOD BLESS.

Be Still: part I
Be Still: part II

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hardflip: The Movie

Product Description

Caleb (Randy Wayne, To Save A Life) is a young skater who's ill mother (Roseanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction) and absent father (John Schneider, October Baby), leaves him reaching for the only hope he has - becoming a sponsored skater. After discovering a stack of old letters, he set out to find the father he never knew and inadvertently begins a journey he never could have expected. Caleb's story explores what happens when we let go of our anger and pain and forgive those who have hurt us the most, just as God forgives us. 

Rated PG-13. Dove approved (12+).

My Review

When I first put this movie on my list I had no idea who all was in it! But when I finally began watching the movie six months later I was pleasantly surprised to see Randy Wayne (To Save A Life was an amazing movie!) and Sean Michael (Akeelah and the Bee, To Save A Life) playing together again! And, even more pleasantly surprised to see John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard, October Baby) in another christian movie. Even Christopher Michael (7th Heaven) Okay, so now that's I've exclaimed my joy for the cast, let's move on to the real deal. 

Caleb is angry, life hasn't been what he wanted. As far as he knew he was the product of a summer fling his mother had and his father has never been a part of his life. He doesn't even know who his father is until after his mother falls into a coma and he stumbles across the letters and photos she saved of Jack. Discovering his father owns a million dollar architect company only fuels the flames inside. However, to me this movie is not only about Caleb, though he's obviously the lead, his father Jack has his own lesson to learn. Since he left Caleb and his mother eighteen years ago, work and money became the object of his life. But when Caleb enters into it he has to reevaluate his life's priorities and what's truly important. 

What I loved about this movie was not just the message on forgiveness, but that people are the most important thing. Work, money, possessions, all those things will not last, but you only have so much time with your family. That time with your family can make a difference. And, we shouldn't let anything of this world take us away from our priorities, which is our loved ones and Jesus Christ. And, that no matter what, we can all be made new through Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." --2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
I also really loved that they used two RED songs! First time I've ever heard one  used in a movie. Already Over Pt 2 and Take It All Away. They fit perfectly and gave a bigger impact to the scenes. All in all this is a movie I recommend seeing.

I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars!

You can click the picture for direct a link on (and currently CBD has the Blu-ray for $5! That's 80% off!) So check it out!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Be Still: Part II

"BE CAREFUL! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are."  
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

What a warning. It can't get any clearer than that!

So where were we? Oh yes, last time if you remember my family and I had all taken a bad case of food poisoning (all are well, though I'm more easily nauseated than before, but I pray that passes soon, too) and how even in the midst of physical pain or discomfort we can't forget who takes care of us. JESUS. Thank you, Lord! The Devil wasn't done with us quite yet. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing {Matthew 7:15}, he crept in and bared his teeth trying to tear us apart.

I was at the beginning of recovery when I saw firsthand just how low the Devil will go to knock you down. Using any means necessary including friends and family, whomever is closest to you. He doesn't care. This was a huge test of faith {1 Peter 1:7} and I believe we became stronger as a family because of it.

I would share with you the full story of what happened. Honestly, I believe it would be a great testimony if you knew all the details, but I've prayed long about this and I feel right now it would only cause more harm as well as humiliate and shame the party this story is about. Though I hope they are ashamed of their behavior, I also pray they turn away and learn from it and do better. That is the power of Mercy and Forgiveness. Turning the other cheek {Luke 6:29}. Praying for them when you feel it so hard to pray for them. That is what makes us strong in faith and in God's love. Maybe one day I will share the story with you and you can see the full grace and presence of God in the situation. It truly made me cry. I could feel God with us and in me that week.

I still struggled with the emotional pain inside though. I couldn't believe what had happened and at the same time I was thinking "I'm not surprised, this is exactly how the Devil plays ball." Though it only works if the people listen to his whispers and lies and especially acts upon them. One of the verses that kept popping out to me, repeatedly though was:
"Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it over night and remain silent."  
―Psalm 4:4 (NLT)
That's exactly what Satan wanted that night. He wanted us to lash out at each other, burn bridges and focus on everything except Christ Jesus! But I did the opposite. I turned to Jesus and he showed me the true enemy. Instead of letting the flame that had been ignited turn into an all consuming fire, we doused it with prayer. Over the phone, my family and I prayed over them right then and right there. Through tears of heartache and pain, we prayed for those who hurt us and set out to hurt us and were preparing for, been waiting and staging, a fight.
“If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.” 
 ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I know my dad struggled most, but I couldn't have been prouder of him for showing so much strength. Trusting in God to fight this battle. That's where I found this verse such a source of strength to me. I need only to stay calm, the Lord will fight for me...{Exodus 14:14} There is a different version of this verse, one that made me laugh when I read it cause it's so straightforward. Like a kick in the rear when you didn't know you needed it. 
" God will fight the battle for you. 
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
Exodus 14:14 (The Message)
I think that gets the point across, don't you? Oh how the Lord can find ways to lift your spirits. 

Third Lesson: Stay calm and pray! God will take care of it. You don't need to lift a finger just be silent. I couldn't have heard Him say it any clearer than that that week. And, so I did, as did my family. 
The rest of the week seemed long, but it moved quickly. I couldn't sleep yet I was so tired. My sister and I spent the rest of the week in our fort. She watched over me a lot because she knew how much I was hurting, thus hurting for me as well. So, I just want to give a shout out to my little sister! You bring more light into my world. Jesus made you beautiful and I'm so glad he blessed me with you instead of that brother I so desperately wanted before you were born. I LOVE YOU!

I'm still not finished telling you about that week, I still have a few more days to tell you about, but you will have to wait for Be Still: Part III. The final part. Don't be shy, you are always welcome here. Have a cookie and some milk. My other sister just brought some chocolate chip cookies home from work and they are just waiting for me to bring them out of their hiding place!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dad's Siri Moment of the Day!

You won't believe the moment my dad had with Siri today when trying to call our mom. It cracked my sister and I to death. The things she puts my dad through...

Dad: Call M-----'s mobile
Siri: Do you want me to call your wife?
Dad: Yes
Siri: What is your wife's name?
Dad: M----
Siri: Is your wife M----?
Dad: Yes 
Siri: Do you want me to remember that your wife is M----?
Dad: Yes!
Siri: I have added this relationship

Is it just me or does it seem like she's up to something? LOL. We're watching you Siri. 

This is what went through my head.

Dad: (Wondering what dads calling mom about)
Siri: (Did she just ask if he wanted to call mom? LOL. Did he not just make that request?)
Dad: (Yes)
Siri: (my goodness, how many questions does it take to make a phone call?)
Dad: (anxiously awaiting next response)
Siri: (A lot! She sure does want to know who mom is)
Dad: (I think that's the most yes's I've heard in less than a minute)
Siri: (BHAHA! Laughing to hard to respond to that one)
Dad: (I wonder how many more yes's he has to say before she will finally call mom)
Siri: (Finally! ...added it to what though?)

We may never know...