7.19.2014

Saving Amelie - book review

Saving Amelie is a historical fiction book written by Cathy Gohlke.

This is a page-turning, suspense, thrilling book that will leave you wanting more of your favorite characters.

This book tells the story of Rachel, Lea, Amelie and the trials of living during the takeover of the Nazis.

Rachel grew up with most everything she wanted. She wasn't denied any opportunities, but when secrets are discovered, Rachel realizes the one thing she's always wanted, the one thing she thought she had, was never really there- love.

Lea grew up with less. But she's been blessed with a good family, a wonderful husband, and a strong faith. But when the war hits close to home, will she be able to withstand the pain and struggles she's been enduring?

This is a good fiction book for anyone looking to pass some time reading, but I will tell you that it will break your heart to remember the truth and realities of what happened during WWI.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

7.11.2014

When you apologize for being the jerk

There are a lot of "you did me wrong" songs, movies, quotes on Pinterest and Instagram, etc.

But where are the quotes for when I do someone wrong and hurt them?

For about a year I've dealt with severe mood swings and anxiety. I don't always tell people because they give you two looks, 1. pity, or 2. you're crazy. I don't enjoy those looks so I've learned to keep it to myself.

Last month was particularly rough and I felt like every time I turned around I was hurting somebody with my words, my thoughts towards them (that eventually turned into words, so guard your thoughts and give them to Christ, friends!), looks I would give, or just being grumpy all the time.

I let my emotions rule me.

And I had enough.

July 1st I woke up so convicted and saddened that I had acted like a total jerk to the people I for real love the most. So I got up and apologized because I knew I needed to and I've been trying so very hard to rely upon the Lord and His strength and allow Him to help me when I'm grumpy or upset or insecure about something ever since then.

So far, it's been hard. I forget and let my guard down and Satan picks up where he left off. But when the Lord reminds me to stand guard, I ask for help and try really hard to move forward into love, and not backwards into anger.

Things that help me?

  • PRAYER!!!!

  • Enough rest, but not too much.

  • Reminding myself where my identity comes from and Who gives it.

  • Staying constant in the Word.

  • Sharing my struggles.

  • Not listening to the lies of Satan.


Because while we all would prefer not to be a jerk, there comes a time when you need to apologize and seek the help of God. Amen?

6.26.2014

Living life undaunted - book review

I've read many quotes from Christine Caine, but I definitely was not prepared for this fantastic devotional she put together.

Living Life Undaunted is a 365 day devotional that talks on a variety of topics. I've read on being selfless, falling in love with the Lord, being a servant, seeking God, and many other things and each devotion is such a fresh and inspiring word for the day.

I prefer to read this devotional before I dig into God's Word because I find it helps me go in  with a more reflective mindset and kind of prepares my heart like singing worship songs before a message... it just kind of sets the tone. I would definitely recommend using it that way or you could use it as your night-time devotional to read before bed. Do what works for you and brings you closer to the Lord.

If you've been looking for a devotional that won't take you 30 minutes, but won't leave you in 30 minutes either then I would highly recommend this one!

*Note: I received a complimentary copy of this devotional for the exchange of a review.

6.17.2014

Finding Spiritual Whitespace - review

As I girl I learned that crying wasn't okay, so I learned to control my crying. As I grew older I learned to control more and more of me. Somewhere along the way I found myself restless and struggling to breathe and live.

When I read about Bonnie's book and how she needed some people to team up with for the book launch I knew I had to join in.

Reading this book has not been easy. It takes you through those uncomfortable and hidden places. There are times where I've been sad and angry and just exhausted, but part of life is seeing how God turns our messes into beauty.

Part of the journey to spiritual whitespace is learning to surrender our controls in faith and trust to the God who is always in control of everything. That is not easy and it's not a one time decision, but the more we do it the more we begin to see that life is alright and God is gracious.

If you're struggling for air today, I would encourage you to pick up Bonnie's book. May it bless you with more of His presence.

*Note: I was a part of Bonnie's book launch team and received a free copy of this book. Opinions expressed are mine.




6.16.2014

Meant To Be Mine - book review

Meant to be mine by Becky Wade is the stories of Ty and Celia.

Their paths cross and they begin to rekindle some of the flirtatious romance that was there back in highschool. In just a few days they make the decision to ''go for it'' and get married. Hours later there are regrets, goodbyes and hurt that ensues.

Years go by and then their paths cross again. This time, there is a new person on the scene, one that wasn't expected but very much loved.

What makes this such a good book is it keeps you interested. The characters are filled with wit, humor, and authentic qualities.

If you enjoy romance novels then you'll for sure want this one on your bookshelf. A really good summer read.

*Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of a review.

6.03.2014

Little girl inside

This is something I wrote in my journal a while ago after being prompted to by chapter 6 of 'Finding Spiritual Whitespace'. These are my thoughts coming from a wounded heart that seeks peace and healing.

--
She said, "Imagine yourself as a little girl again. You're looking at Jesus.

What do you see?"

I see myself in younger form staring at Him. It's that stare I know very well from myself. The stare of curiosity and fear.

Are You safe?
Can I trust You?
Will You hurt me?
Could You understand me?
What abuse will You heap on me?

I see myself refusing love again because I'm scared.

I sense disappointment and disgust, not love.

Love is foreign to younger me. She knows hate and anger and unkind words and punishment. Not love and kindness and beauty and sweet sentences and delight.

Oh, Jesus, show the little girl in me how to accept these things and enjoy them. Thank You.

5.22.2014

Receiving the gift to receive.

I'm on chapter 3 now in Finding Spiritual Whitespace and this journey to spiritual rest is already difficult, but it's also a blessing.

Bonnie Gray writes these words on page 48,

''So, I taught myself that day: I do not need to receive to be happy. Avoiding pain and figuring out whom to please was more important.''

I recognize this sentence. It's very familiar to my soul. Why? Because I learned it too. I learned saying, ''I'm okay.'' and ''No, thank you.'' was better than opening my heart to rejection or disapproval from someone.

And my life continues in this crazy pace of trying so hard and doing so much and realizing over and over again that I. just. can't.

No matter how hard I try, somebody will eventually get displeased or "that thing" won't work like I want it to, or I'll still be carrying those 15 extra pounds and hearing those words, ''You're so fat.'' again.

Jesus says receive.

Receive Me.
Receive rest.
Receive My gifts.

I confused being a servant and self-denial with starving my soul and never stopping to take a break.

But as He says, ''Come.'' so I say, ''Help me, Daddy.''

5.19.2014

The blank page.

Bonnie Gray has a new book coming out.

I agreed to read it because Bonnie's story is similar to mine and she has an excellent gift from God in writing. She's very real and I like that. So within the next few weeks I'll be posting blog posts on what the Lord stirs in my heart as I journey through this book...

it (the book) is called: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: awakening your soul to rest.

Journey with me.


--
Tonight's prompt was to read the list of images written on the page and find yourself- that one thing that sends a peace soaring through you- and then figure out why you identify with that.

Mine was the blank page.

You know what I'm talking about if you read some.

It's that space right after a chapter ends, and just before a new one beings. It's just one. blank. page.

And I really like it.

I guess you could say I'm drawn to it. Why?

Because that space is rest to me. It's the removal of striving and the invitation to just be.

The layer of fat around my middle; the slow pace of my jog, the way my nose tans faster than the rest of my face so it's two shades darker, the constant fear of letting down my family and friends and church family. It's the constant dread of being told "You're not good enough." and finally giving in to that voice that tells me that almost every day.

It's all that... removed.

It's freedom. And isn't that what Jesus gives us? True freedom from sin, from unrest.

But too often I can't find it. I could paint you a perfect person and name her "me" but she wouldn't be real and that's just stupid.

Right now I feel a mixture of peace and fear. The journey to rest isn't as simple as some think. And I can dwell on that and let dread overwhelm me (because sometimes real rest seems like a myth.) but I won't.

I'll let this time be my blank page and I'll just speak, "Thank You, Jesus. Help me trust You."

Amen.

5.14.2014

Love-ology - book review


It took me way, way too long to read this book. Just wanted to get that out of the way before I actually start talking about the book. ;)

Okay, so Love-ology is written by John Mark Comer and it's a book on, well, you probably already guessed it, love. He talks on what a God honoring relationship looks like, how to have one, how far is "too far" when you're dating, etc., etc.

I really like the way the book is written and I think most girls will appreciate the color scheme (pink and white. holla!). While I didn't agree with some of the author's opinions or views, most of them are pretty solid and will benefit any couple or single. Yes, I did say single. This book isn't just written for those who are dating or looking to date, it's written to singles as well. Because 1) you never know if God will send someone your way or not, but best to be prepared, yeah? and 2) this is FILLED with lots of history regarding the creation of the world and how it relates to males and females; our differences, similarities, how that points to the heart of God, how we point to the heart of God... stuff like that.

The author has a very honest writing style which I think most people will appreciate and most everything in this book is stated plainly so everyone can understand it. Towards the end of the book a Q&A with the author and his wife is included and I found that to be a very interesting read.

I would definitely recommend this book to anybody. It's great for all ages and all people. Go out and pick up a copy!

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review.

5.13.2014

30 Days to a More Beautiful You: A Devotional for Girls - book review

Tyndale sent me an email a while back asking if I'd agree to review this little devotional book for girls, and of course I said yes.

Kylie Bisutti is someone I've heard of, since her story of choosing to quit being a Victoria Secret model in pursuit of the Lord became quite large, especially in the Christian community. I've yet to read her book, 'I'm No Angel', but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through this devotional.

Kylie encourages young women to pursue the Lord and His calling on their lives, not this world's. She speaks from her heart and because of her modeling career is able to speak to girls a lot about what value personal appearance has and what character in your life you should strive towards.

This is a beautiful book and I would encourage women of all ages to read it. Very refreshing. Thanks, Kylie! And big thanks to Tyndale for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.