under a cloudless sky

387789: Under a Cloudless SkyUnder a Cloudless Sky
By Chris Fabry

A novel set between 1933 and 2004 about the coal-mining town of Beulah Mountain, West Virginia, and the people who live there in danger of being destroyed by a horrific massacre of miners during a conflict between the workers and management for the sake of profit. Years later, many neighbors are forced sell their land to a coal and energy company or face rising property taxes. One man tries to keep his family legacy while a mining executive offers to revitalize the dying town paying homage to the past while positioning the company for growth at all costs.

 

I was excited when I saw the release of this book — I enjoy most of this authors books, as you have probably read a time or two before =)

This was a beautiful telling of a coal mining town, choices adults and children had made, and the consequences of those decisions as they grow older.  The pace was a bit slower than some of his other books, I thought, but I enjoyed it — and there were just as many plot twists that left me scratching my head in perplexity.

The point of view switches around quite a bit, which I found a bit confusing at first — but after the first couple of chapters I caught on. It goes from 2004, to 1933, to 2004, back to 1933…….and every single bit of information is vital to the story. And the ending…..oh the ending was marvelously perfect!

The historical parts from 1933 were a wonderful eulogy of bygone days. The details of common,  everyday life were beautifully chronicled, and the old hymns that were included were sweet to read over. Yes, I researched them, and one day, perhaps, I will learn them on the piano and introduce the children in our church to them :D

There were a couple of intense scenes, and for that reason I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers. There were a couple of fights (it was a coal mining town!), and one gun fight that was detailed. It was an essential part of the story, and the details given weren’t too gory, but it was suspenseful and you definitely weren’t left wondering what happened.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review
All thoughts are my own.

If you like to read, visit My Readers Rewards Club for an opportunity to earn points and books from Tyndale Publishers. Use this link to earn twenty five points when you sign up =)

radiant hearts magazine

I am so pleased that I get to share about this with you all today — a young lady who authors Great Books for God’s Girls has started a magazine for young ladies. If it is anything like her blog, it will be encouraging, interesting, and everything will be written with a sound foundation of the the gospel alone. I am actually super excited about this, and would ask that you join me in praying for this publication, that the Lord would use it to bless and encourage many!
About the Magazine:
Radiant Hearts Magazine is a quarterly publication, to be published in February, May, August, and November. The goal for this magazine is to “Encourage Girls to Shine Radiantly for Christ.” RHM is an online only magazine for the time being, and everyone will be able to view this it for free! Articles are to be aimed at ages 12-25, but they will be helpful to all ages. Included in the magazine will be (Lord willing) the following things (and more!):
  • articles written by Christian young ladies and women
  • book/movie reviews and recommendations
  • recipes for delicious food
  • “Story Behind the Hymn”
  • pictures of girls serving the Lord, and
  • encouraging notes from girls just like yourself!

I am looking forward to reading the magazine as it is published each quarter! I would highly encourage you to visit the website for Radiant Hearts to learn more about this publication: https://radiantheartsmagazine.wordpress.com/

About the Founder:
Leona Ruth is a teenage young lady. Leona asked Jesus to be her Savior at a young age, and is striving to serve Him with all that she does. She loves reading, and has a blog where she posts book reviews: Great Books for God’s Girls. Some of her other hobbies are graphic designing, photography, baking, playing violin, piano, and organ, and writing.

Here is the schedule for those who are sharing about this magazine on their blogs:

Monday, January 1st
Tuesday, January 2nd
Chloe P. @ Purely by Faith

Wednesday, January 3rd
Kaitlyn S. @ Maidens for Modesty

a new year has come

A new year is here. A fresh start — a whole new beginning.

Never before, in the entire history of mankind, has there ever been a 2018. Never has any one lived even one of the days in this year. No one knows what this new year will bring.

This new year that lies before us is one of intrigue, suspense, and excitement. It is an unopened book, waiting for us to turn the pages and discover the depths it contains.

Last year has gone away — it will never be 2017 again. There’s not one day I can re-live; one day I can re-make memories of; one day I can go back and change. It’s over and done with, and there’s a new year to live. To fill to it’s fullest, to make memories of, to uncover it’s intrigue.

The responsibility falls to me to make every single moment of it shine out with God’s glory. It falls to me to take this year and use it purposefully. To live every day with a resolve to get the most out of it, to enjoy it, embrace it, and praise the Lord above for it.

And while we are looking ahead to the year before us, we must not forget to look backward at the year behind us. To look at it’s mistakes and failures and learn from them. The mistakes I made this last year have not yet been made in this new year opening before me. The failures and experiments of last year don’t yet have a place in this new year the Lord has given to me — and prayerfully they won’t ever. Oh, yes, there will be new ones made, new lessons learned — but prayerfully I’ve learned the ones from last year. Laughter and joy haven’t yet filled the moments of this year; I have no memories of the days ahead of me. Only of the past, only of the days behind me. I must purpose to make memories, to laugh, to be joyful.

I must look at the past to be taught, and look at the future with trust in the Lord’s providence and sovereignty. To know that whatever happens in this new year, it is given to me by God Himself — the good times and the bad times; the happy and sad; the beautiful and the ugly. I must learn from them, embrace them, and look to the Lord wholeheartedly, trusting in His provision for me, as He unfolds His plan day by day.

I must remember that because He lives, I can face tomorrow. No matter what tomorrow may hold.

May each of you have a blessed New Year!

hurried and harried….

Another knock reverberated throughout the entrance way. With a groan, the man went to open the door. Would it ever stop? This never ending stream of people, seeking shelter…..and his inn had filled up hours ago. What were  the Romans thinking, bringing everyone who had ever been born back to Bethlehem? They had left for a reason — there simply wasn’t enough room!

He shook his head at the traveler, and closed the door. Just as he removed his hand, another knock echoed. He opened it and once again repeated what he had been saying for a while now: “There’s no room at this inn….”

He felt bad, having to turn away so many who appeared to be so wearily tired. Tired of everything, he was sure. The dust, the heat, the walking, the jarring of the footpaths…..the Romans should have thought this through better. Planned accommodations. Prepared for the influx of people.

Another knock sounded as he sat down to finish his meal. He stood up, prepared to turn away someone else; some other tired soul. “There’s no room at this inn.”

But instead of taking his answer and leaving with it, the young man seemed insistent. “Please! My wife! She’s going to have a baby — we have no time to go farther!”

The inn keeper peered around the man, to the donkey waiting patiently with a young lady on his back. The girl did appear to be in some pain…..but there was truly no room. Especially no privacy for a child to be born! What was he to do? He couldn’t very well turn them away — they truly needed a place to stay. Perhaps he could ask…..but no. There were three families in that room, and it was no place for a woman to birth a child.

A low, rumbling groan recalled his thoughts to the two young people in front of him. The man looked anxiously over his shoulder at his young bride, and she gave a small smile, assuring him she was okay.
Except it looked much more like a grimace.
And the look in her eyes was one of pure agony.

“Joseph!” she gasped out, and convulsively grabbed the poor animals mane.

The inn keeper decided. He couldn’t turn these two away, and there was only one place where there would be proper room for a birth. It wasn’t much, but it was the best he could offer.

He turned to the man and requested him to follow, with the young woman.

He led them through the town, to a small, peaceful valley. He led the way to a small opening in the side of the cliff, his shelter for his animals.

He apologized that he had nothing better for the girl. It truly was the best he could do, and he was sorry to leave them there.

The man was understanding, thankful, even, for that small privilege of a roof over their heads, warm hay for the lady to rest against, walls to keep away prying eyes. He was already heaping the straw into a mound for the woman. Assisting her down, half carrying her as labour pains once again racked her body with an agonizing grip. The inn keeper quickly excused himself, and headed back. He was sure there were already people trying to break the doors down to get in to his inn.

All that afternoon, he wondered about the couple. He sent a plate of food, and the servant returned, reporting that the time was near for delivery.

That evening, he was standing in the doorway, enjoying the silence. The restful, peaceful silence that went unbroken. As soon as the night had set in for good and the daylight faded, all the travelers had found a place to lay down and camp, and made themselves comfortable. It was a beautiful night; the stars seemed brighter than normal, and he was enjoying the sight.

He suddenly heard the sound of leather sandals running through the dust. They drew closer, until he stepped out in the road, right into the pathway of strangers. Strangers who were running. Strangers, who, judging by the way of dress, the smell and the general shaggy and dirty appearance, were shepherds. Strange, that they would have left their sheep alone. He called out, asking them what the problem was. For a fleeting moment, he prepared himself to hear that the city was under attack.

Instead, a wondrous tale came from the lips of the shepherds. A story that was quite unbelievable, that contained lights and angels and songs and a baby, lying in a manger. As if any responsible parents would put their new born child in a manger….especially a child as special as this one seemed to be, if angels had announced the birth. Surely they could have found somewhere to stay, better than a stable. Surely the inn keeper would make room…..his face blanched as he remembered the strangers; the young woman in labour; the stable he had led them too. Surely…..but no. He looked around, trying to figure out which way the shepherds had taken to get around the man who stood woolgathering, blocking their paths.

But he knew the way to his stable, he would just take a peek and see. He had wanted to check on the child earlier in the day anyways, and hadn’t had a chance. He skillfully made his way to his shelter, and quietly peered in. He saw a sight that made tears fill his eyes, that made his heart ache. There, on the ground, kneeling in the straw around the feeding trough, were the shepherds. They were kneeling before the child, who lay sleeping peacefully after the hard work of being born. The mother lay in the corner, half propped up between the straw and the rock that formed the wall. She looked tired, but peaceful as she watched the shepherds with her child. The father was on his knees beside his wife, holding her hands and gazing with pride at their newborn Son.

Their new born Son, who would one day change the world. Save it. None of those gathered quite knew what it meant, what His title of Saviour would involve. But they knew that this child wasn’t really theirs; He was the Son of the very God, YWHY, that they had been taught to serve since they were both children.

If you liked this, you may also like these character sketches =)

a question of courage

I have had A Question of Honor on my to-read list for a while now. Since spring, when it came out, as a matter of fact. And then I discovered this author had written a second book in her Question of War series……and I was delighted to be able to review and read both of them!! The review for the first book is coming soon, but I will say that it was well worth the wait to read the books. They were both so very good and I am anxiously — I dare not even claim patience in this area — waiting for the third book to come out :D

A man. A decision. A destiny.
Rafe Sullivan never imagined the war would come to his doorstep. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked and America’s focus suddenly shifts to the pacific, he finds he can’t ignore the problem anymore.
Leaving the life he loves behind, he joins up to do what he does best. Fly.
Yet, nothing could have prepared him for the horrors of war, and the struggle that is going on in his own heart. As an outstanding navy pilot, he is stationed on one of the few Pacific carriers. But could God be calling him to step out in faith, and go beyond the call of duty?
Lily Wilson gives her all to help the hurting community around her. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the war is brought home to many American families. And as a nurse, she longs to be able to relive some of the suffering. Yet, her own grief is still fresh in her heart, and though she’s made the decision to get on with her life, she can’t seem to leave the past behind. When healing at last comes, the guard she placed around her heart slowly begins to crumble.
But when she receives the news she hoped she would never again hear, can she trust that God’s plan is always right?
Arthur Warrington saw the Navy as an escape from the life he left behind. And it seems good for him. He is able to forge new friendships and distance himself from his past. But when his best friend makes a decision that rocks his world, he is left grappling with the question: what is true courage?
Three lives. One War. And a search for the Courage to go on.

This book was wonderful! In every sense, it was a delightful read….I don’t even know where to begin writing about this book, ’cause I honestly don’t think anything I say will do it any justice :D Maybe if I tell you these books made it on my “Top Ten List” it might give you an idea of how wonderful these books are!

The style of writing was amazing! I was immediately drawn in, and didn’t want to put the book down until I finished it. Then I was overcome with an overwhelming sadness after I read the last page and realized there were no more pages to look forward to reading. The historical aspect was well researched, and I loved the fact that it was about one of my favourite times in history — WWII.

The characters were all so relate-able — they were so sweet to get to know! I loved the way that they all interacted with each other. It is so rare to find a book where siblings get along and love each other, but this book was one of those rare few. The brother’s relationship was precious to read about. The way that the boys honoured their sisters was priceless. The way that they interacted with their parents was so respectfully loving. And the practical jokes……and the humour……oh my!

The faith aspect in this book was not lacking in the least, and it was refreshing to read! Every action reflected the glory of God, every conversation reflected the state of the characters hearts. It was not by any means a “preachy” book, but it was most definitely a Christian book, and the characters reveal that throughout the entire thing. There were no “words”, not inappropriate scenes…..nothing not in accordance to Scripture. And I enjoyed reading about the way Rafe Sullivan trusts God so completely,  even when the unexpected happens.

There was romance in the book, but it was the sweet, endearing romance that points you towards Christ. The interactions between the guys and the girls were nothing short of courteous and respectful at all times. There is a mention of a couple characters that like to break the girls hearts, but that is pretty much the extent of how you are told about that aspect of them. The main characters mention that girls can be treated like sisters, and even the known relationship in the book is nothing short than sweet =)

In all, this was a wonderful book. Yes, I cried through it…..not nearly as much as I cried reading the first book, though. But I also laughed, smiled, sighed, sniffed, and sympathized through it too. And it takes a good author to bring out so many different emotions in a single book, adn do it successfully and well. Ms. Jesseca has made it on my list of top five favourite authors of fiction. And that is saying a lot for those who know me well!

A Question of Courage is the second book in the series, and I do think it could be read as a stand alone novel. But I did just finish reading the first book when I read this one. And the first one is too good NOT to read, so I wouldn’t suggest reading only the second :D You can purchase the books on Amazon HERE.  I would totally give this book a five star rating, and recommend it to others to read…..I need to get a real copy since I only have it on my kindle now =) Yes, it was that good!

About the Author

Jesseca is a 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.

 

And guess what, folks? Yep….there’s a giveaway with this blog tour =P Click on the link below to discover how to enter for a paperback copy of either A Question of Honor or A Question of Courage! The fancy widget-image thingy won’t come through because this blog is through word press….so you’ll just have to click on the link =) Trust me, you want to win this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

:::Blog Tour Schedule:::

Wednesday, 29th

Faith Potts//Stories by Firefly – Review, Book spotlight
Libby May//Geoturtle – Author Interview
Kaitlyn S.//Maidens for Modesty — Review

Thursday, 30th

Kellyn Roth//Reveries Reviews – Review
Raechel//God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Spotlight
Kate//Twin Thoughts – Author Interview

Friday, 1st

Liv K. Fisher//Liv K. Fisher – Book Spotlight, Author Interview
Deborah C.// Reading in June – Book Spotlight
Mikayla H.//Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father – Review
Chloe W.//Purely by Faith Reviews – Review, Author Interview
Abigail//Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors – Book Spotlight

Saturday, 2nd

Jazzy//Thriving Hope – Review, Book spotlight
Angela Watts//The Peculiar Messenger – Review
Rebekah Eddy//Rebekah’s Remarks – Review, Author Interview, Book spotlight
Karissa Norton//No Coffee, No Can Do – Author Interview, Review

beauty

I sat down to write something for Thanksgiving, but for the first time in a long while, I don’t know what to write. I have so many thoughts swirling through my brain in a chaotic mess, and the page in front of me remains blank. Autumn tends to do that to me. The sights, the smells, the breezes…..it all makes me feel like a young child again. Nostalgic, maybe.

We have so much to be thankful for….do we realize it? I have a tendency to go through life, marking things off that list and moving on, not relishing and enjoying and looking for ways the Lord has blessed me throughout the day.

Our lives are beautiful — did you know that? They are full of things that are beautiful and precious and point us towards Christ….if we only stop and look for them. We would see His glory in so many things, if we would only stop and take the time to pay attention.

I see Him as I play with little siblings. As log towers crash to the ground, as cars go “zroom-ing” around, as we play Ring-Around-the-Rosie and “all fall down”.

We can be grateful for each day we are alive. For the wonder of His creation as we walk outside with siblings. For the beauty that surrounds us this time of year, as the leaves fall to the ground creating a wonderful carpet of colour and the wild flowers are blooming in profusion. As the deer start moving in the cool evenings and mornings, and the evenings are a beautiful shroud of fogginess…thick, white, beautiful fog. As the grass is white with frost when we wake up and our breath puffs white smoke, and the rose bushes glisten in beauty.

For each time I can cook with a little sibling , I am thankful. For each giggle and laugh and coo, I realize what a miracle each and every soul is from God. All the aromas wafting throughout the house, all the fall colours and pumpkins and pies and sweet potatoes.

I am grateful for each and every member of our military, past and present. For all those who have given all to serve our country, to keep those of us at home safe, to preserve our freedom and way of life. For all that they see, for all that they do, for all that they have done. For those who have given up their youth to fight wars, to train, to protect; for those who have waited at home for their return. For the children who wait to hug their daddies, for the wives who wait for their husbands, for the mothers who long for their sons to be back in their arms.

I am grateful for the music which fills this world. For the violinist who makes his bow dance across his strings, in utter jubilance. For the pianist who makes the keys of the piano sigh with unspoken longing, for the cellist who manages to convey so much through the lower notes. I am thankful to hear children singing along in praise to our great King — grateful and humbled as they sing with abandon, not caring who is around or if they are singing the right tune or the right key or the right note. Only to sing in a wonderful, beautiful way for the King of Kings.

I am awed into praise by so many things. For the missionaries overseas who serve, unseen, in so many areas. For those who daily live with the threat of persecution and rejection and still find joy in the midst of pain and sorrow and suffering. For my pastor who preaches faithfully Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.

I am filled with praise as the breeze catches my hair and gently tangles it, as the branches sway and whisper in the wind and a myriad of leaves come fluttering down. As the acorns come tumbling down, and the pecans land with a clatter and little brothers race to fill up buckets, so we can enjoy the goodness of those nuts all year long. For each sunset that causes me to catch my breath at the wonderful beauty that is painted in the sky, the rich pinks and purples and nameless, glorious colours, hung there for our pleasure.

I am so very grateful for all those who have gone before me, fighting battles so I don’t have to. For those who stood against the recognized church and translated and printed Scripture, so that hundreds of years later, I have a Bible sitting on my hope-chest, waiting to be opened and read tonight. For those who made their way over to America, facing so very many unknowns to establish a community, where they could have freedom to worship God.

I am amazed and thankful for all the gifted authors out there who write so many beautiful things. Who use words to make you feel and experience something new. Who fill you with longing to do better; with desire to go and do something to help. Who weave beautiful word pictures and cause tears to course down your cheeks, or smiles and laughter to wreath your face with joy, or sighs of expectancy or sorrow or waiting to escape your lips.

There are so many things making headlines right now. So many shootings, murders, and scandals. So much ugliness, sin being glorified, and fear surrounds us daily. Life is a gift. A wonderful, beautiful gift. And in the midst of suffering there is always something to be thankful for. As I wrote several years ago on this blog: “How many times do we cry out to the Lord during adversity and never think about Him in times of peace? How many times do we thank Him for trials? Do you thank Him for the brain surgery? For taking the child you wanted to hold to be with Him before you ever saw it — almost before you knew you were carrying a new little soul? We can thank Him when we discover He has indeed blessed us with a life to cherish…..How many times do we seek to be close to the Lord in times of blessed contentment? How close do we get to be to Him during times of grief and mourning?…..When we are tempted, tossed on what seems a never ending sea of turmoil — when we are brought face to face with the fact that we are, indeed, human, and can’t change eternity — when we find ourselves in a situation that we can’t control — we instinctively know Who turn to. The One that even the winds and the waves obey. The One that controls everything — has ordained everything — and we long to be close to Him. We long, with an innate, unsatisfied thirst, to be intimate with Him. We place ourselves — our very lives — into His hands unhesitatingly — because there is no where else to turn to. Should this be so? Should it be this way?”

Pondering the things the Lord has blessed us with is a beautiful way to cultivate gratefulness in our lives. Now, I know we are supposed to be thankful every day of our lives. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. But some  days it is just so hard. We need to purpose to find things to be thankful for when all is calm and serene. We need to thank Him when life is falling to pieces around us. We need to thank God for the little things, for the beautiful, daily things we take for granted each day of our lives. For the things that cause our eyes to fill up with tears, for the things that make us laugh aloud in wonder, for the things that cause us to catch our breath in awe-filled wonder.

I didn’t intend to write any of this….and yet I did. Because I am looking for ways — small ways — to be thankful this year to the Creator of all. To give Him the praise and thanks He is due.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May you take time to truly reflect and see what a wonderful, merciful, mighty Saviour we have been so very graciously given!

christmas comes early!

Christmas tour

Christmas time is here! Okay…..so not quite yet. It’s still over a month away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start celebrating early, right? So today, we’re celebrating the release of not one, not four, but eight new Christmas books! All written by Rebekah A. Morris. I’ll be spotlighting two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour.

Christmas Collage

The Books I Read…..

Home for Christmas (Christmas Collection) by [Morris, Rebekah]

Feeling that life is unfair when her father is killed in the front lines of France and she has to live with her relatives on a western farm, twelve-year-old Susanna Stanson runs away to the city. She decides that all will be well when she reaches her old home, but a severe snowstorm interrupts her trip.

This was most definitely my favourite of the two books that I read! It was a short book to read, but incredibly sweet. The pain Susanna feels is so poignantly described, and the faith of her relatives is so sweet to read about. The forgiveness offered by her cousins and aunt and uncle was so wonderful to read about! I also thoroughly enjoyed the historical aspect to the book. I would most definitely give this a five star rating, and recommend it to others =)

The Christmas She Wanted (Christmas Collection) by [Morris, Rebekah]
Christmas had lost its charm and wonder. Mrs. Rush hated the feeling but was powerless to fix things. Traveling to visit relatives for the holidays, the Rush children pass the time with their eyes glued to the screens of their devices. That is, until the flashing lights of a State Highway Patrol car bring their trip to a sudden and unplanned-for stop.

This was also a fun read. While my siblings and I don’t have devices, we have cousins who do. And friends. And it can be extremely difficult to have a conversation with those who are constantly checking their phones! I loved the way this whole story played out, and the where this family ended up spending Christmas……it was so reminiscent of how my family spends vacations. Just sayin’ =) I loved the way family time was emphasized throughout the story, and the activities they did to occupy their time…..once again, I would give this five stars, and I would highly recommend it to others.

And, once again, there is an interview for you all to read =) I have decided that I thoroughly enjoy asking authors questions that I have never met, and who have no idea who I am. Isn’t that a surprising confession from a rather shy introvert? =P

Once again, My questions are in bold and her answers are in italics……

When did you know that you wanted to write?
It wasn’t until I had graduated from high school that I fell in love with writing. Before then it had been a dreaded school subject that brought me to tears. But before I started on my first book I wrote “pretend letters” with several friends which helped me develop my writing. Then my first book took me six years to write, which also helped my writing. By the time that book was done, I had to keep writing.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read, play the piano, design covers, knit, hold babies, and visit with friends. Among other things. :)
What is your schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m not sure I’d call my routine a schedule, but here’s what I usually do.
If I’m working on a new story, I just start to write. If I’ve already started a story, I will go back to where I started writing the last time and re-read what I wrote, editing, correcting, and changing as needed. Once I get to the end of that, I’m ready to continue the story and I start writing. Now and then I’ll take a few minutes before I start to write and jot some basic ideas for what I am going to work on, but I can’t get too detailed as then I don’t want to write it.
Between “Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas She Wanted”, which was your favourite to write and why?
That’s a hard question. “Home for Christmas” was only the 2nd Christmas story I had ever written (though I revised it some this year), so it is special to me. But “The Christmas She Wanted” was written after seeing so many people become addicted to screens. It was my cry for something better. So I suppose you could say I like them both, but in different ways. :)
Is there something that makes writing easier for you? (tea, chocolate, music, candles etc…..)
Not really. I’m not one who likes to eat or drink, and I can’t listen to music. I’ve been told I can’t do two things at once. :) I guess that goes for writing too. But I do like things quiet. Perhaps that’s why I like to write in the evenings.
Do you prefer reading e-books or physical books?
While I do like e-books (easier on my pocket book and I can read free and review copies that way), I prefer the physical books. I don’t care if they are paperback or hardcover, new or used. I just want to hold them in my hands, turn the pages and be able to hand them to a friend to borrow. Yes, that means I have to dust the bookshelves they are on, but I’d rather do that then have only e-books. :) And if I find an e-book that I really like, I’ll get it in a physical book as soon as I can.
If you were going on a long car ride and could only bring along two books, which ones would you bring and why? 
The impossible question! The honest answer is I have no idea. It would probably depend on if I was wanting to read a certain book at the time or not. If I didn’t have any waiting to be read, I’d have to see what I was in the mood for. I don’t think I could do with only two books. Could I take my kindle instead? That is the size of just one small book. ;)
What is one important thing that you would want readers to take away from what you have written? 
That the life of a Christian doesn’t just happen on Sunday. It’s an everyday life, and no matter what happens, God is there with us. And everything we do is to be for His glory.
Thank you for having me.

About the Author

Author PictureRebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

Tour Schedule

November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee’s Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia’s Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Once Upon an Ordinary – Review
Stephany’s BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel’s Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey’s Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Ordinary Girl Extraordinary Father – Review
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing post

Second Chances Book Tag

This is the first time I have participated in a blogging tag of any sort….so we’ll see how this goes =P I was tagged by Bekah from Bekah’s Books, and if you don’t read her blog, I would highly suggest it! I have *so* enjoyed “meeting” her through the blogging world!

Now on to all the book-ish questions, so you get to know all about me…..or my reading habits…..or something like that =)

In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace and Bruce : complete with original Illustration and Writer Biography (Illustrated) by [Henty, G.A.]Name a book you expected to dislike but ended up loving because you stuck with it to the end.

This one was difficult…..’cause I don’t really start many books that I don’t expect to like =) I would have to say the one book I started knowing I couldn’t really get into the authors work was In Freedom’s Cause by G. A. Henty. I know, I know, the history throughout the book is wonderful…..but there is such an amount of technical elements woven into some of them that it can make it a little dry. And then a friend convinced me to read In Freedom’s Cause and I fell in love with Henty. Now I own several, and have read many more, and I have learned so much! (There are a couple of things I may skip, like the latitude and longitude the soldiers marched up Bunker’s Hill….shh! don’t tell!)

Admit it–we all judge books by their covers. What is one book you’ve given a try and enjoyed it despite a less-than-appealing cover?

Umm…..definitely Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. The edition we have just didn’t appeal to me, and it seemed as if it might not be all I had heard that it was. But it was! It was everything and more! And I read it over and over again, ’cause it is just that good! And I have since found editions of this book that are really pretty and would pique my interest — I just bought a first edition copy of this book — printed in the 1800’s — from our local thrift store. That was probably my favourite find of all!

Ranting opportunity! Which author are you forever mad at for denying a character their second chance? Talk about it. 

Inside Threat (A Riley Covington Thriller Book 4) by [Elam, Jason, Yohn, Steve]

Those of you who know me already know this answer — I mean, seriously, there can only be one book I’ve ever read and thought it was the most terrible, horrid ending that was ever written. And to make it worse, it was the ending to an entire book series. The Riley Covington Thriller series, written by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. The last book, Inside Threat was great until the last thirty pages or so. Then the authors decide to kill off one of the main characters that you have come to absolutely adore throughout the entire series…..and just end the book. Right there. Right when it seemed like everything was going right, right when the character was about to be given a second chance at something…..whamo! and the character is dead. I was sobbing. Out loud. And to make matters even better (or worse, whichever way you look at it), it was a book that my sister talked me into reading because I wasn’t really all that interested in the series to begin with. And then I fell in love with it. And then there was the funeral.

As a side note, the series was really, really good — until the last thirty pages or so of the fourth book. I would highly suggest reading the first three, and taking my word that you don’t want to read the fourth one.Conspiracy of Silence (The Tox Files Book #1) by [Kendig, Ronie]

Do you have a favorite book that includes a theme of second chances?

The Tox Files by Ronie Kendig, hands down. The main character is a guy who made a huge mistake without meaning too, and through different circumstances began blaming himself for everything that happened. But a friend who has an amazing memory and a love for the Lord helps him through a lot with his aptitude for quoting Scripture, and several other friends exhibit a willingness to reach through the messiness of sin to help him.

Anne of Green Gables by [Montgomery, L. M.]

Bonus question: Name a favorite fictional romance that only succeeded because the characters were willing to let go of their first impressions and move on. 

Can I use a book I’ve already mentioned? Does that still count? It would have to be Stepping Heavenward again….because her first impression of the doctor is so different from who he really is!

If that doesn’t count, I would choose the Anne of Green Gables series (I don’t know the exact book) and Anne’s impression of Gilbert Blythe. And his impression of her. I mean, what would your first impression of someone be who greeted your teasing by slamming a slate over your head??? :D

Now it’s my turn to tag some unsuspecting people =P I haven’t seen this on either of these blogs, and I definitely don’t want you to feel like this is something you have to do….but I had fun! And I would love to see your answers!

So I am tagging two people:

Ashley from Creating Precious Moments
Leona from Great Books for God’s Girls

Here are the questions:

  1. Name a book you expected to dislike but ended up loving because you stuck with it to the end. 
  2. Admit it–we all judge books by their covers. What is one book you’ve given a try and enjoyed despite a less-than-appealing cover?
  3. Ranting opportunity! Which author are you forever mad at for denying a character their second chance? Talk about it. 
  4. Do you have a favorite book that includes a theme of second chances?
  5. Bonus question: Name a favorite fictional romance that only succeeded because the characters were willing to let go of their first impressions and move on. 

 

bound + a giveaway

Guys, this book. It is a.m.a.z.i.n.g.!!!!

I first read Bound as it was published as a series of posts in the beginning of this year, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I was thrilled to pieces when Victoria mentioned that she was pulling the posts off her blog to publish the book. And then I had an excuse to re-read it as part of the blog tour….. =) This is the second book released by Victoria and I am *so* looking forward to reading more of her creations!

Bound: Two Broken Souls. One Journey by [Lynn, Victoria]

Levi thought he was making this journey alone. But when he meets an eight-year-old girl at the train station, that plan is turned on its head.

Casey is running away and finds out that Levi is too. They decide to journey together and their lives are suddenly bound together in a journey they will not soon forget.

Both children come from abusive situations and are running from the dangers of their previous life. Levi is confident he can handle this on his own, but when Casey is injured on the journey, he must seek help from the first person that comes into his path, or rather people. Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth are simple farm folk with a heart for kids and a passion for serving God. When their unconditional love and gentle care surrounds Levi and Casey, the troubles of their previous lives melt away and they start to flourish. But when Casey is dragged back into the abusive world she came from, the emotional trauma, pain and distrust resurfaces. Will they be forever bound by their past? Or will God answer their prayers?

My Thoughts:

Wow. Just…..wow. This book was a beautiful creation of words woven together to create a story so touching and sweet that it just pulled at my heart strings. The characters were well developed and the story line was fantastic; the emotions were so real, and many times raw. Yes, I cried reading this book. Both times I read it, in fact. It is seriously just so sweet.

The two main characters — Casey and Levi — represent so many children in foster homes. The abuse, the fear, the emotions…..maybe it was so touching because so many of my friends have adopted or fostered or both. And the stories of the children, the testimony of God at work in their lives, is precious to hear, just as Casey and Levi’s story was precious to read. Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth are wonderful characters who really live out the Christian faith and strive to follow their Lord’s commands, no matter the cost or inconvenience to themselves. Even the DHR worker is a wonderful example of a follower of Christ.

There was a strong Christian message throughout this book — even in the descriptions of the children’s home life God’s protective hand is clearly seen. The scenes where abuse is mentioned is never too detailed, just enough to give you a sense of thankfulness at God’s protection over them.

There are mentions of alcohol and drugs in the book, as well as physical abuse….I would be cautious with younger children reading it. But when they are older…..reading this book is a must! If it wasn’t on my kindle I would have already loaned it out to others to read. =)

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Victoria was kind enough to let me interview her…..and you get to read it =) My questions are in Bold and her answers are in italic.

When did you know you wanted to write?
Ever since I was little I have been scribbling stories. Always, I guess. I was an avid reader at a young age, and I had and incredibly active imagination, so it came naturally the desire to write stories on my own.

What would you (or your family) say is an interesting writing quirk?
About myself? Um, I have to have headphones in. It’s the only way to focus. That makes it hard for people to get my attention though, just ask my dad.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing (besides blogging =P)? Lots of things. Reading, Sewing, creating something. . . music is also a big hobby of mine and I love the outdoors. I wish I had more time to spend outside.

Was there something particular which inspired you to write this book?
A writing Prompt that I did on my blog originally. Everyone loved it so much and it was one where my brain was spinning with possibilities afterwards. God obviously had a plan for giving me that inspiration.

What was your favourite scene in Bound?
Ooh, tough choice for sure. Probably the epilogue, but then also the scene where Mikayla is pleading with Jason. My heart hurt so much in that one I was crying real tears.

Which character could you relate to the most?
Mikayla and Miz Mariah. I have Mikayla’s empathy and her passion. Miz Mariah’s motherly instincts are also a trait that I possess.

If you were stranded somewhere and could have only three books with you, which ones would you choose?
The bible for sure, Les Miserable’s by Victor Hugo, and The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N Southworth. If I were stranded somewhere where I needed to work to survive, I would trade the last one for a survival book.

What is the best advice that you have been given as an author?
You can’t edit a blank page, but you can edit a bad one. So just write. I can’t remember who on pinterest had that first quote, but it is still one of my favorites.

What is one important thing that you would want readers to take away from what you have written?
The gospel and how deeply God loves them. I hope that my writing always and forever brings glory to the King of Kings.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog Kaitlyn! It has been an honor!

AND……there’s a giveaway folks!!

Hop on over to Victoria’s Blog for all the tiny details about entering and prizes and whatnot…..

Victoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she’s not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings

Seeing God….

A little sister was born six years ago today. At twenty-four weeks gestation, the doctors wondered if she would live. For 90 days my little sister lived in the hospital, in the NICU.

Six years ago today my siblings and I watched from our front porch as the ambulance sped out of our sight, as my grandparents took off after it, as the sirens faded away and we were left with friends’, trying so hard not to cry. And wondering if we would ever see our mommy alive again.

I would say that it is something no fifteen year old should ever have to face — that of realizing that you could be without a mother.

Except.

Except that day I realized just how very much my Lord cares about me.I never questioned why, I understood it was the Lord’s will, but I didn’t see anything good in it as the ambulance sped out of sight. I wondered where the Lord was in all of the mess, and what good would come out of all the bad that I was seeing and feeling and crying over.

And my whole family was given the gift of seeing Him. Through the days of recovery, through the tears and the exhaustion and the mental gymnastics and the confusion, I tasted the Lord’s goodness. I felt His love. I saw His kindnesses, His grace, and His mercy.

The many strangers stopping that day in our yard when they saw the ambulance, waiting until it left, praying with us. Many were on the way to work; we knew no one. Yet they offered comfort and support and encouragement. I wouldn’t remember if I ever saw them again, but I remember the words spoken and the hugs given.

The many bags of things hanging on our fence. The notes and phone numbers to call and the fun things for the children to do, to occupy their time and keep them busy.

The men who left their jobs when they saw the first email. The men who were waiting outside for the ambulance to get there, who were waiting in the waiting room for dad. Who hit their knees and prayed with fervor, who kept coming until the waiting room was full and the nurse opened another room for “that group” so they would have room. The men who offered encouragement and comfort and support and advice to a father who was concerned about a wife and child who may not live to see the sun set that day. The men who would not leave until they knew that both the baby and the mother had pulled through and had a fighting chance to live.

The women who brought food to Dad in the hospital so he never had to leave Mom’s side.The family who took one look at the bare door of the hospital room in the surgical recovery section and left, only to return shortly with a baby girl bow that we never thought about because of the surgery. The preciousness of these friends celebrating the life of a little girl who might shortly pass away from this earth, and the joy of the hospital staff realizing that they had a recovering mother to care for. The many exclamations of delight over the fact that they had never had a baby bow on their floor, and the many inquiries about how the baby was doing.

The friends who shared their hearts and their home with us. Who offered shoulders to cry on, a place to sleep, and hugs from the heart. Who took in eight children and parented them for a week along with their own eight children, who drove us to the hospital and watched the little ones so we older ones could spend time with Dad and Mom and the baby.

The woman in the gift shop who was working the register when Dad went in search of a scarf or headband of some sort to cover the fact that half of Mom’s hair was gone. That woman asked about his purchase, and gave it to him freely, adding that she would be praying for the both of them.

The sweet friend who told my mother to never be ashamed of how she looked — for others looking at her appearance would be able to see the testimony of God’s work in her life and give Him the glory.

All the many families who shared their food with us — we didn’t have to spend the mental energy in thinking up what to prepare because we had meals coming to us until well after the baby was home in February.

The neighbors next to the family who took us in; the neighbors who we didn’t know and who didn’t know us, yet managed my sisters diabetes and insulin and snacks and everything like a pro — because she was one. She was a nurse and her own soon had diabetes and she willingly gave her time to help us, to teach me, to keep my sister alive and safe.

The two siblings who drove an hour to come and get us and drove another hour back to the hospital, only to drive us an hour back and then drive an hour to their home…..after only meeting us one time. The talks, the laughter, and the tears that accompanied those long drives.

The woman who chased us down in Walmart after a particularly hard day, because she claimed she saw Christ’s love in our family and she wanted to talk to us and get to know us. All we saw in the mirror were our tears. Tired faces that didn’t even attempt to smile and appear cheerful, and she put a smile on them and made us laugh.

The NICU nurse who requested my baby sister for a week, only to help my mother with bonding techniques and allow her to hold and cuddle and snuggle with her all day long, which every other nurse seemed opposed to.

The many times of falling into bed so weary and tired and discouraged and scared and falling asleep, only to wake up and find that His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.

The father at our church who drove our van over to the home where we were staying so we could all go to church together, and realizing that we long overdue for new tires. Mentioning it to some other fathers at our church, and one of them mentioning it to a man at a car shop, who put them on and gave them to us without any charge — merely to help a family who was in full blown disaster mode.

The nurse in the NICU who broke the rules and allowed Mom to hold her little daughter the day of her second brain surgery, knowing it might be the last and only time the daughter was held by the mother, and willing to risk her job to bring happiness to my mama.

The church family who helped financially with almost everything we needed, without them actually knowing that we needed it.

The lady who manned the gate in the parking deck of the hospital. Her rejoicing the day she found out we would most likely never see her again, and the teasing and bantering she was always engaging in with us, giving us something to smile about and laugh about.

The lady who spent time to prepare natural, soothing, herbal teas and poultices and salves for Mom, and showed us how to use them and offered support and encouragement and advice so many times.

The nurses in the hospital from all different departments who sought out my mother after others had spread abroad the news of those people who had so many people praying for them and waiting with them, simply to hug her neck, to pray with her, and to encourage her. The one nurse that we saw all over the hospital, who was constantly popping into the NICU to check on the baby, who always had a smile and a kind word, and who is still a sweet friend today.

The day we finally brought Little Bit home from the NICU, and the friends “sneaking” over to our house while we were gone to hang up signs and banners and balloons welcoming us home. Telling Mom in the car that I was so glad there would be nothing to cry over anymore, pulling into our driveway, and promptly crying from sheer happiness.

See, none of us tangibly heard God speaking to us, or felt Him wrap our arms around us, but we knew He was carrying us through this. That He never would leave us or forsake us, that He was in the midst of this with us. We saw Him in every smile offered to us, in every encouraging word and note and email. We saw Him in every person who willingly gave of their time, who went out of their way to pray with us, to hug us, to cry with us. In every meal fixed, in every tire changed, in every gift from a stranger, we saw Him demonstrating His love and His mercy and His kindness.

I pray that one day, I can be as much to someone else. That I can show another burdened soul the love of God. That others will see the Lord’s kindness through my actions and words. That I can embrace stepping outside of my comfort zone and inquire into peoples lives, pray with them, hug them, and cry with them, and that they will see the face of my Saviour through my imperfectness.

So today we wish Little Bit a happy birthday, and we remember. Because in remembering, we can face the future, knowing He is there with us always.