Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quotable Wednesday

My good friend, Dawn Crandall, is about to release her debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress. I'll be reviewing it Friday, but for today she's taking over my Quotable Wednesday and letting you get to know her a little bit:)


The first time I became aware of this quote was on a YouTube video of The Piano Guys playing a classical cello and piano version of—I think—All My Secrets Away by One Republic… while I was in the midst of writing my second book. It flashed on the screen so quickly; I had to keep going back to pause it to really tell what all it said. It made sense that it was a Beethoven quote since they were so effortlessly playing their instruments, making the already pretty song even more beautiful.

But then I thought about my art. Despite the fact that the heroine in my debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress, is a piano prodigy… I, indeed, have zero talent in that arena. But I did practice a form of art in writing that story about the music Amaryllis Brigham so easily brought to life over and over. So I tried to wrap my head around what this quote meant for me.

Because I write for the inspirational market, the last part should be a given. But how do we get to that last part? Not by practicing? No. In fact, it takes more than that, which is something I figured out when I first started writing The Hesitant Heiress four years ago. Because I have ADD, I also have this awesome super-power called “hyper-focus.” It has absolutely nothing to do with paying attention, and everything to do with getting lost. “Force your way into its secrets….” is another, a bit more eloquent, way of saying just that.
I don’t just write a story when I write a story. That would drive me bonkers. I delve in so deep that I am my heroine. I am on the rocky coast in Maine. I am in the room of that brownstone mansion on Commonwealth Avenue. I can hear the crunching rocks under my feet, and I feel the dread in my soul when everything falls apart. I don’t think that’s considered practicing… but more like what Beethoven was trying to get at by that middle sentence.

What secret does your art hold that you might not have uncovered? Are you writing as deeply as you could be? And if your art is something else entirely, what do you think it will take to get to those secrets that need to be uncovered? Are you willing to “force your way in…” farther if it means raising your fellow man (or woman) to the Divine?         

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Toddler in Me

I'm going to make a little confession here...

sometimes my will and God's will don't line up.

Shocker. I know. I'm probably the only one:) Thing is, when that happens there's this little toddler that springs out of this grown woman and stomps her feet. It's not a spiritually pretty sight. That toddler can throw a fit, let me tell you, and containing her can be a bit of a battle.

Lately that toddler has been waging her war over one area of my life and it's been a daily battle--sometimes a minute-by-minute battle--to bring her in line. Oh, it's not something awful or huge that I'm struggling with, but it is something that if that toddler grew up she'd walk me straight out of God's will for my life. Which is why every day God and I are talking. It's why my prayer life is ramping up right now and why I'm digging into Scripture. See, while my feelings some days are to give into the tantrum (and let's not lie, some days I do), I learned long ago that the pinch of submitting to God, even when I don't feel like it, is far better than the pain of having my own way.

So here's where my faith grows. Here's where all our faith should grow. God is bigger than anything we think we may want. He's more knowledgeable over our lives than we are...because he created us. He loves us more than we love ourselves (because we can all swing to the extreme sides of that spectrum). He hurts bigger over our hurts. He desires more vengeance over our pain. He seeks higher justice for us. And he wants each wrong righted. But it is always in his time and in his way. And that last sentence is why so often we fight him. It's hard to submit over an area of our life when he's not moving at the speed or in the way we think he should.

But he's God. His mind is beyond ours. His ways unmatchable to anything we can dream. And either we believe he's sovereign and place our life completely in his hands, or we keep picking it up and warring through our life with him.

I know that I'll always have those spiritual toddler moments. But I thank God he's faithfully brought me through enough that I know he'll bring me through this one. I've just got to keep submitting:)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:7-8a

Anyone else ever see a toddler in you?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bookshelf Friday - Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway

I stumbled across this book on Netgalley and, having just watched Austenland, decided to give it a try. Here's a blurb and we'll chat on the otherside:)


Shelby Roswell, a Civil War historian and professor, is on the fast track to tenure—that is, until her new book is roasted by the famous historian Ransom Fielding in a national review. With her career stalled by a man she’s never met, Shelby struggles to maintain her composure when she discovers that Fielding has taken a visiting professorship at her small Southern college.

Ransom Fielding is still struggling with his role in his wife’s accidental death six years ago and is hoping that a year at Shelby’s small college near his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi, will be a respite from the pressures of Ivy League academia. He never bargained for falling in love with the one woman whose career—and pride—he injured, and who would do anything to make him leave.

When these two hot-headed southerners find themselves fighting over the centuries-old history of local battles and antebellum mansions, their small college is about to become a battlefield of Civil War proportions.

I'll admit to a slow-start for this book for me. I struggled to connect with the characters, even though there was a good bit of conflict between them at the beginning. It truly opened as all good books should, but I still had a bit of disconnect and found the first few chapters slow.

But then Ransom snagged me with one of his glances at Shelby. Their interactions and banter began to fly off the page, and while the voice of this author was slightly different than what I typically read, her characters began to beg me to turn the pages. The slow beginning was forgotten, and I fell for the budding relationship between Ransom and Shelby. At the same time, a sub-plot deepened conflict within the story providing a great external issue that nearly tore apart our hero and heroine. It was well written and woven throughout, well timed, and believable.

I closed the last page with a true smile on my face and the feeling like I'd really spent time with these characters. I loved the depth of their relationship. Mary Jane created unique individuals and gave them small interactions (rings, greenhouses, diaries, paintings...read it, you'll see) with huge meaning. It was those special touches I believe I loved the most.

I happily give Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits 4 out of 5 stars and will be soon picking up the sequel:) You can purchase it here. Happy reading this weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quotable Wednesday


Reminds me of those trust falls we'd do as team building exercises. Except here there's no one stepping away as a joke or because they weren't paying attention. Nope. He will catch us every time with his "everlasting arms". 

All we have to do is let go:)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Things Unseen

I have a prayer journal. Some of my prayers in it seem like a lifetime of prayer has gone into them and I'm still waiting to see answers. And I'm not going to lie, I fight frustration and discouragement over this...is God even listening? Why is it that I can pray, and pray, and pray some more and yet see nothing happen?

God and I were having this discussion on my walk this morning, and he whispered to my soul. (I appreciated the fact that he whispered in a loving tone rather than becoming frustrated back at me...he is such an awesome God. I want to be more like him!)

Ok...small digression there, but here's what my heart quietly heard him say:

"Is nothing really happening? Or can you just not see with your eyes what I am doing?" And he followed that with:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

It's not like I don't know that verse. I know it very well. In fact, I have the confidence in what I hope for down pat. I know that I know that I know God can and will accomplish all he's promised. He's God. There is nothing he cannot do. I am beyond confident in that fact.

But that's what led me to my frustration. If I know he can do anything but nothing is happening, then he must not be listening, doesn't care, or...doesn't want to use me. (gulp) Right?



Wrong. See, it's the second half of that verse I need to work on. God is moving...alllll the time. He's working things we cannot even begin to see in preparation to bring us to the place we can see. He's putting people in places. He's stringing together events. He's arranging moments. We need to have assurance that beyond what's visible, God is still working our answers. We don't need to see his movement to believe he's still working. Oh, we want to (desperately at times) but our faith shouldn't be contingent on our eyes.

And that's what that verse is saying.

Do we believe always with a steadfast assurance? Even when the answer isn't immediately evident? Or does our faith rely solely on what God can tangibly deliver? 

For me I fall in the middle. There are times where my faith is red hot and then there are times like today where I question. I beg for him to show me his work. Yet I need to rest in his timing and allow the assurance of my faith to cradle my discouraged heart. Because that's when my faith grows. When that red hot burns bright. Above all, I want a faith that holds in all circumstances.

So I'll take the assurance that he is currently working beyond what I see, and I'll not only keep praying but begin praising. Because if I believe he's working those answers, then I'm going to take my faith a step farther and begin praising him for them before they are visible. 

And amen.

What about you? Do you ever struggle with this? Ready to start praising him for the answers before you even see them?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bookshelf Friday - A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant

So while traveling to Florida last month I needed a book to listen to and chose A February Bride. Here's the blurb and then we'll chat:)


Allie left the love of her life at the altar—to save him from a lifetime of heartbreak. When a Valentine’s Day wedding brings them back together, she struggles against her family’s destructive history. Can Allie ever realize that a marriage is so much more than a wedding dress? History repeats itself when Allie Andrews escapes the church on her wedding day—in the same dress passed down for generations and worn by all the women in her family—women with a long history of failed marriages. Allie loves Marcus, but fears she’s destined to repeat her family’s mistakes. She can’t bear to hurt Marcus worse. Marcus Hall never stopped loving Allie and can only think of one reason she left him at the altar—him. When the two are thrown together for his sister’s Valentine’s Day wedding, he discovers the truth and realizes their story might be far from over. Can Allie shuck expectation and discover who she is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she ever walks down the aisle, what dress will she wear?

This was honestly the first interaction I had with Betsy St. Amant as an author, and I truly enjoyed her sweet novella. The characters and their voices were clear, the story moved at a good pace, and there were several moments that made me smile. The main character, Allie, has a lot to overcome in these few pages, and she manages to do it in a believable manner. Her family...well, I can see why she'd shy away from them and how they maybe, just maybe, have given her a complex. Watching Allie struggle with the idea that God has a new plan for her--separate from the mistakes of her family--was a hope-filled storyline that had me rooting for her. And the love and forgiveness of Marcus? He was the perfect hero for this heroine. A beautiful picture of love.

Overall, this bridal series has been a great way to become acquainted with new authors in a short sitting and at a wonderful price. And because I so enjoyed this book and Betsy's voice as an author, I am eagerly anticipating her next release with Zondervan: All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. It's debuting this fall, but here's a short blurb. I'm sure I'll be highlighting it here too:)


Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.
As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.
The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

Isn't that a cute cover? And I love the title and premise. I will definitely be picking it up! You can pre-order All's Fair here and purchase the novella A February Bride here. Enjoy and I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quotable Wednesday

I'm breaking from my normal CS Lewis quotes today because this quote stopped me this week:


Lysa used this quote to remind us that every day we are building character. Each decision we make, each word we speak or action we take shapes how others see us.  It reminded me of this verse:

Matthew 7:20 So then, you will know them by their fruits. 

No, we aren't perfect. But we can do our best to make good decisions that birth great descriptions that ultimately point people back to God. That means loving when others are unloveable. Biting our tongue when we want to unleash it. And apologizing whenever we've been wrong--because we will be, plenty. (Big ol' hand raising going on over here!)

What decisions are you making today?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rocks

Just the other day I was going to snap a picture of a rock and post it to Instagram with the caption: "Life"
(It wouldn't have been nearly as pretty as the picture to the right, but I only had my yard to work with.)

Sometimes it can feel like that, though, can't it? Jagged and hard. Unyielding. Even a boulder in our path. Life can be tough.

But then God started speaking His version on rocks...

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

Truly my soul finds rest in God;

    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7: 24-25


And suddenly this is the picture I started to see:

His cross. His strength. And He continued driving the point home for anything that stood like a rock on my path other than Him.

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29

See, there's no rock on our paths that God cannot handle. There's no roughness in our lives that God cannot soften. There's nothing He cannot break or bend...if it needs breaking and bending--and yes, that includes in our hearts and wills too.

But here's the other thing about rocks. They can be used as a beautiful picture of remembrance.

 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’  tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ Joshua 4:19-22

In fact, I have a pile of them myself from moments God's done some pretty amazing things in my life. And that's the thing about satan, he always wants to take things of beauty and wrap them in his lies. But God's truth always prevails.



What rocks do you have standing in your path today? Is life feeling like it's hard and unyeilding? Grab one of the verses above and start speaking it to whatever situation you're in. Then pick up a stone and use it to remember what God has brought you through, His faithful promises, and the strength He pours into you.

And if you have one, I'd love to hear your favorite verse for going through a time of struggle or even what you may keep as your own personal "stone of remembrance".

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bookshelf Friday - The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Before I start, I have the name of my June Bookshelf Winner...

Michelle Tuller!!

Michelle, pick a book from my June Bookshelf, and then Facebook, email or leave it here and I'll be in touch! I'll have another giveaway for July as a HUGE thank-you to all of my friends out there. Wish I could buy you all a book...or chocolate...or coffee...

Ok. I digress. But I need to refocus because I am SO happy to review this debut! I've had the pleasure of meeting many, many wonderful people through ACFW and Kristy Cambron is one of them. I met her at my very first conference when we both had big dreams in front of us. I am uber-excited to say a portion of Kristy's came true this week with the release of her book The Butterfly and the Violin. Here's a blurb, and then we can chat on the other side:)


Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the
altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction
reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a
painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William
Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the
key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly
unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von
Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and
daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything
when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of
prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds
beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in
the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

I literally could not wait to get my hands on this book and the moment I did, it drew me in. Starting in present day, Kristy not only pulls you in to a modern day romance, but then introduces a parallel one taking place during WWII. Both couples enticed me as did the mystery surrounding the painting and Adele. It is truly a story that captivates.

But not simply because of the beautiful love stories. No. The Butterfly and the Violin somehow breathes beauty into the middle of horror. The in-depth look into Auschwitz and the unspeakable horrors that happened there is tackled in such a way that we see the undefeatable human spirit when it's interwoven with God's Holy Spirit. Kristy never shied away from the depths of Auschwitz but tackled them head on and yet didn't leave us there. We can only see true hope and love against the backdrop of the absence of it, and this is what Kristy somehow captures.

I highly recommend this book. Chapters flow between two time periods and with the exception of one minor section (where we jump back even farther in Adele's life) they do this seamlessly. A beautiful debut that pulls you in and won't let go until the last page. I look forward to the second in this series.

I give The Butterfly and the Violin 5 out of 5 stars and if you'd like to purchase it, you can do so here.


Kristy was taken with the WWII Era as a young girl. Her grandfather was a B-17 co-pilot in the war and she remembers the stories he’d so often tell. Years later, she came across the lost art of Auschwitz while studying for her undergraduate degree in Art History. She didn’t know if then, but more than a decade later, God would remind her of the heart of this book. In the wee hours of the morning in early 2013, it came alive once again. She writes WWII and Regency Era Christian fiction titles and is so grateful that they placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests (Inspirational Categories)!  She's been a contributing author on RegencyReflections.com since 2012, and still post there with her Regency friends from time to time. In her day career, she's a Communications Consultant for a Fortune-100 Company — so along with fiction, she gets to write and do cool aesthetic design all day long!

To learn more about Kristy, you can visit her at her website, kristycambron.com.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quotable Wednesday



Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Truth.

Happy Wednesday, friends:)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beth Vogt is in the House!

purchase here
Back in May I had the pleasure of reviewing my friend, Beth Vogt's, newest release: Somebody Like You. It was an amazing book and if you missed that review, you can catch it here. Today Beth is joining us at Steps, and I couldn't be more excited. Beth is one of the biggest encouragers I've met in this writing world, and I truly treasure her as both a friend and fellow writer. I only had a few questions for her, and they focused on keeping with my "Stepping-Up Mondays" theme here on the blog.

Beth, I’ve loved your books and the unique message woven into each one. To weave that spiritual thread, you have to stay rooted in God. Yet, I know things have been crazy busy for you between balancing deadlines, book releases, your family…I think we can all relate in our own way. Life seems to move at warp speed some days. And when it picks up speed like that, I find it’s all too easy to let our time with God slip through the cracks. So, what I’m wondering today is, will you share what steps you take to keep yourself close to God when life seems to not have enough hours in the day?

"I need to stay close to God if I want to keep my head screwed on straight while I’m living this dream of being a published author. You have to know who you are because there will be opportunities to question yourself – to doubt yourself. Success is circumstantial, and circumstances change day by day in the writing world. I need to anchor myself to the Truth, to who God says I am. 

I treasure the quiet hours late at night or early in the morning when I’m awake and everyone else is asleep. That’s when I tuck myself into a favorite chair with a cup of tea, my Bible, and a journal. I usually put on some praise and worship music too – I love making playlists on Spotify! I read, journal, pray – and settle my heart and mind before the busy-ness of the day takes over. For the past nine years, I’ve also chosen one word to focus for the year. This year’s word is Think based on Romans 12:2-3 as well as this quote: “We have to trust what God declares about us more than we trust what we think about ourselves.” ~Jonathan Cleveland, pastor"

Oooh! Great quote. Which reminds me, you share quotes weekly on your blog and so many have spoken to me, it's been one of my favorite spots to stop by in the morning and see what you have next. I also love your quiet time routine. I'm a huge praise and worship person. Putting on that music really helps center me, and it ushers me into just a personal place with God--I feel like I'm right at His feet. 

So when you open your Bible during that time, do you have a favorite Scripture you gravitate to? Even better, what makes it so special to you? 

"One verse God used to transform my life is “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being … ” (Psalm 51:6a). As I meditated on that Scripture, God challenged me to face some lies I believed and to accept the truth – and to allow him to heal some heart wounds."

He does that, doesn't He? Challenges us, but always for our best. He's a God of transformation, and He always walks through it with us. Beautiful verse, Beth:)

And then, just for fun, what big plans do you have for the rest of this summer?

Ah, the lazy days of summer! Not! I’m happy to say I’m on deadline – back-to-back deadlines for a novel and a novella for a new Destination Wedding series I’m writing for Howard Books. There’ll be family fun in the midst of the writing, but this summer I’m hanging with imaginary people.

LOL. No lazy days over there, huh? But it still sounds like you've got a wonderful summer ahead!  The new series sounds great, too. 

And while we're waiting for it to come out, readers can check out more about Beth and her books at her website: bethvogt.com. There you can read about all four books she's written (all amazing) along with her blog that I mentioned. Short and sweet and always with a point that directs you straight back up to God, her blog is a fun place to visit. Oh, and sign up for her newsletter so you don't miss any news about Beth's upcoming books. 

Thanks so much for visiting today, Beth!

If you have a favorite verse, please share it in the comments below!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bookshelf Friday - Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund (and my monthly giveaway)

I love when I go to the mailbox and a book is waiting. It's such a treat:) And last week I had the treat of Jody Hedlund's Captured by Love showing up. I took Sunday afternoon to sit on my back deck and read it--another treat; one that was so good I devoured it in one sitting! Here's the blurb and we'll chat on the other side:


The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love.

All right, for all you non-Michiganders out there, Michilimackinac Island is Mackinac (mack-i-naw) Island which lies in Lake Huron between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. This is one of the things that draws me personally to Jody's books. They are often--not always--set in her home state of Michigan and that's something we share in common. I love the historic look at the state I grew up in, and as a setting it makes a beautiful and intriguing one. Jody doesn't simply use it as a backdrop, but she weaves her stories in and out of an historic event that actually took place there, often using actual names of people who once lived as secondaries into her stories.

Besides the pure historic interest in her books, Jody knows how to write romance. Her heroes are always the perfect match for her heroines. Captured by Love was no different. I truly loved how Pierre and Angelique had grown up together and the dimension this added to their love. They had an easy banter between them but also a connection that went deeper than physical attraction. Their shared love for adventure and the land they lived in pulled them both together and apart at times, which was a great and well-balanced dynamic. There was also just enough intrigue happening on these pages to pull you along, curious how these two would make it out of the few scrapes they found themselves in. These trials, both internal and external, leave you at times wondering if Pierre and Angelique will wind up with their happily-ever-after; wondering in a good way because they never felt author-driven or contrived, but a natural part of the story. And, as always, Jody writes in a spiritual journey for her characters that is so very genuine and simply a part of who they are, it never feels overplayed or as a lesson for the reader. 

If you'd like to read Captured by Love, you can purchase it here.

Jody has written novels for the last 20 years (with a hiatus when her children were young). After many years of writing and honing her skills, she finally garnered national attention with her double final in the Genesis Contest, a fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Her first published book, The Preacher’s Bride (2010 Bethany House Publishers), became a best seller and has won multiple awards. Since then she’s gone on to publish numerous best-selling and award-winning books.

Learn more about Jody and her books at her website: jodyhedlund.com

All right readers, it's the start of a new month which means it's time for my Monthy Bookshelf Giveaway. Since I was gone a bit last month, I went back and pulled a few other books from the bookshelf to create the four you can choose from this month. So...here's your four choices from my June Bookshelf (mainly:) ) Just click on the title for my review.

***update 7/7/2014...I inadvertently left Victoria's book off the original list, but I did indeed review it in June, so it's been added as a choice! Again, no perfection here. Perfectionism is soooo overrated:) ***

A Rush of Wings (or Still of Night or Breath of Dawn if you've already read ones in this series)
Bridge to Haven
My Mother's Chamomile
Dear Mr. Knightley
Until I Found You


Just leave me a comment here or on my Facebook author page to let me know you're interested! You have until Wednesday, 7/9/14 at midnight. I'll announce the winner next Friday and that person can pick one of these books for me to send you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Quotable Wednesday


I'm currently doing a study on James and this quote reminded me of the beginning if that book:

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

Sometimes trials bring about God's best for us. We don't like it, but it's the truth. And we do have a choice. Oh, not in if the trial comes or not, but in how we handle it. I'm not saying there won't be tears or groanings or even moments of despair or anger, but we can't stay there. Because what would that accomplish? 
I mean, play that out fully to the end. Would that bring us to God's best? I don't know about you, but if I have to have the trial, I want good to come out of it. I want it to produce in me God's best.

Which means we need to hold James 1 close to our heart. We need to let perseverance finish it's work in us. We need to consider that somewhere in the midst of all the bad, God will bring joy and deliver his best in our lives.

Are you struggling in the middle of a trial today? Praying for the strength of perseverance to meet you right where you are.