9.30.2016

September Highlights

Wow. Somehow, it's the last day of September! I can't believe how fast it went by (again!).


-ADVENTURES AND HIGHLIGHTS-

//Diving head first into school and all those other fun activities! :)

//Lots of birthdays! The gift of another year to learn and grow is always amazing. 

//Actually starting an outline for a new novel.






-BOOKISH THINGS-

I read 10 books this month, which is probably about my monthly average. :D



I enjoyed all of these books pretty well. My favorites included Authentic Beauty, The Birthright, Tramp for The Lord,and The Horse and His Boy. Authentic Beauty is an amazing book that I highly recommend. And of course, you can't go wrong with a Narnia book! xD My least favorite was Story Genius, which was rather disappointing. You can see my review of it here.






-BLOGGING-

There were so many lovely posts that I enjoyed this month! But let's see if I can round up a few of my top favorites.

// When God is Silent by Kara Lynn
// Broken Yet Beautiful by Anna
// The Me You Want Me To Be by Mikayla
// An Undivided Heart by Hannah
// 31 Hugs by Jessica
// Kalem by Hosanna Emily
// I Need You  (a guest post by Megan)




And in case you missed any, here are my blog posts from September:






-THINGS COMING UP-

// Actually, really starting fall. I know that it's already officially started, but where I live, it doesn't even feel like it until October!

//Seeing what adventures God has planned for us in October!



How was your September? What are you looking forward to in October? Comment below!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely weekend! <3

//Emily 



9.27.2016

Book Review | Story Genius


Author: Lisa Cron
Series: Wired for Story Book 2 
Genre: Non-fiction
Published: 2016
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Pages: 290 
Age Group: Teen and up

It’s every novelist’s greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page one rewrite. 
The prevailing wisdom in the writing community is that there are just two ways around this problem: pantsing (winging it) and plotting (focusing on the external plot). Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering why these these methods don’t work and coming up with a powerful alternative, based on the science behind what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it’s not what you think). 
In Story Genius Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint—including fully realized scenes—that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.



I dislike giving negative reviews of free books, but sometimes, unfortunately, it's necessary for an honest review. This book was one of those times. I thought Story Genius would be a good read to learn some tips about how to write a great novel. I was rather disappointed. The book was sprinkled with bad words, and the example storyline woven into the book was really strange, and also included some swear words. There were also many mentions of evolution in the parts where it talked about how our brains are wired. I know that this book is not from a Christian publisher, but I was very much disappointed. I have read a few non-fiction books on topics like this that were not specifically Christian, yet they were still good, so I know it's possible to write a book like this without the negative elements! With that said, I did gain a few pieces of helpful information about the novel-writing process from this book, but in my opinion, the cons outweighed the pros.  My rating: 3 out of 10 hearts. ♥♥♥

** I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review**



Sorry for the negative review today, everyone! :(  Do any of you have any good recommendations for writing help- type books? I'd love some good suggestions! Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

//Emily

9.23.2016

Be Who He Made You to Be


you're not a label
a name or in a category
just another type to be
stuffed into a mold
and come out looking
just like the others
with that label
or name or category
we're all unique
and different
with our own twists
to what we are
and what we do
nobody can be just like you
and you can't be
just like anyone else
so just be the one 
that He made you to be-
yourself

it's hard sometimes
to find out how 
to be yourself in a world 
where we're supposed to be 
selfish and all about us
but we can actually be
who we were made to be
while still knowing
that everything is
 not  about us
it's about Him
and when you be yourself
who He made you to be
you let His light 
shine through you
in the way that He
made you to be
so shine bright for Him
while being who
He made you to be-
yourself


It's okay to be yourself. That's who God made you to be, and you can't be anyone else. 
So often, we compare ourselves to others and we feel like we need to be more like so-and-so, or more like this or that. No. The only one that we need to be more like is Jesus. Our goal as Christians should be to grow more like Him every day. Of course, we all have other role models, and people we look up to and admire. And that's okay. But we don't need to try to be them. We need to be who He made us  to be, with the personality, traits, and even quirks that He gave us. If everyone was like everyone else, it would get pretty boring pretty fast! God knew what He was doing when He made everyone unique, and He wants us to use the unique talents He gave us to glorify Him. Even if it means doing things the way we are meant to, the way He wants us to, the way that no one else is doing things.

So let's learn how to be ourselves, while at the same time becoming more like Him, letting His light shine through us.
Be the you He made you to be. You can't be anyone else. ♥

//Emily 

9.16.2016

Blog Thoughts || Lovely {Inspirational} Blogs

Hello, readers!
This Friday's post is one that I hope you will understand and take the right way. I am not trying to make you feel guilty or anything! It's just some of my jumbled thoughts that I attempted to put together so that hopefully someone will be blessed by it in some way or another!
I have been thinking lately about the importance of doing everything with a extra-special purpose in mind  after reading Hannah's post last Saturday. (If you haven't read it, you should stop reading this and go read it right now!)
Anyway, this is especially true of blogs, I think. There are so many blogs out there to read! Even in the Christian blogging circles. It can take up a lot of time following and reading all those blogs.But guess what? Most of those blogs are good! There's nothing wrong with them. They're wholesome and clean. And they have great content. So what's wrong with that? Well, nothing! There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading and following lots of blogs! So if there's nothing wrong with that, then what is the point? Well, this is the point I'm *trying* to make (especially to myself!)
There's nothing wrong with reading or writing random, entertaining posts. ( I do it myself sometimes).  But is that the best thing to focus on writing as a Christian blogger? Is that what will matter in eternity? You're probably thinking what I thought as I was first contemplating this- "For goodness' sake, it's just a blog!" Yes, it is just a blog. And it's just a post- a post that can effect someone forever. A post that God can use for His glory. He can use anything, even blog posts!
Instead of reading and looking at photos of what someone ate for their breakfast that morning, what if we put our efforts into inspiring others to help give someone else a breakfast in another country who may not have one? Instead of posting all about us, what if we posted all about Him? What if we cut down on the number of blogs that we follow, to the ones that we really enjoy reading and benefit from so we can have more time to serve others?
Please understand- I am not condemning following lots of blogs, or writing fun posts at all! I enjoy fun posts like tags, and I still will be doing them. It's just trying to make our main goals to be less about us and more about Him.

With that in mind, I'd love to share a few blogs that I follow that really inspire and encourage me every time I read one of their posts. And guess what? They all post fun things as well! But it's obvious that these bloggers are directing their readers to think about something other then themselves- which is the best goal to make! Whether it's a tag, a poem, a Christian living post, or a review, these bloggers always strive to give God the glory.
Please don't feel bad if your blog isn't on here! I plan to do a few more of these blog recommendations, but on different topics, such as writing blogs,etc.So if your blog isn't mentioned, it probably will be in the future! :)

Anyway, I'll stop rambling now and get to the blogs.  (These are in no particular order).



Becoming Lost, written by Hannah E. 
Hannah and her blog are amazing! She recently changed her blog's name to Becoming Lost, and it truly reflects what her goal is- helping others become lost in Jesus! She is the author of the post I mentioned above. Hannah writes Christian living posts, book reviews, writing and photography posts, and more.


Having a Heart Like His, written by Hosanna Emily
Hosanna Emily's posts are so thought-provoking! She is a published author with a beautiful writing style. Most of her posts are on Christian living, and she reflects God's love so clearly in all her posts,while encouraging others.(Oh, and make sure you check out her book too!) 



Grace in Everything, written by Hannah P.
Hannah doesn't post a whole lot, but when she does, her posts are amazing! She shares poetry, thoughts, Christian living, and more posts about living as a Princess, a daughter of the King. And her blog design  is so pretty! :)



Bonnie's Blessings, written by Bonnie S.
Bonnie writes about a variety of things, so her blog would fit in almost any category! ;) All of her posts are encouraging and helpful, and her Christian living ones are especially nice. Bonnie's style  of writing is really fun to read as well.



Apples of Gold, written by Jessica
Jessica's posts are wonderful and she is a talented writer. She writes about Christian living and more, and her posts are always uplifting and insightful. The beautiful simplicity of her blog and posts are very refreshing!



Fifth out of Ten, written by Tane Hannah
Tane's blog is amazing! The design, her writing, and everything. She writes lots of beautiful poetry about life, thoughts, and Jesus, and every one of them is heart-touching. Tane is very talented, and it shows in her beautiful poems! 



Saved by Grace, written by Kara Lynn
Kara Lynn posts Christian living, review, and life posts. They are always so insightful and amazing. Right now, she has a blog post series started where she invites readers to share a story or testimony  about how God has worked in their life. You can check it out here.



Scattered Journal Pages, written by Amanda Beguerie
Amanda writes amazing Christian living posts, and her Bible Study series is wonderful! She is a talented writer, and her posts are so inspiring! 



If you don't already, please make sure to give all these lovely ladies and their blogs a follow!


Thank you for reading, and have a blessed weekend!

//Emily

9.13.2016

Book Review | Where Hope Prevails


Author: Janette Oke with Laurel Oke Logan 
Series: Return to the Canadian West Book 3
Genre: Christian fiction 
Published: 2016
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages: 320
Age Group: 12 +


When Beth Thatcher returns to Coal Valley, she has much to be excited about. She anticipates Jarrick's proposal of marriage and perhaps a spring wedding. The mine is expanding, and there are more schoolchildren than ever. 
But the town's rapid growth brings many challenges. A second teacher is assigned, and Beth finds herself going head-to-head with a very different philosophy of education--one that dismisses religion and rejects God. Fearful for the children who sit under the influence of Robert Harris Hughes, Beth struggles to know how to respond. 
At the same time, Beth wonders if Jarrick is considering a position at her father's company simply for her sake. Should she admit her feelings on the matter? Or keep silent and allow Jarrick to make up his own mind?

Another lovely book by Janette Oke! I was so excited to read and review this book  that I didn't pay close attention to which series it was in- the last in a series that I *cough* haven't read yet. Where Hope Prevails is a sequel to the other 2 books in the Return to the Canadian  West series. Despite the fact that I have not yet read the previous books, I was able to enjoy this one as a stand-alone pretty well! It probably would have helped me understand things a little better, but I'm glad I could just dive in without having to read the previous ones first. I loved the setting, the story, and the characters. I also appreciate how Janette Oke's books are always very sweet and clean in the romance, if there is any. This one was not a disappointment. :) In all, I enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to read the others in the series! My rating: 9 out of 10 hearts- ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

**I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review**


Have you read Where Hope Prevails? If so, did you enjoy it?

Thanks for reading!

//Emily 

9.09.2016

God Calls All Kinds

Hello, readers!
This Friday's post is one that I've looked forward to sharing with you for a while. It's also one that I thought I had plenty of time to write, and then look up to see that I really don't have as much time as I thought! So, despite the fact that it's late again, I hope you enjoy reading. Let's dive in!


Do you ever think that sometimes it's pointless to try to do big things for God? After all, there's got to be someone else who's better equipped for the job out there! Or maybe you've wondered why it seems like only the powerful, influential people are called to serve God in big ways.  

God calls all kinds of people to live for Him.  He can use anyone for His glory and to accomplish His purposes. He doesn't just use the influential, powerful, potentially best looking people. He also uses the poorer, lowly, potentially worst looking people.  He doesn't just use the people who have grown up in church and know all the answers to the Bible questions. He also uses the people who have grown up with no clue about Him, yet want to serve Him now. He can use anyone, and He calls all kinds. 


Consider this scenario:
The door smashed open suddenly as a group of men burst into the little house. A group of ten people were sitting in a circle, singing. The song died on their lips as the men swarmed in and the leader yanked up one of the men in the circle. "What are you doing?" he demanded. "We are meeting to worship God together", the man replied calmly. His answer infuriated his questioner. "You are not any longer!", he shouted. "Seize them all  and take them to prison. We have a warrant from the governor to arrest people like you who practice this heresy!" And with that, every one of the believers who were meeting there that night were dragged off to prison. Then the group moved on to the next house...

A person that dragged  Christians to jail simply because they believed in God? That's definitely not the type of person God would ever use, right? Well, read the next scenario below.


The chains clanked noisily against the cold stone floor as the prisoner shifted in his position on the hard stone bench, lying down his pen for a moment. It, along with a small table, were the only items in the cell. They had been provided by his friends so he could continue with his writing, even while in prison. The prisoner was so thankful for his faithful friends who had basically provided him with everything he needed while he was imprisoned. He picked up his pen and continued his letter. "...my dear friends, I thank God when I remember you, and what you have done. May grace and peace abound with you....I also want you to know, brothers ,that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,  so that it has become known throughout the whole area and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ....I will rejoice.....for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.... To God be the  glory!"


Do you know who the imprisoned man was? It was Paul, one of the greatest disciples and spreaders of God's Word who ever lived! And do you know who the leader of the group that dragged the believers away was? It was also Paul! Paul (known as Saul in his early days), was a law-loving Pharisee who thought that all Christ-followers were practicing heresy and thought it was his duty to put them in prison! But God changed his heart, and he became one of God's greatest teachers and leaders. 


Now consider this scenario.
The man continued walking, his feet traveling a sandy path that would never end. The desert was so large, it would take days, maybe weeks to cross it! But he had to- his life depended on it. He stopped for a brief moment to take a drink from the waterskin hanging at his side- the only thing he had stopped to grab before fleeing into the desert. "Keep moving", he told himself, forcing his feet to walk a few more steps, then a few more. "If they catch me ,I'm as good as gone. I've got to keep going. No one in Egypt gets away with murder!" 

Someone who just killed someone else and is running away to escape punishment? That certainly doesn't fit the mold of someone who could be used effectively for Christ, right? Well, let's see.

"Where is he?", the people grumbled. "He's been up there for weeks! What could he be doing up on a mountain for so long?" The great crowds of people began to get impatient as days passed and their leader still did not return down from the great mountain. Finally, after more than a month, he was spotted coming down. "There he is! He's coming!", someone shouted. When their leader finally returned back to their camp, everyone was eager to know why he had been on the mountain for so long. But as the people crowded about, they suddenly began to back away. "His face! It's glowing!", they shouted. "What happened?" "I have been in the presence of the Holy God", their leader explained. "He has given me the rules He has appointed to govern His people. The Lord our God is holy!" 

The great leader went up on a mountain to receive instruction from God Himself, and who was in Gods' presence must  have been a great man, right? Someone who was righteous and a fit messenger for God. It was Moses- the same man who had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert to the Promise Land. It was Moses- the same man who had killed another years ago and was running away!

You see? God uses all kinds! Some of the greatest Bible figures that God has used have come from backgrounds that you wouldn't expect. 

Some of the greatest missionaries have also been like that. If you had known their backgrounds, they would have seemed like the most unlikely candidates ever! 
Have you heard of George Muller? He was a Prussian man who lived in Bristol, England, during the the 19th century. During his lifetime, he provided the means for over 10,000 Bristol orphans to have a place to call home and a place to learn about God. Yet, his early life was nothing like his later life. In his early years, he stole, gambled, drank heavily, and felt no problems about it- until he was born again. From that time on, he strove to honor God with his life, and in doing so, paved the way for thousands of others to come to know Christ. 

There are so many other stories like this that I'd love to share, but don't have room for. Whether in the Bible or from more modern times, there are so many examples of people that God has called from unlikely places to serve Him. A few others you may want to read more about are King Saul, John Newton, Gladys Alyward, and Timothy.
And guess what? He can use you too! It doesn't matter if you think you're capable or not- He will call you for His purposes, no matter what they are.  That is something that I've come to realize lately, especially as I've been working through a Bible study on this topic. It doesn't matter if it's a "big" thing or a "small" thing. If you're doing something for God that He wants you to be doing, than you're serving Him!

What are your thoughts? Do you know a story of someone that God has called from an unlikely place to serve Him? Comment below!

Thanks for reading!
//Emily 

9.06.2016

Tuesday Thoughts [2]- Your Eyes


{my pic}

my eyes look around
see the scars
the suffering
the useless struggles
of those around me
my eyes look inside
see the hurt
the hate
the broken heart
inside of me
Your eyes look inside
see the hurt
find a heart
that's broken
and make it whole again
Your eyes look around
see the scars
find a soul
that's empty
and give it peace
because Your eyes
see more
and farther
and deeper
than mine

>>>>>


For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps.//  Job 34:21
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you". //Psalm 32:8 

9.02.2016

Presenting Poetry, September Edition



 It's time again for a Presenting Poetry post! Hopefully you are still enjoying these. :) I've tried to pick a variety of topics for the poems, but sometimes they're rather similar. Anyway, this month's poem is called "Kind Thoughts".


Kind Thoughts

Kind thoughts are like seeds,
For out of them grow
Kind words and kind deeds;
But first you must sow
A kind thought so deep
In your mind and heart
That nothing can tear
Such a kind thought apart.
Each seed must be watered
Or else it will die,
And so must each kind thought
As each day goes by.
If you water each kind thought
With much love each day
Kind words and kind deeds
Will soon blossom your way. 
~Author Unknown 



I think this poem is a good reminder of the kind thoughts and deeds that we should be doing each and every day. It's great to have kind thoughts, but we need to actually do them! I do that a lot- I think of something that I could do to bless someone else, but then I don't actually go and do it. 
This poem reminded me that I need to be doing as well as thinking kind thoughts and deeds for others.
So the next tine you think of something kind you can do for someone else, do it!
Whether it's in the blogging world (such as leaving a comment on someone's blog) or in your home(like helping a younger sibling), let's be blessings to others. It can be a challenge at times, but it's worth it! And of course, we shouldn't do it to get things in return, but when we do do kind deeds, they always come back in some way or another! 

What are your thoughts about this poem? Have you ever head it before? 

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!
//Emily 



 
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