There's Something I Want to Show You

Me being silly.

On the Wednesday I picked up my cap and gown. My third set. I graduated from high school in blue and from community college in black. It's black again on May 3rd at 10am. But I celebrated in purple.


A wee bit blurry but show me someone who doesn't wobble when they laugh and I'll show you someone who is "not (truly) amused" a la Tennant's Queen Victoria.

Fun fact: I missed the cap toss at my high school graduation. We were a homeschooled bunch who didn't really know each other. I had turned to say something to somebody and realized my mistake. Pouted purposefully, as in I'll get another chance.

At community college graduation, no one threw anything! People so missed out.

Four years out from seventeen and pouting, I'm looking forward to sending that cap soaring in a few Saturdays.

See this here? This is a dream come true, a degree paid for and mine, all mine to put to work for His glory. 

The Stone Collective is hosted by my friend Sarah Martin, a celebration of a community making much of Jesus as we create art, photography, prose, poems or music that commemorate the wonderful things God does in our lives. 

LIVE IT OUT! Stone Collective

I'm cheating a little because my dear ole dad took these pictures of me, but the selfie attempts were hilarious and ain't nobody got time for that. So here I raise my Ebenezer to a journey I won't soon forget--a journey to one more black cap and gown for this purple-flower lover.

Want to join in on The Stone Collective? Create your own Stone and link up to the LIVE IT OUT! Blog. #TheStoneCollective

To Die Once by Miranda Aurini ~ A Book Review & Giveaway!


Two men, one woman, a rosebush …
… a terrible past, an uncertain future.
Jennifer, a woman unexpectedly trapped in a path of love against everything she believes. Rodrigo, a man set to get what he wants at the cost of what matters most. Stefano, a man with a past and a story to tell. Chidi, a friend in need, a friend indeed. Or not?
From a culture where good girls follow the norm and live as they’ve been told, Jennifer is no different from any other girl until by happenstance, she meets and falls in love with Rodrigo, a man who’s handsome, rich and foreign. Different. She has no idea who he is or what he does, and is swept into a world of romance and passion. It is not long before she discovers a shocking truth that shakes both her world and his.
Then he is gone.
Stefano shows up at a time when Jennifer has made up her mind about the rules of life. He thinks she’s beautiful and is in love with her. In a bid to convince her to give him a chance in her life, old memories once buried are brought to life. And the events that follow don’t leave anyone unaffected by the truth of the past.

What I Loved

This story drew me in from page one. I had the privilege to proofread this story, but I genuinely enjoyed reading about these characters as they become tangled in international intrigue and love.

Jennifer got my sympathy from the beginning. She's a good girl who falls for a man who is not all that he seems. Rodrigo sweeps her off her feet and then sacrifices all to be with her. Not just once, but twice. And Chidi, the faithful friend who attempts to stay by Jennifer's side through it all but wonders if her friend is spiraling down a path of self-destruction.

I appreciated the easy-flowing writing style and the way the author is honest about how the characters' choices influence their lives. There are real consequences to wrong choices, but a thread of redemption--all hinging around a rosebush--works its way through this story in an uplifting way.

What I Didn't Like As Much

Rodrigo got on my nerves a few times with his immature behavior, but all the more opportunity for the author to show his journey of growth and faith! Also, although a clean Christian romance, I don't recommend this book for younger readers.

Why I Recommend This Book

I recommend this book because it's fresh, from a great new voice, and a fun contemporary romance that I greatly enjoyed!

About the Author

Miranda Uyeh is a Christian writer, blogger, and book reviewer for Christian literature/entertainment. Her debut novel is To Die Once. She loves books, music, movies...ah, anything entertainment! And, yes, hanging out with friends is cool, too.

Giveaway

Enter using the Rafflecopter below for the chance to be one of 10 weekly winners. The winners will be announced on Miranda's blog on Sundays and they will be emailed their ebooks after the tour. The giveaway is open internationally! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Extras


Disclosure: A sincere thank you to the author for allowing me to be her proofreader and inviting me to participate in this blog tour with my honest review.

Tide and Tempest by Elizabeth Ludwig ~ A Book Review



Buy from Amazon
Buy from ChristianBook

Two years ago, her fiance perished during their voyage to America. Now she discovers it may have been murder...

Dreaming of a better life, Tillie McGrath leaves Ireland behind and, with her beloved fiance by her side, sets sail for America. But when illness robs her of the man she holds dear, she's left alone with only a handful of tattered memories. While forging on proves difficult, Tillie soon finds some new friends at her New York boardinghouse, and begins pursuing a new dream--to open a home for orphaned children.


Despite two years passing, Captain Keondric Morgan has never forgotten the lass who left his ship so heartbroken. When a crewman's deathbed confession reveals her fiance's demise was the result of murder, the captain knows he must try to contact her. But his attention draws the notice of others as well--dangerous men who believe Tillie has in her possession something that could expose their crimes. And to their way of thinking, the best way to prevent such an outcome is to seize the evidence and then hand Tillie the same fate as her naïve fiance.


What I Loved

The suspense in this novel!

I never could guess where we were going next, who could be trusted, or how it would all end. Well, that's not exactly true--I knew Tillie and Morgan could be trusted, and I cheered for them to trust in their love for each other.

Besides that, I enjoyed that I was constantly guessing who the mysterious antagonist could be, whether friends who seemed trustworthy were true, and how the conflict between the determined Fenians could be resolved.

The love triangle was well-crafted, too, to never seem cheesy, forced, or overdone. In fact, I'll say (refraining from spoilers) that it makes for a very satisfying resolution of the conflict between Tillie and Morgan in the end.

What I Didn't Like As Much

At times the very suspense I loved confused me slightly; sometimes it took me a moment to remember who exactly certain people were. But these moments were few and really just drove home the reality of how broad a scope of a story this was!

Why I Recommend This Book

This is exactly the kind of book I love to read. Suspenseful and intriguing, with a dash of romance and a boatload of history to hold it all together! I heartily enjoyed learning more about the mysterious Fenians (an Irish faction I had never been introduced to before).

I just adore when I am granted an invitation to a new chapter of history that I haven't yet read. Tide and Tempest did that for me. I heartily recommend this book to those who love Ireland, history, and page-flying reads!

About the Author

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author and an accomplished speaker and teacher. She is the author of No Safe Harbor and Safe Road Home, and her novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned four stars from RT Book Reviews. She owns and edits the popular literary blog The Borrowed Book. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in Orange, Texas.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. A sincere thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Such a Hope--Does That Make Sense?

I wish I had written this:

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
2 Corinthians 3:12


Because it's true and it's beautiful and it makes perfect sense. 

I have hope. So I am bold.

"Therefore" in Scripture is always there for a reason--this reason? Seeing the reason.

Daring has long been my favorite word in the English language and perhaps forevermore will remain so. I have other favorite words, too, of course. Like Jesus and book and free and you have completed your workout. Can I get an amen on that last one?

But daring and bold and fierce and fearless and warrioress are burrowed deep into that soul place where I hide when I'm frightened. Where I cry. Where I shout from when I'm joyous. 

There's been a whole lotta shoutin' been going on lately as those words burrow ever deeper.

And the reason for the joy is that I get that I can question all I want, but one thing never fails. Him. 

He never fails. He is ever true. 
His resurrection really happened and because He lives, I do.

I heard it mentioned once that we are a "confidently uncertain" culture. We speak in question marks. Y'know? Right? Ya hear me? Trackin'? Or my personal favorite: Does that make sense?

I use that one a lot. A lot. A lot. And the question behind it is Understand?


Because if the person on the other end of my face doesn't understand, if it doesn't make sense to them, then I'm wrong. Right?

Y'know?

No.

Because daring and bold and fierce and fearless and warrioress sometimes are not understood. But they do always make sense when I am those words because of Jesus. In Jesus. 

Because I am wrecked by His love. His hope.

So when I get bold...it's because I have such a hope.

Arise and Alight

There's not a whole lot one can do without light.

I may or may not have challenged myself to try to track how many times I flip a switch in a day (because I'm weird and tease myself with odd tasks like that). Then I laughed at my own self because that would be a pretty high number.

Sometimes I waste the light. 

I flip a switch to mop the bathroom and, as I'm pushing the Swiffer across the floor, I realize the window would have worked perfectly well. After all, spring has sprung and the sun is peeking out of its rainy hibernation and yawning at us like it can't understand why we missed it.

I missed it. When the days were dark and dreary and just so wet I wished the sun back. And now it's here and I'm mopping and taking it for granted again. I've forgotten the fussing with the umbrella. 

I've forgotten how the light plays on white bathroom tile.

Of the things one can do with light, not a lot of those are edifying or even good. We blink and it's black and it's in that blackness, that darkness that evil comes out to prowl like a roaring lion. 
And that evil steals our sisters.

But I serve another Lion, One who lives in the light, Who is the Light. And He calls us to go into the darkness in different ways, but always with quaking courage and solid certainty that this is wrong and I can stop it. By giving, by sharing, by remembering we are the light, too. 

Flip a switch in your heart. Be the light.


The Exodus Road

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall ARISE; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. Micah 7:8