1.27.2017

Left to Die Blog Tour

Hello, readers!
Today, I'm super excited to be participating in the next-to-last day of the week-long blog tour for the release of Ivy Rose's  new novella, Left to Die. After reading Ivy's first book, The Old River Road, I was so excited to be able to read another of her amazing works! Let me tell you, I was't disappointed. ;)  And now, on to the blog tour!









~About the Book~


Lindy Greene's life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a small hospital in China, soon brings out the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn't even like babies.
Nathan Thomas can't find balance, College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. the chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the hospital does nothing to help him focus.
The Chinese mission field isn't for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing then together; a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive. 


           Find on Goodreads ~ Find on Amazon









~My Review~

What an amazing story! But then again... what else would I expect from Ivy Rose? ♥
Left to Die  follows the life of Lindy Greene, a young missionary nurse who lives with her family in China. Believing that she knows what her life's plans will look like, she is fine with being in China and serving those around her- until she makes a startling discovery that rocks her entire world. When Lindy discoverers an abandoned baby in a trashcan one day, she is plunged into an area of life that she hadn't planned on at all. Through it all, however, Lindy and those closest to her discover the joys of following God's plans for their live, wherever He leads.

This is a really impacting book! Ivy Rose's writing is wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book, including the meaningful details sprinkled throughout. There really isn't anything negative to say about it! One thing I noticed, though, is that at times, it was a little hard to "sense" the surroundings of China in a realistic way. Of course, the main characters spent most of their time in the same couple of places (the hospital and Lindy's house), so I understand that that's where most of the story takes place. It would have been nice to see just a few more glimpses of China, though. ;)

Overall, Left to Die is an amazing and impacting book! I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful little  novella, and can't wait to read more of Ivy Rose's works some day. ♥










~About the Author~


Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover an literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, eating chocolate, traveling, reading, and doing TaeKwonDo. She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.
She can be found at various places on the Internet:













~Follow the Tour~


~Monday~
Becoming Lost – Review
Anika’s Avenue – Review
Once Upon an Ordinary – Interview


~Tuesday~
Whispers on the Wind – Interview
Read Another Page – Review


~Wednesday~
Counting Your Blessings – Review/Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Writing in the Light – Interview


~Thursday~
Reveries Reviews – Review
Marrok Macintyre – Interview


~Friday~
Having a Heart Like His – Review/Interview
Whimsical Writings – Review


~Saturday~
Rebekah’s Remarks - Interview








~Enter the Giveaway~










                                                                     Left to Die Prize Pack





Enjoy this rest of this great blog tour and giveaway!!

1.20.2017

Thoughts on Serving


Serving others is an essential part of being a Christian, and a servant's heart is a must-have quality for those who are striving to be more like Jesus. However, serving others isn't always easy. Wait, let's rephrase that. Serving others is almost always not that easy! 

Why? Well, for one, it requires giving of ourselves, and often it also means doing something that we'd honestly rather not be doing if we had the choice. I usually tend to think that I am pretty good at serving others- until I start to evaluate my true feelings. Yes, there's certain things that I don't mind doing as much to help others out. We all have things like that!  
But then I started to ask myself some questions: Would I honestly pick babysitting my younger siblings -again- over reading my new library book? Would I honestly rather choose to clean up trash at the park on a hot day instead of sitting at home scrolling through blog posts? Most of the time, the answer would be no. Of my own accord, I truly don't have the desire to do those things for others instead of things for myself.

The Bible has a lot to say about serving. One of the first verses that came to mind was Mark 10:45- 
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."   Wow.... that will really get you thinking! Jesus, who was the perfect Son of God, came to earth to serve and to give His life for others- literally. 

If Jesus did that for us, shouldn't we be willing to do that for Him? For others? Remember, when we do something for someone else as unto the Lord, it's as if we're actually doing it for Him.







The world's views on serving are- as they are in a lot of other things- totally backwards to Jesus' instructions. Jesus said in Mark 9:35 ...“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”  The world says that whoever wants to be great should go after it and get it- no matter what the cost to others. The Bible says that whoever is the servant of all will be the greatest of all. Our point shouldn't be to serve to get something back or be recognized for it- it should be to simply serve where God calls us to be based on our own unique gifts and talents, like the verse below says.














I'm making it a goal this month ask God to give me a willing and selfless servant's heart, and to look for ways to serve others, no matter if they're big or small, I think it goes along well with the verse about doing everything for the glory of God. (Col. 3:23). As I explore more about serving and what the Bible says about it, I'd love to hear what you think! I'm thinking that a follow-up post on serving will appear sometime in the near future, so please feel free to share your thoughts on the subject! 

//Emily 






1.13.2017

10 Amazing Songs (And Why)



Hello, friends!
Today, I'd like to share a few of my favorite songs that have encouraged and impacted me, and why. There's so many good songs out there, and I have such a hard time picking favorites! But I've tried my best to narrow it down to my top 10 favorites (listed in no particular order). Enjoy!







Hello My Name Is // Matthew West


This song is such an amazing reminder of who we are in Christ! We're no longer slaves to fear and regret- we're children of the One true King.  As an added bonus, I'll share the link to a music video of this song done by an American Heritage Girls troop. It's really neat- but then again, I might be  slightly biased. :P  You can watch it here.





 Mighty to Save // Laura Story


This song has been one of my favorites for a long time. The title fits well with Zephaniah 3:17- "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save....".  I also love the part where it talks about God being the "Author of our salvation". Such a beautiful song!





          Just Another Birthday // Casting Crowns


This song always makes me cry! And the music video.... *wipes tears*  To me. this song really reminds me of God's amazing grace and power to redeem situations that we think are nonredeemable in such a poignant way.






 Name // Nicole Nordeman



This is actually the only song I've listened to by Nicole Nordeman so far...... and I really like it! It's a wonderful reminder that if we're a child of God, we can never get too far away from Him, or our faith. Even when it feels like it, He is always there, ready to pick us up and revive our hearts.






Who Am I // Casting Crowns


This song always leaves me humbled... humbled, and indeed asking "Who am I, that the Creator of everything would give His life for me?" Such an awesome reminder!





                                                  

Go Light Your World // Chris Rice
                                            

The message in this song's lyrics is so good! If God has given us His light in our lives, it's our job to be spreading that light to others in the dark world around us, like Matthew 5:14 says: "You are the light of the world...."







Tell Your Heart to Beat Again // Danny Gokey 



This is a fairly new favorite of mine, but I absolutely love the message. Too often, we hold onto pieces of the past that we can't let go of becuase of the guilt we feel. This song is a reminder that we don't have to feel that way- we can leave the past behind and continue on in the light of grace.







 Jesus, Friend of Sinners  // Casting Crowns

Can you tell by now that I really love Casting Crowns? :) I know I've already included two of their songs, but I just couldn't leave this one out. It's always reminded me how we should be loving others the way Jesus does and not be judging them based on what we think. We're all sinners, saved by His grace!







 Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) // Chris Tomlin


Amazing Grace is such a beautiful song, and this version is especially beautiful. This music video features some clips from the movie "Amazing Grace" (which, by the way, is a great movie).  What amazing grace we have received!







Lead Me to The Cross // Francesca Battestelli


This is such a beautiful worship song! It always reminds me to stop and remember what Christ has done for us on the cross, and how His sacrifice enables us to come closer to Himself.




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 Of course, there were a few songs that didn't make it in here, but maybe I'll share those another day. ;) I hope you were encouraged by these songs, and maybe found a new favorite or two!
What are your top 3 favorite songs, and why?

//Emily

1.06.2017

New Year- Old Failures?


Firecrackers popped loudly just outside the window as Kathryn glanced from the blank piece of paper in her hand to the clock on the nightstand. 11:38 PM. Good, she thought, I still have time to figure out my New Year's resolutions before midnight. I can't believe I forgot all about it until now! She grabbed a pen from her desk, sat down on her bed, and began to write. Fifteen minutes later, she was reading over her list of eight resolutions, neatly penned in black ink. No erasing any this year, she thought, turning to put the paper away in a drawer for safekeeping. I won't have to anyway. I'm so glad I read that article the last week about making better New Year's resolutions. I've never been able to keep any of mine from any year so far. It's nice to know that this year will be a breeze in keeping my resolutions, since I made them so easy and attainable. She glanced down at the clock and realized it was now two minutes to midnight. As she started a countdown, Kathryn was filled with a sense of hope for the coming year. It was going to be great! The fireworks outside reached a grand finale of noise, and the clock showed the bold red letters of 12:00 as Kathryn ripped the old calendar off the wall and replaced it with her brand new one, with January 1 circled in red . It was going to be a great year!

+++++++++

Rrriiiipp. Rriiiipp. Clang! A ball of wadded up paper bounced off the side of the metal trash can as Kathryn angrily threw yet another paper wad at it. With a sigh of frustration, she bent down to gather up the paper balls scattered across the floor and deposit them in the trash can. Why does it have to be this hard?, she fumed inwardly as she worked. Why? My resolutions were the easiest ones ever- so why ave I failed yet again? And so soon! I haven't even done one of them yet, and it's just too late to start now. The last of the paper wads landed safely in the trash can, and Kathryn turned to survey her tear-stained face in the mirror. Swiping a damp cloth over her eyes, she walked over to her desk and pulled out a fresh sheet of paper. I'm going to make a new list, she mused. This time, it'll be different. It simply has to - it would be so embarrassing to say I have up on my resolutions so soon! She scanned her desktop for a pencil, and, failing to locate one, turned to go downstairs to find one. The door caught the breeze from the wide-open window and slammed shut behind her, making the calendar tacked to the wall flutter in the breeze. The date circled was January 9.



New Year's always brings with it a whole bunch of things- new dreams, new goals, new plans- and sometimes, old failures.
For a lot of people, New Year's is a time to virtually "start over" in certain areas of their life. They make plans, goals, and resolutions for what they'll do and when in order to "reset" this area they want to change. Then they get two months- or a week- into the New Year, and just quit, like Kathryn in the story above. Why?
It could be for any number of reasons. They could have failed to plan properly to accomplish what they wanted. They could have failed to set realistic goals for themselves. They could have just been lazy. But failing New Year's resolutions isn't the point of this post. Not as all.
Rather, it's about why we -as Christians- should set goals, and why we can succeed with them, no matter what they are. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 explains:

 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV)

Interesting, isn't it? I think this verse is very applicable to setting goals in a Christian's life.  It's essentially saying that while bodily (earthly) goals and ambitions aren't bad (in fact, they are of some good value in our lives), training for godliness (aiming our goals for higher things) is even better- becuase they help us both in this temporal life and in our eternal life!
When we're at the end of our life, it really isn't going to matter if we were able to keep 1 or 4 or 10 of our 2017 resolutions to exercise every day, or lose 10 pounds, or read more books, or take more vitamins. Of course, those things are all good and important. But it will matter much more if we were able to study God's Word every day, or pray more often, or develop another spiritual discipline, Those will have eternal value!
I'm not knocking setting "earthly" goals for ourselves Not at all! I think it's a wonderful thing to do, and we should be wanting to make good changes in our lives. But it's so much more important to remember why we're even bothering to achieve these goals.

I think that this verse from 1 Corinthians sums it up perfectly:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31, ESV) 

 If we're doing everything for the glory of God, guess what?  Whatever we're doing will be honoring to Him. And since our purpose in life is to bring honor and glory to God, that's definitely not a failure. That's the best success ever! Whether we're aiming to eating healthier, or pray more often, or or read more books, or serve others more, if we're doing for the glory of God, we're succeeding in fulfilling the best goal we can ever set- to honor our Lord in everything we do. 


What are your thoughts on New Year's resolutions?   What do you think of 1 Timothy 4:7-8 in relation to setting goals?

 
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