Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paper Fears

Lately I have been facing a few challenges. I’ve been going through some crucial times in my life and have not had the energy to write, let alone keep up this blog. I hope to have a weekly, or at least bi-weekly blog going again in the future, but right now I’m starting small. My New Year’s Resolution is to write 300 words a week in the novel I’m working on. I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because I can never keep them. I make monthly goals instead. But writing 300 words a month basically is a monthly goal.

But anyway, let’s get to the point.

I want to talk about fear. These “challenges” I’ve been facing in my life have been teaching me a lot about fear and anxiety. I’ve been struggling with those two lately. I mean, I’ve struggled with those for as long as I can remember, but lately, they’ve been causing me intense worry. Trying to rule my life. Trying to take my joy.

There are certain things that cause me fear that are so petty and small, that Satan likes to make look big. Things that aren’t even real that he tries to make look frightening.

So tonight, when I was being all worry-wart-y (as always) God reminded me he is in control. He made me realize the reason for my anxiety was the fact that I was trying to control the things I was worried about. The things I fear look so big to me, but from his view, they are a tiny dot.

When I surrendered and let him take control, I could step back and see my problems from his perspective. They become smaller to me, as well. This doesn’t mean I’ll never fear these things again. It will be a constant battle. But when I do worry, I can trust God to take care of it.

This song popped into my head after I surrendered to God, and that’s when I realized Satan makes me fear things that aren’t even real, or “Paper Tigers”. I can either to choose to trust God or let Satan manipulate me. I choose God. He is good. He is Love.

Take a listen.

P.S. Check out my sister's blog, Pure Joy, about her journey with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Tomorrow she flies overseas and could use prayers as she works with women and children at risk.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hot Cinnamon Spice Apple "Cider"

I LOVE apple cider for fall. But it's hard to find real apple cider since the stuff they sell in the grocery stores is required to be pasteurized. So practically, you're paying more for a drink that just tastes the same as apple juice. So here's an easy way I make my own cider-tasting drink.

Hot Cinnamon Spice Apple "Cider" Recipe

100% Apple Juice
1 Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Black Tea

Microwave on high 2 minutes the apple juice in a microwave safe mug.
Insert tea bag and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
Take out tea bag and enjoy!

See? It's simple and delicious! Also, the Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is great on it's own with water. My mom and my favorite, especially for fall and winter!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book PREview: Unstoppable

Do you believe in miracles?

Nick Vujicic does. I'm sure you've heard of him. The man born with no arms or legs but chooses to live a life without limits. He is such an inspiration, an because he is not able to live an ordinary life, God used to live an extrordiary life.

Here is a video trailer of his new book, Unstoppable.

Read the first chapter here. I, for one, am excited to read the rest of the book when it comes out October 2nd!
Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: Not This Time by Vicki Hinze

Beth Dawson is a powerful woman, a millionaire business owner, and is beautiful and intelligent. It seems she has it all, but one thing she can’t control is her best friend’s life. When Sara marries Robert Tayton, there is something about him that pushes every one of Beth’s buttons.

Because of this, Beth and Sara’s relationship becomes strained, and when Robert turns up missing, Beth is a main suspect. Beth must prove her innocence to the town in order to keep their respect, but most of all, to her best friend in order to maintain their relationship.

But as they tread deeper into the investigation, they begin to realize the real suspect may be closer to home than they think.

NOT THIS TIME Book Trailer from Vicki Hinze on Vimeo.

The first thing I want to say is that I absolutely loved this novel! I have never heard of this author, Vickie Hinze, before but I will definitely be reading more from her in the future. She is an amazing writer who created great, real characters, a brilliant plot, threw in several crazy plot twists (no, not just a few!) and seriously had me guessing who the real bad guys were up until the very end.

Normally when I read this genre of Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, I try to guess who the bad guy is, and more times than not, I’m right. I did the same with this book, but I have to admit, I was wrong. I never saw the ending coming and neither will you!

I loved following the romance of Joe and Beth throughout the book. Beth has a hard time trusting men become of something that happened in her past, but Joe continually pursues her. I completely fell in love with Joe and hoped Beth would too. It gave pleasant breaks from the intensity of the storyline.

If you decide to read this book, I would recommend you read the first and second novels in the series before you read this, the third one. The author makes it obvious during the first couple chapters that Forget Me Not and Deadly Ties should have been read before Not This Time. She does, however, do a good job of weaving the plot in with the reviewing to keep the readers entertained. I didn’t feel like there were any slow parts, even when she was reviewing the past, since she mostly did it through character conversation or explaining as the plot goes along.

I never read the first two in this series but I plan to. I have a feeling a lot of things in this novel would make more sense after getting a history on everything that has been happening before the place where this book picks up. If this novel is even close to as good as the other books, they will be a few more books I cannot put down and will tell my friends about. 5 stars!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

"The image you left was very strong." Hands pressed to her back, she paced in short quick steps. "If what I capture is emotionally static, it fades. If not, it leaves an indelible imprint until I transfer it to the clay."

Natalie has a gift; or is it a curse? Her eidetic memory allows her to capture emotion into her sculptures like no one else. But when Trevor McDaniel, a search and rescue volunteer, recovers her nephew, Cody, from the jaws of a mountain lion and the toddler is left in the care of Natalie, and she wonders, with this “gift”, if she’s fit to take care of Cody by herself.

Trevor’s strong protector quality drives him to take Cody under his wing and meanwhile, a budding romance forms between him and Natalie. Trevor struggles with breaking free from his own past, and tries to compensate by helping Cody face his fears.

A psychotic stalker is somewhere in their midst, deep in the shadows. First blackmailing Trevor, then threatening closer and closer to home, putting helpless victims at risk until it finally goes too far. Can they face their own fears and work together to put this twisted man’s actions to an end before it’s too late?

I was excited to read this book, as it is a sequel to Kristen Heitzmann’s previous novel, Indivisible. It was great to see characters from that book make reappearances in this book. But, for this reason, some of the parts may be a bit confusing for someone who has never read this book’s prequel.

Kristen is one of my favorite authors for several reasons: her plot lines are complex, her writing is unique and visual, she always creates likable characters, and the way she writes dialogue is natural and believable. She is a master at making the reader feel exactly what the characters are feeling. Each of her stories features a tough and athletic hero, and an elegant and artsy heroine. This book is no exception.

The only problem I have with her books is that she makes characters drink wine. This is a very controversial subject, which is why it’s not usually mentioned in Christian books. I personally don’t like that she does this, as I don’t drink at all.

I do like, however, how the story is kicked off with a bang, the action starting on the very first page and pulling me in right away. The rest of the story was not a letdown either, it held my attention all the way though.

One thing that separates Kristen Heitzmann from other authors is her ability to get you inside of an emotionally disturbed person’s head. Her writing from this perspective is downright creepy and really sets the mood. Not for the faint-hearted!

If you love romance, suspense, and psychological thrillers, you’ll love Kristen Heitzmann!
Read an excerpt of this novel here:

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren

"You are an adult now, Krista. You can fight off your own predators. But the biggest one you face is inside you. You know that, don't you?"

Krista Mueller returns to her home in New Mexico around Christmastime to visit her dying mother who was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s twelve years ago, which was the last time she saw her mother when she admitted her to Cimarron Care Center.

She carries around the ghosts of what her mother used to be, all the bad memories and blocks out the good. She’s afraid to love and forgive.

While there, she re-meets her high school sweetheart, Dane McConnell, a doctor there, who reminds her of what it means to love with mercy and grace.

The first thing I noticed is that Mercy Come Morning has incredibly long chapters. Of 222 pages, it only has 15 chapters. I found myself often stopping in the middle of scenes due to lack of time to read instead of being able to find a good stopping point within the next few pages.

It takes a while for this book to progress. It’s about ¾ of the way through before the plot begins to go anywhere. There is way too much backstory and New Mexico history thrown at you during the first half of the book. Enter page-skimming. Because of this, I felt like I was being told a story instead of living the story as it happened to the characters. Like a huge part of the story happened before I joined.

If I weren’t reviewing this book I would have put it down and started another book before I was even halfway through. But once you get past all the history, history, and more history, a great story begins to unfold. Author Lisa Tawn Bergren weaves in the magic of Christmas with the miracle of giving second chances.

Needless to say, Dane and Krista fall in love and Krista finds reconciliation with her mother and loves her enough to let her go. Although it was a little weird for me to read a story about people falling in love who are old enough to be my parents, judging by the dates and age she was during that time, Krista would now be in her late forties (though at the end of the book I realized this story took place almost a decade ago).

I had a little trouble connecting with the actual character of Krista, she sometimes seems inconsistent in character. I was, however, able to connect with her struggle to forgive her mother; in that way she was very real.

Dane seems a bit unrealistic. Of course I would like to think there are men this perfect, Dane is a little too much. The struggle of the story is more of Krista’s internal struggle to let go and love, both her mother and Dane. The relationship struggle is between her and her mother instead of her and Dane, which is probably why this is classified as Fiction/General/Contemporary on the back cover of the book instead of Romance.

Overall, I would give this book 3 stars. Just okay. Not horrible, but not great.

Decide for yourself! Read the first Chapter here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Please rank my review at: (5 stars please if you're feeling kind ;D) Thanks!!!