Thursday, December 04, 2014

Book Review- I Have Seen God

I Have Seen God by Klaus-Dieter John is truly the miraculous story of two highly qualified doctors who leave everything take a giant leap of faith towards building a modern hospital in impoverished Peru. Without any resources the couple puts their faith to the test time and time again as they trust God for their needs and watch Him super naturally provide each and every time! 

This story is living proof that God cares and still does do miracles. The supernatural provisions, set backs, scandals, and connections were all testament that God works in His own way not ours. His ways are definitely much higher than ours. 

The extraordinary events surrounding the establishment of the Diospi Suyana Hospital reminded me of the incredible life of faith lived by George Muller. This story prompted me to remember that all things are possible in God, we can believe Him for the very big things. 

I enjoyed the very easy to read writing style and the pictures included in the book helped put a face to some of the events. 

I received this complimentary copy from Litfuse in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review- Revolutionary

Thalli, Berk, Rhen, Dallas, and Alex are back in the State as hostages. The groups young faith is severally tested as they face with evil. Dr. Loudin plans to control or eradicate all remaining  pockets of survivors aboveground and resorts to all manners, torture, murder, and manipulation to achieve his goals. 

Thalli was one of the best main characters, she was emotionally complex, brave, and smart. I enjoyed seeing her evolve with each story in the series. The doubts, fears, and hurts were there but with God's help she was able to press on. The most noble example of Thalli's character was when in the middle of a love triangle she was able to remain focused on the mission at hand.  The slow progression of her emotional and spiritual life unfolded in a most beautiful way.

The continual chases, escapes, fights, and mind games made for a definite page turner.  

The only drawback to this wonderful series is the abrupt ending. The whole premise of this series was based on how emotions are needed in life and how we can use them for God. I expected a more emotional (anger, pain, or heartbreaking) finale to truly seal the deal, but it was quite blunt. 

Each book in the Anomaly series seemed to have a main spiritual topic for the reader to chew on throughout the book which I enjoyed. This series was a great combination of excitment, adventure, romance, and spirituality. This series is a great alternative for the secular YA fiction out in the market.

I received a complimentary copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Book Review- Thrive

You've probably heard the words 'Live out your faith' dozens, if not hundreds, of times, but what does that phrase really mean? And how do you really follow Jesus in today's world? In this student adaptation of his book Thrive, Casting Crowns' Mark Hall explores exactly what it means when your faith and your life collide, and how you can take the next steps in making that faith real and evident to those around you. Using relatable stories, applications you can use, as well as some life lessons, Hall shows how you can root yourself in the truth and grow strong in your beliefs as you become the person God designed you to be.

Mark Hall takes the 'Live out your faith' concept we all think we know about to a further step. The book is broken into two parts: Digging Deep and Reaching Out. With quick wit, truth, and grace Mark Hall tackles these topics with a Biblical and personal view and a sprinkle of testimonials. At the end of each chapter Mark highlights the Point to Remember making the overall message easier to remember for the reader. 

Many authors today try to water down the word of God to make it attractive to teens, but not so with this book. On the other hand this book is best fit for a somewhat mature Christian.

If you desire a devotional to lead you in a closer relationship with Jesus this is for you. If you want a spiritual read to lead you in deep reflection of your spiritual condition this is for you. If you are a high-school student, then this is definitely for you.

I received a complimentary copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review- Butterflies and the Violin

Butterfly and the Violin, a masterpiece in itself, is the first novel in the Hidden Masterpiece Series. Sera, a Manhattan art dealer, is intent on finding a mysterious portrait of a young violinist ravished by the horrors of WW||. When William, wealthy heir to a real estate company, intends on finding the same exact painting to save his family's inheritance, Sera's and his paths cross. Together they uncover the dark hideous past that lurks behind those startling blue eyes. 

The author seamlessly went from contemporary to historical sharing two distinct stories. The author did a fantastic job creating two distinct and very sweet romances. The ending was perfect, sweet, and complete leaving no strings hanging.

As more of the story enfolded each page seemed to whisper hope. The beauty with which the author portrayed how God gives beauty and talents to people to use for his glory was emotionally riveting. More than once I had to stop reading to analyze the rich profundity, my feelings, and even my convictions. The author tastefully created a richly endowed spiritual book with contemporary elements, and a rich historical backdrop. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dear Internet,

I've decided to write a letter, yeah you know a thing people actually used to do before you came along, #happymail #snailmail you happen to get me back talking your lingo anyways, to talk about our relationship. You may be wondering why I've seemed to reject you. You may even beg me to return to the way things used to be, but my eyes have been opened to your true nature. 

You're greedy and selfish wanting all of my time all of the time. Instead of drawaing me closer to Jesus you tend to draw me away. The Bible in James 4:4 says "You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God." A friend is someone you invest time with, look to for counsel for all things big or small, and have fun with. 

When I spend countless minutes with you, look to you for advice, and choose to find my entertainment in you I am showing that sadly enough I've grown quite friendly with you. The Bible goes on to say in 1 John 2:15  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. Here we see that the world is described as having cravings, lusts of the flesh and eyes, and is prideful. 

You have us scrolling harmlessly through picture perfect pictures of peoples lives. We all know the truth of the matter is that we are merely glimpsing into the 1 second of a glorious picture perfect moment, or even worse a perfected staged photo. We know the truth yet we desire the life we know that doesn't exist. We love to indulge our flesh with many hours of nonsense. What we do not know is that what we think we are doing harmlessly you use it against us. We begin to secretly covet what we see. People joke constantly about their addictions to you but fail to realize how serious the situation is. We drown out the hurts, the fears, and ultimately the Holy Spirit's still small voice. We choose fake relationships over the ones placed in our lives. You encourage us to post countless selfies to have others merely boost our ego. We  over share information because you've taught us to devalue discretion. 

I am no longer content with wasting my time, growing discontent and being fed on shallow relationships. I want and CHOOSE Jesus. He is my contentment, the one who satisfies my every need, In him I have all the answers. In Jesus I have the VICTORY to conquer you and your temptations. I no longer need you to function, but now you need me to operate you (when I want to). You have this world looking down at a gadget but I REFUSE- I will look up to my Savior, redeemer, and hope: Jesus. 

Alicia C. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

SAT For Homeschoolers!

Being a homeschool student myself, and one who has recently taken the SAT, I decided to share some tips and helpful information for those considering taking it. 

I would highly recommend for you to get one of those huge SAT study books. They do a great job of preparing you for the types of  (essay practice, math, reading and writing) problems to be seen on the test.   Because those College Board or Kaplan study books are so expensive, ranging in the twenties, I would recommend for you to go to your thrift store and find one there. I was able to by a Kaplan 2012 edition for only $2.00!

While thrifting, I also found Kaplan SAT flashcards for $2.00 aswell. 

I found this youtube channel to be very helpful for me with my math prep.

This is a great website to use for studying your vocabulary. A lot of the words that showed up on the test were used in the website! 

The College Board app is also a great resource to use. A daily question in either the writing, reading, or math section is given to test your knowledge in each category. 

Since everything is timed I felt rather rushed and unprepared mentally for that. I would definitely advise you to take a practice test with the corresponding time so that you can have an accurate feel on test day.

Prayer is such a powerful tool. I had a lot of people cover the test in prayer so I knew that God was with me  during it. 

-Take the test with someone else. I was able to go with a friend and that was really a blessing and a nerve soother. Even though we weren't in the same room because they separate you based on your last name, it was reassuring to know she was there taking the test too! 

Do not bring a mechanical NO. #2 pencil those are not allowed, but rather the standard sharpen your pencil NO. #2 type! I found that out on the test day and had to borrow one from the teacher. The pencil she gave me barely had a point and that really added to my nerves. 

Forget all those outlining and penmanship classes you took previously when doing the essay. Time really flew by for me during the essay part. I was informed that to get somewhat of a good grade you have to minimally write a page but preferably two. So choose your argument and write like the wind!!!! 

Though they tell you to bring a snack, I don't think it very necessary. I brought a smoothie and did not even drink it, because I was not hungry and I did not want to use the bathroom.

Really try to skip using the bathroom. (I know its a long test.) While using the bathroom there was a huge line and I came back not even five minutes later and was a bit late for the next test section.

These were the study materials I used and things I learned while taking the test. I hope it was beneficial for someone who is in the process of taking there SAT exam. If you have any further questions send me an email or leave a comment below.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review- Behind the Wall

Behind the Wall is a three in one novel including: Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smuggler's Treasure which effectively portrays life behind the Berlin Wall. Taken from the point of teenagers it proves to be a lot more relatable for the intended young reader. The author masterfully shows the danger, death, and need for survival that was a part of everyone's (young and old) everyday life in Germany. 

The author does not try to assuage the situation with rose colored pictures of life for those living in east Germany. With each book he keeps them short sweet and straight to the point. He makes it appoint to write the cold hard truth in an easy to comprehend manner for all ages not just the intended middle readers group. 

I definitely enjoyed reading this series and would recommend it as great starting point for young people to learn about the Berlin Wall as it covers its building up and demolition.

I give Behind the Wall a 5 out out of 5 for its excellent job at teaching young people a very important part of History in an easy and engaging manner.

I received a complimentary copy from BookSneeze in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review- Meant to be Mine

Have you ever wanted to read the story after the I do? Well this is the story for you, but instead of a happily ever after scenario you get broken vows, a secret baby, and two very hurting people. Meant to be Mine's story plot is not your typical texas romance, but holds its own on the unique department.

The things that I did not particularly enjoy were the fact that gambling and having a girl friend while being married to another woman was looked upon as ok for a Christian. For the sake of testimony the author should have just left out that they were believing christians but rather fallen christians. The godly influence Meg and Bo provided in the story was very uplifting.

The romance that was rekindled between Ty and Celia was sweet and progressive not at all rushed. The road to rebuilding each other's trust was a bumpy, spiritual, and funny one. The incessant petty arguments, though very witty at times, proved quite tiring after awhile. 

Addie proved quite different from the usual 6 year old with her mature and sensitive nature. She is most memorable for her beloved pink cowgirl boots. The author seemed to forget about Addie towards the end, so I would have loved for her to reappear more often, since Ty and Celia wouldn't be trying to work anything out if it weren't for her. She had the cutest daddy and daughter relationship with Ty. 

We all know the gist of what the outcome is going to be for most books, so I felt that after some time the book dragged on to a slow stream; however, the sweet and sacrificial ending definitely made up for it! 

I give Meant to be Mine a 3.5 out of 5 (the lack of christian righteousness was a big draw back.)

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Book Review-For Such a Time as This

Centuries have come and gone and yet we see history repeating itself. Instead of Queen Esther trying to save her people from certain decimation by the hand of evil Haman, we are witnessing the same murderous plot against the Jews yet during the Holocaust. For Such a Time is a 1944 holocaust retelling of the story of Queen Esther saving her people.

Hadassah Benjamin is saved from a firing squad only to be pressed into serving the enemy, a highly esteemed SS-Kommandant doing clerical work. Through her work and connections with a person in authority she quickly sets to work in trying small ways to make a difference for her people. She takes risks and learns to trust in God fearing no one not even death,"If I perish, I perish."

Though using Esther's story is a bit overplayed in the market, Kate Breslin was able to use that same story and weave it into her own unique tale. Her research was clearly evident as you could sadly, yet vividly picture life for the Jews during the holocaust. Her characters were also very well developed. Hadassah a.k.a
Stella was a hurt woman who throughout the book finds her way back to God. Though romance did occur between her and Aric it wasn't a love at first sight thing, but she took a more cautious deliberate approach. How different yet refreshing to see a Nazi SS Kommandant portrayed with human being kindheartedness. He understood the wrong occurring around him and willingly sacrificed his life for others.

I greatly enjoyed For Such a Time and if you love an emotional fictional yet historically rich WW2 novel this one is for you! 

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Healthy Girl Series

Awhile back my family and I decided to go healthy! YAY! After watching the documentary Forks Over Knives we were convicted to let go of a lot of things in our diet, namely milk and dairy products, meat, high sugary, and processed foods. When I say give up I mean its not that we never eat it, its all about modifying. We have replaced cow's milk with natural homemade almond milk. Instead of store bought bread we make our own. We also eat a lot of fish now instead of meat or chicken. When you take out things that you are accustomed to eating, it can be hard to come up with substitutions and healthy alternatives. I am going to be sharing some of our favorite recipes in hopes of inspiring you in your healthy eating lifestyle. Eating healthy can still be yummy!!! 

For this recipe you will simply need 1 can of tuna, 1 avocado, bread, and salt and pepper.

Place your avocado in a food processor to save time in not having to hand smash. Mix your tuna with the creamy avocado, which substitutes the use of mayonnaise. You can add salt and pepper to flavor it.
When paired with some delicious homemade bread you'll have one delicious and healthy lunch! (Its always good to add some fruit to your meals wether in actual form or in a smoothie.) 

Hope you enjoyed and were inspired to make delicious healthy food. I seriously reccomend watching the Forks over Knives documentary!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

EOS V.S. Burt's Bees V.S. Baby Lips

There is nothing worse than having super chapped lips. Chapped lips are something I used to suffer with. I finally decided enough was enough and dedicated myself to finding a cure. Thankfully the prognosis was simply some chap-stick. Over the course of three months (Jan. - Mar.) I have conducted somewhat of an experiment to find the perfect chap-stick. My findings are as follows.

As you can see through the chart, I liked each one for different reasons.

The EOS chap-stick had the overall highest points for each category and rightly so. I was completely happy with it and it worked immediately to repair my lips. Though you may not be able to stick this in your back pocket and run out, the chunky size makes it easy to find in a messy purse. Conveniently enough, the flat base prevents your chap-stick from rolling away.

I liked Burt's Bees a teeny bit more than my EOS because it felt more natural. It scored low on texture not because it was nasty or anything, but because it took some getting used to. Because the base is beeswax, which is known for being quite firm, it took some extra effort to get it on your lips. I enjoyed the continuos moisturized effect it left. 

Baby Lips is a super cute and fun looking chap-stick. Promising smooth soft baby lips, Baby Lips (Quiver) almost made true on their promise. While using this chap-stick I noticed that the outer part of my lips were super soft, but weirdly enough the inner was still dry. It did not last as long as the others so that was set back for me. Because of its oily texture, I wouldn't use this as your staple chap-stick. Overall it is a cute girly chap-stick to keep in your purse and comes in different pigmented and non-pigmented shades. 

NOTE: I am a super chap-stick smearer :) I will coat and re coat my lips until I have a nice layer on top, so the endurance varies from person.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review- Daises are Forever

Having read Snow on the Tulips, I was super stoked to read the next book this author wrote. The story plot was very intriguing, but the author failed to see it through. The book began with some serious edge of your seat tension, but gradually slipped to a casual story. With the many different point of views it was hard to draw close to the main characters and keeping the whole picture straight. I really would have enjoyed some more narrow escapes from Mitch, him being an escaped POW and all, but his role seemed too easy. 

I really enjoyed that the author took two real life stories to use as the inspiration for Daisies are Forever, making the book much more authentic. The first part where Gisela leads a band of people escaping the Russians is based on Ruth Sabine Hildegard Lippert. The second part is based on the authors own aunt who experienced the awful bombings in Berlin.

I very much enjoyed the historical aspect of the book over the fiction. The inside view to the life of the average  German person during the war was both eye opening and informative. 

I received this complimentary copy from Litfuse in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Video: BFF Tag!

Ideally I would love to fill this blog with so many interesting posts, tutorials, life posts, and all things girly, however; life always seems to get in the way. I would also love to start posting videos more frequently. The first one I made was on my family's trip to DR, then I made one on tips for drinking water, a no-heat curling method, and today's is a collaboration with Kianna. 

I have mentioned this girl plenty of times on this blog, so you should all know that we are best friends/ cousins. She's my prima hmna, crib-mate, babysitting buddy, crime fighting, make believe playmate, long time confidant, and sister-in-Christ. 

Here is a little something we put together. You can finish watching the second part and bloopers over at Kianna's blog.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dear Thrift Store,

 I walked xx blocks amongst a busy crowd to get to you.
 I had to clutch my skirt because it kept on trying to run with the wind.
 I endured the shoulder ache from carrying my already heavy purse + books.
 Some of your other cousin stores are good for their clothes and others for their vintage stuff,
 but you won the prize for having the best books!
 I even found someone's diary, and I read the three entries "she" wrote:)
But it was all worth it! I had a great time and found such cute vintagey books!

1. I found this little 1962 gem and though my family wanted to keep it bought with the intention of giving it to someone.
2. Jo's Boys the sequel to Little Men
3.Eight Cousins also by Louisa May Alcott
4. Not pictured here I also found a Kaplan SAT prep book for only 2 dollars!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: Below the Surface

Something is wrong with Cooper. He’s plagued by a fear he doesn’t understand and can’t control. Cooper just wants to escape, and a summer vacation aboard the restored cabin cruiser, The Getaway, with best friends Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk seems like the perfect way to do it. Two weeks of fun---with no mysteries or life-and-death danger. That’s the plan. But their plans are shattered the very first night when they witness a murder. Or did they? Despite their intentions of leaving the investigation to the police, narrow misses and creepy encounters lure them in. Is there really a body floating in the underwater currents of the lake? The closer they get to the truth, the deeper into danger they get. Too late they see the trap. Now each of them must face their own buried fears . . . just below the surface.

Having read the previous installment to this series, I was glad to re-visit with friends Gordy, Cooper, Hiro, and Lunk. They proved very entertaining with their typical "teen" behavior/speech, antics, and pranks. All jokes aside, this book dealt with important and in-depth topics like facing fears, making important decisions, and doing the right thing. 

The author geared this series for boys, but it is very versatile for girls as well. The suspense is enough to draw and maintain the readers focus throughout the story, without being a bore. The suspense, touch of humor, and spirituality of the book were well balanced throughout. 

The a word from the author was very informative. Because the main theme of the book was fear, Tim discusses fear in a candid way and shares tips on how to overcome them.

I would recommend this book for preteen boys and girls who love a good mystery. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Book Review- Destination Unknown

It’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect. When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the “right” college---her alma mater---with imperfect grades. Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met before. But Taylor’s rougher upbringing has her mother and friends discouraging any type of relationship. Tired of having to play a part for everyone else, Whitney quits the cheerleading squad that once defined her social identity, and begins spending more time with Taylor. Her mom and friends worry Whitney is making a huge mistake, and even Taylor begins to show concern for some of her choices. But for the first time, Whitney is in the driver’s seat of her life. Will she be able to find her identity---and God’s plan for her life---before she throws everything away?

As I head towards the finishing high-school and getting closer to college stage, this book really seems  to resonate with me. Amy Clipston took your average perfect cheerleading teen with the privileged lifestyle and overbearing parents and transformed it to a real life story.

Whitney is a very hard character to describe. She has good intentions, likable, naive, and a tad bit spoiled. At times you applauded her for her change in character and other times you wondered what is going on with her.

Throughout this story I kept on wondering if this family really had a relationship with Jesus would they act this way. Would the mother be so overbearing and judgmental? Would Whitney be friends with who she was with, lie to her mother, and feel so overwhelmed. Whitney did pray in the book, but if she had a true relationship with the Lord she could have avoided so much hurt. 

Though the man focus of the story was finding your identity many other lessons are also presented. The importance of truth, handling
betrayal, good friendships, and getting closer to the Lord.

I really enjoyed the applicable plot, the overall message of the importance of finding your identity, and the many sub-messages. It is an easy to follow story that hopefully will help to draw you closer to your parents, friends, and most importantly God.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, from Zondervan, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review- Tide and Tempest

Tide and Tempest is the third and final book to the Edge of Freedom Series. Having read the previous installments I was eagerly anticipating this release to conclude my journey with these set of characters. Because the story plot and characters are intertwined I would recommend for you to read each book in order.

The author kept the reader thoroughly engaged throughout the story. The many plot twists, heart racing, and unpredictable moments kept you turning the pages faster and faster trying to keep up. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the book was not too predictable, and many a time I was completely thrown off course. The author kept the story plot fresh and exciting even though it was a third book in a series. 

The only drawback to this wonderful series was that the author portrayed the characters as Catholics without ever showing a conversion. 

I received a complimentary copy, from CFBA in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Review- gods at war

The next step in becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus. False gods war within each and every one of us, fighting for a place of glory and control in our lives. In this student edition of gods at war, Kyle Idleman, bestselling author of Not a Fan, demonstrates how the desire for things like popularity, acceptance, and success can become modern-day idols that keep us from truly following Jesus Christ. Behind the everyday pressures, fears, and lack of purpose is a false god who too often is winning the war in our hearts. By asking insightful questions and looking at the issues from a teen's point of view, Idleman reveals which false gods most often take the place of the one true God. Then, using powerful and honest testimonies of people like you who have struggled in each area, gods at war student edition illustrates a clear path away from the heartache of 21st-century idolatry back to the  heart of God. 

With gods at war, Kyle Idleman has created a wonderful devotional for teens confronting the big issues in life. To be honest I was not expecting to receive much from this read. Unfortunately, many authors today try to water down the word of God to make it attractive to teens, but not so with this book. 

Kyle takes the "You shall not make for yourself an idol." concept we all think we know about and flips it to reveal the many modern idols we teens have. The book is broken up into five parts: gods at war, the temple of pleasure, the temple of power, and the temple of love. With truth and grace Kyle tackles these topics and many subtopics with a biblical and personal view, and also sprinkles testimonials. At the end of each part he identifies the idol in question with personal inquires to see wether or not we struggle with that one. Then with a prayer of sorts he leads the reader to make a decision for Jesus over that idol.  This devotional is easy to follow, super Biblical, moving, humorous, and so encouraging. 

If you desire a devotional to lead you in a closer relationship with Jesus this is for you. If you want a spiritual read to lead you in deep reflection of your spiritual condition this is for you. If you are a high-school student, then this is definitely for you. 

I received a complimentary copy, from Zondervan, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

February Goals Recap

This past month was a total whopper, at least where my goals are concerned. I really did not plan so I did not get much done. My mother's constant quote is "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." 

Read the Bible 1x- I am on track so far in my chronological Bible reading plan! I have also been more intentional in my journaling of my favorite scripture from my daily reading portion. My Jim Elliot Journal has opened my eyes to see God's word in such a daily applicable manner.

Get Fit-  I exercised roughly about 18 times this past month for about ten minutes each time. I have really been enjoying this exercise! I've also drank about 24 twenty oz. cups. 

Cultivate my Relationships- 
Improve my Work Ethic-

Work on my Talents- I volunteer with an art teacher after-school and she was having a really interesting fundraiser. The goal was to draw something and a company prints your drawing on different items for you to buy. I drew silhouettes of my family with a sunset background! (I posted a pic on Instagram @ali_see_ya) 
-I filmed another video, so stay tuned!

I will not let this past month bring me down but will continue! I will be purposeful, intentional, and get things done! 

-I will continue with my Bible reading and journaling
-Continue Exercising
-Cultivate my Relationships- I will choose to not let roots of bitterness grow in my heart. I will have more in-depth conversations with my friends.
-Improve My Work Ethic- Teach music and art to my little sister with a cheerful and patient attitude
-Work on My Talents- I would like to start stashing some money to buy myself my guitar. I will continue with my 1 second a day video. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bookish Musings

I started getting free books about two years ago. I greatly enjoyed reading every new book that I could possibly get. It became part of my life. The past two years have been an incredible journey. I was introduced to so many new authors and genres, but with all good things there comes an end. Though I will still continue to be getting books from the programs, I will be more selective in my choosing. I am tired of filling my head only with romantic fluff and yearn for more. (I am not against reading romantic novels, just wouldn't recommend it to be the only types of book you read.) I want also, to read books that edify the spirit and draw me closer to the Lord. In January, I read gods at war(review coming soon) and was super enriched and blessed by this book. My family and I have decided to each read a biography of great men used by God. We hope that with these books we can  nourish our minds, help motivate us to follow the good in their lives, and ultimately draw closer to the Lord. My book this month is The Journal of Jim Elliot by Elizabeth Elliot. 

You can follow me on Good Reads to check out my progress!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review- Firstborn

Where does a firstborn girl fit in a world dominated by men? When Tiadone was born, her parents had two choices: leave their daughter outside the community to die in the wilds, or raise her as male and force her to suppress all feminine traits. Now, as the first female living as male in her village, Tiadone must prove her father didn't make a mistake by letting her live. As her male initiation approaches, Tiadone knows every eye on the community is on her, and desperately wishes to belong and finally be accepted.---But at every step, traditional feminine gifts and traits emerge, and the bird she's been twined with is seen as a sign of the devil. Worse, as Tiadone completes her rites, she finds she is drawn to her male best friend in ways that are very much in line with the female gender. Confused and desperate, Tiadone tries to become what she must be while dealing with what she indeed has become: a young woman who may be able to stand up to her despotic rulers and uncover her real purpose in life.

As a firstborn daughter myself, it was with great expectation I read this novel. I was truly appalled at the fact that baby girls were left to die in the wilderness just because they were born first- the atrocity. Though the book is fictional the plight for baby girl's survival is very real. All around the world baby girls are looked upon as trash, burdens, and dispensable. 

I enjoyed Tiadone her struggles were real and emotions true. To the world she is supposed to be a male, but only she knows the truth. Despite what a great character she was, the author could have done so much with this subject, but sadly failed. A few complaints of mine would be: the time period, was this book past or futuristic? Why do these birds who take at least a decade to hatch seem unnaturally smart, why does the world seem to revolve around these birds? 

The greatest disappointment was that this was not a "christian" novel. The author mentioned a 'creator spirit' that had some of the same attributes as God, but was very far from the truth. Overall I was confused and felt uncomfortable with some of the things, mainly the whole bird and human relationship, the weird visions and talking through the visions, and just the lack of Biblical beliefs. 

However, Firstborn allowed me to be grateful to the Lord for allowing me to live as a firstborn female child!

I received a complimentary copy from BookSneeze in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

January Goals Update

One month already into twenty fourteen, wow! In a previous post I mentioned that to help me actually accomplish my new years goals I would first, choose broad ones and narrow them down to monthly things to help reach that end goal and second, blog about it. So here's a months recap for you.

Read the Bible 1x- I am on track so far in my chronological Bible reading plan!

Get Fit- I exercised about 12 times this past month:\ Give or take I guess its better than nothing. I have also been drinking water a lot more!

Cultivate my Relationships- I did an Instagram/Youtube/Pinterest fast this past month as well. I really enjoyed that! 
-The Lord has really ministered me this past month on having personal convictions and hearing His voice. 

Improve my Work Ethic- I need to work on this one...

Work on my Talents- In the learn a new instrument department, I have picked up guitar (since I don't have one yet this will be a slow process.) 
-I started this new project where I will film one second of my day for the whole year and make a life movie. So far I've enjoyed it and can't wait to see the finished product!

So, I think I had a pretty productive month. How are you doing with your 2014 resolutions? Have you forgotten about them already?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Book Review- Shadowed By Grace

 As an avid WW|| reader I will just about read any book written in that era. I love learning about the war and reading different points of view, and this book was no exception. In Shadowed by Grace you see a new angle to World War || history mainly through art.  Lieutenant Scott's job was to track and protect priceless art masterpieces all throughout Europe. We witness a battle fought not with bombs and bullets but a battle to persevere cultures and history!

Cara Putman definitely ranks high in the originality department. Her writing style was very serene and simple drawing me instantly in to the WW|| "feel." I enjoyed her Characters Rachel and Scott, but would have loved to see them developed more. They seemed a bit surfaced and not super relatable, but still likable. The plot was very centered on Rachel finding her unknown father and through each place visited and adventures encountered that was the reoccurring theme, so the ending felt so quick and lacking.

Overall I think it was a well written remarkable historical side to WW||. I really enjoyed the photographic and artistic side to the story. There is a lot of mystery, action, and sweet romance.

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In

This week's Top Ten Tuesday revolves around worlds that we would NEVER want to live in, or characters you'd never want to trade places with. With all the dystopian and post-apocalyptic stuff out there right now, it's not too hard to pick a few.

1. I would definitely not want to live in Jill Williamson's Safe Lands. People are dying of a plague, where the government controls and knows everything, there is forced surrogacy and to top it all off its a place  where pleasure is everything! 

2. Know I would REALLY REALLY not want to be in Spokie. The Swipe Series is a post-apocalyptic book so first of all I would have missed the rapture (enough said there), I would be forced to get the mark of the beast or die, and find out that the world you live in and those around you are not what you knew and trusted them to be.

3. To put it in that perspective I wouldn't want to be in Beacon, or the A.U. or E.U. any where DOME is in control. 

4. The State is an underground world, ruled by scientists, that prohibit emotions and everyone is basically brainwashed to do what they are told... or else. (Anomaly)

5. The Jason Farm!!!! One word CLONES!!! 

6. I would hate to live in the town (forgot the name) where the Inner Society rules. These perfect looking, over-achiever, super rich, teens are basically genetically mapped children who know feel entitled to everything and will do anything to make those from the outside leave! 

7. Its America or is it? Nothing works, cars, watches, water, credit cards. Is it a terrorist attack, or is the world ending, we don't know. Everyone is desperate and especially the Killer who stalks the Branning family's neighborhood

8. Michael Hosea!!! Redeeming Love is a retelling of the Biblical story Hosea and Gomer, so that man goes through a lot of pain. I do not think I could survive emotionally all the things he went through, I mean WOW. 

9. Anything Holocaust related. I love reading WW2 novels admiring the characters bravery, but I do not think I could survive such awful cruelties. 

10. The Titanic is grand and all, but anytime I think of the painful and slow deaths those people faced... I wouldn't trade places for anything!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Wish-list

Today I'm linking with: The Broke and the Bookish

Today's topic: Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

1. A sequel to Allison's Pittman's Sister Wife series. I mean seriously who ever heard of a two book series. This story needs an end that will finally end this great series. I think a little birdie told me she did not make enough sales that the publishers did not deem it profitable to make another:( Really guys go and read the series!!!!!

2. No more Insta-love. I do not believe in love at first sight. How can you possibly love anyone from just a glance. You do not know his morals, values, personality how can you make such a decision to actually marry them!

3. Where the guy doesn't get the girl. This would be EPIC!

4. After the 'happily ever after'. After the guy gets the girl we never know what happens after. What challenges do they face as a new couple...?

5. No more obvious couples. I have literally opened a book and after reading a few pages will already know who marries whom. I would love for it to be a bit less obvious. Bodie Thoene has done a great job at that, but she is the exception:) 

6. Characters with real-life flaws and where they get addressed. So many authors make a perfect characters that does not relate to us. Sarah Sundin's Wings of Glory series was a great example of this!

7. No more perfect looking girls. Really! Everyone has perfect curls, shiny hair, a color eye that is indescribable, musical laugh etc, come on authors! Make average main characters, please!!!! Where their curly hair actually gets frizzy...

8. No Romance. What about that for a change. Some books not romance geared throw in one just for the sake, you really don't have to.

9. A trilogy with the same person. This way the author can really develop the character, where we can see growth, and a true romance that doesn't happen in a mere books length of time.

10. A YA in a Historical setting. Now how cool would that be!!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review- Outcasts

Outcasts is the second installment to the Safe Lands Series written by Jill Williamson. Her love for working with teens is clearly evident in her writing. She writes Christian fiction for teens that deal with some prevalent issues all the while keeping it fun and way out of this world.  

Continuing straight from book one, we catch up with the Glencrock people as they struggle to remain true to their faith in the midst of the governments control and worldliness. Remaining to  Jill's eccentric writing style we are thrust into a world of fast paced mysterious plot--yet with a totally new twist. Unlike most YA books Jill added deeper messages that touch the hearts of todays youth. She dealt with topics of guilt, resisting temptation, the snares instant gratification create, living for a higher purpose, and the need of hope. She addressed these topics through Biblical perspectives keeping it very spiritual and easy to apply. 

The Characters were more developed in this book than in the previous allowing one to connect closer. They each had very different yet realistic characteristics that added a deeper dimension to the story. Because there are four different points of view you are able to see the full perspective to the events happening in the story. 

Outcasts does include mature subjects such as drug and sexual addiction and forced surrogacy, so I would recommend this book to mature teens and up.

Needless to say Outcasts was a great continuation, if not an even better one, to the series. I can not wait to get my hands on the next book and continue my journey in the Safe Lands. 

I received a complimentary copy, from BookSneeze in exchange for this independent and unbiased review. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

H E L L O 2 0 1 4

Like everyone else I've set some New Year's resolutions. I was commenting to Kianna about wether she was ready to set an absorbent amount of unrealistic goal for the upcoming new year, we then proceeded  to discuss how unlike previous years we wanted to set doable goals this year. Over on her blog you can see the her super doable, yet challenging goals. 

This year I decided to set 5 broad goals and then each month I would set smaller goals to help achieve the overall goal. Inspired by Hannah I've decided to do a monthly resolution check up on the blog, so stay tune for those. Without further ado my 2014 goals:

1. Read the Bible 1x- In 2012 I read the Bible three times, and for the following year I was burnt out. From my whopping 3x victory in 2012 I couldn't even finish it once this year! So though seemingly easy this is a goal my heart desires to do. 

2. Get Fit- This consists of exercising, walking, running, possibly trying rollerblading, and drinking water.

3. Cultivate my Relationships- with God, as a daughter, sister, and friend. 

4. Improve my work ethic- That can mean anything from doing all my work on to the Lord, homeschool, chores- to being an intentional and wise steward of my money, but most importantly learning to be a servant. 

5. Work on my talents- Sometime last year, my mom made us name three things we enjoy doing or would like to do in the near future. I chose tinkering with imovie, card making, and alterations. These are all things I would like to work on and improve. I would love to learn something new, learn an instrument of sort, continue with calligraphy, and most importantly use what the Lord gave me and not be the wicked servant who does nothing with his talent. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Top 13 Books of 2013

Here is a list of my top ten favorite books for this past year. It was way too hard to put them in an order of most favorite to least. But I think I can safely say that Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers was hands down my favorite this year. (I'll be posting a review later...)

Anomaly by Krista Mcgee Captives- Jill Williamson 
Back Before Dark- Tim Shoemaker Chasing Jupiter- Rachel Coker

Redeeming Love- Francine Rivers Sweet Sanctuary- Kim Vogel Sawyer
The Offering- Angela Hunt The Return of Cassandra Todd

Last Light- Terri Blackstock Shattered- Dani Pettrey

Drum Rolllll....
My favorite series this year was the Swipe Series by Evan Angler!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Bye 2013 - Hi 2014

During the Christmas rush and New Years excitement we can focus on presents, goals, and just plain ole holiday rush. Though we say with our mouths that Jesus is the reason for the season, we somehow don't always live that out.

This year my family and I started a new New Years Eve-Day tradition. We each were to choose a gift and Bible verse that represented what the Lord had done in our life, and/or something the Lord ministered our hearts with.  At times I wasn't super committed to my daily devotions and more than once felt stagnant spiritually. I felt that this year was a year that I was just grateful to have persevered in the Faith. My verse was "... let us then persevere in the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1b My gift was a hand weight to signify the perseverance an athlete/runner shows in his exercise and an itunes gift card because who doesn't listen to music while working out. 

On Tuesday, New Years Eve, we  each drew names and gave our gift to the person we drew up. The second part of our tradition occurred on New Years Day. We were once again given the task to choose a verse and buy a gift, but for what we wanted the new year to represent and/or what we wanted to declare over someone else's life. 

I gave a gift with the intention of working on this for my personal life, without even knowing that someone was going to mention it in our church as a word of edification! I chose Galatians 6:7-9 "A man reaps what he sows..." This year I want to work on cultivating my relationships with God, and as a daughter, sister, and friend. 

The focus of this tradition is not the gift, but instead serves as a memorial before our family to what the Lord has done in each of us this past year.