Encouragement

He Holds Us Fast

The morning light was still hours away from creeping through our windows yesterday morning when I woke up and stumbled downstairs to the coffee pot at five o’clock. Rubbing my eyes thoroughly and rummaging through the fridge to find the creamer helped wake me up and by the time I curled up in my usual spot on the couch with my coffee, Bible, and journal, I was well awake and alert. It was the day before my birthday and just as I always do, I read through the last year of my journal.

Every year before it’s been a very enjoyable thing to do. Memories that made me smile, ones that made me laugh, and always a few that brought on a cringe. But this year was different. This year was hard to read through.

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Encouragement

When Feeble Senses Blind

Our backyard is full of trees that seem to burst with life and greenery in the summertime. There is a little cove in the back right corner where the branches seem to envelop two teal lawn chairs and when you sit up there, watching the sun fade behind the house, it’s pure magic. The squirrels and birds dance around in the mornings, often fighting over the many bird feeders provided for their pleasure. It’s a display of breathtaking ordinary beauty, and it’s dying now.

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Fiction Reviews, The Top Shelf: YA or Adult

{Book Review} All Manner of Things

“I know that. And I want you to have a wonderful time.” She sighed. “I just want your life to be easy.”

I opened both my eyes to see her digging through her makeup case, her lips pushed together tightly.

“Who said that life was supposed to be easy?” I asked.

“All Manner of Things” by Susie Finkbeiner

About the book…

Annie Jacobson’s father left years ago, and now duty calls her brother Mike to leave as well, but the circumstances are entirely different, she keeps reminding herself. Her Dad chose to leave. Her brother was called to leave. One did it for himself. The other did it for everyone else. When tragedy hits the Jacobson home during Vietnam, Annie, her mother, and younger brother Joel, are forced to face the tragedies and hurt of the past in order to unite their family in the face of suffering. They learn that their own strength is not enough, they need the strength of the One true Healer.

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Fiction Reviews, The Middle Shelf: YA or Adult

{Book Review} The King’s Mercy

Pauling’s message never wavered. Present suffering didn’t mean the Almighty’s purposes were void. He’d the best planned for His children, and that best would include trials. Affliction. But understanding His ways wasn’t the path to peace. Peace was always with us, because He is peace.

The King’s Mercy
Lori Benton

About the book…

Joanna Carey is the step-daughter of a wealthy plantation owner along the Cape Fear River. Her world is changed when captured rebel, Alex MacKinnon, is granted the king’s mercy and becomes an indentured servant on the plantation. Joanna aches for a different life, one where slaves are no longer treated as property, but as human beings. She listens intently to the traveling Reverend Pauling, and seeks his wisdom on the matter at hand. Alex is forced to choose between embracing the freedom Reverend Pauling speaks of so fondly, or deciding to rebel and define freedom for himself. Along the way, romance blossoms, making both Joanna and Alex’s choices far more complex than they were to begin with.

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Top Shelf

{Book Review} Growing in Gratitude

No matter what our age, race, culture, language, social status, or life circumstances, all Christians should be known as characteristically grateful people. We, above all humans, have overwhelming cause to be thankful.

Mary K. Mohler “Growing in Gratitude”

About the book…

Do you lack joy in your life as a Christian woman? Do you struggle to come before the Lord with thanksgiving? Does suffering or confusion put up a wall of distance in your relationship with Him? Growing in Gratitude by Mary K. Mohler will transform your prayer life, family life, and church life by teaching you how to rediscover the joy of a thankful heart, despite the difficult circumstances, unanswered questions, and suffering we see in this broken world.

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Middle Shelf, Non-Fiction Reviews

{Book Review} Devotedly

“Your letter of a month ago has sat on my desk, amid stacks of papers that need grading, and yearbook material, and declamations. Finally, a moment (which is likely to be broken) has come when I could try to answer.”

A Letter from Elisabeth Howard to Jim Elliot in “Devotedly”

About the book…

Many are familiar with Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, the young missionary couple in Ecuador who ended up paying the ultimate price when Jim was killed by natives in 1956, leaving Elisabeth as the widowed mother to their daughter, Valerie. After Jim’s death, Elisabeth went on to do what he charged her with just before he died, “Teach the believers, darling, teach the believers.” Her teaching and writing has influenced many lives, including my own. Now, their daughter, Valerie, gives us a very personal and honest account of their love story. Various journal entries and letters are woven together with Valerie explaining and commenting on in a delightful way. For the first time, we get to become better acquainted with Jim and Betty as they were in the days before he was a martyr, and she a renowned Bible teacher and author.

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Non-Fiction Reviews, Top Shelf

{Book Review} All That’s Good

“Discernment does not change the challenges we face; it changes our ability to face them.” *

Hannah Anderson “All That’s Good”

About the book…

All That’s Good is a look at the lost art of discernment and how learning to develop and use this gift from God will enable us to glorify and enjoy Him better, despite the broken world we live in. In our current day, so often the word “discernment” is one people associate with a negative connotation. But what is discernment really? Is it pointing out all that is wrong with the world? Or perhaps, is it finding all that’s good?

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