Friday, March 27, 2020

When Your Own Words Aren't Enough



'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.


I am not skilled to understand what God has willed, what God has planned. I only know at His right hand, stands One who is my Savior. 


I don't know what You're doing, but I know Who You are. 


Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can't heal. 


I know Who Holds tomorrow. 


We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; 
We are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; 
Cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, 
That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 


*


God is still good. He is patient and faithful, even when we don't understand His plan. A family that my family is close friends with suffer a tragic loss this week. Please remember them and all the family and friends in your prayers. My heart breaks for them. <3

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Fearless.



I don't know what to write. I sit here, scrolling through my draft posts (and trust me, there's plenty), but I don't know what to write. I don't know what I want to write.

There's so much going on in my state and country and world this week, and as much as I feel like I should join in the barrage of coronavirus centered articles, I don't want to. I've talked about it with family and friends and co-workers until I'm tired of talking about. I've researched and analyzed until I drove myself crazy with it.

I'm tired of the fear and the panic and the chaos. I'm tired of the memes—even though some of them are...really funny. I'm tired of news articles—often contradicting each other. I'm tired of the arguments. I'm tired of the constant change in what is and isn't "allowed" as far as gatherings and events.

But here's the thing. I'm choosing to not be suffocated by the panic and alarm and frustration that surrounds this pandemic labeled "COVID-19." I specify labeled because, in my belief, the disease isn't the basis of the problem—fear is.

Yes, fear. That four-letter F-word that we don't like to think about.

So maybe that's what I'm really here to say. The panic, the hoarding, the chaos and confusion—it doesn't stem from a illness that's characterized by a fever and cough. It's created by the fear we allow to overtake us when we focus on the sickness instead of the Healer.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.   // 2 Timothy 1:7 kjv

As Christians, we shouldn't live burdened by fear. That's not how God intended for us to live our lives—before, during, or after COVID-19 has ran its course.

Things are crazy right now, I know. And I could be wrong, but I believe this won't last long. By the end of the year, we'll be able to look back on the month when stores were selling out of everything and remember the good aspects of these days instead of dwelling on the fear and turmoil.

If you're frightened by the events transpiring in the world over the past few days and weeks, that's totally understandable—it's a lot to take in at once. The important thing is to not allow that anxiety to control you.

Spend time with the Savior, and allow His presence and His word to remind you again and again that it's going to be okay. We serve a God that is so much greater than any pandemic, stock market dive, or nation in distress.

Through it all, life goes on, and we go on too. Tomorrow, the sun will rise and people will go to work (some of us, anyway). We'll talk and laugh and yawn and sneeze. We'll learn something new or reminisce about days gone by. We'll read books or watch television. We'll make jokes and remind our family members we love them.

And we'll be okay.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.   // Psalm 46:10 kjv 
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   // John 14:27 kjv

To sum it up—God's got this, so we have no need to fear. Wash your hands. Prayer for those effected. Use necessary precaution. By all means, quit hoarding toilet paper. And be fearless.


thoughts, good or bad? opinions, agreeing or not?

Friday, March 13, 2020

What I'm Writing | Chasing a Dream



17,346


That's the current word count total of Chasing a Dream.

(And yes, I'm rambling about this to y'all when I could/would/should be writing. *maybe sorta possibly hasn't written in like ten days* But I have literally no inspiration, so. Excuses prevail. Blog post it is.)

Honestly, I'm pleased with this number—and a little surprised by it, too. There's been more than a few times over the past year or so when I wondered if this little wannabe story would ever amount to anything worth talking about.

But it is, y'all. It's growing and morphing and becoming something bigger and better and with more meaning (in my opinion, anyway) than I ever anticipated. It's a complex story, with real characters, and a purposeful theme.

This weekend is the annual local rodeo that my family has attended many times over the years. We're planning to go again this year, assuming nothing comes up and there's not a cancelation. (Lots of events are being cancelled since we've been declared in a "state of emergency" *headdesk*)  This is the same rodeo, though, which spurned the idea for CaD into existence.

Considering that, and how it's been nearly an entire year since this story started as just a little idea and a few random thoughts, and how weird and beautiful and crazy and wonderful life is has put me in an introspective mood.

So here I sit, 12:23 am, when I could be sleeping or writing or reading. But what am I doing? Thinking about a story. Thinking about a story casted with people who aren't real. Well, at least the people aren't real. But maybe the story is, for someone, somewhere. Maybe it makes sense—it's relatable—to someone. And maybe that's why it's all worth it.

Maybe that person is you, or maybe it's not. But that's okay. Because I'm writing it anyway. For myself, and for that one person who may be out there somewhere in need of a story that'll remind them it's going to be okay.


Snippet: 



The young bull starts into a tight death spin, a technique his line of ancestors are known for. He bucks while spinning in a circle, utilizing centrifugal force to sling me off his back.  
Another harsh buck and I’m flying through the air. I plummet to the sunbaked earth with a thud that knocks the air from my lungs. Coughing and choking, I wait until I can breathe easier before attempting to push to my feet. My head spins as I stand, but I take a few deep breaths and push through it.  
Behind me, Wyatt loops a lead rope around the bull’s and guides him out of the corral. He knows I have no intention of trying it again this evening. Not after that sorry excuse for a dismount.  
I cast a glance in Nelson’s direction. He’s slowly shaking his head as he watches me walk across the corral towards him. Dang it. He’s not impressed.  
Irritation wells up in me. The old cowboy might be known for the bulls he raises, but several decades have passed since the last time he was the one climbing unto the animal’s back.  
As I approach, Ryder struggles to keep a straight face, but Nelson eyes me with a look I can’t read.  
“So?” I lean my arms onto the fence next to him, squinting up at the elder cowboy’s worn face in the sunlight. “What do you think?”  
“You’re gonna have to do better than that if you’re gonna make it in the rodeo world.”  
No one ever accused this man of being anything short of brutally honest. 







are you excited for Chasing a Dream? 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Tattered Wings by Kassie Angle | release + review



Annnddd we have another blog tour.

Wasn't it like last year when I said I was going to do less blog tours and that type of post? Yet here I am again. I digress. There's just so many epic books out there. How can I not support other Indies? <3

Anywho, moving on. Because today I get to fangirl about one of my favorites books so far this year. Maybe my favorite book so far this year. I mean, yes, I've read almost 20 books in 2020 to date, but still. Still a compliment. ;)

I give you—Tattered Wings by Kassie Angle. <33 You can find Kassie's post with more details about the book and the blog tour and whatnot here. (Heck, even if you aren't that interested in the book, go check out this gal's blog. The total bomb. :D)



About the Book

Some scars can’t be seen. And some can’t be hidden.

Layla Trent’s life is pretty much perfect, except for the little matter of a dog of her own—and maybe a brother. So why does a random nightmare of a princess dress, a hospital, and a stranger who’s definitely not her daddy feel more like an aching wound? And can a broken, glassy-eyed puppy somehow help her release the pain she didn’t even know she was carrying?

Corporal Andrew Reyes has proven he has what it takes to be the best—a US Army Ranger. But when a double tragedy rocks his world, his resolve is shaken to the core. What’s left for a man to live for when he’s lost everything he ever wanted to be? And is the sudden appearance of a teenage girl with a three-legged dog a cruel joke or a divine appointment?

Some scars can’t be hidden. But some don’t need to be.

GoodreadsAmazonPaperback




Review

When I say I jumped at the chance to read and review this book, know that I mean that in the strongest sense possible without meaning that I actually physically jumped on something.

I mean, c'mon. A girl with dreams of a painful memory she can't place. A soldier who loses all that gives his life meaning. Dozens of little instances that just made me smile. And there's a dog—a darling Golden Retriever. Does this book have my name written all over it or what? (Again, not literally.)

First, there's Layla. I love that child. Although, to be honest, I went into this book planning to love Andrew's story the most. I didn't really care about Layla's story too much. But by the epilogue, I loved her story just as much. Maybe more.

I love her personality and her spunkiness. I love her heart. I love her parents and her dog and her life. Reading about her dreams and all that comes to light through them... it broke my heart in the best way possible. I might have cried.

The whole service dog aspect of this story and all that surrounds it was very nice to find. That's something I don't see much in fiction, so I really appreciated that being shown in an accurate way.

And then, Andrew. As I said, I expected to love his story—and I wasn't disappointed. I cried. A lot. I actually probably cried as much or more over Isaiah as I did over Andrew. My dudes. <333

I did find myself wishing we would have seen more of Cpl. Reyes and his crowd in earlier chapters. As it was, the reader doesn't know him super well until THAT happens. Although there was plenty of impact as it was, it could've been more impactful if we were more attached to him before it happened. I also, for the majority of the book, was under the impression that Andrew's dad wasn't around, because he's like...never mentioned. So unless I missed it somewhere, I would've liked to known more about his family earlier on.

The writing could use some polishing, but overall, I found it to be engaging, in a laidback style. The story itself was heartfelt, well detailed, and easy to follow for the most part.

So, to sum things up:
- girl with fragments of a memory she can't grasp
- a family finding healing through a hurting dog
- a visit to a cemetery plot
- ARMY RANGERS, Y'ALL
- wounded soldiers
- family of said wounded soldiers binding together
- epic military setting
- one heck of an epilogue
- go read this book

Take-away: Your wings aren't broken. They might be tattered, but they'll still fly.

*wanders off wiping tears*


About the Author

Kassie Angle is a teenaged Christian author, cowgirl, therapy dog trainer, stereotypical INFJ, and Army girl to the core. Her first love, i.e. debut novel, O to be Like Thee, swept her unsuspectedly into the world of indie authors. She tries to use her stories to fill the silences in literature, helping more people understand the world of the Army and showing how God heals the broken-hearted. You can find her and more of her writing at SoldierGirlStories.com.



have you read Tattered Wings? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Life as of Now — 02.25.20

Instead of doing monthly recaps this year, I'm going to try doing this type of post every 6-8 weeks, sharing some random recent life stuff. *throws up a peace sign* we'll see how it goes. 



• Discovered that I've been saying the words chagrin and chasm wrong for my entire life. Like, WHAT. I heard them both on a TV show, a day or two apart, and I was honestly in denial for awhile. My life is in shambles. I've lived a lie for years. Such deception. What even is truth? (slightly kidding...maybe...)

• Bought too many books... Seriously, though, does anyone else use BookOutlet? Because I ADORE that site, y'all. It's my newest Achilles Heel.



• Appreciating this post by the epic Angela Watts. <33  And this post by...another Faith. ;)

• Reading loads of good books. Like, nearly twenty reads docked so far this year? Love it. I haven't read so much so quickly in over a year. It'll probably plummet soon, but for now, I'm on a roll, m'dudes.

• Ventured off to the big city of Atlanta for a work thing. *finger guns*




• Adoring Midway... Honestly, y'all, this movie. It's incredible. When my bestie came to see me last fall, we saw it twice in theaters. And I've watched it again since then. It's so so good. My new favorite film. It makes me want to rewrite War Tears, so that's definitely a good thing. 10/10

lemme just slip this hunk in here... *coughcough*

• Binge-watching Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. And then rewatching favorites. This show is so underrated, you guys. There's epic camaraderie, cases to solve, cute dudes, and sign language/deaf culture references. Was this show meant for me or what? I LOVE IT. Crash and Sparky are my dudes. <3333




• Drinking coffee. Always. Nothing new there, though.



• To celebrate my being close to hitting 15k in Chasing a Dream (asjehkflpc !!), here's a snippet for you homies.

At this point, I'm not even sure this chick really knows Leah. She's probably an imposter who has my girl gagged in the back room.  
I finish my note to Leah, trying to ignore how aggravating the horrible red pencil is, fold the paper in half, and place the pencil on top of it. "Thank you, ma'am," I call across my shoulder on the way out the door.  
"Anytime."  
As I walk to the truck, I shoot a quick text to Leah. : Your roommate is a fruitcake. 



how's your 2020 going? 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

No Chance Meeting by Jaye Elliot | review + release



I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Jaye Elliot's first contemporary romance, No Chance Meeting. I've been dying to read this book ever since I stumbled across the synopsis, like, years ago on Goodreads. While I ended up not enjoying it as much as I expected, it was a really sweet story.

Read on for my review of the novel, as well as an extra special giveaway! You can find the rest of the blog tour schedule here.

About the Book

Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.

Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.

Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?


~ 20% of all February sales will go to the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs ~


 


Review

** may contain spoilers, as I'm utterly filled by this story and its characters, having read the majority of this book in the last 24 hours **

Let me start off by saying that I've been wanting to read this book for ever so long. Given that, along with the fact the book deals with suicide and depression and there's numerous Marine references, I expected to love it. Buutttt I didn't. Now I'm trying to figure out why. :P

For the most part, it's a slower story. There's no massive happenings occurring throughout the story, other than an unexpected twist here and there (the one beyond the 85% mark, now that's something I didn't see coming). A tale of falling in love, achieving freedom from past fears and sins and tragedies, and holding to faith through all else.

Both of the main characters were sweet, likable, and realistic, with plenty of quirks and attributes to keep them original. I adored Riley. He's so adorable. Epic Marine guy, with a dream of a coffee shop. Add to that his long hair and the fact that—for once—the love interest actually isn't six feet four? I approve. 10/10.

Alex was a fun character, too. I love the name, her artsy side, and the fact that she's awkward, not crazy pretty, and wears glasses. I found myself struggling to connect with her and feel compassion toward her pain, but I loved seeing her and Riley's relationship and the way they complimented each other and encouraging each other to pursue their dreams.

One of my favorite things about the book was the frequent coffee references. These people chug as much caffeine as I do, and I loved it. xD  Add to that the dreams of a coffee shop and the vibe of the whole idea. Loooove.

The book is filled with a cast of other complex characters. From Mindy and Zach, to Luke and Kat, to Riley's and Alex's parents and grandparents, all the way down to the well-known artist, the landlady, and the pastor and his wife. A well-crafted cast of people I look forward to hearing more about in future books.

Oh, and the whole ordeal with the punk kid and how it reappeared when I least expected it? Love, love, love. Probably one of my favorite parts of the book, actually.

Unfortunately, I didn't exactly finish the book with hearts in my eyes. There were a few things that were seemingly left hanging and either weren't wrapped up/were left undone for awhile before presenting themselves again later in the plot. For example, Grandpa Joe. After meeting him the first time, I expected to see more of him, often, from there on out, which wasn't the case.

All things considered, I'm giving No Chance Meeting a solid four star rating. It deals with topics that are often avoided or mishandled in Christian fiction, so I greatly appreciated the story in that respect. A lovely read!


About the Author

Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.




Giveaway #1

To celebrate the release of No Chance Meeting, Jaye is giving away a reader bundle that includes a signed copy of NCM, a hand-painted watercolor bookmark, a coffee mug, and a bag of Dove chocolates! Enter using the form below. U.S. entries only. Not open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway #2

For her second giveaway, Jaye is offering 3 ebook copies of No Chance Meeting. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

have you read No Chance Meeting? anyone else in love with that cover? <33 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Book Buddy Collab Tag | w/ Bestie Kate



Happy Tuesday, my pals! *throws up a peace sign*

My friend Kaitlyn asked me to do this tag with her, so we're giving it a shot. :D   There will be lots of question marks. Because I'm apparently a horrible and/or non-observant friend. So. Consider this your warning. But it's a lot of fuuunnnn.


Rules

~ Thank the blogger that tagged you. Link back to the creator.  >> Kate was tagged by Katja @ Little Blossoms for Jesus.
~ Pick a bookish blogger friend to do the tag with you and contact them.  >> Thanks, Kate! <3
~ Coordinate so that your bookish buddy posts their part of the tag on the same day as you. Be sure to link to their post/blog on yours! >> Done! You can read Kate's post and her answers about me here.
~ Answer the questions given. Comment on your buddy’s post to let them know how well they answered! >> Ahahaha, we shall see.
~ Tag five other bookish bloggers and give them a set of 10 new questions. >> Ehhh, I'm kinda skipping out on that. If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged. xD


What's your buddy's favorite book-to-movie adaption?

I...have no idea. Like, I'm not even lying or wimping out. I.do.not.know. I can't even think of a movie adaption that we've talked about, even though I'm sure I'm overlooking something... Maybe Narnia?


What's their favorite cliché/trope?

Strong sibling bonds, especially brothers. If that's considered a trope. xD  This gal has written this trope several times and enjoys reading it too. (right??)


What's their favorite movie? 

A western. I think? She's definitely a westerns gal, but she's also been known to enjoy shows like Walker Texas Ranger, Seal Team, Hogan's Heroes...but that's series, not movies, sooo. I'm going with westerns.


What is their least favorite genre? 

Other than, like, horror, because I feel like that's a given...romance. For sure. (Notice how I feel like I'm probably getting that one right? This is most likely a false sense of achievement.)


Do they check reviews before buying or reading a book, or just dive right in? 

Sometimes? She'll sometimes ask friends their opinion about a book she's considering reading or buying if they've read it, or read friend's reviews, but not just random reviews on Da Web.


What’s your buddy’s all-time favorite character?

....wat. I don't knowwww. She's not one to fangirl over characters like, uh, some of us have been known to do. I want to say one of her own characters, but I feel like that might be considered cheating... *wracks brain* Eddie from Beloved or Erich from A Question of Honor—my best guesses.


Can you name three of their favorite nonfictions? 

Nonfiction? She doesn't read much nonfiction... Can I just say the Bible? Because I can't think of a single nonfiction she's read in the time I've known her... the Bible, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. There we go. Three.


What's their favorite series? 

Hey, one I actually have a chance of getting right... The Questions of War series by Jesseca Wheaton is my pick for top favorite. I believe Triple Creek Ranch by Rebekah Morris is a favorite series, as well. Along with...something by Dee Henderson. *nods*


Does your buddy enjoy buddy-reading? 

I don't...know if she even has? Like, officially, anyway. I can see her enjoying that type of thing or like a book club, though.


Does your buddy like to snack while reading?

*bangs head* I know I have a friend—maybe more than one—who refuses to get food near books, but I don't think it's her, sooo... I'm going to go with, yes, she snacks while reading.



*dashes off to read Kate's post*

do you know your book buddy(s) better than I do? xD