Dec 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review and Blog Questionnaire

   Hello Readers!

   2015 is almost gone and the new year is quickly coming!  How did your life change this year?  I am sure that in the 525,948.767 minutes that this last year contained, something had to change.  Here are some of the highlights of the last year for me...

--I published my first novel

--I started my first blog
--I finished my rough draft on my second novel
--Our family had a wonderful trip to Florida to visit friends
--Our family was in a super fun musical called Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
--We met friends from Cameroon Africa 
--I attended my first Contra dance
--War Room was released
--Beyond the Mask was released
--Our good friends adopted a baby
--I started a class in American Sign Language

   And countless other blessings!!  Just like always, God has blessed us.  Everyone can find something to be thankful for as they look back on the last year.  And I hope that we realize this and grow more and more in love with Jesus as the years, months, weeks, days, and hours pass!  "For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised!" (Psalm 96:4a)

Survey below...

Dec 30, 2015

"Tramp For the Lord" review


In 1940, Corrie ten Boom was living with her father and sister above their watch shop in Haarlem, Holland—and when their country was invaded, this devoutly Christian family provided sanctuary for persecuted Jews. Before long, the Nazis captured Corrie and her family. They were sent to a concentration camp, where Corrie lost both her sister and father. But remarkably, throughout this turbulent time, Corrie sustained the faith in God that helped her become one of the most beloved evangelists of her time.

Tramp for the Lord continues Corrie ten Boom's extraordinary journey of hope following the events recounted in her bestseller The Hiding Place. From her near-destitute days in postwar New York to heart-stopping adventures in Africa, Corrie's inspirational life story proves that miracles do happen.

My Review:

     Tramp For the Lord is the amazing story of Corrie ten Boom as she travels through the world, following God's leading! The book is full of lessons she learned and lessons she taught to others around her. She doesn't hesitate to say that after 80+ years she still learned new lessons about God. Her life as a "tramp for the Lord" shows what can happen when you dedicate your life to His glory. The book is interesting and valuable for learning about the Christian life, however, I didn't enjoy it as much as The Hiding Place. This is a good sequel to read for those who enjoy reading about the life of an amazing woman--Corrie ten Boom!

Dec 25, 2015

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

     Merry Christmas to all my readers! Instead of writing something for Christmas, here is a hymn by Charles Wesley back in the year 1744. I think it sums up our prayer to God during this Christmas season. 

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
by Charles Wesley

"Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find out rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation 
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear Desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

Born thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a King
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne"

Dec 22, 2015

"Dayuma: Life Under Waorani Spears" review


Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Ed McCully chose to lay down their lives on a sandy beach in Ecuador. Their lives and sacrifice come full circle in the breathtaking true story of Dayuma.

Violent, unexpected death was a way of life for the mysterious Waorani tribe living deep in the Ecuadorian jungle. When her father is brutally speared, young Dayuma is faced with a clear yet frightening choice: flee to the outside world to those thought to be cannibals or stay in the jungle to face certain death from the spears of the tribal killers. 

Dayuma: Life Under Waorani Spears is the unforgettable story of one girl's odyssey into the unknown. Her eventual encounter with Christ ultimately changed her life and forever altered the destiny of her people. Dayuma is a vivid, lasting testimony to the power of the love of God and the cross to reach beyond any barrier. 

My Review:

     Dayuma: Life Under Waorani Spears is a story of how a tragedy changed the lives of hundreds in the jungles of Ecuador. It is an amazing example of how God used an American woman (Rachel Saint) and a native Waorani of Ecuador (Dayuma) to change the world for His glory! This book is very captivating, showing how the Waorani tribes lived in their native home. It is an amazing testimony of faith to the five men, Ed, Pete, Roger, Jim, and Nate, who gave their lives for the savage Waorani people who murdered them. Amazingly, God took that evil and used it to impact the world in this unforgettable story. It is a story of adventure, danger, and total surrender to God. This book impacted me, and it is sure to do the same for other readers! 

About the Author:

Ethel Emily Wallis went to the edge of the Waorani forest to work with Dayuma and Rachel Saint on this book. In it she has recaptured the violence, courage, and devotion which are at the heart of "Dayuma: Life Under Waorani Spears."

Dec 16, 2015

Christmas Around the World

Nativity tree2011.jpg
Photo by: Jeff Weese

With Christmas coming up, it is easy to get lost in the busyness of life. I enjoy seeing the colorful Christmas lights that sparkle as you drive home during the night. It's fun to observe how different people celebrate the holidays. But one thing we often miss is that there are others in the world who are not celebrating. Others who are missing family members. Others who are running for their lives.

In Iraq alone, around 1.3 million Christians have been displaced, murdered, or imprisoned since 2003. They face ISIS--a terrorist group that doesn't hesitate to kill Christians or anyone else they disagree with. Christians are running for their lives. They are forced to leave their homes because if they don't, they will be killed. Men, women, and children are losing their lives and becoming enslaved. This is not only in Iraq but in several countries around the world. They are people just like us--Christians who are standing up for what they believe. They are willing to stand up for Christ, even if it brings persecution.

This Christmas we can make a difference. We can help our brothers and sisters in other countries. Through the Be Heard Project, you can sign a petition to stand with the persecuted Church. The petition will be brought before Congress, demanding that America does something to protect Christians in other countries.

Will these Christians be able to celebrate Christmas next year with their families? Maybe they can...but only if we make a difference.

Dec 14, 2015

"The Hiding Place" Review

At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an old-maid watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, a story did ensue. 

Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is their story. 

My Review:

   Wow. The Hiding Place was so much better than I had imagined when I first picked it up!! This is an incredible story of a life dedicated to Jesus. Cornelia Ten-Boom's story is one of courage, trust, and love in the midst of the hardest trials. She gave her life to Jesus, and suffered because of it. However, in the end she learned that "(nothing) shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

   It was very inspirational to read about her sister, Betsy, whose very life shone with love. She loved her enemies--when they were in the midst of taunting her. She could look around on her death bed and love them. 

   After reading the after-note where it explained how Corrie finally was reunited with her family in heaven, I knew at that moment that the earth had lost a great woman of faith. I felt personally sad that she had left...the earth needs more Ten-Booms like her and her family.

   Just as Corrie said, "There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still." 

   This book is perfect for anyone ages 13+ because of some content.

About the Author:

   Corrie ten Boom and her family were Christians who were active in social work in their home town of Haarlem, the Netherlands. During the Nazi occupation, they chose to act out their faith through peaceful resistance to the Nazis by active participation in the Dutch underground. They were hiding, feeding and transporting Jews and underground members hunted by the Gestapo out of the country. It is estimated they were able to save the lives of 800 Jews, in addition to protecting underground workers. 
On Feb. 28, 1944, they were betrayed and Corrie and several relatives were arrested. The four Jews and two underground workers in the house at the time of the arrest were not located by the Nazis and were extricated by the underground 47 hours after they fled to the tiny hiding place (located in Corrie's room).

   The ten Boom family members were separated and transferred to concentration camps. Corrie was allowed to stay with her precious sister, Betsy. Corrie's father (Casper), her sister (Betsy) and one grandchild (Kik) perished. Corrie was released in December of 1944.

   These acts of heroism and sacrifice became the foundation for Corrie ten Boom's global writing and speaking career after she was released.

   Ten Boom has received numerous awards for her writing and speaking. Notably, she was honored by the State of Israel for her work in aid of the Jewish people by being invited to plant a tree in the famous Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Near Jerusalem. She was also knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in recognition of her work during the war, and a museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem is dedicated to her and her family.

Dec 5, 2015

Trust in the LORD!

     Typically, I am a shy person. I don't enjoy talking to strangers, saying speeches, or performing in front of a crowd. I have been trying to overcome this weakness (and yes, being shy is a weakness, not a personality trait exactly), but it doesn't always feel like it gets easier. 

     Anyway, one day I was in town with my mom and sisters shopping at a consignment store. (my kind of shopping) =) I felt like God wanted me to talk to someone I saw across the store! My first instinct was, "No way! I can't do that! What would I say? We are about to leave anyway, so my family would have to wait for me. There is NO way I am going to do this!" 

But then I remembered. I thought about the times that I have said no. I realized that when I got home, I would feel bad that I had disobeyed. I would always remember how I failed. And I would be ashamed that I had really just said "No" to God, the One who had given me the very air I was breathing! It was a hard struggle, but eventually, I forced my feet forward and walked over to where the elderly, African-American woman stood with her daughter trying on shoes.

     "I just wanted to tell you that God loves you." It was more of a whisper than anything else, and I am not even sure that she heard me. But I do know that she felt the hug I gave her and the smile I forced to my lips. My heart was pounding harder than it ever had, I think, but I did it. I obeyed God and was glad that I did. Even as I walked out of the store, I could see the woman staring at me in wonder. I don't know what she thought, or if she even heard my words, but it doesn't matter. I trusted God, and I am so glad that I did. Even a month later, it makes me smile to remember how scared I was and how I relied on God. That is all that matters.

Next time remember that. All that matters is that you obey God. You don't have to be scared, and you don't have to hesitate. You just have to trust. It sounds so easy doesn't it?