Oct 31, 2016

Farewell October

First of all, yes, I do realize that this is my third post this week.   How did that even happen?  Well, I promise that I won't post again for a solid week. =)  hehe.  Enjoy your Hosanna-free time. =P

October was such a busy time.  School seemed to predominate most of my waking time, but there were also wonderful memories and sweet family-time that highlighted the month.  =)  Even though it's the last day of October, it still feels like summer outside.  *sigh*  What a delightful autumn God has blessed us with. ♥

Adventures in Life:

  • My family got to watch two plays/musicals together! =)  Both Little Women and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were well done and enjoyable ways to hang out with family and friends.  *memories of past performances rush in* =)
  • Three birthdays passed!  (yes, three!  hehe)
  • I did a little bit of redesigning on my blog, had my first vlog post, and hosted a giveaway!
  • I went to my first circus ever!  (imagine two elephants, performing lions, juggling, trampoline flips, dog tricks, etc.)  =)  My baby sister still raves about how she touched a real elephant on his ear.  =)  "Me hike elefants." (Isn't toddler language the cutest?!)
  • My family also went to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga for an afternoon.  That place is really fun. =)
  • We got closer to moving. =P  (moving didn't actually happen like we had hoped... maybe next month.) *shrugs*
  • I got to meet JORDY!!!!  *ahem*  Well, it was a video chat, but that counts, right?  I saw her face to face, heard her lovely voice, and met her sweet siblings. ♥  Let's just say that I was bursting with excitement when I clicked the "video call" button.  hehehe.  Yes, be very jealous. ;)
  • Tonight we are going reverse trick-or-treating!  =)  Even though my family doesn't celebrate Halloween, we enjoy going to town to pass out Jesus DVDs, fun Gospel tracts, and comic books that tell the story of Jesus.  It's such a fun way to share the Good News!  (though I will admit that the costumes that people wear... *shudders*  Why would anyone want to put them on??  But it's worth it for us, and I pray it changes someone's life.)  =)
  • I rode on a 4-wheeler for the first time.  =)

Books I Read: 5+

  • 5 Pillars of Christian Growth by NR Johnson
  • One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill
  • Revenge of the Dragons by Ed Dunlop
  • Set Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy
  • Elsie's Endless Wait by Martha Finley

And a bunch of short stories that I read for my college class including...

  • A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
  • Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison
  • The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence
  • To Build a Fire by Jack London
  • The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilmore
  • etc. =)

My Favorite(s):
Both One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven and Set Apart Femininity are great, impacting books that encouraged me in my walk with God.  They were also very interesting with real-life examples from the authors' lives.  =)  But as for fiction, Elsie's Endless Wait will always be a fond favorite from my childhood days. ♥

My Least Favorite(s):
Basically...almost all the short stories I was required to read. =/  Many of them had "iffy" content.  Others just weren't interesting or had weird story lines.  But they were part of school...so... =|  

My New Creations:

School was crazy this month.  =) Other than writing short stories, essays, and poems for my classes, I didn't have time to write "for fun."  It was a challenge to find time for blogging as well.  Thus...my novel still awaits editing. =)

  Blog Friends:

God Incidences

From Apples of Gold by Jessica

My Fear as a Writer

The Pilgrim Wants - a Poem

From Becoming Lost by Hannah

Blog Posts:

How was your October?  What were some of the blessings God gave you this past month?  Comment below!

Oct 28, 2016

A Vlog Post

Guess what day it is...?????  =)

My very first vlog post is now here!  Go ahead and see what I look like in front of a camera. ;)  hehe.  This was actually so much fun...if you are wondering if you should make a vlog post, do it.  Please.  And then send me the link 'cause I want to watch it too.  I want to see all your faces. =)

Thank you for "forcing" me into this.  Haha.  =)  That's what readers are for, isn't it?   And all the wonderful questions... I wish I could answer them all!  But anyway, I'm keeping you from the whole point of this post.  And you probably skipped reading this far anyway.  Well, be that way.  =P

Without further adeu........

Hmm?  Do you want me to make a sequel vlog post to answer the rest of the questions?  =)  *rubs my hands together*  Did anything about seeing me in person surprise you?  =)

As a side note, just in case you didn't notice, I have started making some subtle changes to the blog's design...if you see more changes within the next few days, please forgive my untidiness. =)  I'll do my best to get this done quickly and painlessly.  hehe.

AND GUESS WHAT?  We now have giveaway winners!  I'm so, so, so, so excited to announce...

The winner of The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser (paperback) is...  Savannah P!

The winner of Set Apart Femininity is...  Abi E!

And the international winner of The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser (ebook) is...   Diana!

Congratulations!  *throws confetti*  I will be contacting you soon with information on how to receive your prize. =)  And thank you to everyone else who entered... I only wish that I could send you all a gift.  But because I can't, here is a virtual hug for being such amazing readers.  *hugs*  I really am so very thankful for you all.

Thoughts????  =)

Oct 25, 2016

Their Desperate Plea

If you missed my last post, remember to sign up for the giveaway that I'm hosting!  There are only a few short days left...  =)

Marlene stands at the bus stop, tapping her foot and pulling her thick, wool jacket tighter around her thin shoulders.  A brisk wind blows through the air, grabbing the rain and throwing it back into her face like hundreds of tiny bees stinging simultaneously.  Grumbling to herself, she folds her arms.  Her eyes scan the road before her for the hundredth time.  Every vehicle imaginable rushes by, splashing dark mud onto the edges of her coat.  Every vehicle - except the bus.

She almost doesn't notice the nudge at her elbow.  Another teenager stands there, glancing down at the iPod in her hands.  Neon earplugs block out the sound of the street as she takes a quick moment to glance up and down the road.  Marlene watches as she steps off the sidewalk.

It happens all at once.  Marlene sees a car turn onto the road at the last second.  The glaring headlights shine into her eyes through the bitter rain.  She sees the young girl push on, unaware of the danger.  In only seconds, a million thoughts rush through her brain.  The girl will die.  I could reach out and grab her back.  I could save her life.  No one else is close enough.  It's one step...or death.

But the mud, the freezing air...and what if someone sees me and thinks I'm weird?  Marlene turns her eyes away.  She glances down the street, a smile lighting her face as she finally sees the bus making his way up the road.  But her decision comes with a cost.

A scream.  A squeal of tires.  A deathly silence.  And then all at once, a dozen bypasses rush onto the scene, yelling, screaming for help.  But it's too late.  They all know that as they stare at the still body.  The person who would never move again.  Never smile.  Never see a sunrise.  Never feel a gentle, spring breeze rustle their face.  Never feel love glowing in their heart.

Marlene trudges onto the bus.  She shrugs.  It wasn't her fault.  Surely, if the girl was meant to live, God could have sent someone else to save her.  It must have just been her time.

The growing darkness embraces the bus as it rushes into the distance and away.  Away from the tears, the pain, the death.  Away from the memories.  The nightmares.

Away from her costly decision.

Every one of us should leave that story with a similar description of Marlene in mind.  Morbid.  Repulsive.  Selfish.  She definitely isn't someone who we would want to be like.  Who in their right mind would willingly let someone suffer - or die - when we could prevent it?  If all it took was one little step, who wouldn't take that opportunity to save a life?

What if I told you that we are like Marlene?

You are like her.  I am like her.  I have willingly let someone walk by me who was headed towards death.  I have made the decision to let that person leave without warning them.  And why?  It's more comfortable.  It's easier.

There is an important truth that we so often miss:  10 out of 10 people die.  Everyone around you - your family, friends, strangers, enemies - they will all die.  What's next?

As Christians, we hold the answer to that question.  We have hope!  JESUS is the reason we don't have to fear death.  He is the reason we can have joy, peace, and true life.  He is the reason that the future doesn't have to be a bleak, scary horizon, full of doubt and fear.

Christians hold a priceless treasure in their hands.  The Good News is a key.  We are all held captive by the chains of death.  Sin.  Fear.  Evil.  Yet there is hope!  The Good News of Jesus' measureless love for us can break those bonds.  It can loosen our fetters so that we walk free!  Free forever!

But why is the area of witnessing one that we tend to avoid?  Why do we look at it as a "duty" or a horrible task that comes along with being a Christian?

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave us a clear-cut command, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."  But what else did He say? "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (see Mark 16 and Matthew 28)

Yes, witnessing can be uncomfortable.  But why do we fear what man thinks of us when we know that God has commanded us to share His love?  We might be rejected, but God is still honored.  And do you think that there is any chance, any chance at all that you will get to heaven and hear, "You were a great person, but you shared My love too much?"  No...I think most of us will get the exact opposite words.  Why wouldn't we be sharing God's love as much as possible?  What could hinder us from this honor?  The honor of representing Jesus on this earth as His messengers?

I know that many of us struggle in this area.  When we think of sharing the Gospel, we make excuses.  Our fear often grabs our tongues.  We remain silent.  I struggle with this often, but we need to remember He is with us always.  We can do all things through Christ!  What great news this is.  We don't have to rely on our own strength, ability, or intelligence.  We only need to trust Him.

Will you step out and share the Good News?  Or will you let them walk straight towards death without uttering a warning?

As a side note, if you are struggling with witnessing, I really recommend a book by Mark Cahill that was very encouraging in this area in my own life.  One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven is full of practical tips, encouragement, and real-life examples that impacted me, making me want to share God's love to everyone. =)  It might change the way you view witnessing as well.

Can you think of lost people around you who need to hear the Gospel?  How can you take definite steps today to encourage them towards a relationship with God?  Comment below!

Oct 18, 2016

Blogiversary Announcement!

How long have I been away from this little blog?  Has it only been one or two weeks?  I've missed you all so very much!  You don't realize how close you grow to your delightful readers until you take a break from blogging.  *sigh*  Even so, I hope that this announcement will make up for one less blog post last week. =)

Yes!  I'm announcing some fun things that are coming up in my blogiversary celebration!  =)

First of all....

Blog Changes!  I'm working on designing a potential new blog banner as well as making some other changes.  After creating several designs, I sent them to a handful of friends...and everyone gave me a different answer. =P  *sigh*  So...it's up to me to decide. =)  I hope to have the designs final this month without getting grey hair.  ;)  Let's see if this actually works out like I'm hoping it does... hehe.

A Giveaway!  I'm actually hosting three giveaways, all presented below!  *throws confetti*  I'm actually super excited to be giving these away...I can't wait to see who is the winner and gets to be blessed. =)  These are some great books...just saying... =)  hehe.  They include two paperback books for local readers (USA please!)  my novella The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser and a nonfiction book by Leslie Ludy that convicted me on several levels called Set-Apart Femininity: God's Sacred Intent for Every Young Woman (see my full review here).  Even if you don't win these books, I do recommend them for future reads. =)  For my delightful international readers, I am giving away an ebook edition of my novella. =)  I hope that whoever wins these books are blessed by them and that they help you to grow in your relationship with Jesus.  ♥  I would send these books to every one of you... but money would be an issue. =(

As a note, yes - I am only doing free entries!  There is no need to share this giveaway, subscribe to my blog, add the books on Goodreads, etc.  BUT... (there's always a but, right?) feel free to do so if you desire!  The more who enter the merrier. =)

Lastly, after numerous readers requested it, I will be hosting a Q & A Vlog!  =)  If you have some questions that you would like me to answer, go ahead and write them below!  I will then answer them through a video!  However, I do retain the rights to pick and choose which questions I will present in my vlog.  (thus, if you ask stalker-ish questions like, "When is your birthday and where do you live and what is your bank account number?" I might not answer) =P  I have put 4 slots for questions on this questionnaire, but if you want to submit a second or third form, feel free to do so!  *whispers*  Ariel, I'm talking to you...  ;)

Let me know if you have any questions!  I hope to post my vlog and the winners of the giveaway sometime near the end of October.  I'll leave you there wondering when the special date will be. ;)

I hope you have fun and are blessed through my blogiversary celebration. =)  You are such a blessing to me, and I am thankful to know each and every one of you.  As always, let me know if I can be praying for you. ♥

Oct 4, 2016

Changes in the Air

It's October!  And with October come a change in the air.  The warm, embracing, summer air disappears as a crisp, colder wind blows in.  Leaves blow through the heavens in scarlet and golden hues.  Like the air, my blog will be having some changes that you should be aware of.  Be forewarned! =)

First of all, this is my one-year blog anniversary!!!!!!!  My first blog post was posted on the third of October in 2015. =)  I hope I can say that my writing and blogging skills have improved since then. =)  I can't believe a whole year has passed...how did this happen?  It has been an amazing time, and I have been blessed beyond imagination!  Thank YOU all so very much for reading all these posts and just being...well, you!  =)  I have met so many amazing, creative, and talented individuals through my year of blogging.  ♥  I hope to come up with something to celebrate the anniversary this month...any ideas?  Please??

I have made some changes to my blog.  The first is that I will not be posting book reviews anymore.  But wait!  All is not gloom!  If you want to read my book reviews, feel free to add me on Goodreads.  I just want to replace my book review posts with something more interesting, impacting, and inspiring.  I will still be posting an occasional movie review here and there because I think they are enjoyed more than book reviews. =)  (and I like posting them) ;)

Instead of eliminating my "book reviews" page forever, I am replacing it with a "contact" page!  If you have any questions, prayer requests, comments, or just want someone to chat with, you can send me an email. =)  I am looking forward to hearing from you.  ♥

Another change is that I will not be writing tagged posts as much anymore.  Like book reviews, I would like to replace them with more meaningful posts.  This doesn't mean I won't throw a tag in every once in a while, but please don't be offended if you tag me for something that I don't end up doing.  I will have one last tag post soon, and I may have more in the future.  However, I would like to cut down on the number that I post.

Lastly, and I hesitate to share this, I will not be posting as much as usual this October.  Life has been crazy...and I don't want to be staying up late Monday nights every week to write these posts.  If I have something written, I'll post it...however, I may skip weeks or post on a day other than Tuesday.  I warned you, so don't panic. ;)  hehe.  I can be unpredictable, can't I?

Oh dear...I can't end a blog post on such a depressing note, can I?  Okay...so I'll give you one more update.  (this really IS the last one)  I *might* be updating the look of Having a Heart Like His this month!  I am going to contact some of my awesome readers and some bloggers that I greatly respect and ask their opinion on some designing ideas.  =)   I'm still not 100% certain if my blog's design will change much or not...but I will warn you. =)

Thank you so very much, my dear readers!  I appreciate you more than you may ever know.  Now hop off this post and shoot me an email!  I want to hear from you. ;)

What should I do for my blog anniversary?  Ideas??  Can you help suggest some design changes for my blog?  Comment below!