Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quick Encouragement #40

Francesca Battistelli - He Knows My Name

By Marianne

This song has really meant a lot to me lately. I've been struggling with accepting the fact that He accepts me just because He loves me. I've had trouble accepting that He adores me and loves me for who I am. The thoughts that I have been letting Satan throw into my head are along the lines of "Why would He want me?" or "With all these other awesome people in the world why does He take time for me?" and "I'm such a sinful person, why does He even bother with me?" It's really put a sort of barrier between God and I.

    Yesterday my youth pastor was preaching a sermon, and he really stressed the parts about how Jesus loves us. And He wants us. He died for us. Tears swelled in my eyes and I had to fight to keep them from streaming down my face and making a scene. I guess I never really stop to think about the fact that He loves me so much that He gave His life for mine. I truly am saved. God has slowly but surely been pouring understanding and peace into my hopelessly broken and stubborn soul. And I thank Him for that. When I started this post I didn't expect it to get this long... I just expected to put a little music video on there because it's time for another post... ;) Y'all know how that goes! 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: The Hobbit

Review by Elinor
Title: The Hobbit
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating: 5/5

Plot: Bilbo Baggins was a completely normal hobbit. He lived in his cozy hobbit-hole and all he wanted was to live the simple, quiet life of any other hobbit. He never asked for the adventure that he is quickly thrown into (thanks to the wizard, Gandalf). He embarks on a journey to assist a group of dwarves regain their kingdom by being their "burglar"; and along the way brings into his possession The One Ring of Power. 

I thought the plot of this story was absolutely amazing! It had so many twists that were completely unexpected, and Bilbo's over-all situation was quite funny. Tolkien truly knew how to weave a story together, and how to relate fantastical things to our own lives. 

Characters: I loved the way that there were so many different characters, who each seemed to represent a different part of ourselves. There really wasn't a way to relate to only one of them, because I was able to see a bit of myself (whether I liked it or not) in each one of the characters (ok, so Gollum was a bit harder to relate to, as was the Master of Lake Town :)). The depth that I got to know each of the characters is actually making me miss them now.

Emotions: Tolkien did a brilliant job of capturing nearly every emotion. Happiness, sadness, joy, anger, victory, defeat, fear, love, guilt, loyalty, and the odd feeling of coming home again after an indescribable adventure. One was truly able to feel each of these things with the characters, and Tolkien's writing style towards these feelings is so different than anything I've read before.

My Thoughts: This book is quite possibly the best fiction I've ever read, and I know it's one of those stories that I will always love. It truly awakened my imagination, and Middle-earth has become one of those places that I deeply wish was real (maybe not, if we're counting the dragons, goblins, and Necromancer ;)). I would probably recommend it for ages 12+, just because the writing style was so deep (which, by the way, was one of the main reasons that I loved it so much), at some points it felt like you almost had to translate it. I just think it would better hold the attention of a 12+ audience, unless you're just way above your average reading level. Thank you so much Mr. Tolkien for sharing your incredible imagination with the world!

Favorite Quotes: 

"Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick"

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging,"

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Quick Encouragement #39

Owl City - You're Not Alone

Just a quick reminder for all of us today.
We are not alone. He is always there and always ready to listen to whatever you have to say. He even understands every struggle your going through. He loves you.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: To Everything a Season

Review by Marianne
Title: To Everything a Season
Author: Lauraine Snelling
Rating: 5/5

Plot: Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

   Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse, She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she has always considered set in stone. 

   When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return? If not, will it mean losing Tygve--and her chance at love--for good?
Copied from the back of To Everything a Season

I really enjoyed this book. I had never read any of Lauraine Snelling's books before and was pleasantly surprised! The plot of this book was very good and it kept me interested all the way through.

Characters: All of the characters in this book were perfectly portrayed, and I grew to love each and every one! I was rather grateful to Ms. Snelling for putting the family tree in the beginning... there were very many characters and it seemed that all of them were related somehow! :) I especially loved Trygve's Aunt Ingeborg... she had a faith in God that was so strong and beautiful... definitely a good role model for all of her nieces and nephews and children and grandchildren etc.

Emotions: This was generally a light-hearted and sweet story, though there were several scenes that were more heavy than others. And talk about a cliff-hanger! I don't want to give anything away, but, wow! This author certainly knows how to keep you on your toes waiting for her next book to release!

My Thoughts: Over-all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was beautifully written, and I am now a big fan of Lauraine Snelling! There is, however, one thing that I think you should be aware of before purchasing this book. The description of the book makes it sound like a romantic story centered around Trygve and Miriam. I didn't even meet Miriam until the second half  of the book and even then it took her a while to actually get to Blessing. This isn't by any means a problem, I just felt that To Everything a Season was more centered around Trygve's family and their stories than the romantic relationship of Trygve and Miriam. The romance was more of just a side-story than the actual plot. Aside from that, I say go for it! This was a great book that I would very highly recommend! There wasn't anything inappropriate or anything that made me uncomfortable, and as I said before, I can't wait for her next book to come out!

Favorite Quote:
"God never leaves His children alone, especially when He is bringing them home."

Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of To Everything A Season from Bethany House Publishing Company for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views expressed above are my own.