The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

I love this book! As I was 3 chapters into The Crescent Stone I thought to myself, “This is the book I wish was always written. It has everything I want included in it.” Then I read a review where that person said something similar to my thoughts. It is true. The Crescent Stone is full of so much fantasy, adventure and just the right amount of love and honor.

One gets swept up in another world where the battle between good and evil isn’t as it first seems. The main characters are full of integrity, honor, and love. Sacrifices are made and unconditional love is at the core of the main characters.

Magic has a price in this story. Unicorns are real just not as you might think. Friends stick together and risk their lives for each other. Hope is something that intertwines even those that are in opposition to one another.

If you have any questions about the content you can rest assured. It is good for teenagers and fantasy violence is the extent of anything that may be worrisome. The topics often bring up injustice towards groups of people and how our actions affect others. I rather enjoyed the true value of friendship and love that is portrayed very well within the book.

I cannot wait until the next part of the series is published. Thank you Matt Mikalatos for writing such a grand world full of adventure!

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers and these opinions are my own.

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I Won’t Give Up On You

Recently I have been pondering about life and those that love well (as well as those that do not love at all).

My thoughts are this: someone who loves much has known much hurt. Someone who loves deeply has often experienced much loss. It may not be the same for everyone but generally it seems to be the case.

On the same note anyone without a proper understanding of who Jesus (Love) is can turn into bitter, pain inflicters. Life can be really rough. If one does not know how much that God loves them; if they do not know that He is good, that He has not been to blame, then one often sees yucky, ugly, venomous behaviors towards themselves and others (remember this when you are treated poorly by someone, betrayed and ignored).

Too many times people blame God for circumstances in their life when it was either due to the sins of others or their own.

When loss comes, when things have been stolen from you, when you have been betrayed you still have a choice. How will you respond? Will you love more, deeper, and wider? Will you ensure that no one will ever be hurt by you the way others have hurt you?

If you died tomorrow who would you need to reconcile with? If you are waiting for someone to put in any effort towards reconcilation and you keep waiting, who would you need to forgive? For many it could be combinations of all these plus some.

My prayer is to love better than I did yesterday. The losses in my life have made more room for love because that is what I chose.

What will you choose?

When it comes down to the end, love is what matters. Love wins. Love lasts for eternity.

Even if no one were to ever love you truly as God intended, you still have a choice. In the end there will be no excuses because no one else is to blame for the choices you make.

So…I will choose love no matter how much someone hurts me. I will forgive as my family is slandered, ignored & hurt. I will cling to God and His promises in the thick of battle. By faith I will believe that miracles are happening.

I cling to hope.

Because of God and His love I won’t give up on you.

The Unseen

Recently I was struck with a grand reality that I have realized before but it finally burried itself deep into my heart:

God takes care of you when you sleep. While you sleep He is taking care of things unseen.

Anything that you face He has you completely covered. We do not need to strive for control. We do not need to have all the solutions, finances or best plan because God already does.

This does not mean that we get to be lazy. Absolutely not. What it does mean is that as we submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to guide us, we can find rest amidst the battle.

At a service the other night the word, “refreshment” was spoken over me. Simply put, just like a soldier needs to come back to camp for food and water and rest, I would receive the same spiritual refreshment. It resonated with my soul because I had just asked the Lord to help me understand how to do this.

In a flash all these dots seemed to connect more and the truth about God became deeper rooted within me. He never tires. He never tarries. His timing is flawless. He knows what He is doing. Because He is good, He is trustworthy. Because He is love, He is faithful. Because He loves you, He will help you and make a way for you.

There are no buts, what ifs, maybes, or rugs waiting to be ripped from beneath you. God is not the culprit of either your bad choices or the bad choices from others. He is always the one to help you back up, to cry with you or to fiercely roar in the face of your enemy.

He is mighty!

He does not like it when others mess with His own.

There is justice for you.

He stands in front and behind to declare that you are His.

Better Than The Lilies

There is a statement I keep saying this year, “He clothes me better than the lilies.”

This is a significant statement about how I trust the Lord. He has always provided for our needs plus some.

It has been our priority to take care of our daughter first. We pay hundreds a month for her care (even though she rarely sees half of it) and then we make sure she has all she needs in our care. With her constant growth spurts this means that any new clothes for us come not out of our own pockets but as a blessing from others.

I have been blown away in the last month and at scattered times throughout the past year! I practically have a new wardrobe. You may not know but I’ve kept things even as things faded, stunk (sorry armpits), and tore (I still have items from before college). I now can get rid of these because of generous ladies who have shown great love for me. They keep giving me very nice clothes (brands I could not shop for).

I truly believe this great outpouring is because I (my husband too) have gone without for years to ensure our daughter has had clothes to wear. There were moments when we could not even afford to purchase her clothes and the Lord always provided with hand me downs from other families. He has always taken care of us.

We have celebrated this year because we’ve enjoyed shopping for clothes for her. It has given us great joy to be able to do so after many years of struggling. I have not cared that all the clothes money goes to her. She comes first.

Becauseof this I have come to understand how proud God is for how we love our girl. He clothes me better than the lilies because he loves me. Every time I wear a new-to-me item of clothing I feel so much love. I know whose I am. It is a reminder that if God cares enough to clothe me like royalty that all the other impossible and difficult things will come to pass in time.

Hallelujah!

A Letter To Michael

I know I already gave birth to you.

I know your birth was too soon. Since Dec 18th I know that I will get to hold you in my arms someday.

This weekend would have been the time I would have brought you into this world and cradled you close. Your due date was July 15th (give or take a few, I am sure). I would have counted every finger and toe. I would have kissed your cheeks. I would have marvelled at every movement and sound from you.

But my arms are empty and Heaven seems too far away today.

Your birth had a purpose that I am still waiting for. I know the purpose and the blessing that comes with it.

Life as I know it now is full of much more hope because of you. I love deeper, bigger and wider.

You are loved and I know that you know this the best out of anyone because you reside with Love now.

Happy “unofficial” birthday dear one!

Legacy: kindness?

Something heavy on my heart are the power of words. With my job, too often I see kids walk through our doors beat up from the words and actions of adults in their life. Kids come in with heads hung low or hiding deep wounds made by someone’s tongue.

Choose your words wisely. Your words can either help someone or hinder them. The same can be said about yourself.

The words one hears; the words spoken over someone, to someone, and about someone all become a part of the individual who is being spoken to. If these words are damaging, unfortunately it becomes a part of them.

Parents and family members, if you are trash talking another person that is related to your children, keep in mind that you are hurting your children. Your temporary pleasure of acting out in anger is not worth the abuse on your children’s heart and soul.

Be kind.

Speak kindly.

Choose to love. Stop the words of hate from exiting your mouth.

Be better.

Do better.

You were made to live in a way that helps and blesses others, especially your children, who are here to carry the legacy you leave behind.

What will your legacy be?

Warrior

Dear heart, arise and lift your head up.

Do you have the courage to face the day even amidst your darkest hour? When the battle is thick and a cloud of darkness is all you can see surrounding you, will you choose to be brave and press on?

The Lord, like a fierce lion is in pursuit. He sees you and your eyes lock. In His eyes you see victory and a love so fierce that fills your soul to continue pressing on through each assailant. In that instant, a light bursts forth ahead piercing the darkness.

Mighty God, the Lion of Judah, smashes every assailant in your path. He leads you to victory. His roar makes the whole earth tremble. Justice has just been dealt. Laughter echoes into the valleys. The waters and bubbling brooks dance with joy.

He lifts you up. You stand triumphant looking upon your enemies, every foe has been laid low. New breath fills your lungs.

Every ounce of blood and every fallen tear has been worth the journey to get here.

His roar brings victory. His breath restores life. His laughter scatters the rest of your enemies.

He has made you victorious!

The Road To Magnolia Glen

Adventure, risks, murder, hope, and love. The Road to Magnolia Glen is a joyful read. Filled with suspense and hope from beginning to end, this fiction story will be sure to provide an enjoyable escape from life.

Pam Hillman intertwined characters and histories to bring together a great story. The love of God is gently woven into the pages portrayed mostly through the characters courageous acts to help strangers, brothers and families. A love story blooms from tragedy. Good triumphs over evil.

Overall, the book is enjoyable because it is a relaxing read. Was the story predictable? Yes, but at the same time I wanted to read more to find out if any twists or turns had occurred within the plot. Do you fall in love with the characters? Yes and ultimately you desire to have the stubborness from Quinn and Kiera bring them together in the end. I would continue reading this series after reviewing The Road To Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman.

I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers and these opinions are my own.

Better Had You

Recently I have entered into an interesting season contending for breakthrough. As an intercessor some seasons can be more intense than others. A week ago words flooded my mind as I put pen to paper. The words were from the perspective of the individual(s) I had been praying for.

This is not what I normally share but perhaps you may feel led to pray for the thousands just like this. Rise up and foster, adopt and step up to love kids in abusive situations.

“Your words hit me like a ton of bricks in my gut. Your neglect and words beat me until I can no longer breathe.

Better had you hit me with your fists. Better had you slammed my head into the door. At least with those bruises others who could save me would see. Better had you given me welts on my skin so that teachers, pastors, counselors and friends could document my pain. If you had only hit me physically, I would already be safe at my loving home.

But you choose to injure my heart and torture my soul. By your words and neglect you leave me for dead. I have to live by myself surrounded by wolves hoping I can stay safe enough where I am.

I am so close to safety. I am so near to love. Every chance you get it gives you pleasure to rob me of those two gifts.

Why won’t you let me go?”

It is a sad reality if one is wishing to be beat in hopes of someone noticing other forms of abuse.

To all those suffering like this we call you safely home. We call you into arms ready to love and care for you. You are loved.

In The Thick Of It

Are you waiting for promises?

The more I learn about perseverance the more I realize how much work goes into seeing promises come to fruition. If you are expecting a promise to just magically appear without any struggle or waiting period, you will be full of disappointment. Promises do not come without a battle. The bigger the promise the bigger the battle. On the same note the bigger the promise the bigger the victory will be.

While you are in the thick of it remember that God is faithful.

Expect a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. Anything worth having does not come easy. It will come with risks and challenges.

In my past I used to feel so defeated when month after month victory seemed so out of reach. Instead of seeing how close victory was I either complained, felt sorry for myself or put on pride and told God, “I got this now because obviously you are not doing anything.”

Lord, forgive me for those times! I could have chosen praise rather than believing the lie of defeat. I could have stood my ground. I could have laughed in the face of the enemy.

But that was the past.

Today I choose to stand my ground.

Today I choose joy.

Today I choose to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord.

Today I laugh in the face of the enemy.

I continue to laugh as he flees.

I laugh my way into victory!