Monday, May 21, 2018

Top Movies I Want to See

Hello, folks! Since I haven't had time to film a video this past week, and lost my dear laptop and all that, I just wrote up and scheduled this random post on Saturday (my free day!)

So ... the MOVIES I'm anticipating seeing! Take a look!

Counting On: Season Eight

Airing: July 31st, 2018

{Kendra Duggar // Joy-Anna Forsyth // Jinger Vuolo}

{Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson // Engaged}

{Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo // Baby Shower}

I know, Counting On is not a movie. But I couldn't help but put this TV series on the list! I am so, so, so excited for Season Eight. *internal squealing* I love watching this family grow and experience life. I'm especially excited to continue watching Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo's journey. ^_^


Like Arrows

Released: May 1st, 2018

After loving their movies such as "War Room" and "Courageous", I'm really looking forward to the Kendrick Brothers' new film, Like Arrows! It's theme is parenting, and it looks spectacular. I think it will be a much-needed and impacting message.


Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Releases: October 5th, 2018

I haven't actually watched the first movie, but the trailer for Unbroken: Path to Redemption looks absolutely amazing! I love the era, for one. And the emotional journey shown in here looks powerful. As I recall, it's based on a true story. Can't wait to watch it.


I Can Only Imagine

Released: March 16th, 2018

Based on the life of the lead singer of the Christian band, Mercy Me, I Can Only Imagine also looks like it's a powerfully-moving story! I definitely love the song, "I Can Only Imagine", and I think I'm going to really appreciate this heart-rending, beautiful story of redemption.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Releases: April 20th, 2018

So apparently this is based on a novel, which I know pretty much nothing about. However, it looks like a really lovely film so I want to give it a try! I mean, Lily James plays in it and I really enjoyed her performances in "Cinderella" and "Downton Abbey". Plus, I love period dramas. And a book club + romance? Yes, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society sounds like it could just be my thing. ^_^


The Greatest Showman

Released: December 20th, 2017

This one looks like such fun, and is also based on a true story. I've been a little enamored with the idea of circuses and shows like this since reading The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof, so I'm excited to see how The Greatest Showman is!


God's Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness

Released: March 30th, 2018

I enjoyed the previous two films, so I'm looking forward to seeing God's Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness. It sounds like it has quite a thought-provoking theme - and those are always good!


Once Upon a Prince

Released: April 7th, 2018

Yes, Hallmark movies can tend to be cheesy, but if Once Upon a Prince the movie is anything like the book by Rachel Hauck that it's based off, it'll be great! Truly, the book was a lovely modern-day retelling of "Cinderella", so I'm really hoping to see this movie.


So there you have it! Seven movies + a TV series season that I'm eagerly anticipating!



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Book Review: The Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Purchase HERE

Title: Land of Silence

Author: Tessa Afshar

Series: Standalone

Genre: Biblical Historical

Audience: Adult


Before Christ called her daughter ...

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment ...

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body ... and soul?

**5 stars**

Tessa Afshar writes such marvelous stories! I haven't loved all her novels, but I feel Bread of Angels and now Land of Silence are absolutely incredible. The writing style, the characters and the authenticity of their world, the faith ... it all draws me in and I find myself hardly able to put the book down! Ah, I was so excited to read another book by this author, and Land of Silence did not disappoint. Tessa Afshar, along with Connilyn Cossette, is a master at writing Biblical historical novels. I truly believe she has a God-given gift for it.

So Land of Silence takes the story from The Bible of the woman who had a bleeding condition for fourteen years and imagines who this woman was and what her life was like prior to her encounter with Jesus Christ.

From practically the first page, I was drawn in and this book never lost my interest. I did at times become frustrated with Elianna, though my heart ached for her. She was perhaps very much like me in ways! Pretending she was in control; trying to fix everything and save everyone. It was gut-wrenching watching her make some choices that she did instead of choosing to trust God and those who loved her. Surrender. Overall, it was a very good lesson for me! Though a secondary character who's not seen much, I loved Elianna's sister, Joanna. I also really liked Ethan, Viriato, and Claudia. So many wonderful characters!

The storyline and plot were hard in many ways, but intriguing and, oh, so beautiful! The parts about using dye, embroidering, and selling merchandise were very interesting. The world and customs fascinating. And the themes and lessons! They were truly deep. We go on this incredible journey of forgiveness, surrender, and healing. Some of the lessons are subtle in a way, but powerful. The idea that this woman's life has been completely gutted before she has her encounter with Jesus resounds with me. Like ... sometimes God allows everything to be taken because what we truly need is Him. -To look into His eyes and hear Him call us "daughter" or "son".

Wow. Amazing story. Thoroughly engrossing book. I eagerly await my next chance to read another of Tessa Afshar's novels.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

TV Show Review: Counting On: Season Three

Hello, readers! Today I'm doing a little review for Season Three of the TV reality show called Counting On. (Well, back in season three it was called "Jill & Jessa: Counting On", but I think they changed that now because Jill and Derick Dillard are no longer officially part of the show.)

(Jinger, Joy-Anna, Josiah, Ben, Jessa & Baby Spurgeon, Joseph, John-David, and Jana)

Season Three is the second season I've watched of Counting On (I watched the latest, season seven, first). I've been following the Duggar family for awhile, but it is so fun and exciting to actually watch each episode and get the details - go along on the journey!

In this season, we get Jinger and Jeremy's love story ... from the start of their courtship to engagement. This was so delightful for me because they're one of my favorite couples! It was fun to see Jinger in the spotlight and get to know her guy. I cried watching the engagement. I teared up more than once, actually. *laughs* But seriously, it was so sweet to watch. And there were so many fun moments! Amazing surprises, milestones, and more. This couple is head over heels for each other, and they truly seem to be seeking God in their lives.
The courtship was a little quick, but it worked for them! And, ah, some moments were just so tender and beautiful. I love how Jeremy involved his parents and they were so excited for him! <3

We get to see into Ben and Jessa's life as a married couple of maybe two years ... and with a baby! Spurgeon is so adorable.

Ben is really cool. He's fun and easy-going, and eager to get involved in ministry for young boys. There's an episode where he and Jessa have Christian hip-hop artist, Flame, over and give him a taste of country/Duggar life. That was a great episode! *grins*

As for Jill and Derick, we travel to South America to see them. Meet some of their friends and hear of the concerns and dangers. Their little baby, Israel, is a cutie too. ^_^

I loved seeing the different ministries that Ben, Derick, and Jeremy are involved in. From overseas missions, to football coaching, to pastoring a church ... the Duggar girls sure know how to pick men with hearts for serving! It's awesome to see young couples wanting to pursue the Lord together.

This season has adventure, surprises, babies, and romance, of course! Survival camp and house renovations. An exciting trip to New York City and other fun outings. It's wholesome and authentic. Fun and inspiring. A show about family and faith, and one I think the entire family can enjoy.

With a new courtship in progress, the directors take to asking the Duggar siblings questions about love and romance and potential mates. It was really neat to hear some of the older boy's answers. They seem like pretty solid, Christian guys! From fun trivia about what kind of girl each of the Duggar brothers would go for, to more serious discussions about guarding a girl's heart and physical boundaries, I loved hearing from John-David, Joseph, Josiah, Jedidiah, and Jeremiah. And the brothers-in-law! I think they have some great advice for young men about this topic.

So yes, I've been really enjoying watching this show. And also sharing it with my teen and pre-teen siblings! It has us laughing at humorous parts, and crying (at least me) at the tender moments.

Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar (the parents) are perhaps a little strict about some things. But overall, they appear to be a pretty close-knit and authentic Christian family. I love getting this inside scoop of their lives. They're lives are interesting, and the different couples inspire me in different ways. All the siblings and brothers and sisters-in-law seem supportive and loving toward each other.

I hope to someday watch all the seasons of Counting On, but right now I most exciting for the new season to release! (This summer, I think?) I can't wait to hear more about the new engagements, weddings, and sweet, little babies! *grins*

If you like shows about family and faith, I recommend Counting On.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Booktube Monday: April Wrap Up!

Hey, readers! How's life? I hope Monday is going well for you. I was up kind of late last night ... it being a Bible study evening and all ... but I got up a seven-thirty this morning, went to a doctor appointment, and feeling great.

Saturday I went thrift shopping with some of my younger siblings. I love thrift shopping! ('Cause cheap books, my friends ...) I found a shirt, skirt, and a pile of books for $.50 each! Yay! That was a pretty fun adventure. *winks*

Anyway, it's time for another Booktube video! Presenting my April Wrap-Up 2018, folks! Let me know what's the favorite book you read last month!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Hey, Singles ...

Hey, readers! So, back in September of 2016 I started another blog, called Lady Grace, in hopes of motivating myself to post more faith/inspirational posts. It worked to a certain extent. *laughs*

It's been lovely having my Lady Grace blog and trying out Wordpress, but I'm thinking about going back to just one blog again. Running two blogs can be a bit stressful for me, especially when I'm hoping to have a full-time (or at least part-time) job soon.

So I might go back to just blogging here. I'd probably do my Booktube Mondays, random post on Wednesdays, and then Faithful Fridays (inspirational/faith posts). We'll see.

Quick Question: For those of you who signed up to receive email notifications from Between the Pages of This Bookish Life - are you still receiving those emails? I know my sister and some other people said they weren't. 

But I'm just going to share this week's post from Lady Grace on here! (It's going up on Lady Grace tomorrow - Saturday.)


Ah, that dreaded word.


Actually, it's not all that bad. *winks* When I stop thinking about "single" as a label that defines me completely, I began to stop worrying, fussing about, and dreading hearing it.

Now, I still do sometimes have a problem with how some people treat unmarried people ... "When are you going to get a boyfriend?" "Why aren't you married yet?" "You're being too fussy." "Aw, you poor, lonely thing!" "You're not making yourself available enough!" Like, how about encouraging us to thrive where God has us instead of making us feel incomplete, behind, or lacking (as we already tend to struggle with feeling like!)?

But that's a whole different post.

I'm glad to say that I've been doing much better with accepting my place in life right now and learning to blossom. Last year around this time I was feeling really down and just wishing I could be married and having children like (almost) all of my friends and cousins were.

I feel like God has done a lot of work on my heart since then.

I still have a deep heart's desire to be married one day.

But, I'm finding joy in other things that God has given me and actively pursuing life right now as an unmarried woman.

Today, I want to present a few points - things that are helping me get to this place of excitement and passion and contentment. I'm still a work-in-progress! But God is ever teaching me. Oh, how faithful He is. We just have to stay humble and pressing into Him and His goodness.

1) Don't be Single, be in a Relationship with Jesus Christ

Friends, I know the loneliness can feel excruciating. Numbing. Depressing. Especially in some seasons of life where other negative things are going on as well. I can't give a perfect solution to take the loneliness away. So here's my advice:

Let your lonely heart drive you to Jesus.

Your loneliness, your broken heart, your confusion, your hopelessness, your unmet desires, your fear, your shattered dreams ... instead of letting them crush you, let them push you toward God.

I know it's hard. But open your hands. And surrender. Again, and again, and again.

As you grow closer to Christ, you'll begin to realize that this is what you need. Him. A closeness with God. A dependency on Him. Hope and joy and peace in Him. Because this is the lasting stuff! These are the things that will never let you down or let you go. Because our God is faithful.

And He is love.

On those days when being single feels very hard and very solitary, guess what? God can meet you there. And He will, if you allow Him.

If you're too busy surfing the web, checking Facebook for the hundredth time and stalking cute boys, watching movie after movie ... anything to fill your loneliness ... (anything but God, that is), then you're going to miss His gentle, awesome Presence.

But if you aren't desperately scrambling to fill the void of a boyfriend/husband, you'll start to realize that God is always there beside you. Waiting to hear your voice. Your whisper. Your cry.

He walks with you. And in the moments when you feel rejected or lonely or sad or just down, you can talk to Him and share your whole heart.

I love the idea that I can go to God with my feelings at any moment. Anywhere. I love that I am His and He is mine. I love that my life is one exciting, beautiful love story with Him.

Yes, sometimes the ache for a human companion and best friend is nearly tangible.

But God keeps reminding me that He is here and He's taking care of me and providing me with all I need.

And in that is incomprehensible peace, joy, love, and passion for life!

If you don't have a close relationship with Jesus Christ, your life is going to be fraught with loneliness, unmet expectations, and discontentment - whether your married or single!

You have to come to this place of emptiness where you feel like all you can do is cry out to the Lord. And then, wow, let Him fill you up.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

2) Realize there are a lot of Mr. Wrongs out there

Okay, so I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding "Mr. Right". But that's not what we're talking about today. We're talking about all the "Mr. Wrongs"; and they are out there, let me assure you!

So let me explain. There have been times in my life where I've been like, "I just want to get married! Why does this have to be so complicated? I'll just find a nice, Christian guy and we'll fall in love and live happily ever after."

But listen, ladies. There are a lot of nice, Christian guys out there that aren't right for you.

They aren't pursuing a close relationship with God like you are. They don't have the same passion for glorifying God in everything and living out His plans for their life like you do. Maybe they don't have a love for Jesus like the one you feel in your heart. Maybe they aren't actively working through struggles and hurts in their life because they don't trust God enough yet. Perhaps he's a great guy, but he has such different convictions, passions, and ideas about life. Maybe he doesn't have hardly any convictions or passions at all.

Just because he goes to church and believes in God doesn't make him the right partner for you, dear Christian woman.

I'm not saying you'll find a perfect man. Because you most certainly won't. (And if you think you will, you're going to fall a mighty long way from cloud nine.)

But if you're desiring to live your life for God's glory (and this is His will for you!) then don't you think God wills for you to have a man who's deeply desiring the same thing?

If you're going to be partners, don't you think you need to be moving in the same direction?

I don't know about you, but I want my husband to be my soul mate. By that I mean, I want him to understand and share the deepest parts of me - heart and soul. My relationship with a very real Creator God. My love for Jesus Christ, God's Son. My firm belief that I'm God's daughter by Jesus' blood and my faith in Him. My belief that the Bible is absolute truth. My hunger for Him, His Word, and prayer time. My desire to live my life for Him, use my gifts (which He gave me for a purpose) for His glory and people's good, raise children to know and love Him ... !

I'm not perfect. But as I desire and seek ... and over and over again find God and His will as my central desire ... why would I bind myself to a man who can't understand & share in that

It makes no sense.

So, as I grow in the Lord and realize that I do have very specific desires when it comes to a husband, and not all the guys out there are going to meet those standards, it helps me in some way.

To be patient.

I so deeply desire a godly husband that I know I'm one-hundred percent willing to wait as long as it takes!

It perhaps helps calm my anxious heart that worries as all these guys pass me by. I say to myself, "I'm seeking God's will for my life and I'm not willing to settle for a man who's not desiring the Lord like I am. I can't just dash out there and find a suitable guy in mere seconds because my standards are high. Therefore I must surrender and trust God to work out my earthly love story if He has marriage in store for me.

I let go ... and I find peace and joy.

3) Find a Community. Build Relationships. Look for ways to Bless and Serve People!

Love people and live life! <3 Don't let singleness stop you, folks. There was never any reason that it should!

So come out of that dark hole. Press into the Lord and realize your standards - what you want in a husband ... what God would want you to choose/seek!

Next, find a community. I believe when God speaks of alone-ness in Genesis, He's not just saying marriage is good. He's saying people being with people is good - family is good and friends are good and community is good.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

We should be doing life with other people whether we're single or married. We should have close friendships and wise mentors in our lives. We should be looking for other people to bless and mentor!

Now, there are some seasons where we're just alone. And God uses this. Most times to draw us to Him! (That's what I've found in my life. In that way, being alone can actually turn out to be a beautiful thing ... when it draws us to the Lover of our souls.)

But we're not meant to be without human companionship forever. So find a church community and make friends! *smiles*

For myself, I've been visiting different churches! I like the church that my family goes to - the teaching is solid and encouraging. However, I'm having a hard time getting involved. So I've been visiting different churches, looking for one that has great fellowship and I can really be in community with. It's been fun, trying out new churches! I get a little nervous at times, but I love meeting new people! (If they're the ones to introduce themselves and strike up a conversation, haha!)

I've involved myself in Bible studies. Even started one for my younger sister and her friends. Now, we haven't been able to do any study nights recently, but I'm hopefully we'll be able to again soon! I'm plotting and planning and toying with ideas of going through this book or that book. ;) And I might try out the Wednesday night Bible study at the new church I'm going to currently.

I'm grateful for the chance to grow closer to siblings, family & relatives, and long-distance friends. Yes, sometimes it's hard because my life can be so monotonous. And then I start feeling down and don't feel like putting any effort into building old relationships.

But, that's why I'm trying to get into a community and try new things. Keeping a spark of excitement in life helps me to remember the people already around me and how I shouldn't let this stage slip by without growing close to them!

One thing that continues to be really hard is not having any friends my age. I have a few long-distance friends, but we don't get the chance to talk very often.

Do you all have any advice for me? :) Besides looking for a church family to get involved with, what can I do to meet new people and make friends?? Haha. It's been difficult, but I'm thankful for my siblings and their friends, aunts, my mom, cousins, etc.

Last night I went to a disc-golf course with my thirteen-year-old brother and seventeen-year-old sister. We enjoy disc-golf! Well ... my brother loves it. I enjoy it. *winks*

So there's another tip ... look for ways to hang out with your younger siblings (or cousins or something.) Look for ways to invest in their lives. Mentor them, maybe.

That's been helpful for me. It pulls my focus off of just me and my life and my struggles and my hurts, and starts investing my heart and emotions in other people. So I can find hope through their lives. I can feel joy for them when good things come their way. I can pray for them. I can help them through the hard times. I can rejoice when they succeed. Grow. Receive their dreams.

So whoever God has in your life right now, find ways to serve and bless them! Get involved in their lives and journey together! Share emotions, hopes, hardships, and dinners. *winks*

4) Pursue your Dreams. Invest in your Talents. Don't wait to do what you feel like God is calling you to.

Y'all, what is God calling you to? Don't be deceived ... if your heart is beating, you have a purpose! Don't miss out on this wonderful thing because you're too busy waiting to get married.

If you can break away from the depression that comes from a broken heart and the listlessness that comes from shattered dreams and the hopelessness that comes from lack of trust ...
You will realize that there are beautiful things out there within your reach, but you've been so consumed with one beautiful thing (aka: marriage) that you've been blinded to all the rest.

What was it you always wanted to be when you were younger (for me, it was an author!)? Or what opportunities do you see around you that tug at your heart? A younger person who needs a mentor? A group of young people who would be blessed by a Bible study (ladies, you could start a girl's Bible study using Love Defined!)? A Crisis Pregnancy Center that could use some volunteers? Maybe your church is going on a mission trip and you have a heart for overseas missions.

Ponder it. Dig deep. What do you have a passion for? What do you feel God might be calling you to? Maybe He is calling you to marriage ... someday. But right now there are other opportunities available while your future spouse is out of sight!

As for my personal life, there's a chance I'm going to have a full-time job very soon. (I'd appreciate your prayers!) Meanwhile, I've been novel-writing quite a bit and absolutely adoring it. I'm remembering that God gave me a passion and a gift for writing and I should definitely be pursuing that and using it for His glory! <3

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So yes, I've gotten excited about that once again. I have a desire to publish more books - stories that I hope will touch reader's heart for God. I know that I have a few loyal fans out there and they remind why I love writing. I'm not exactly sure what God has in store for me, but I'm trying to use my time wisely and write whenever I can. If He wills it, I want to publish again soon!

I tried my hand at making soap and it was a good experience! Not as hard as I thought. Though I was a little scared about mixing the lye. Good news, it all went well and I didn't splat any on myself or my sister! :p So we have a beautiful batch of charcoal soap that smells of lavender and tea tree oil stacked on the top of my sister's bookshelf. We're hoping to make some more this coming week.

And yeah. Blogging, booktubing, Bible studies, and more! I'm trying different things and just seeing where God takes me.

I hope you all will too! Pursue God. Trust Him with your life. Take steps of faith. Enjoy life! Try some new things. Do what you love, all for His glory. <3

Matthew 6:31-33

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.


Here are some books that I've found super helpful during this season of my life.

Savoring Single by Shelley Black

Sex and the Single Girl by Dr. Juli Slattery

And here's a book that Jinger Duggar Vuolo recommends that sounds really good! I'm looking forward to giving it a try someday.

Well, that's about it. Live loved, dear fellow singles, and live to the fullest. <3