Thursday, December 5, 2013

Canada, Day Two

 This post has been a long time coming, but I figure better late than never ( just like thank you notes, right? :D ) So on day two of my trip, Hannah and her mom and I all got up really early to get ready to go to the church school to meet up with Hannah's class and the class below her to go on a hike! :D I was super excited because I never get to do stuff like that and I would also get to see several people I hadn't seen for a very long time. :D It was a long, beautiful drive...

Few of us knew what we were in for, and picture-snapping happy as I was, I was taking a picture of what we were about to hike before I fully realized what was happening!

I think we were all pretty much like, whoa!

All assembled and ready to go!
Still had no clue what we were in for...

There were stairs...lots and lots of them, as well as natural rock " stairs ".

But it was also very beautiful :)

Putting one of my many breaks to try and stop huffing and puffing to use!
  ( Quite a shot, eh? )

Like tramping through a storybook/fairytale at times...


About to scale my way up to what I might call the half-way point...

A ladder anchored into the rock...sure, no problem ( gulp )

Zig-zagging up a steep, narrow crevace
( even if it doesn't look that way in the pic )

And, well, another ladder...

And the side of a steep dome to the top...

And then you get there and breathe in a sigh of relief and jubilation that you made it! :D

Sharon, me, and Hannah <3

Me and Laura <3


Time for lunch :D

Oh, SOOOO stunning...

...On the way home. Couldn't resist a shot of the sailboat. :)

One last shot before pretty much zonking out the rest of the way home ;)
What a lovely, memorable day :)


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cyber Monday

 The Black Friday Blitz for Fire Storm has been extended until Monday! :D Just in case you didn't get a chance to check out this awesome special, see my previous post! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review Recap and Black Friday Blitz!

Book Review
( From April 18, 2013 )

 So, I have an account on this really awesome website called Goodreads. This website is kind of the Facebook of books. You can have a profile and follow authors and people and get updates on what they've written/read. I love it. I am also able to keep track of what I've read and write reviews etc...
 A couple of weeks ago, I got a friend request from an up-coming author searching for readers who want to review her book in exchange for getting a free e-book copy! Cool deal, right? I'm certainly not going to pass up a free book - especially since this was a Christian author. She asked if I would do a review on Goodreads ( which I have yet to do at this point in time ) and on any other social media I have. Which would be my blog. :) Not into social media so much anymore.

 Ok, So down to the nitty-gritty. The book is called Fire Storm and it is written by Mackenzie Dare. ( Really cool title and name, right? :D ) It is 308 pages, but it is so engaging, I assure you it will fly by. Despite circumstances that prevented me from reading a book as quickly as I normally would, I was quite sorry to have it end. However, I must give applause to the fact that I really enjoyed the ending. I am picky about endings. I don't like it to end and there is something that seems like it didn't get resolved and you are left hanging. I will also add though, that I did have a bit of a time getting into the story at the first. ( But that may also have something to do with the fact that I was so distracted the first few chapters ) It was enjoyable, but it seemed like the action began too premature, then leaves you in the dust trying to figure out where the story is heading for the next several chapters. As I got further into the story though, and was able to more fully focus on it, I can see how it all pulls together. The author has great ability to keep your attention because you are never quite sure what to expect next and it is very exciting! I love the focus on Christ and how the fun, sincere relationships in the story make it seem like you are hanging out with friends. When the story gets intense you are praying for things to turn out okay right along with them. You feel what they are feeling because it is that realistic. There is a depth and detail in how certain parts are written that show that either it is something familiar and dear to the author's heart, or she has done a lot of research and is quite gifted. Perhaps both! Certainly a great story for a first publish.

 There ya have it! Now, down below is all about a special Black Friday Promo that includes the first chapter of the now you get to see for yourself what this book is all about! Yay! :D


“But we have no enemies!”… Why would a young mother, happily married and safely nestled amongst the cornfields of small town Illinois suddenly start finding murder attempts around every corner? 

A fireman, Jim thrives on danger, that is until it creeps closer than he ever expected – not to him, but to the one he loves more than life itself – his wife. Who and why? How can the “protector” keep his most cherished possession from this unseen killer? 

Totally innocent – untouched by evil, Jess cannot explain or understand the incidents threatening her very existence. Holding on to her husband and clinging to her knowledge of a powerful God, she can only strive to keep trust in her soul and a smile in her heart, as the icy fingers of death lurk, coiled behind every corner. Safe in innocence, secure in love – marked for murder! God bless our home – if it doesn’t blow up! 




Hi! Thanks for stoppin’ by to participate in our “Black Friday Blog Blizt!”

Today only, get your copy of “FIRE STORM” for 60% off the retail price by following the “special sale link” below!

Enter for a chance to win a free e-book of Fire Storm by copy and pasting one of the messages below and emailing it to: fiction4christians(at)

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Bright autumn leaves whirled around an even brighter red F-150 spurting down the gravel road. At the wheel, Jim Richards, enjoying the cool breeze ruffling his hair and the warm sun tanning the side of his face, had his arm through the open window. In his opinion, northern Illinois was at its peak in the fall. He glanced around at the walls of corn drying on either side of the road, brown with just a hint of green. They’ll harvest ‘em pretty soon.
Jim returned a wave from the driver of an oncoming car. He didn’t know who it was. People were just friendly like that in this small-town, farming community. He and his wife, Jessica, farmed a few acres of hay and bred a small herd on a little horse farm between the village of Oak Creek and the larger town of Spring Valley. 
For an average-size guy, Jim’s frame sported a lot of solid muscle. He liked to work and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle. His blond hair was dark, almost brown, cut short and combed to the side. His eyes were a soft, sky-blue and held a mixture of humor, determination, kindness, compassion, or anger – whatever the situation called for.
Giant, white cotton ball clouds made the sky seem bluer than normal. Jim glanced down at the clock. Better hurry. You’re gonna be late for work. Pushing down on the accelerator, he knew he was going a little faster than he should on these curvy, gravel roads, but he told himself he had grown up around here and knew the area like the back of his hand.
He slowed to the speed limit as he turned onto the main drag going into Spring Valley.
Jim flipped off the radio. It never took him very long to get annoyed with it. It was always on the Chicago “all-news” station, and he really couldn’t care less how the traffic was moving on the Eisenhower or the Kennedy. If there was anything else on that station, he never knew, since he always turned if off before he heard it.
Huh, car in my spot, he thought to himself, as he pulled into the parking lot of the Spring Valley Fire Station.
Jim walked into the locker room. “Hey, Thundercloud, exactly what are you doing in my parking place?” Jim asked his best friend, jokingly. 
“Your parking place? Your deed of ownership, please?” Wade Thundercloud held out his hand.
“Squatter’s rights, my brother. Everyone knows that is my parking place.” Jim took his uniform shirt out of his locker.
“Uh oh, looks like another storm’s a brewin’ between Jim and Big Chief Thundercloud,” Carlos laughed.
“Did I miss something?” a fireman Jim didn’t know asked. 
“It’s relentless persecution for my name,” Wade grumbled, buckling his belt.
“His name’s Wade Thundercloud. In case you haven’t noticed, the boy’s a full blooded redskin,” Carlos, a brawny, Hispanic fireman, explained as he buttoned his shirt.
Wade rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that a racist statement?”
Carlos laughed, “Awww…we hurt the little guy’s feelings.”
Wade threw his shirt at Carlos. “Oh, it’s on.”
“Yeah, maybe we should change the subject,” Jim suggested.
“Hey, I was kinda enjoying it. The guys at my last station were, like, way too serious,” the new guy protested. 
“Yeah, talkin’ ‘bout that, who are you anyway? Derrick get kicked out or something?” Jim put his foot on the paint-chipped bench to tie his shoelace.
“Name’s Travis. Derrick’s sick or something, so I got called over as his replacement.”
Jim nodded and began to tie his other shoe.
“Yeah, well, it’ll be nice to be partnered with a guy that has a little more experience.” Wade straightened his collar. “Derrick’s been out of the academy for almost two years, but he’s only twenty-one.” He buttoned his cuffs. “He graduated from high school a year early when he was sixteen, took one year of paramedic training, quit for a year, then took the last year when he was nineteen.”
“Why’d he quit for a year?”
“Who knows with that kid.”
Jim gave Wade a sideways glance of disapproval.
“By the way, Jim.” Carlos tucked in his shirt. “Cap’s gone at more divorce proceedings so we got Captain Johnson.”
Jim grunted an acknowledgment and then closed his locker door. He was glad to be back to work and was ready for action.

Today was hay-stacking day. Jessica Richards really didn’t mind. She loved being out in the barn with the smell of hay. Besides, throwing hay bales all day was one way of keeping in shape, and what girl didn’t want that? Of course, if her husband had been home, she would have conned him into doing it or at least into helping.
She grabbed a bail in each hand and climbed the ladder to the loft. People had commented that she was stronger than she looked. She was only five-foot-three and one-hundred pounds. Her chestnut hair fell thick and shiny to the middle of her back, and her deep brown eyes danced with joy and excitement more often than not. At twenty-three, she was a year younger than her husband and the proud mother of their beautiful baby girl.
After two hours of strenuous hay-stacking, Jess was beginning to wonder if the horses were worth all this trouble. She plopped down on a bale of hay in the loft and sighed. Halfway done. 
She just sat there a moment, leaning against the stack of hay bales. She seriously contemplated just backing the hay wagon into the lower half of the hay shed and calling it quits for the day. Why not just leave the wagon there permanently and save all this trouble? After all, they never used this barn for anything other than hay, anyway. She smiled to herself as she imagined Jim’s reaction to that idea. That item of business would never make its way to a serious discussion bu-ut… She chuckled at some humorous mental images of his likely aghast response and filed the topic away in her memory as a good conversation starter to lighten the mood some likely evening. Smile weakening, she huffed a sigh. Un-for-tun-ately… that topic would have to keep for a while since he would not be coming home tonight. 
She stretched. Maybe I should go inside, get a glass of cool lemonade, and see how Morgan’s doin’. Mrs. Robinson, an older lady from church, had offered to watch Morgan so she could get some chores done. She wiped her face with her sleeve. It felt good to sweat again. She hadn’t done much really hard labor since before she had Morgan.
As she got up to go down, the smell of smoke drifted up to her. She looked down the ladder. A thick cloud of dark gray smoke filled the barn. Breathing into her sleeve, Jess practically jumped down the ladder, frantic to get out. She raced for the door, but bright, daunting, orange flames already billowed across that escape route. Smoke burned her eyes. She darted for the back, but it was no good. Fire devoured the entire frame. Every wall blazed. Her lungs burned from the smoke. 
She turned a full circle but saw fire in every direction. I have to get out, now! Lord, please, please give me a way out! The loft! Spinning around, she raced for the ladder. The heat grew more intense. Flames crept around the ladder, but she knew she had to go for it. As she raced to the top, the heat nearly overwhelmed her. Her lungs screamed for air. Relief flooded her when she saw that the loft door wasn’t engulfed. Thank you, Lord. 
Kicking the wooden doors open, she jumped, bracing herself for the impact. Pain and gladness swept over her as she hit the ground. Gasping for air, she was so glad to be alive. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Jim sniffed the air as he walked into the kitchen. “What’s that smell?”
“Wade’s cooking lunch today. We’ll probably all end up in the ER with food poisoning,” Dan, their oldest firefighter at forty-three, replied. 
“Hey, don’t criticize my stew.”
“Yeah, I found a prize-winning stew recipe and a prize-winning soup recipe. I’m just gonna mix everything together, and you won’t believe what I come up with.”
“I’m sure of that.”
“Just wait. You’ll love it.” Wade stirred the concoction.
Jim looked skeptical. “Did you burn something?”
“Well, the rice got a little done.”
BURRRUZZZ… The deafening fire bell sounded. Wade switched off the stove and hurried after the crowd out to the trucks. The address came over the loud speaker. Jim froze as he grabbed his helmet. “That’s my house!” Carlos shoved Jim into the engine, flipped on the sirens, and followed the squad out onto the road.
Jim’s heart raced, and his adrenaline pumped in overdrive. What happened? How did it start? Are Jess and Morgan okay? Did they get out? Jim clutched the handle near the door until his knuckles turned white. Faster! Faster!
He could see the smoke billowing as they turned onto the gravel road.
Fear invaded him as he saw flames plume above the hay barn. NO! Jess was going to be in there stacking hay today! His heart pounded.
The engine swung into the driveway. The barn looked like a lost cause. Jim’s eyes wildly scanned the area, looking for Jess. She stood in the grass with the elderly babysitter a little ways from the barn, holding their baby. Relief swept over him. They’re okay.
As the engine came to a stop in the front of the barn, they all piled out. Jim raced to his wife. As soon as he reached her, Jess handed the baby to Mrs. Robinson and fell into his arms. He could smell the strong odor of smoke on her. She hid her face in his shoulder. Now that she was in her husband’s strong arms, she let tears flow and allowed herself some quiet sobs. 
Jim could feel her shaking. He held her tight, resting his cheekbone on her head. “Are you all right? I almost went crazy when I heard the address and saw….” His voice trailed off.
“I’m fine. Twisted my ankle. Just gla… I’m just glad to be alive.” Her voice shook.
“What happened?” He didn’t want to let go.
Wade put his hand on Jim’s shoulder. “They need your help, man. We’ll take care of her.” Reluctantly, Jim surrendered her to the paramedics and, after a final kiss, left to help with the fire.
The barn was so far gone that they decided just to contain it. Jim thanked the Lord that there was no wind and that the fire had not spread to the main barn or the house.
After the fire was out, Jim took off his helmet and began looking around for his wife. Seeing her seated on the ground leaning against the squad, he took his equipment back to the truck and joined her.
“So how ya doin’?” 
“I have been diagnosed with a twisted ankle and mild smoke inhalation.” She coughed into her arm. “For a minute I thought I was a goner, but the Lord showed me a way out.”
“I’m just so glad you weren’t hurt any worse.” He put his arm around her and pulled her into a hug.
She leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling so much safer with him there. “Do they know how it started?”
Jim broke away from her gaze, glancing back at what had been their barn. “They think it was arson.”
“Arson?” Jess sat up straight and stared at him.
“Yeah…they say that someone soaked the walls with accelerant, then came back later and lit it.”
“Why would anyone do that?” She paused. “You mean they came back and lit it while I was in there? They were trying to…?” Her voice quivered.
“That’s not why. Most likely, they got scared off the first time and then came back. It’s probably just teens doing it for kicks. You were up in the loft. They must not have seen you.”
She glanced down at her hands. “I hope you’re right. I just can’t imagine anyone doing something like that for fun. It doesn’t make sense.”
“Some people don’t make sense.”
Wade came over and knelt down in front of Jess. “Are you sure that you don’t want to go to the hospital?”
“Yeah. Mrs. Robinson will drive me to my own doctor after I’ve had a chance to calm down.”
“Do you want me to try and get off work to go with you?” Jim asked.
“No. I’ll be fine. Just so whoever this was doesn’t come back.”
“It was probably just some jerk….”
“I know.… That’s what Jim said.”
“Of course, on the other hand…” Jim lowered his voice and shifted his eyes back and forth. “…it could be the ghost of some long lost second or third cousin seeking vengeance.”
Jess rolled her eyes. “Right.”
“Vengeance for what?” Wade grinned.
“Only the shadow knows.” 
“Uh-huh.” Jess held out her hand to Jim who stood in front of her. He pulled her up.
“I better go find Mrs. Robinson and the baby. I’m pretty sure they went inside.” She reached to put her arms around her husband’s neck. Jim bent down. Usually, she stood on her toes, but that wasn’t going to work with a twisted ankle. Jim really wasn’t that tall. She was just that short.
“I’ll see ya tomorrow.” She finished the hug. 
“Yeah, okay.” He kissed her and let her go. “Do you need help getting to the house?”
“No, I’ll be fine.” She smiled and began hobbling toward the house. As she went, she heard the alarm sound on the engine’s radio. Turning, she watched everyone pile in and the trucks speed out of the drive.
Not seeing Jim for twenty-four hours at a time was what she disliked most about his job, but it was what he really wanted to do, so she put up with it. She limped up the porch and into the house. 
Mrs. Robinson sat in a recliner, rocking the baby. “Did Jim leave already?”
“Yeah. They had another call.” Jess coughed into her elbow. She still felt a little shaky, but she was calming down. “Oh, give me my little girl,” she said softly, bending down to gather her little one into her arms. 
“Here you go.” Mrs. Robinson smiled as she handed her to her Mama. 
“And how’s my little Morgan?” Jess swung the baby over her head, causing the little girl to wiggle and giggle. Sitting down, Jess put Morgan down in her lap as another coughing fit struck. 
Mrs. Robinson headed for the phone in the kitchen. “Do you want me to make an appointment with your doctor?”
“I suppose. … Maybe she won’t have any openings today.”
“Jess-i-ca.” Mrs. Robinson put her hands on her hips reprovingly. 
“Well… Can I help it if I’m not crazy about doctors?”
“Jim must be rubbing off on you. I’ll call.” 
Jess just stared a moment into the bright, lively blue eyes of her beautiful girl, just so thankful that she could. 


Author Interview

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I don’t remember a conscious decision. I think that’s just the way the Lord made me. I’ve always loved writing and making stories up in my head for as long as I can remember.  Every once in a while, I’ll find a page of an ancient second or third grade short story and chuckle as I read it and try to decipher the context.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

Right now, I’m self-employed, so I can just flip flop my schedule around to what works best.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 Like I have any writing quirks…. ;)  Probably my most interesting one is the fact that my characters refuse to ever conform to my outline. Sure, I start out with a neat and detailed plan, but by mid-story, sometimes before, my characters are all running every which-a-way in their own directions. Sometimes the “good guys” turn into bad guys. Sometimes scenes from the end move up to the middle. Sometimes the wrong people fall in love, and even other times a deep, dark secret that I didn’t even know about will just pop up from somebody’s past. Surprises… that’s what makes writing so fun!

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I love life! One of my favorite things to do is to run outside, especially on a dew-glistening, bird-singing, apple-blossomed, spring morning… just to run toward a painted sunrise and feel absorbed in the beauty of God’s creation! I love riding my horse down the gravel road or through the cornfields. I love chilly fall days… a cool breeze floating in a slightly open window and feeling the warm apple-scented  steam as you slide a crusty, golden, apple pie out of the oven just as a drip of cinnamon syrup bubbles out and sizzles. I like a crisp, breezy walk through a pumpkin patch or a swim in a Wisconsin lake. I like camping in the North Woods or browsing souvenir shops. I’ve enjoyed climbing cliffs in the Blue Ridge and drivin’ by buffalo in Yellowstone. I love findin’ deals at garage sales and hangin’ out with my family… cookout style or pizza and popcorn movie nights. My favorite time is Christmas… It’s A Wonderful Life in the DVD player, a fire crackling in the corner, the pop of popcorn, and the sweet aroma of hot chocolate as we hang ornaments and wrap lights around our Christmas tree and nativity scene. I love seeing the Lord work in my life and teach me new things. I love Him because He first loved me. He’s shown me His love sooo many times in my life! One of my favorite verses is “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” He’s the giver of life, the one who makes daffodils smile and the thunderclouds clap. I love life, love, loyalty, and laughter.

What does your family think of your writing? 

They are all very supportive and encouraging! I loved giving them my new book and hearing what they thought of it. I really appreciated their suggestions before I was satisfied with my final copy.

Do you have any suggestions to help readers interested in writing become better? 
If so, what are they? 

Always pray about your writing. You couldn’t get a better teacher. 
Just keep writing. Progress can be amazing if you just keep practicing until you get the hang of it. 
Make it fun, and keep it fun. If you get bored with it or lose track of where you’re going, you’ll likely stop. 
Start with an outline for structure, but then add some surprises to keep yourself guessing. 

Do you hear from your readers much? 

Sometimes. I always enjoy hearing from them. 

What do you think makes a good story? 

Action, a good plot, likeable and admirable characters, emotion, human interaction, purity of relationships, cleanness in language, mystery… but most of all, it needs to honor God. I loved writing this book, but it would always feel empty and useless to me if there wasn’t a higher purpose in writing it than making money. If you pray about it and are truly writing for Him, I believe He will cause everything else to fall into place

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?  

Be a teacher…or a vet...a nurse… or a fireman… a restaurant owner… or a mom with 12 kids…. 

For viewers who have not read, but are interested in your book, can you describe it please? 

Fire Storm is about a couple of young families living excessively normal lives in a small-town, farming community in Northern Illinois. Wade is a paramedic. His wife, Mellissa, works in a lawyer’s office, and they are expecting a baby very soon. Their best friends, Jim and Jessica, live on a small horse farm out in the country. Jim is a fireman. Jess is a stay-at-home mom with her recently born little girl. Life is fun and carefree till… Jess starts running into threats at every turn. Are they even threats or just accidents? The thought of a killer being after Jess just seems so ridiculous… though not so much… when she comes eye to eye with murder! Who and Why? What about Wade ‘n Mellissa? Will they remain safe in their young existence as they embark in the beginnings of life’s journey, or will the epidemic of murder spread? How far does it reach? What are the secrets?

How and when did you become a Christian? 

When I was five, I prayed with my mom after hearing a Christian radio testimony, then I prayed the same prayer quite a few times after that whenever doubts arose after a salvation message. I got complete assurance of my salvation when I was eight and started growing in the Lord. I know I was saved before that. That is just when the Lord removed all doubt. So, I can’t honestly point to an exact date, but I’m 100% sure that I’m in God’s family, that He watches over me, protecting me many times, that He loves me, blessing me with countless surprises that are much more then luck, that He teaches me, not only spiritual but also physical things, and that He’s always there whenever I need Him.

How does God affect your writing? 

He gave me the talent to write. He gave me an imagination and a love for stories. He put me in a strongly Christian home where I received wisdom about spiritual things and knowledge of true love, sacrifice, and care. He saved me and gave me a reason to write. Fire Storm was written for Him and dedicated to Him, and by His grace, I pray that every book I write will always point heavenward and never downward toward worldly lusts. 

Who is your favorite character in your book? 

That’s hard to say. I like all my characters. They are all different and unique.  I like variety. The world needs rich and poor, plain and fancy, strong and weak, dream-chasers and content daily laborers, business women and stay-at-home moms, flippant and flighty and rigid work-a-holics. If there was one “right” type of person or one perfect race, the world would be sooo dull. Everyone fiction or real has their very own story.  

What was the hardest part to write in the book? 

The Salvation message. It carries the greatest responsibility.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back to Canada, Day One

 Has it seriously been a month and a half since I've posted?! Wow...haha, sorry everyone. Life's just been too crazy and I haven't had a lot of interesting stuff to post on, so...that's my excuse. :P
 BUT! * drum roll * I do have something to keep me posting for a little while now. Last Wednesday I returned from a week and a half's adventure to Canada and Washington. :) Yay! I had the best time ever, got to do lots of fun things with lots of fun people. :) Even had my birthday while I was there!
 I regret to say that I didn't take a ton of pictures, and quite a few were on my phone and I can't figure out how to put them on my computer as of yet. :/
 I left on a Monday, October 28th, to be precise. Up at quarter past five, heading out the door at six. The train pulled into the station at quarter to seven and with quick goodbyes to my parents, I was whisked off to my northern adventure. Having not gotten much sleep ( due to texting, not sleepless excitement haha ) I settled in and dozed for a good couple hours. I so love travelling by train!
 By noon or so we had pulled into the Seattle station where I was relieved to be notified that my connection bus had arrived and was chances to miss it this time! Settling in with my earbuds I took in the gorgeous scenery and anxiously awaited my arrival in Bellingham, Washington.
 Once there, I nervously waited for my ride...where was she? On the verge of beginning to freak out when she hadn't showed up twenty minutes later, Hannah came up behind me and voila! We were on our way. :) However, things didn't go quite as planned. After getting gas and almost getting smacked into by a crazy driver in the parking lot, we pulled through NEXUS. Well, haha. I don't have a nexus card. You have just violated the nexus contract blah blah blah, please pull over to the covered  area and go inside. Ooookay...whoops! With much trepidation, Hannah and I went in and waited and waited and waited. After explaining that we had no idea that what we did was so serious and that it was a complete accident, the border patrol guy let us go with a warning...highly unusual, but we were SOOOOO thankful! Praise God for His help and protection!
 At long last we arrived at Hannah's house where her mom was busy preparing a belated Canadian Thanksgiving. Oh, was THAT a lot of fun! A couple hours later, eight of us were gathered around the table in a jolly manner. Bro. Eric, Sis. Kylie, Luke & Jo, Josh, Hannah, ( another ) Josh, and me. After stuffing ourselves we spent the evening talking and playing different versions of ping pong. Well, I just watched. I have never really played ping pong before and I was also really tired, so watching was fine by me, haha.
 So there ya have it! If I could figure out how to add the pics from my phone...well...then you could see pics start to finish of my day. I do have pics from my entire trip that I took with my phone via Instagram if you would like to look me up there... omiru18. Until next time! :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Most Precious

 Being loved by God is the most incredible thing anyone will ever experience. His plan of salvation is the ultimate example of sacrificial love. The love of a Father toward His children. I can really tear up about the love of a father. It is the most precious thing to ever have on this earth. It is not just sons that need their fathers. Daughters need their fathers too. Experiencing the love of an earthly father is vital to one's self confidence, self worth, and overall well-being. If at any given time one feels that the love from one's father is less, your world can fall apart. When reassured of that love, kinship, and relationship, everything becomes brighter. It is then that you realize what is most precious.
 Last night I received from my dad the most beautiful, special gift I have ever been given. He had me sit on the couch and close my eyes. Something light was placed in my hand. I opened my eyes to see a card laying there and out of the corner of my eye a saw an elegant gift bag on the table. I opened the card and in my dad's firm, straight print he told me that ever since he had seen the movie Courageous he had wanted to give me a ring just like the dad in the movie did for his daughter. A ring of commitment that shows that he loves me and is responsible for me until the day he gives me away to someone else who loves and cherishes me and gives me a ring to replace the one he was giving me. Even now as I write this, I cannot help but cry. I was not so subtle as I read the card, however. I'll be honest and admit I was sobbing. When I ever so carefully reached through the tissue paper and got the box and opened it, there lay a lovely and elegant ring. The real deal. Sterling silver, diamonds, all sparkly and contrasting white and black. I was truly speechless. I still am. :) Haven't quite yet found just the right words to say thank you, yet I know he knows how much it means to me. Unfortunately, I had to part with it today for a short time while it is getting re-sized from a 7 to a 5 1/2. ( Yes, I have very small hands and fingers :P ) I am so, so glad that I was able to get a couple okay pictures of the ring itself before I had to give it up for a few days. :) So, without further ado, here is my love gift. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Keep Your Head Up

 Well! What do you know...I'm finally updating my blog. I have been so busy these days that my blog has not been more than just a passing thought. The most I have been doing is reading ( quickly ) the different blogs I follow. But besides that, I have been plain ol' uninspired. Bleh. How exciting is that. :P feel inspired. :D
 As I have said, there has been a lot going on lately. I'm not only working full and almost full hours at the cafe, but I have been running errands to get in on some super deals at different stores and helping my pastor's family pack for moving and doing all the little daily things of life. That's just the physical side of really don't want or need to hear all about the emotional and spiritual things I've been going through lately, do you? I hope not, haha. There has been a lot of good things happening, but even still, there is this little thing called the devil and he seems to have been making it his full-time job to harass me recently. Anyone else? Probably. Somehow he manages to harass all of God's children all the time and mostly all at once.
 So I suppose this might seem a little odd, but the other day while in the store I heard this song and it really lifted my spirits and gave me...hope. Not that I would recommend this song, as it isn't really a Christian song, but it was talking about how you need to just keep your head up even when there are problems all around you because this life is a journey. That is so true. It is VERY hard to keep a positive countenance when there are things you are struggling with, but doing so really makes it so much easier to get through whatever it is. A little bonus is that it also makes it much nicer for everyone around you too, hahaha.
 This morning I was thinking about all this and my thought process went even deeper than " just be happy because it helps ". Really, in all truth, we can be happy because we are the children of God. Because we are the children of God, we have all we will ever need to defeat the enemy if we will just open our eyes to that ability. Hold your head high because you are royal blood. Hold your head high because you are the child of the King of Kings, the Creator of EVERYTHING. That is MORE than enough reason to relax and take a breath. :) So keep your head up! :) ( oh, oh, oh, oh... )

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer Goals Re-cap

 Remember this post about my goals for the summer and that fun little alphabet quiz? No? Hahaha, I'd forgot allllll about it until Karen ever so faithfully posted her summer re-cap. Ooops. Well, one thing I can say...I did a lot of things this summer that I didn't quite expect to do. Another thing I can say is...I totally failed my summer to-do list. :P I didn't finish any of my long-standing " currently reading " books. I barely scratched the surface of my " to read " list. I lost a few pounds, but not as much as I would have liked... ( stress eating is such a terrible thing ) And I actually added to my mending pile instead of reducing it. :( But in the light of starting a business, getting a job, having teeth out, going to Canada, and having family camp at my own church...I think I had more than enough to keep me busy this summer. :D I did complete my last year of the youth summer reading program, however! I didn't win a prize :( I still got to pick a book though ( I chose The False Prince -- eek! :D ) and I got a 8GB USB thingy for participating and reading a certain amount of hours.
 Fall hasn't quite made it's official calendar arrival, and the golden days of summer are going out with a bang of a heat wave, but life has slowed down a bit for me thus far and I am thankful. :) I'm loving my job, slowly but surely getting my room more organized, and looking forward to going back to Canada and also Washington in another month plus a couple weeks. :) I have also learned that goal posts are not my didn't help keep me accountable because I forgot about it! Hahaha.
 Farewell my few, but faithful ( or so I like to imagine ;) readers! Hopefully I will have something interesting to post about in the coming days. :D

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What do you do when your heart's pierced through
And you thought you had no more tears to cry?
What do you do when the ache is so strong
And you thought the longing was over?
What do you do when there's no one to help you
And you feel alone in this life?
When the sorrow's so great.
When the devil's breathing down your neck.
What then.

Hold strong through the fire,
Don't melt in the flame.
Jehovah God is with you. 
In the fiery furnace three Hebrews He saved
Because they called on His Name.
Call on Jesus.
Call on Jesus.
He'll carry you through
When you don't know what to do.
Call on Jesus.
Call on Jesus.
He's the anchor in the storm.

What do you do when all hell is against you
Because of the stand you have made?
What do you do when friends forsake
And your family thinks you are insane for believing?
What do you do when it seems all hope is gone
And you'll never live in the light again?
When darkness is calling.
When the sky is falling in your world.
What then.

Hold strong through the fire,
Don't melt in the flame.
Jehovah God is with you.
In the fiery furnace three Hebrews He saved
Because they believed on His Name.
Believe in Jesus.
Believe in Jesus.
When you don't know what to do.
Believe in Jesus.
Believe in Jesus.
He's the anchor in the storm.

Oh, when the tide is rising.
 When the waves are covering you.
When the wind seeks to sway your stance,
Don't let fear overcome you.
Jesus isn't sleeping,
He is waiting for your call.
Let your cry arise
Above it all.

Hold strong through the fire,
Don't melt in the flame.
Jehovah God is with you.
In the fiery furnace three Hebrews He saved
Because they called on His Name.
Call on Jesus.
Call on Jesus.
When you don't know what to do.
Call on Jesus.
Call on Jesus.
He's the anchor.
The anchor in your storm.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise


 Mmm. Isn't that the truth. The last few lines are words that have been going through my head this morning as I have been seeking the Lord for an answer to a trial. ' The achings of this life is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy. ' That resounds within me so strongly because that is exactly what I have felt God telling me throughout the last few weeks. No matter what longings, what trials, what heartaches I have, always lean on Him and serve Him with all my heart. If I serve Him with all my heart, soul, and mind without reservation or limitation, all things will become clear and beautiful in His time. Waiting on Him is the most important thing a follower of Christ can do. You cannot rush God, so why be in a hurry? I honestly don't even feel anxious hardly at all this time. Which is good, because He doesn't want us to be anxious. I only have a deep yearning for truth and answers. I know that every trial and test is for reason. I don't know the purpose right now - I may never know the purpose -, but knowing that there is a definite purpose and that it was scripted to happen before my life ever began gives me such a comfort and rest that only God can bring. It truly is His mercy. Why? Because without trials, we would not become the people He wants us to. Hardships refine us, just as the constant buffering of the waves make a sharp rock into a smooth one that is much more desirable. Hold strong. God is behind, before, beside, and inside each one of His own.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vancouver Island!

 I am finally getting around to posting about my " last day " in Canada! ( Last day is almost correct, as I left just past 6 the following morning. ) I almost didn't get to join in on this amazing experience because I was due to leave around noon that day. BUT when I got wind of what was being planned and how many people were going, I couldn't resist changing my tickets. :D It was SO worth it! We had a really full day. We had all hung out at McDonald's Monday night until really late and then when I went home with one of the girls we were up talking until 2:30ish. Fun, but crazy when you have to get up at five. :D We made it though. Hopped on the ferry sometime around 8ish and got to the island at 10:30ish. Took a doubledecker bus to the city center, walked over to Parliament to have lunch, then whipped over to rent mopeds for the afternoon. !!! :D Almost everyone had their own moped, but there were a few of us that had to double for various reasons. ( Did I mention there was seventeen of us that went?! That meant we rented fourteen mopeds! We caused quite a stir...especially since we girls were doing it in skirts. :P ) It was the most awesome experience ever! We used the mopeds as our transport to different stops on the island. We went to a look-out point, stopped for drinks at a marina place, took a gander at a little lighthouse on the end of a pier, and so much more. 35mph feels so much faster on a little thing like that verses a car. :D
 After we turned in our mopeds ( 5pm ), we headed out for dinner. I have no idea who picked the place, but it was a really swanky restaurant! Kinda fun, kinda expensive, but hey, it was good and worth it. ;) Gelato was grabbed as we hot-footed it to the bus that would take us to the ferry. The ferry ride home was the cherry on top. It was so dazzlingly gorgeous that morning as we headed out to the island, but on our way home, the sun was setting and it was the most relaxing, blissful thing ever to be gliding smoothly along in the twilight. :)
 I didn't get back to my host family's house until 12:30ish in the morning and I needed to be up at 4am to get ready to head out to catch my bus, so after showering and packing it is needless to say I got much sleep yet again, but I would do it all over again just to be able to be a part of something so unique and exciting. :) :)
 And now, the moment you have all been waiting for. Hehehehe. Pictures! I took almost 400 pictures, so there are going to be quite a few to go through below, although I will try to be as selective as I possibly can. :)

THE most stunning sunrise I have ever been privileged to see :)
( What a glorious way to start the day, eh? )

On the was almost like being in an airport waiting area or theater. 

Almost all of us :)
Hannah, Janessa, Anissa
Andrew, Wes, Karmen, Kaitlyn, Chaela, Laryssa, Carlena, Abby, Me

LOVE the effect of this one :)

Abby and Hannah :) <3

Wes, lol


Caught this out the bus window :D

This too...zoom is AWESOME :D lol

Different national flags surrounding the patio.

Parliament grand!

Our bus! :) <3

The back of The Empress

The amphibious bus...YIKES!

A zoomed in shot of one of The Empress's ivy framed windows :)

Another of my favorite shots from this day :)

Along one of the ways to get to Parliament there were street vendors and cool!

Ahhh, bagpipes! He played really well...could have listened for a long time, but barely had time to take his picture. :/

Love this shot...

Not sure what the to-do was exactly, but it was cool to see the actors all dressed up :)

Inside the Parliament building.
Awesome architecture!

Our rides! :D

Hannah and I :)

View from where we all met up for a head count.

Almost all of us! :)

The rest of the troop arrives :P
Anissa, Abby, Mitch, Kaitlyn, Chaela, & Karmen

Jordan, Janessa, Anissa, Hannah, & Chaela

Lookout point

Someone found a cute little lizard! :D

ALL of us :D
Kolin, Andrew, Steven, Wes, Mitch, Jordan, Jeremy
Hannah, Janessa, Laryssa, Chaela, Me, Karmen, Carlena, Kaitlyn, Abby, Anissa

From the tippy-top of the lookout point

Janessa, Kaitlyn, Carlena

LOVED capturing shots of this vulture soaring!

Chae and I :)

Steven, Andrew, & Kolin

Chaela, Janessa, Carlena, Karmen, & Hannah

Cool map of what is where.

Hannah was admiring this car and the owner let her sit in it for a pic! SO AWESOME!

Lovely old cathedral

The Pier

SUCH an awesome shot! 


My dinner :P
( cool bowl though, hey? )

Another cool old cathedral

Another favorite shot!!!!
( taken out the bus no less ;D )

Ahhh, the sunset...

Up on the very top