Wednesday, September 18, 2019

But God - The Two Most Comforting Words


"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:9-10

I wrote the following on my blog in 2014. It was right after a surgery and I was coping with the results and my recovery...

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God's promises are so precious. When we're struggling through something like recovering from surgery, or the loss of a loved one, or wondering how we're going to pay our latest bill, God's promises are there to see us through. We know that we can rely on Him to remember His promises. He tells us He remembers us.

In this Scripture, He promises to strengthen and help us. I don't know about you, but I need that, especially right now. I have no strength of my own right now...I'm just beyond tired and exhausted. I'm so thankful that I can turn to God and ask Him for comfort to know that He is my help.

It's so amazing to me that God says He will uphold me with His righteous right hand. How can I be of so much importance to him that He would lift me up? How is it that He loves me so much? It's just overwhelming and my heart just over-flows with the amazement and awesomeness of it all.

God loves you with the same kind of love! Are you going through something difficult? Rest in Him. Remember, He is holding you in His hand. Nothing that is happening or has happened, has not gone through His hands first. He will bless us through these difficult times and we will come through more able to serve Him and help others! Oh - how I thank Him for this!

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September 11th is such a difficult day. It brings so many memories of loss and sadness and, for me, it will be a date I remember for a different reason. I received a phone call that has turned my world upside down. My doctor called to let me know that my biopsy showed I have cancer. I was, and am still, in shock.

It's at times like this when the shifting sands of life either settle on the bed rock of faith in Jesus or swallow one in the quick sands of fear. My heart and mind have been gasping for air as the fear threatens to swallow me up, however, there are those glimpses of sure footing as I remember the promises of God.

I will be seeing the oncologist next week and I also will be having a CT scan to determine if the cancer has spread. That's one of those swirling sands, one of those fearful things that satan uses against me during the dark hours of night. "But God." The most promising and two words in the Bible. There may be fearful things to face but God never leaves me and He is bigger than satan and this horrible cancer.

I would so appreciate your prayers - for God's will first of all. Of course, for healing through whatever means God chooses, and for strength, wisdom and comfort for me and my family's hearts.

I will update here as much as possible, however, if you want to follow me on MeWe, I will update there as I go through this new journey. I will not update on Facebook as I feel uncomfortable sharing this very personal situation on there. The link to my personal MeWe page is HERE and the link to my MeWe blog page is HERE 

The Scripture and my blog post from those many years ago, comfort me yet again. It speaks to my heart and reminds me that He is still holding me in His righteous right hand. May God be glorified through this situation!

Blessings - Julie

Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review - A Redesigned Life by Tracy Steel


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Embrace God's invitation to redesign the interior spaces that matter most.

We all love great design. But what happens when we discover we are living a life we did not design? When our dreams lie in tatters and nothing is going according to our carefully laid-out plans? Where is God in the midst of the mess?

Drawing from time-honored design principles such as movement, contrast, and pattern, Bible teacher and former interior designer Tracy Steel offers you the assurance that God is the ever-present, caring Designer of your life and that he remains true to his plans and purposes in every season--especially the messy ones. Through biblical examples and true stories from her own experience, Tracy will help you recognize God's purposeful design in your life so you can experience peace and contentment even when life doesn't go as planned.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracy Steel is a mentor, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping women become who and what God wants them to be. Whether the setting has been a small group Bible study, youth ministry event, women’s retreat, or MOPS group, she has been honored to teach and mentor the girls and women God has placed in her life.

She inspires and challenges through messages that:

• Enable discovery of true identity and purpose in Jesus Christ
• Empower women to harness and unleash their gifts in the world around them
• Equip women to impact and inspire younger generations
• Encourage women to embrace and esteem their current season of life

 MY REVIEW:

This book is for those of us whose life has turned out completely different than we thought it would. I know this spoke to me as my life is totally different than I thought it would be.

Tracy shares how she thought her life would be  - living in New York as a designer and wearing beautiful clothes and carrying designer purses.  That's not what her life has turned out to be like - she lives in Phoenix. However, she has embraced her life and she shows us how we can embrace ours in whatever circumstances we find our self.

Through Scripture, she shows us that, indeed, God truly has a design for our life and that we can fully trust Him on this journey of ours. I especially enjoyed the "Muse Minutes" and the "Design Tip" section she had after each chapter. These helped me to put things clearly together in my mind and give me a new "design" perspective about my life.

This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it - especially to those who are struggling with how different their life looks compared to what they wanted.  I give this book 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Counting Our Blessings Linkup


I am so ready to count my blessings - how about you? It's been such a tough few months but I've seen God work so many things out, bless me so mightily, and give me peace and comfort. He truly is a good God and I praise Him and want everyone to know how caring and loving He is.

I'm still recuperating from my surgery I had in May but feel my strength returning day by day. I rest when I need to and work on things when my energy lets me. I wanted to share some of the things I've been doing.

I haven't stamped or made cards for a very long time and needed to replenish my supply I keep on hand.  Here's two that I made.



Both of these are from stamps are from Stampin' Up and ones I've had forever. I have kept all my stamp sets because they really are timeless.

Have you heard of the Memorydex? It's like a Rolodex with large cards and you can decorate them how ever you like.  This is my first card for mine.


I hand lettered the Scripture and the stamp is again a Stampin' Up stamp that I've had for a long time. I stamped the background with a large rose pattern and added the ribbon.  Its simple but I really like it. I'm sure I'll get more elaborate with my cards as I go along, but this was a lot of fun and I really like it!

I also have been reading books from the library as I find time between review books.  This book was absolutely wonderful and I loved it! I loved the story line and the characters so much. The fact that it was set in Britain during WWII was perfect as that's my favorite thing. The growth of the characters was wonderful and it was just a delightful and suspenseful book! You'd love it!


My sweet son gave me these beautiful flowers! This bouquet is simply gorgeous and had so many blooms and different types of flowers. I love fresh flowers and this just blessed my heart so much!


I'd love for you to share on the linkup! You can add your link to the linky below!



Blessings - Julie

Monday, September 9, 2019

Book Review - Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.


As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?" Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

MY REVIEW:

What an absolutely delightful book! I was so ready to start reading about Christmas and cooler weather and there's nothing better than a book by Melody Carlson because her books never disappoint!

Krista and her daughter, Emily, are moving from the city they have always lived in - Phoenix where it's always warm - to a small, quaint town called Winter Hill in Washington, where the weather is a lot colder. It's a huge change for Krista but she has accepted the position of town manager so it's definitely a step up for her career. However, she made the decision in haste and now she's wondering if she did the right thing.

Winter Hill is all about Christmasvillle and Krista didn't know this. She has never been a fan of Christmas so this is a huge adjustment for her. There are some other disappointing aspects to her move as well, but she tries to have a good attitude throughout it all.

I really loved the characters in this book - even the ones that aren't very nice. As always, Melody writes her characters in a well rounded way and I felt like I really knew these people and cared about them.  I loved the character of Pauline and her son, Conner. I loved how they embraced Krista and Emily and both had such a wonderful outlook on life. Their faith was so realistic, too, and I loved how they showed care for others.

This book was wonderful in every way! I enjoyed each and every moment I got to spend in Winter Hill and it was a great first Christmas book for the 2019 season. I really loved it and give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell and the author.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.



Blessings - Julie

Friday, September 6, 2019

Book Review - King's Shadow by Angela Hunt


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Their Lives Couldn't Be More Different,
but Their Goal Is the Same:
Survive King Herod's Rule.

Two women occupy a place in Herod's court. The first, Salome, is the king's only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she's from an inferior race, a people whom God will never accept or approve of.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless--both women struggle to reach their goals and survive each day within Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The author of more than 100 published books and with more than 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

MY REVIEW:

This story cover the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament. It focuses on King Herod and his family, especially his sister Salome.

Salome loves her brother, and I believe his power, so much, she just can't see any fault in him despite the fact that he does some really evil things and is mentally growing more mad. She hides these things in her brother and protects him no matter what.

Zara serves Salome and she's my favorite character in the book. I enjoyed seeing her grow in her faith and care for Salome despite the fact that sometimes she didn't deserve it. I would have enjoyed having a bit more focus on her in the story but I really enjoyed what we did learn about her.

I think the thing I enjoyed most about this story is how the author portrayed Herod and Salome in real terms. They weren't just evil but a combination of things like real humans are. They cared for their family yet could be quite ruthless to others. It was more realistic than just the portrayals of Herod I've read where he's evil and nothing else.

This is a long book and it takes us through Herod's and Salmone's entire life. We see them grow, mature, and change for good and bad. There is a lot of information in this book but the author does a wonderful job of research and you feel like you are right there during that time. I enjoyed this book and am giving it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Bethany House. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie