Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When Dreams Wait and God is Silent

Patience isn't my strong point.

When there's a problem, I want it fixed yesterday. When I decide I need to get something, I want to drop everything and go get it right away. When I dream about something, I want to start taking concrete steps towards it immediately. I want a step-by-step plan and a bulleted checklist, and I'm ready to start on it right away, thank you very much.

Not all dreams come true right away, though. Dreams often make us wait, and sometimes dreams turn into hard seasons of waiting. Waiting for direction, for answers, for things out of our control to fall into place. Waiting, knowing that a hard road lies ahead. Waiting, knowing that your hopes and dreams may not be realized. 

Waiting can mean days, weeks, months of praying feeling as if your prayers never reach past the ceiling. It means you sometimes wonder why God is silent, if He's still listening, if He still cares.

Life is full of hard seasons of waiting. 

The great heroes of the Bible weren't immune to long seasons of waiting, either.

Abraham and Sarah waited years for their promised son. They aged well past their child-bearing years. Sarah's heart must have ached at the emptiness of her womb and her arms. She must have mourned as she watched women all around her become mothers, but her own dreams waited. At some point, she gave up, realizing her dream must have passed her by. But God wasn't done. Long after all hope seemed lost, Sarah gave birth to her miracle baby.

David, the least of his brothers, was anointed king over Israel. But as soon as it happened, he was back to tending his father's sheep. Nothing changed. As the years crept by, David must have wondered if his time would ever come. Life got harder and harder. David lost friends. He ran for his life on multiple occasions. God seemed silent. Until finally, almost fifteen years after he was anointed as the next king of Israel, David took his throne. 

God's people waited a very long time for the promised Messiah. From Adam and Eve's first sin, God promised a coming Messiah, One who would defeat the enemy once and for all. Generation after generation passed as humanity cried out for their Deliverer. How many people must have wondered when He would come? How many must have wondered if the promises were still coming or of God had given up on His people? Until one night, in a stable in Bethlehem, the promised Messiah was born, and the world changed forever.

And even today, God's people wait for His promised return. We wait for Him to take us to our forever home with Him, for Him to make all things right and perfect once and for all. We watch, helpless, as sin abounds, growing deeper and darker with every passing day. We watch pain and headache multiply. We see innocent people suffering. Sometimes we wonder if God still sees, if His promise to return is still true. We wait. 

But we can wait with hope, because His promises are true. His time may not be our time, but He will never turn back on His Word. We can hold onto 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." When our dreams become seasons of waiting, we can wait with hope in Him.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

Sometimes even an avid readers hits a reading slump.

What pulls me out of a reading slump? A book I can't put down. A trilogy that leaves me hanging on for more at the end of each book.

1. K. E. Ganshert's The Gifting trilogy

I can't say enough about these books. This is the best dystopian trilogy I've read since The Hunger Games--and that's high praise coming from someone who loved The Hunger Games as much as I did. The story is non-stop. The events are eerily similar to things that are playing out in the real world today. 

2. Terri Blackstock's If I Run trilogy

Everyone was talking about these books for months! Everywhere I went, I heard about them. It had been years since I read a Terri Blackstock book, but I finally checked out the first book from our local library. All I can say is, I'm glad I waited until the final book was out to start these, because once I started, I didn't want to stop.

3. Ronie Kendig's Tox Files

The final book of the series, Thirst of Steel, just released. I read it through tears. What an ending! This series is military fiction meets Indiana Jones, and I couldn't put it down!

4. Ronie Kendig's Operation Zulu series

When this series first released, a new installment came out once a week, like a serial novel. The only problem: I was in the middle of a major project at church, and all I wanted to do was read! I was sneaking in reading time during every spare moment because I couldn't get enough. This series got me hooked on Ronie Kendig's books. 

5. Susan Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy

I usually post about - and usually read - Christian fiction, but I'm including this series for two reasons.

First, it pulled me out of a major reading slump. When I returned to college in 2010, my reading time vanished. Balancing school with family, work, and life left no time for fun reading. When I graduated in 2013, I struggled to get back into reading. Nothing seemed to grab my interest anymore, until I read The Hunger Games.

Second, this series is so clean. One of the reasons I made an exception and read a non-Christian series was because friends with similar reading taste told me it was super clean. It's violent, but I love mysteries, so that doesn't bother me. 

One last tip for a reader who finds yourself in a slump...read a different genre. 

One reason The Hunger Games struck such a chord with me is that it was a totally new genre. I'd never heard of dystopian fiction until the series became popular. I'm a huge mystery/suspense fan, but I needed something different to break my slump. The action of a dystopian novel, combined with a very different storyline than I was used to, was exactly what I needed. Dystopian is now among my favorite genres. 

I'm excited about linking up this week for Top Ten Tuesday! This is my first time to join in, and I look forward to "meeting" other book bloggers. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What I'm Into: July 2018

This summer has been full of changes for our family. A few weeks ago, my oldest turned sixteen, got his first job, and got his driver's license--all within ten days! Now he's working plus studying for his college entrance exams. He will start dual credit college classes this fall. My youngest went to camp in July and turned thirteen, so I'm now officially the mom of two teenagers. Add in lots of church activities and it's been a busy summer. 

Here's what I've been enjoying this month...


Our busy schedule has definitely slowed down my reading. In July, I read...

  • The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright - I started this year off by reading Jaime's first book, The House on Foster Hill. I loved it so much I joined her launch team for her second book. The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond is just as good as her previous book! I love these split-time suspense novels. 
  • Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano - I needed a book nominated for an award in 2018 to fill a category in the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge. Lady Jayne Disappears was nominated for, and won, several awards, so I picked it up on sale for Kindle a few weeks ago. I wasn't disappointed! As I write this, I'm over halfway through the book, and I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. 
  • Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig - I've been waiting months for the final book in The Tox Files series! I'm sad to see this series end, but I'm devouring this book. Think military thriller meets Indiana Jones, and you've got Thirst of Steel.


I'm not a big TV person, so it usually takes me forever to finish a Netflix series. I just finished season one of The Crown this month.


  • Emily P. Freeman's podcast, The Next Right Thing, is keeping me sane right now.
  • Needtobreathe has a new album! Everything they do is amazing. My favorite songs are Darling and Bridges Burn.
  • Crowder - My youngest is a huge Crowder fan and he's got me hooked, especially his American Prodigal album.
  • Ledger - Jen Ledger, Skillet's drummer, released her first solo album. As much as I like Skillet...I think I like Ledger even more. Her album is incredible! I love every song, but I have to say Foreigner is her best.


  • This blog--I'm redesigning logos, changing my Facebook page, and much more. I'm getting into a rhythm of regular posting.
  • Our church Back to School Blowout 


  • My bullet journal. I've been using one for about three years now, but this year I've really found my groove with it. I switched to a dot grid notebook and went with a whole new layout. It's working great! My bullet journal has become part planner, part memory keeper.
  • Carpe Diem mini planner stickers. These are perfect for my small bullet journal, and they're so cute. I've found my planner people!
  • Plan to Plan Sticker Co. Again, these are the perfect size, and they're super cute.
  • My new wardrobe. I've lost more than 30 pounds over the last year, and nothing in my closet fit anymore. I've slowly added all new clothing, and this month I finished it out new dress clothes from Maurice's and Versona, two of my favorite stores. I really love what I'm wearing!
  • Ipsy. I got my first bag this month, and I really liked everything in it. My runaway favorite, though, was Realher Moisturizing Lipstick in Girl Power. I liked the sample so much I bought a full size lipstick. You can find out more here.
  • Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars in salted caramel. Really good and only 100 calories! I'm just five pounds away from my goal weight, so a sweet snack that's low calorie is exactly what I need.


I finished a She Reads Truth study on 1 and 2 Corinthians. It was really good! The study on forgiveness from chapter --- was really powerful. Now I'm starting a study of Judges.


  • How to use Canva. I love this app! It lets me design professional images for my blog and social media and gives everything a cohesive look.
  • How to wait. Patience is not my strong point, but God is teaching me to trust Him and His timing for my dreams.
  • How to use the Xodo app for digital planning