100 Followers (!!!) + ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

WOW!! 100 followers!!! Thank you guys SOOOO much! That totally excites me. 😀 In honor of hitting triple digit followers, I thought it would be fun to travel down memory lane a bit. A Throwback Tuesday, if you will. Then, later, I have a super-special-exciting-amazing announcement!

Let’s begin!

My first post was a review on EOS Lip Balm, published on September 9, 2013.

Holy smokes, has it really been five years? Since then I have written 82 more posts, and have (hopefully) gotten better at choosing a feature photo…because the one I took of the lip balm all those years ago makes me cringe!

Has my blog always looked like this? Nope! Here’s what my original blog looked like:

Also, shout out to my sweet friend Annalise, who took the picture of books that I have on my blog now. 😀 Thanks Annie! Does anyone remember when my blog used to look like this?

Top 3 Most Popular Blog Posts (according to WordPress Stats):

I have no idea if it’s accurate or not, but this is telling me that my most popular post is Baking Flops = Funny Stories wherein I share three times where my attempts at baking have failed. Two of them are my fault, one is not, and if you want to know more I’d suggest reading the post to find out! 😉 In the meantime, did I ever tell you about the time I decorated a cake to look like a turkey? It was super cute, until all the frosting slid off in the car on the way to Grandma’s house. 😛 My other two most popular posts are Note to Self: Corn Nuts and Teeth Jewelry Do Not Mix and DIY Tissue Paper Chrysanthemum Tutorial

My blog was originally a review blog!

Yup! That’s right! Now you’re lucky if you get a review once every eight and a half months. That’s because after a few months of trying to review things, I decided I didn’t like reviewing. I didn’t think it wasn’t very much fun. I’d much rather share funny stories from my life, random ramblings about whatever, and things that God’s been teaching me lately. And, yes, I still throw in the occasional review every once and again. I enjoy this much more. 🙂

One of my favorite FUN posts is 3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience, and my favorite FAITH post is Faith Over Fear.

There are 513 comments on my blog!

Which is awesome! I love chatting with you guys!

I think I’m running out of Throwback Tuesdays and statistics to share with you guys…

which is FINE BY ME because I am ready to share my

! ! !    A N N O U N C E M E N T    ! ! !

I have shared bits and pieces of this before, but I have never gone into much detail. Some of you may know that I have been writing a novel and have been working on it for a long time. WELL, on July 6, 2018, I FINISHED IT. Like, finished-finished-FINISHED it. I’ve gone over it several times myself and had a couple ladies read it and share their thoughts/suggestions to help me edit it.

And now…NOW…

I’m going to publish it.

BOOM.

I am SO excited!!!!!!!! I’ve prayed about what I should do with my book now that it’s finished, and I believe that this is the direction the Lord is leading me in. I feel at peace with my decision. and. i. am. so. excited.

“Well Emma,” you say, “that’s great. But I really don’t know anything about your book except that, well, you wrote it.”

Oh goodness! Yes! I will remedy this right now. My book is a Christian contemporary young adult fiction titled Mrs. Willows, set in the wonderful land of Michigan. More below…


Mrs. Willows

by Emma Forbes

“Care to fill me in on this big plan of Yours, God?”

Shauna Silverton was sure that the worst had happened after her father is laid off, but she was wrong. After Mama injures herself and is unable to work, it suddenly becomes sixteen year old Shauna’s responsibility to be an afternoon caregiver to the elderly Mrs. Willows.

A cynical, sharp-tongued old woman with a broken past, Mrs. Willows is anything but pleasant. Friendship, even civility, is non-existent. To quit would mean freedom, but how can she let her family down when they need the money?

Shauna’s faith in God is the only thing getting her through each day. But when it becomes clear that Shauna will have to keep her job indefinitely, even that begins to waver as she struggles to know the answer to the question: Can she really trust God?


EEEEEP! Y’all are the first ones I’ve shared my synopsis with. Do you feel special? 😉 As I may have mentioned before, I AM SO EXCITED to share my story with you guys. I don’t have a release date yet, as I am still working on the finishing touches of the manuscript, like formatting and all those wonderfully fun details. I DO however, have an author Facebook page, where I post updates every once-and-again.  If you wanted to go check it out and maybe give it a like, I would LOVE that.

Okay guys! That’s all I got for now! I would probably be able to ramble on and on and on about this for forever and nine days, but I probably should save something for future posts…right??

I want to give one more big THANK YOU to all my followers!!!! I love you guys!!!!

Have a blessedly wonderful day!

EMMA!

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The Tree of the Forest ~ A Guest Post with Ethan

Hello hello! 🙂 Today I am here with my brother Ethan, who was so kind as to agree to another guest post. Some of you may remember him from quite a few months ago when he shared about his harrowing ordeal with a skunk. I asked if he would allow me to share the story he narrated not too long ago, and he said yes! So without further ado, may I present The Tree of the Forest by Ethan. We hope you enjoy!


There once was a tree. This tree grew. It grew a leaf. But a young boy came along and plucked its only life source away.

Before it lost all of its energy, it bore a seed. As the tree grew dry, the seed dropped in a mighty wind. The seed had better luck than its parent and it landed on good, fresh soil not far from its ancestor. It grew, it sprouted, it gained in mass.

A bird came to perch on its arm and then this young boy came along with a slingshot. He shot at the bird, but he missed. Instead, he left a scar on the tree where the rock collided. The bird flew away.

After the bird flew away the boy left as well, leaving the tree alone with a scar to remind himself of the mishap. The tree decided then and there to grow deeper, wider, taller, than any others. To be stronger, to be better, and to be greater than the rest of the grove, so that no young child could ever leave another wound.

Many years later, once it had accomplished what it dreamed to be, it developed a sickness. When the young boy left the mark on the tree, a spore blew into the gash. This spore developed over time, spreading across the tree until it reached the roots, siphoning the life out of the biggest tree. As the fungus grew, the tree withered. Bark began peeling off and the fresh leaves wrinkled and lost their vibrant green. The mighty tree turned brown and the roots decayed away while the fungus grew in strength.

When the tree couldn’t hold itself up any longer, the roots gave way. In a gust of wind the trunk shattered in half, spewing out spores of fungus and contaminating the nearby trees. As time passed the sickness among the forest was persistent. The blight had created a chain reaction and successfully polluted every tree before another generation of trees were able to sprout. The forest deadened, losing its ability to persevere, and perished. From one child’s mistake, a forest of healthy trees was destroyed.

After a century passed, what was once a beautiful forest was now the location of a lush meadow, healthier than any other in its time.

The End.


I guess the moral of the story would be to be careful with slingshots, huh? Not quite the ending I expected…but hey, I like plot twists! What did you think; were you surprised by the ending? Thanks Ethan for joining us today! If you enjoyed this post, comment below and let him know, and maybe I’ll get him back for another guest post soon. 😉

Emma xo

What is a Frozen Hot Chocolate?

Besides being an oxymoron, what exactly is a frozen hot chocolate? Ever since I went to the coffee shop one chilly spring morning and was asked, “Would you like that hot, iced, or frozen?” in response to my hot chocolate order, I have been immensely curious. So recently, for my enlightenment and yours, I spent $5.08 to find out.

Frozen hot chocolate is indeed chocolatey, but I thought it tasted like a thin milkshake made with water. Albeit yummy, I don’t think it’s something I would buy again, mainly because of its exorbitant price, but also because I’d rather have a legit milkshake (which I can buy for cheaper at McDonald’s). I would rate this beverage two stars out of five.

But wait! I must hear your thoughts…frozen hot chocolate: yay or nay? What is your beverage of choice?

This has been Emma, Blogger and Beverage Reviewer, signing off.

the Love of God | Bible Study Blog Party

Wowzers, I can’t believe its June already! I hope you’ve all had a great start to your summer. 🙂 To start off my summer blog posts (which are really no different than my spring, fall, and winter posts, except for the fact they’re posted during the summer) I am joining Faith at I Like That on a Bible Study Blog Party. I’m cutting it a little close, seeing as how the party ends on the 9th of June, but better late than never, eh?

Anyway, what is a Bible Study Blog Party? As Faith explained it, it’s where a bunch of bloggers read and study the same passage of the Bible and write about it. I was super excited that Faith chose Romans chapter 8 since Romans has become one of my favorite books in the Bible. 🙂

I’ll be honest here—one of the reasons I’m posting on one of the last days of the party is because I didn’t feel like my post was really coming together. My words weren’t flowing like I wanted them to and I didn’t feel like I really got any great pearls of wisdom to share with y’all.

But you know what? I realize that that’s okay. It’s not about me anyways. It’s not about my words or how eloquently I write. It’s about God and His Word. I’m going to do my best to write what God put on my heart and trust Him with the rest. That’s why I love the promise in Isaiah 55 that says the word of the Lord will never return void—God’s word always accomplishes what He sends it to do!

So, let’s get this party started! Which reminds me—you guys need to go check out Faith’s post for this party! God spoke to her about Romans 8:1 (The there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus verse) and it is so good. Seriously, go read it! 🙂

As I read Romans 8, the part that really popped out to me was verses 31-39, where Paul talks about nothing separating us from the love of God and how we are more than conquerors.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   ~Romans 8:31-39

I realize that is quite a chunk of scripture there, but I couldn’t bring myself to shorten it up. It’s such a wonderful truth to know that nothing separates us from the love of God, and sometimes I think it’s hard for us to grasp. In fact, Paul says in Ephesians…

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:17b-19

God’s love for us is so great we’ll never get to the bottom of it!

Nothing we say or don’t say, do or don’t do, will make God change His mind about loving us. God loved (loves!) us at our worst. Romans 5:8 says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God saw us broken, full of sin and shame, and said “Because I love you, you are worth it.” Jesus bore our sins and brokenness on His body because He desired a relationship with each and every one of us. Why? Because that’s how wide and long and high and deep Christ’s love is for each of us.

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. ~Zephaniah 3:17

This verse was a big one for me too. Because not only does God love me, He takes great delight in me. And in Isaiah 62:4 it says that the Lord will call His people Hephzibah, which in Hebrew means my delight is in her. I love that. God delights to be with me! He rejoices and sings over me! He loves me because I am His child and there is nothing that can change that.

The Bible is full of verses about God’s love for His people…

I am abounding in love and faithfulness. (Ex. 34:6)

I have loved you with an everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3)

My love reaches to the heavens, my faithfulness to the skies. (Ps. 36:5)

My love endures forever. (Ps. 136:26)

My steadfast love will not depart from you. (Is. 54:10)

I loved you so much that I gave my one and only Son to save you. (John 3:16)

And of course there’s many, many more, but do you see a pattern? God’s love for us is boundless, limitless, forever, and complete.

Just because God’s love for us never ends, that doesn’t mean that we can live however we want. Like, “I know God will still love me, so I can do whatever I want.” God is very clear that He wants His people to be set apart from the world. That’s why He calls us peculiar treasures in Exodus 19:5 (KJV) and also that we are not to conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).

So while it is true that Jesus loves us right where we are at, He doesn’t want to leave us that way. God wants us to surrender our hearts and allow Him to change us to become more Christ-like every day. This heart change isn’t something we accomplish on our own (thank you Jesus!) but something God does in His strength, in His love.

God is a relentless lover. He won’t give up loving you. It doesn’t matter where you are at in life or what you are going through, He loves you. It’s just as Paul wrote all those years ago—nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ❤

❤ Nothing. ❤

Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett – A Book Review

Aloha! No, I don’t live in Hawaii, but I did just finish a book set in Hawaii! Porch Swing Girl, the debut novel by teenage author Taylor Bennett, was recently released and delivered to my house on Tuesday, at which point I promptly read it. I’ve been anxiously anticipating reading Taylor’s book, so I’m excited to share my thoughts with you!

What if friendship cost you everything?

Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.

With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged.
Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to
help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted,
Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket
home. And time is running out.


I have three words for this book: Transported to Hawaii.

Don’t worry, I won’t end the book review there. 😉 I have plenty more to say, but I thought that would be a good place to start. Because reading Porch Swing Girl did just that: it transported me to Hawaii. Taylor painted vivid pictures of Hawaii and its culture while keeping the story moving at the perfect pace, and I loved every minute of it.

Porch Swing Girl is written in present tense. (“I walk to the store” as opposed to “I walked to the store”.) But to be honest, I didn’t realize until several pages in that it was in present tense form (which has, in the past, distracted me because I’m so used to past tense). That’s how smooth Taylor’s writing is, and that impressed me.

I thought all the characters were all very well-written and relatable; they definitely were not flat or boring! Olive, having so recently lost her mother, was dealing with a lot and I could easily sympathize with how being stuck in Hawaii would not feel like a vacation. I loved Jazz–both her name and her personality. I liked Brander too. He could be either sweet or serious, although sometimes he acted like a dork! 😉

Maybe I don’t read enough or try enough new authors, but I haven’t found many books like this one in the young adult market. Because honestly, Porch Swing Girl is exactly the type of book I want more of. It’s Young Adult. It’s clean. It’s contemporary. Funny, sad, sweet, and serious, it’s relatable. It has a Christian message that doesn’t bash you over the head with the Bible, but isn’t so minuscule you have to use a magnifying glass to find it. I really liked that, how the characters included God in the everyday.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and enjoyed spending an hour or so reading to finish it up. 😀 I haven’t had time to read the chapter excerpt of book two, Sand Castle Dreams, that’s included at the back of the book but if it’s anything like this one I am sure I will enjoy it. 🙂 (There’s also a cookie recipe in there, too!) I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

So to wrap things up–have an interest in Hawaii? Love a good, clean, YA contemporary? Are you a fan of Robin Jones Gunn? Because if so, I highly recommend Porch Swing Girl. I really think you’ll enjoy it.

When Looking to God for Guidance…

A couple of months ago I asked the Lord, “Okay God, what’s the next step for me?” He had asked me to write a book, so I wrote it. He told me the next step was to edit it, so I did. At the time, I wasn’t sure what my next plan of action was. So…now what?

I needed to ask God for some guidance, an age old question that comes in many different forms: “So, God, what’s next?” or “How do I handle this situation, Lord?” or even, “I’m not sure what to do/say…help!” I opened up my Bible and began to look for verses–and I found a bunch!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

God promises that when we seek Him with all of our hearts we will find Him. We seek Him by praying and reading the Bible to get to know who He is. God desires to have a relationship with us, and if we desire to have a relationship with Him, He won’t hide. We’ll find Him.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

I don’t want to live in a constant state or worry, fear, or anxiety over what I should do next. God doesn’t want us to either! He wants us to live in an attitude of thanksgiving and to present our requests to Him in every situation. He wants to hear from us! God wants us to exchange our worries for His peace.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

When we ask God we’re showing (and acknowledging) that we are dependent on Him. “Hey, God, I don’t know what to do and I need You to show me.” God will give us wisdom when we ask Him for it.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Sometimes we don’t get our answers right away and we need to wait. Sometimes it feels like God is taking forever. I love how Psalm 5:3 says “I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” According to the Google dictionary, expectantly means to wait “with an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something good.” Why would we wait in expectation if we knew God wasn’t going to answer? No, we wait expectantly because we know God will answer. It might not be instantaneous, but “be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” He will.

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will have a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17

These are some of God’s precious promises to us. And His promises, no matter how many promises He has made, are “Yes” in Christ! (2 Corinthians 1:20) God will lead!

Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

People place their trust in a lot of different things: other people, money, themselves. We need to place our trust in God, who “does not change like the shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

When times are good and we are flourishing, we need to trust God:

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good. Psalm 52:8-9

When times are rough and we are being refined like silver, we need to trust God:

For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let the people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us into a place of abundance. Psalm 66:10-12

God will do what He says, because He is faithful.

God is not a human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4

Trust God for your today, but also trust Him for your tomorrow. No matter what you are seeking guidance for, He will lead you. He is leading you. God takes care of the flowers of the field and the birds in the sky, and He says, “Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-34) God will take care of His children.

This God of ours, He is faithful. He bestows wisdom upon those who ask. He is trustworthy. He will not lead us astray; He is our guide, even to the end. He is a God of peace. He is a God of love. Continue to seek Him and cling to His promises. He will answer.

God will guide.

The Selcouth Award

Today’s post is a bookish one. Imagine that, a book post on a bookworm’s blog. Ha! I’ve been tagged by my buddy Sarah @ Forever Aspiring Writer to take part in The Selcouth Award. Selcouth, by definition, means strange, unusual, or rare. They’re supposed to be off-the-wall questions about books, writing, or anything literary. 🙂

Here we go!

1) What is one book you would love to see made into a movie that hasn’t been yet?

First of all, we need to establish that if a book is going to be made into a movie, then it should be true to the book. It’s my belief, as I’m sure many of you bookworms would agree, that if a book is good enough to be movie-material in the first place, then there’s no need to change things. 😉 (I’m very passionate about this.) That being said, I should get off my soapbox and answer the question.

I can think of a few. God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. (All these links go to Goodreads so you can read what they are about, if you feel so inclined.) I’ve mentioned this book before, but it’s the true story of how Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. It’s an amazing book full of God-things. 🙂 If you’ve enjoyed The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, then you should give this one a go.

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. I love Lynn’s books and can think of several that would make a good movie…I also think I should reread this book soon. Candle in the Darkness would be another good movie. And finally, I agree with my mum when she said that The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson would make an interesting movie!

2) Have you ever created a character for your story that’s based off you?

Well, there’s Emma from my book, Kozmo and Kiki – A Superhero Story. There was Emma from A Baseball Mystery, before she was renamed to Leana. So I guess you could say the answer to this question would be…yes! And yes, I have also based a character off of me without naming them after me…haha.

3) What is a genre you haven’t written a story in yet, but that you might like to try?

I’ve had this idea for an adventure/fantasy book for years now. I haven’t done anything with it beyond a Pinterest inspiration board, a cover I made in the Paint program, and a file containing my scribblings. It’s not a genre I usually ever read or write, so it tackling it would be a whole new world for me. Maybe someday…maybe not…we’ll see!

4) Name one genre which you just don’t like?

I’m not sure because I haven’t really explored many genres beyond the ones I already read (contemporary, historical fiction, some biblical fiction). Maybe I should expand my horizons?…or not… 😉

5) Have you ever read a book you disliked SO much, yet still read it to the end?

I was reading a series that I really enjoyed, but when I got to the last book…I was so disappointed! I didn’t like it at all. I can’t remember if I read it all or if I skimmed it. Because if I don’t like a book, yet don’t want to give up on it completely, I’ll flip through pages and scan them. I’ve done that a few times before. I haven’t always been like this, but now if I don’t like a book or can’t get into it, I don’t finish it and find a book that I do enjoy–otherwise it’s just a waste of my time.

6) Have you ever joined NaNoWriMo and if not, do you ever plan to?

(National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a 30-day challenge in November to write a 50,000 word book from beginning to end.) I attempted NaNo in 2013 with a friend of mine. The key word there is attempted. I sorely underestimated how hard it was to write 1,667 words a day! I was totally stressed and not enjoying it anymore, so I quit on Day 17.

One of the reasons NaNo didn’t work out for me is that I am an edit-as-I-go kind of writer. I write a few paragraphs or a page before I go back and revise and edit until I’m relatively happy with it. If a scene doesn’t feel right, I stay there until I can address the issue and fix it. Call it the perfectionist in me, but I don’t like to move on if I’m not happy with what I’ve written so far. Unfortunately for me, there’s no time for that during NaNoWriMo. 🙂

Another one of the reasons NaNo didn’t work for me was my lack of plotting. My novel was about a teenage girl whose family, due to unfortunate circumstances, moves to the country to live on a farm and her struggles to adjust. I was so focused on researching things for the farm that I neglected to plan out my actual story. Hahaha…you really need a plan and a good plot line for NaNo. Learned that the hard way!

7) At roughly what age did you start writing your first book (if you have written a book)?

I wrote my first book, The Tryouts, when I was twelve. My main character was Sally Johnson, her best friend, Ann Summers, and I thought it was pure gold. (I also saw no need to go through and edit it after I finished the first draft because I was convinced it was perfect.) I remember Googling about publishing, and I may or may not have added “Have The Tryouts Published” to my Christmas list…

8) Have you ever gone back over your blog and been so embarrassed about a post that you’ve deleted it?

No, I’ve never deleted a post out of embarrassment! The only thing that really sticks out to me is a certain blurry, out-of-focus picture that I used in one of my early-days review posts… *cringe*

EOS Lip Balm

9) Name an author whose books you just can’t get into?

I really just can’t get into Karen Kingsbury. (Sorry to disappoint, all you Karen Kingsbury fans!!) I’ve read four books by her and I think she’s a good writer, but I didn’t fall in love.

10) What author do you think you have read more books by than any other author?

I have read forty-five books by Robin Jones Gunn, author of the two best-selling series, Christy Miller and Sisterchicks. Robin is my favorite author! I fell in love with Christy Miller because they were relatable, had a sweet romance thread, and were full of Jesus. 🙂 I’ve been hooked ever since.

11) Have you ever spoiled the ending of a book for someone while they’re still reading it?

I hope not! I hate spoilers, in movies or books! I try to be conscious of who may not have seen or read a book when talking about things, but sometimes I slip, and if I’ve ever spoiled anything, then I’m sorry!

12) Favourite literary couple?

I’m not good at favorites and I’ve been staring at this question, and the next one, for thirteen minutes short of forever. I try to keep my answers interesting and not say the same thing twice, but I’m going to ignore that rule for a moment. 😉 My favorite literary couple is Christy and Todd from, you guessed it, Christy Miller. 🙂

13) Favourite literary friendship?

I received Lynn Austin’s newest book Where We Belong for Christmas and loooooved it! It’s about two sisters, Flora and Rebecca, as they go on adventures. I love how they look out for and take care of each other. ❤

Okay, now it’s your turn. I want to know:

What is one book you would LOVE to see made into a movie? What is YOUR favorite literary couple or friendship?

Until the next time, folks!

Emma xo

2018… A Brand New Year

As I’m writing this it is almost time for a new year to be rolling in. Man…2018 already? When I look back at ’17 I see a year full of change, where seasons of my life ended and new ones began.

In 2016 I had a list of goals for the year, which I wrote on a piece of copy paper and taped above the light switch in my room so I would be sure to see it every day. It came down when 2016 rolled to close, and was replaced by a poem-type snippet I wrote. I don’t think I want to take it down and replace it. I think it applies to me now more than ever, and so I’ll carry it through 2018. It goes as follows…

Today I will trust

Boldly proclaim in Jesus’ name

Follow His guidance, for God will lead me along

Fear will not live where Love has won

That poem sums up everything that God has been trying to teach me in 2017. He’s taught me a lot about trusting His plan for my life even when our timelines don’t match up. As I’ve grown closer to the Lord, I desire to be a beacon for Christ and share the good news of the gospel with people; to be bold for Christ. It’s hard and sometimes I don’t understand where God is taking me, but I want to follow His lead. And most of all, I do not want to live in fear. Jesus defeated fear. I do not have to be afraid. I can rest in Christ, secure in His love for me.

I don’t know what 2018 holds or what God is going to bring my way, but as the plaque hanging above my desk reads, If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

So what word am I going to carry into the new year, besides my poem? Not entirely sure, but there is one word that has been resonating in my heart lately. Love. My mom bought me a key chain for my birthday a couple of years ago, which I love. It has two words on it: Choose Love. In 2018 I want to love unconditionally; my family, friends, those I interact with at work, and those I meet in everyday life. In 2018 I want to show people the love of Christ through my words, my actions, and my life.

And now, it’s finally here. Happy 2018, everyone. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and bring you peace. And may you love the Lord your God above all else.

Blessings and love, Emma. xo

Panda vs. Snowman

Hey all! I saw a partial clip of this video on Facebook this morning, and I thought it was too cute not to share with all of you. So no matter how your day has been going, good or bad, I hope that this brings a smile to your face! 🙂 It doesn’t get much cuter than a panda bear playing with a giant snowman.

Happy Monday!

Emma xo

Gift of Grace

The words, “Are you ready to order or do you need a minute?” have become a common phrase on my lips. In other words, I am a waitress. Last month I began my training, which lasted four days before I was assigned a section of my own. Intimidating? Yes. New and weird? Definitely. There always seems to be an hour where things get hectic. It’s then when, in the midst of the craziness I think, “What on earth am I doing here?!” But then things slow down, and I realize that despite the craziness…I like it.

Last week I had a table with two older women who had a boatload of questions about our menu and our food. Because of their numerous questions, I was under the impression that this was their first time dining at our restaurant. I did my best to answer their questions, but if I didn’t know, I found someone who did. Nevertheless, the whole process was very confusing. It didn’t help that the older of the two ladies was hard of hearing.

In addition to this, my other four tables were full of customers as well, keeping me busy with coffee refills, desserts, and check backs–“Can I get you anything else tonight?” I had just finished delivering another table’s order, onion rings and sandwiches, when the women, whose orders it had taken me several minutes to sort out, flagged me down.

“They’re getting their food already when they were seated after us?” she questioned, confusion and frustration on her face.

I froze. Oh no. I remembered using the computer to check prices for them, but never sending their order to the cooks. “I–I am so sorry,” I stumbled. “I forgot to punch your order in, but–but I’ll do that right now.”

Of course they were upset. I told my manager what had happened and he ended up comping the whole meal for them. “Apologize profusely,” he told me. “They’re not happy at all.” I felt horrible. If this was their first time eating there, I had ruined the experience.

I brought out their pie and no sooner had I set the plates down when the older of the two women pushed a folded $5 bill into my hand. I shook my head as I tried to give it back and tell them no,  I didn’t deserve it–but they wouldn’t listen. She held her hand up as if to say, “the matter is closed and I don’t want to hear any more about it.” All I could do was mumble a thank you and move on. As I cleared my other tables, the word grace echoed in my heart, along with its definition:

An undeserved gift.

It got me to thinking. If I didn’t deserve the $5 tip because of my mistake, how much more do I not deserve the salvation Jesus bought for me at Calvary because of my sin? I’m the sinner, yet instead of giving me what I deserve, Jesus came to earth to atone for what I’ve done. He paid the death penalty for my sin even though He is holy and perfect. Yet that’s not the end. Christ defeated death when He rose from the grave three days later. He’s alive! And having paid the penalty for our sins, God gave us all a gift. Redemption. Salvation. New life.

Grace.

He was delivered over to death for our sins, and raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

It humbled me, to be sure. Not only as a waitress, but as a child of God. The truth was renewed in my heart: He has freely given me what I don’t deserve. That’s just how good and loving God is! Because of this, I am brand new and whole, and I have a renewed relationship with Christ.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God made an exchange: our sin for His righteousness. It’s not fair–it’s love. Pure, unconditional, full-of-grace love that never, ever fails.

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

I could try my best to fix the problem in order to be “good enough” for God, but even my best efforts are like “filthy rags”.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf and our sin blows us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

Not only do I not have to try to be “good enough”, God gives salvation as a gift. It’s not something we earn, it is something we are given out of God’s great love for me, for you, for everyone.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If we could earn our salvation and our way into heaven, we would be the ones receiving the glory. “Hey, guess what guys! I was good enough for God! I did it!” That’s what Paul means when he says “not by works, so that no one can boast.” If we boast, we should boast in the Lord! “God saved me! God is so good!” The focus shifts from us in all our imperfection, whose best efforts are like “filthy rags” to the One Who is worthy to be praised.  To the God Who spoke the universe into existence and used mud to heal a blind man’s eyes. To the God Whose love and faithfulness lasts forever and ever.

The thing about a gift is that, though it’s there for the taking, it’s not really yours until you accept it. You can stare at the person holding the present out to you all you want, but until you take hold of it and grasp it for yourself, it’s not doing you any good.

God is holding out a gift of grace to you. It’s a gift wrapped in new life, and once you accept it and open up the package, you will see everything that’s inside. There’s forgiveness, redemption, peace, love, freedom, joy…God’s Holy Spirit that comes to dwell within our hearts.

But that’s not even the best part. The best part of God’s free gift is that we will get to spend eternity with Him in the most beautiful place. Heaven. Where the streets are the purest form of gold, and a gate is made of a single pearl. Where we will be able to walk, hand in hand, side by side, with the most beautiful, loving, wonderful Man in the whole universe.

God won’t make you accept His gift, but He hopes with all His heart that you will. He loves you, wants to be with you, and is holding His arms open wide for you.  No matter what you have done or do, God won’t withhold His forgiveness if you ask Him for it.

I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. (Mark 3:28)

All it takes is surrendering. Admit you are a sinner in need of a Savior; lay it all down at Jesus’ feet. Believe in what Jesus did for you on the cross. Invite Him into your heart, and into every aspect of your life.

If you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

That’s all it takes. To believe, and to act on that belief. And when you do, God sends the Holy Spirit to live in your heart where He changes you from the inside out. From there, you are adopted into God’s family. A precious and most definitely loved child of the King. 

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. (Romans 8:11)

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5)

But to all who believed in Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)

God is willing to make each and every one of us new. He yearns to. And God, well, God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. He loves us more than that.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12)

God wants us all to know how wide and long and high and deep His love is. So wide, so long, so high, so deep, that Christ died for each and every once of us so He could give us a life on earth, forgiven and in renewed relationship with the Father.

So He could give us a life forever, with Him in Heaven.

A gift of grace.

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