Posted in Bethany House Book Reviews, Book Reviews, reading

BHBR| The Chapel Car Bride

Howdy! (next time I’ll say ‘salutations’ 🙂 )

Here’s the newest one from Bethany House, and also my book review for April. Basically, if I’m quick at the draw…I’ll have one book from them a month. If I don’t want to review any of the options they have (which I’ve done before)…then I don’t 😀 .

The Chapel Car Bride

By Judith Miller

My rating- 5 stars ❤

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Look at this lovely cover! I’m in love with that dress she’s wearing. ❤ One thing I love to think about is what the design of the cover and the image are trying to tell you about the book. Originally, when I got this book I had actually forgotten that this was the one I had lined up! lol. And so…I thought to myself: “Oh no. It’s probably about a Mail Order Bride. And I hate those.”. But it wasn’t. And I loved it.

From now on I’m keeping my records in better order. I think I’ll place entries in my reading journal about the books when I receive the confirmation emails in the future. Order is a good thing to have, right?

Reasons why I loved it…

  1. It was a neat idea. In the past I haven’t come across any novels that have things about preachers in a train car. It’s a fun and interesting idea to me. New for me anyway. On the other hand, I HAVE come across a lot of missionary-sent-out-by-organization books.
  2. The mining theme. While this seems a little overused in some regards- I still like it. This time period had a lot of mining and miners, and so it’s natural. Anyone remember the beginning of the When Calls the Heart series? 😀
  3. The gospel theme. In normal christian fiction a lot of the time you’ll have a gospel presentation of some sort. In this case though, it’s more of a major theme to the plot. Especially given the fact that the main character’s dad is a pastor. 
  4. The discipleship moments. I love it when Hope’s dad is discipling the young men. It’s always been special watching my dad do the same as a pastor. I guess this book connects to me a little more specifically. 
  5. The main guy. In some ways I like the refined guys, but there’s something so much more believable and masculine in a guy with a pinch less class. The ruggedness, the not talking in complete sentences. I just think it’s more realistic for the ‘guy’ to sometimes give you a fragment. I love Luke’s gentleness, and I personally think it’s funny when the main guys get jealous (especially when there’s no call for it!). 
  6. Mr. Irving/Father & Daughter Relationship. I love their dynamic. One thing I think is so needed is the father/daughter relationship. It’s adorable when you see her heart first her dad’s–and then her man’s. ❤

Things I didn’t like…

  1. Nellie. Sorry people, I just found her annoying. She seems slightly fickle too in some ways. 
  2. The character cliche. I feel like authors are trying too hard to make their main female leads strong and special. I still liked Hope as a character but I think that the headstrong ‘I-got-this’ girl is gettin’ a wee bit cliche. For myself I admire a little less of the take-charge lead characters. I like spunk, but not when it gets too cliche. 😀

 

And that’s pretty much it! This is a great bit of easy-fun reading. It’s clean, cute, spiritual–and just an enjoyable read.

*My thanks to Bethany House for the free copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions here expressed are my own (as they always are 😀 )–I didn’t sugarcoat  or anything!

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Posted in My Photography

(L.P) Day, Twilight, Golden Hour, Sunset, & Night

So…I haven’t done this in a while (I got lazy).

But there is a new post on Lucillian Photography. And it’s the first of it’s kind. So…if you want to see it…you should click here.

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It will hopefully show you some strong lighting that features five stages of the day.

Day, Golden Hour (2nd), Twilight, Sunset, and Night.

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p.s. If you look at the post there’s a surprise at the end of it 😀 .

Posted in Writing

Writer’s Block// How to Escape the Scrape

A new writing post has emerged!

The last one that was similar to this was 5 Reasons You Should Keep Writing. 

Today we’ll be talking about writer’s block.

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Your inspiration is non-existent. You don’t feel like writing…or maybe you do and can’t think of anything to put on that blank page (or screen 😀 ). Congratulations!

You have writer’s block.

Now that I’ve diagnosed your writing problem (which you most likely have already diagnosed 😉 ) and also given you a deceptive blog post title…we may proceed!

What??! You gave us a deceptive blog post title?

Well, yes I did. You see…there’s no one way to fix this problem. I can’t just give you tips and say “This one will totally work for you!”. Because…every person is different and what works for me may not work for you. Yay, aren’t I encouraging?

While that may sound like bad news…guess what? It can also be very good news! Putting it positively- your solution may be right around the corner waiting to be discovered. So see, it’s not hopeless!

Ideas to destroy this beast…

  1. Remove anything and everything that’s distracting you from your presence. We have so many things in life that could potentially distract us from the one thing we want to do right now. I know for me personally- I go from writing a school assignment to just- not. Whether that means I’m checking my email or doing somethin’ else- It’s distracting me from writing. So. GET. RID. OF. THOSE. PESKY. DISTRACTIONS. ONE. BY. ONE. !
  2. Find a book to read that will get the imagination flowing. If you’re trying to write something in the fantasy genre, maybe read something in that genre. For instance, my current project is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I keep on reading the original story to get the creative juices flowing. 
  3. Find a new angle. Were you telling the story first person? Try this out: tell the story in second person. Or you can take another character vital to the story and tell it in his/her perspective. If you’re struggling to put those first words on the paper…think about a way to make the story opening something totally different than what you’d intended. Was Willemina a princess once? Why not turn her into an ugly young woman afraid she’s never going to be realized for the princess she is? Now–true, this may just ruin the story. But there really are limitless possibilities. And it’s always possible you assigned the character the wrong role. 😀
  4. Make a pinterest storyboard. This may not be for everyone. But I can attest to loving this. Sometimes images inspire the mind when nothing else can. They visually transport you into the realm you’re writing about. They help you envision what you were trying to write. If you want an example of one you can check out mine for my dystopian story Watchful here. I love doing this, and it’s especially helpful to look back on when I’m stuck or uninspired. 
  5. Story Prompts. I’m not sure when this became a ‘thing’. But I just started getting into it. One thing I used to worry about was the possibility of plagiarism. Not anymore though. Because, I have discovered that different minds think differently. And while, yes, we sometimes tend to think similarly—you’d be surprised at what I come up with VS what others come up with. So don’t worry! Story prompts are an amazing way to help you step it up. Why not try angling what you have of your story into a prompt to enhance the plot? Or start your story with a prompt!
  6. Write. There is a way that may make you upset. It’s called writing. 😀 You’re not going to beat this writer’s block without doing some writing. Most of the things I’ve suggested up until now–have been ways to get the writing juices flowing. Because I don’t want you to think that the solution is NOT to write. True, you may need a little break. You may need to go outside where the air is clean to think about it. But the solution isn’t to quit writing indefinitely until you’re inspired. That’s a sure way to either never write, or when you do–to go back off it just as soon. 
  7. Try listening to epic music. I wouldn’t recommend pop or anything where the beat is louder than the words. If you’re writing a romance novel…imagine the scene while you’re playing some soft, sweet music. Try instrumental. If bigfoot is about to stomp on littlefoot…then play something tense. Will littlefoot be trod underfoot? 🙂 I personally love listening to movie soundtracks for epic fight scenes and the like. But you may need something smooth and calming. I do too, sometimes. 
  8. Make a writer’s schedule. This is one that I’m awful at, but really need to try. If you pace yourself so that you’re writing at a certain time for a certain amount of time- it may help. Put it in a place in that busy schedule where it’s not so likely to be loud. Make it fit at a ‘smooth’ part of the day where your work load isn’t there to bother you. 

 

I hope this was helpful to you! Keep writing!

Have you tried any of these?

Name a way not listed that’s helped you in the comments!

A you a writer, or more of a reader?

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Posted in Lifestyle, My Photography

A Few of my Favorite Things

Hello!

This post will be answering a few ‘about me’ questions. Most of it is just in regards to a few things I like or use. If y’all would like, answer the questions for yourselves in the comments! That would be fun…

Question #1. What is your favorite flower?

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Answer: Hydrangeas. 

 

Question #2. What is currently your favorite kind of tea (substitute for beverage if you don’t like tea)?

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Answer: Hibuscus Ginger Organic tea, by Tao of Life. 

Question #3. A favorite beauty product?

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Answer: Maybelline New York, The Colossal Volum Express mascara. 

 

Question #4. Apples or oranges?

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Answer: I love apples! Especially sweet, crunchy, organic ones 😀 . 

 

Question #5. One book you read recently that you would highly recommend?

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Answer: Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. This book kept me on my toes. And frustrated! 😉

 

Question #6. What is something you baked recently that turned out?

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Answer: Gluten-free biscuits. Laugh all you like, people. I am gluten-free and thoroughly enjoy finding new things to try. They may not be those lovely fluffy southern thingys y’all are used to…but they still taste good!

 

Question #7. One book you read as a younger kid and still love?

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Answer: Keeping Holiday, by Starr Meade. I love this book so much! It’s a great read, and we read it when I as younger as an ‘out-loud’ family book. It’s clean, religious, and is a somewhat ‘allegory’ novel. 

 

Question #8. What are your favorite therapeutic products?

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Answer: Essential oils! I love Edens gardens for our diffuser, and Doterra for putting in mint chip ice cream 😀 . 

 

 

Question #9. Show one photo you recently took that you like?

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Dogwoods!

Little announcement~My next post will be a writing post, on…WRITER’S BLOCK! Because I haven’t done a post on writing in a little while. Also, my writing blog is going to be doing a fun little post. I will use two writing prompts to begin a fun little story. It’s not up yet, but when it is–you can check it out here: http://midnightwriter2000.blogspot.com/

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Posted in Faith and Controversial Topics, Thoughtful

Thoughtful| Teshuva, the Return

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We, as finite creatures- tend to drift. To float away weakly after the pleasures of the world. We exchange the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus, for the fleeting pleasures of sin. It’s a rip-off, but we don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to us. But it should.

Many of you have probably heard the C.S Lewis quote about the children being more content with mud pies than with the vacation at the beach. That’s us. We’ll take the mud pies, disguised to look like candy- and devour them.

But there’s good news.

We’re not given over to our sin as unbelievers are. The Lord will never forsake His own. He pursues us, He loves us freely. And above all- He convicts us. Have you ever felt that terrible poke right before doing what you know is wrong? Most of the time, people refer to that as your conscience. But did you know that the Holy Spirit, while being a comforter- is also a convicter? God doesn’t wink at sin, and He has indwelt us in the person of the Spirit. He is merciful and gracious.

I feel that the things that I have been doing are drowning out the love that I ought to have for God. I cry out, asking why God isn’t answering. Why isn’t He there? Well, He is. Sometimes God doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Sometimes we alienate ourselves from Him. We neglect reading His Word and praying. And then we wonder why we don’t ‘feel’ Him there.

The Psalm most applicable that I can think of to repentance (turning away to return) is Psalm 32. It tells us what happens when we do not confess, and I gives us encouragement to return.

Blessed Are the Forgiven

A Maskil of David.

” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

~Psalm 32

Sadly, sometimes it’s so easily said, and not easily done at all. I know when I’m in a ‘spiritual rut’ or find myself backsliding back into sin- sometimes the last thing I want is to return. Even though He loves me freely. Even though my current path will only lead to destruction. I still am content to wallow in the mud.

Sometimes we must wallow in the mud for a while to be brought to utter humility. We see our need of Him more clearly when He ‘hides His face’ from us for a while. But then, like the prodigal son—we return. He brings us back like lost sheep into His fold. We feast once again on green pastures. He restores our cast-down souls. He gives us drink from the clear, still waters.

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He makes us to lie down in peace.

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Posted in reading

Kindle Paperwhite + 5 free books

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Hey guys!

I have been…not on this blog. If my stats bar serves me right…it’s been about four days?

Today I am going to share a product-ish review that has really impacted my reading life. It’s called…the Kindle Paperwhite!

You can get many different kindles off places (primarily Amazon). The main difference between this one and say, the kindle fire- is the intended usage. The paperwhite is intended almost exclusively for reading, whereas the fire- is mostly for internet, games, etc. Yes, you can read on it…but I think it’s much more painful on the eyes.

LoVeLy FeAtUrEs

*Changeable resolution (screen brightness adjustable). What’s really neat about this feature is that it was created to keep the eyes from having to adjust no matter where you’re reading at. 

*Many books can be carried and read on-the-go. I used to lug books around and devour them. Now, I can bring my kindle paperwhite along with me, stuffed with books and get away with it! It’s great. I also love how little it weighs compared to my stack of books 😀 . 

*Access to the kindle lending library. Library? What? You can borrow one book a month for free out of many great titles. The last book I borrowed is ‘Once’, which is a collection of fairy tale retellings by several gifted young ladies. It’s historically themed. My point? There are a lot of great titles out there that you may borrow. Only one a month though, so make it good 😉 . Some other great titles I’ve previously borrowed:

  • The Spinner and the Slipper- by Camryn Lockhart
  • A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold- By Anne Elisabeth Stengl

And there are a bunch of other nice books that you’d probably enjoy.

*Access to a bunch of classics. In the kindle store, there are so many amazing old classics. You can get the entire Oz series FREE. Literally anything in the public domain is free. 

5 fReE bOoKs

  1. Jane Eyre. This is a public domain book and is amazing. I know some people may not like it, but I love it. It is an amazing book. It’s a roller coaster of happy and sad all intermixed. It’s classic, and is by Charlotte Bronte. 
  2. Wives and Daughters. By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. It’s also public domain, and a classic. Interesting fact, the writer died before completing the book. The BBC series is really good, although they did have to guess the ending 😉 . 
  3. The Scarlet Pimpernel Books. I don’t know if any of y’all are familiar with the Scarlet Pimpernel or not. They’re a series of books set around the french revolution- and are about a daring Englishman and his brave comrades stealing french (destined-to-be-guillotined) victim’s from the clutches of the french tyrannous ‘government’. While not all of the books can be gotten free, you’d be well on your way to discovering a lovely British series. The books are written by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (that name, tho 😀 .). 
  4. Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I was in love with Grimm’s, especially when I was younger. They were my favorite when I was twelve or thirteen. Whether you want to read the original german-ish Ascenputtel (Cinderella), or you are dying to hear about Snow White…this book is for you. And it’s public domain. AND it’s by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. 
  5. Books by many different Biblical authors. In the public domain, you can find books by Martin Luther, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeoun, and many others. 

 

To sum up…this product is very worth it!

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Posted in Lifestyle, My Photography

Patchwork Quilt| A Life Update

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And what does that lovely header for this post mean? Why is there a roadway? Well…friends, I went somewhere. But that will come later. I will start with a semi-comprehensive look at the past…two or three weeks? Here we go.

We had a very random snowfall that was very tiny, and melted almost immediately. I did take a photo of a plant in it though…

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And then a day or two after that, I got the opportunity to try out slow sync flash. You basically set a slow shutter speed (I mostly did 2 seconds or 2″) and spin in a circle while the flash fires. It makes for VERY weird photos but is nonetheless quite fun to do. And it’s especially cool if you’re outside at night.

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This is not edited. This type of photography just results in looking this way. Cool, huh? Ignore how dumb I look 😉 .

You can also use objects. I did this one in my studio/office.

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I love how the flash freezes the water.

And then after a few days it was time to go to a conference! This is photo from in the car.

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Then we got to the hotel…which wasn’t awful. But I still don’t really like it.

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And this is a room at the conference building that I like hanging out in. It’s sort of become a cliche for me, since we’ve gone for three years now.
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And snacks and drinks were provided at the break times.
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And outside the building there is this lovely bed of pansies.
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And then there was this trip home. And we were all exhausted.

More Recently…

On Saturday, we were at the YMCA–when mom told us we were going on vacation NOW. We hadn’t packed. We didn’t even know where we were going…and our family of eight had two hours to pack. And one of those hours we would have people over. But…those people happen to be the family I am getting to do a newborn photo session with. So this was my first opportunity to get a peek at baby Eva Marie. And she’s adorable! I think the session is on Friday. I’m going for a studio look.

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Look, she has hair! 

Our 1 and a 1/4 day ‘vacation’ was to our grandparents house. One night my grandpa showed me his father’s old film camera a bunch of other cool stuff that went with it. Sometime, I want to try film.

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The I decided to try an interesting technique using a tiny fisheye lens.

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No photoshop required!

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Then we were home. And I took some pictures of our red bud tree.IMG_6006.JPG

Then some photos of unnamed one 🙂

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And that’s pretty much all that I’ve been up to for fun.

What have y’all been doing?

Have you ever gone on unexpected vacations?

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Posted in Bethany House Book Reviews, Book Reviews, reading

BHBR| Treasured Grace

Yay!

I am now reviewing my third book for Bethany House! The first one was Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette, the second was Quick Tips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner, and this (the third) is…Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson. So let’s just run into this here review.

Treasured Grace

Heart of the Frontier Book #1.

By Tracie Peterson

My rating- 5 stars

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I loved this book! It was such an exciting novel to read. I love the cover (as a side note 😀 ), and the time period is one of great interest to me. This is the first Tracie Peterson book I have ever read, and I like it. The reason I haven’t read much of Tracie’s work is simply that I’m not much into western stuff. And a lot of her stuff seems to be western.  I don’t (so far) like western romances as much. I’m not into mail order brides. It’s just not my thing. But this…yep. This got me. Prairie days are much more thrilling for me.

Let’s go back to the days of Indians…

//I love the setting. Wagon trains, sickness, prairie dangers, and beautiful country. It all appeals to me.

//The main character. Grace is a neat person. She’s strong, and kind, and is a healer. She cares for people as a life calling. But she’s not perfect…and I love how she develops. 

//The pain. The story does a good job building tension and getting you excited. I started dreading what was probably coming. If you like…you can read the synopsis- and figure out what I was dreading happening. After THE event of the story there is so much hurt and scars, and it makes the reader feel sad 😦 .  

//Good story line. I felt that the plot was engaging, and it just kept going. The dialogue was delightful as well. 

//Age line. Because of several things that occur in the story which are suggestive, I would recommend this book for 13+ or the discretion of the parent. (It would be discretion of the parent or guardian regardless! 🙂 ) 

//Faith. This book is Christian Historical Fiction. I thought the faith was much better emphasized in this book than in most other books of its genre. And believe me…you would need a strong faith to survive such trials!

So…I will probably borrow some more Tracie Peterson from our local library soon. I think maybe not all of her stuff is Western? I know that a lot of it IS, but then- maybe someone else out there has read some of her westerny ones and liked them? I’m sure they’re good. 😉

*This book actually arrived earlier than I was expecting it to (thumbs up to Bethany House for promptness!). So I actually was able to finish reading it at the conference I attended the 14-16. And I finished it so fast…because it was amazing. It kept me under it’s power the entire time. I don’t think I experienced any boredom at all.

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Posted in Lifestyle

New Website Design…

Perhaps some of you have noticed my drastic change on The Misty Mountain. I have completely changed my website look! I chose to use two complementary colors (orange and blue) because I am semi in love with that look. I am also attempting to adopt better structure. This is going to be a bit bumpy (especially since I’m not done designing my website yet) but I am glad for all y’all’s patience. Thank you, guys- for following my blog, and hopefully I can start being more accommodating to what y’all want to see.

Have y’all taken my survey yet?

If you haven’t, hop over to it and vote! At the end of two weeks I’ll use the biggest voted choice and do a post on the winning thing. Basically the survey is really just a poll asking what kind of posts you most want to see. If you’d like to more of something else (not listed) then please comment on the poll with what it is. And as a side note when I mentioned photography, it more refers to very basic things. I have a photography website (as you know) where the most of photography is mentioned.

My blog header

Now that y’all have seen my header- what do you think? Do you like it? I am working on some other blog-related design stuff, so if you have suggestions- please share them!

Thank you!

~Emmaline