Monday, April 24, 2017

Even If by MercyMe

One of my favorite new songs!

My favorite part is:

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

This is where my hope and trust lies, in Jesus Christ! But even if, Lord!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

When Angels Cry by MaryLu Tyndall - Book Review

When Angels Cry by MaryLu Tyndall

Book Review

Have you ever wondered what might happen in the coming days, months, and years? Have you ever wondered how it might be at the end of time? While this is obviously a fictional account as we do not know what exactly how or what will happen, it helps you get a better glimpse of how things might be. I appreciate how Tyndall gives scripture throughout the story to back up her writing. This is a novel for our times. 

This is not the normal genre that I read, but it made me really think things through. Are we doing all that God is calling us to? Are we being a witness for Him? None of us know when we are going to die, but I believe we should live each day like it is out last, living to the fullest and living to the glory of God.

The main character, Angelica, shows so much faith throughout the book. She remains faithful in the good times and the bad. She trusts that God knows what is best for her and for everyone in the story. She has real struggles, too. She is a single mom and is dealing with how to raise her children in a world that is falling apart and that is teaching her child the wrong things. Yet she stays true to who she is and fights the good fight. Even when all else is failing, she knows she needs to rely on God.
 I have enjoyed MaryLu Tyndall’s books for many years now and have read all of them. This is another one of her fast-paced books with action, adventure, romance, and the call to something greater, the call to spread the Good News and be aware of what is happening around us. I encourage you to check out this story and if it happens to leave you wanting for more, please remember these words by C.S. Lewis, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and was under no obligation to post a review.

Book Description 

In the not too distant future…

Wars, plagues, and famines ravage the world, immorality and violence are rampant, and the Bible is outlawed.

Angelica Smoke, a single mother and cocktail waitress, ascends the steps of a megachurch to deliver a message from God to the one man she hoped to never see again.

That message thrusts world-famous pastor Daniel Cain into a whirlwind of confusion, causing him to seek out Angelica and demand an explanation. But the woman broke his heart once and is now involved in a fanatical cult. Even being seen with her could damage his career. Still, he cannot stay away, and the more time he spends with her, the more he begins to doubt everything he believes.

Angelica is a seer. God grants her visions of the future, but she has no idea what to do with them. Her top priority is protecting her son—from the world, the culture, the devil, and especially from Daniel. But God keeps throwing them together, causing her fears to rise and reopening old wounds that threaten to tear her soul apart.

Angels watch over the couple, protecting and hoping they will make the right choices. But the angels are limited in what they can do as the end of the age comes to a close and the spiritual battles intensify, not only for Angelica and Daniel, but for all humanity.

Click here to get the book on Amazon 

For more info on MaryLu Tyndall, check out her website:  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Intentional in 2017 (Word of the Year)

2017 is here! And we are already 11 days into it!

I have started a new tradition of picking a word for the year. I started in 2015 and am amazed how God seems to put a certain word in front of me and how I see the word repeated over and over again.

2015: Trust
2016: Loved


Life is short and I want to live it well. (Just like the lyrics to this song say.) I want to be intentional in how I am living. 

The dictionary defines Intentional as "done by intention or design". I like looking at synonyms and some of them that stood out to me were: conscious, purposeful, set, willed.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV) says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." No matter what I am doing, I want to intentionally do it to the glory of God.

There are several ways I want to use the word intentional this year:
  • in relationships with family and friends
  • in my faith
  • in praying more regularly
  • in memorizing scripture
  • in tithing and managing my money
  • in  blogging ;)
  • in all I say and do
I am also looking at specific ways that God is intentional in the ways He uses us, the people He puts in our lives, and more.

This year, I started a Pinterest board for things that remind me of my word. You can check it out here!

(I am also posting more often on the Musings Made By Mandy Facebook page! Please like the page to see when new blog posts are out and for some fun quotes, verses, and other random musings!)

I know this post has contained a lot of musings, but I wanted to give you some of my thoughts on the word Intentional and how I see that playing out in 2017!

Finally, I was asked last year why I choose a word each year (you know the last 3 years anyway!), and here is what I share then:
I like choosing a word because it helps me to have focus and see how God is working in that area of my life. It becomes my theme for the year.
[In 2015], my word was trust. Since it was on my mind, it seemed to come up over and over. Each time with clearer understanding. Even towards the end of the year, when I hadn't thought about it for a while, it came up and I was reminded of it.

I apply the word in different ways. I journal and blog about it. I look up verses and quotes about it. I pray how God wants me to apply it to my life. You can do as little or as much as you want with it!

This book, One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber, was inspiring, too!

 I would love to hear if you picked a word for the year. If so, what was it and why?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - a year in review

Last night around the dinner table, my parents, younger sister, and I were discussing this last year - 2016. 

We were looking for the good memories in a sea of hurts. 2016 was a hard year for our family and for many around us. Several friends and family members went to be with Jesus. The grief was hard. Is hard. Also, I have seen the effects of divorce in our family. I have felt the loss of our family breaking apart. And have also grieved that. With those things happening, it has made life hard; hard to make decisions, hard to do the day-to-day little things that need to be done. Everything else seemed to just intensify. I started to realize that some things I normally wouldn't get upset about were just harder to accomplish. But to say all that about hardship and trials and end there, would not be right...

My word for 2016 was: LOVED

My name, Mandy, means "beloved or  well-loved". 

First, I know I am loved by God. He loved me so much He sent His one and only Son to die for me, to pay the price for my sins and to save me from death, to give me eternal life. 

Second, I am loved by others. One of the greatest blessings that God gave me in the last year or so, is our church family. I have felt so loved and apreciated by them. A couple weeks ago, I was thinking about how we take our church for granted. Sometimes, I think we don't realized how blessed we are to get to see our spiritual family every week, sometimes twice a week! They have been a true encouragement to me and have shown me that I am loved. 

Last, I will admit, I'm not sure how well I have done at showing the people around me how much they are loved by me and by God. There have been moments, but there is always room for more improvement. 

While, I wasn't sure why "loved" was my word for this year, looking back, it makes more sense. God is good! All the time!

Looking at this blog post, I realize this is not where my thoughts were when I started this post. I was only going to share the ups and downs of the year, but I guess I got a little carried away!!!

So in closing, I will share with you 10 things I LOVED about 2016 (pun intended):

1. Jesus. I am thankful that I am loved by Him and can strive to serve Him in all I do. 
2. My family. Even though we have had hard times this year, I still love each one of them. 
3. Our church family. 
4. My new job at church in children's ministry. 
5. Opportunities and potential. 
6. Our vacation this summer which included many wonderful stops and the RNC Convention. 
7. My political friends. I am thankful for the many people I meet while being involved in politics. 
8. Working on a senate campaign and seeing our senator win and then become the majority leader for our state! 
9. Being involved in our local homeschool co-op. I love getting to know the kids, but I also love getting to know the moms. They inspire me! 
10. Seeing God work in my life. Someday, I will tell of my story to become  an RNC Delegate. There is no possible way I could have went if it were not for God's hand in many different situations. 

Well, there are 10 things I loved about 2016. I am looking forward to 2017 with anticipation. I'm am praying for what is to come. I am still thinking about my word for next year, but I think I'm getting closer to figuring it out! Stay tuned! 

Blessings to you as you close out this last day of 2016. Stay safe and I'll see you in the new year! 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!!!

Here are a few pictures for you:

Our Christmas napkins this year! 

Our advent tree that we made at church this year: 

Our Christmas tree:

Have a blessed Christmas and stay safe! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Family Arrangement by Gabrielle Meyer - Book Review

A Family Arrangement by Gabrielle Meyer

This story by Gabrielle Meyer is about the founding of a little town in the MN Territory. I enjoyed the story because it is part of the history of my hometown. I know that the fictional struggles, as well as the real struggles, that the founders of this town went through, did eventually pay off because the town is here today! I appreciated that I could picture the small town as it was growing and being established. I could envision the streets and the buildings as they were going up. The book has a special connection for me because I love my hometown and it is fun to read this fictional story of its founding.

The story is about how a family can deal with trials and grief (the loss of their wife, mother, and sister). There are many struggles that went along with settling a new town. It took a strong person to pursue such an endeavor, but even then, it was still a hard battle. One of my favorite lines in the book was this: “’What dream has God planted in your heart?’ the reverend asked, searching the crowd. ‘What dream do you need to nurture and water, so it can produce a harvest? I urge you to ask God this question, and seek His answer.’” The main character, Abram Cooper, did have a dream of starting a new town for his family so he could leave them a legacy. He also had the faith to do it. The story includes friendship, love, history, and the stamina to endure through the trials of life. I think you will enjoy this story of Little Falls and how one man’s dream created history!

At Gabrielle's book signing of A Mother in The Making
A little more of the history of A Family Arrangement can be found here on Gabrielle's blog.

Here is the link to buy her book on Amazon.

Monday, November 21, 2016

One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel - Book Review

One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel

Lindsay Harrel’s debut novel is a well-spun story! The story is one of hardships and successes, generational curses and the ability to overcome them, trials, heartaches, forgiveness, and love.

One More Song to Sing tells the story of one girl’s quest to find her mother and the story of the mother who left that child behind and the reasons why she left her. It shows how each one of the decisions in this book affect many different lives.

There are many different relationships in this story and each bring unique challenges to the interweaving of the different character’s lives. I love how you see the effects that one person’s life has on many others. Ultimately, you see the love that each character has for each other. There is the love of a grandma and granddaughter, a mother and daughter, roommates, co-workers, friends, and significant others. But most importantly, you see what a relationship with God looks like and the struggles that each character faces on their journey of faith. It is their faith and God’s love and grace for them that help them make it through. The forgiveness that is offered in this story demonstrates the forgiveness that God offers us.

There are too many wonderful things I loved in this story to mention them all here, so I will end with this. Read this story! You will not be disappointed with the depth of this first-time author’s story. I look forward to many more stories from Lindsay Harrel in the future. 

Amazon Link to Lindsay's Book

My mom, my sister, and I got to have our picture taken with Lindsay a couple months ago!

(R to L: My sister, my mom, Lindsay, and me)