Review: When Dreams Come True

When Dreams Come TrueWhen Dreams Come True by Eric Ludy and Leslie Ludy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much! I’ve had this book for a while, but was saving it until close to Valentines’s Day. It didn’t disappoint! It was hard to put down. I loved their writing styles.

“And amazingly, through it all, there was a God watching me fall, watching me break His heart, and loving me still…” – Leslie

“The next hour passed like a hiccup attack in the middle of a wedding ceremony.” – Eric

(Those two sentences are from different parts of the book, by the way.) It pulled me right in.  I didn’t expect the book to have much conviction in it since it was a love story, but I was pleasantly surprised. Here are just a few:

“Eric, God doesn’t care about you accomplishing things, He cares about you obeying. When you obey, it’s truly amazing what you can accomplish!” – Eric’s mom

“I was in pre-med, and doing what I had always dreamed of,” he shared animately, “but I realized that, even though I’d been a Christian since I was five, I had never asked God what He wanted to do with my life.” – Eric

And there are also plenty of gems for the single Christian (like me):

“And as I had slowly learned to trust Him completely as the Lord of every area of my life, I had felt His gentle challenge to my heart, I have someone special for you, My precious child. Wait patiently for that man, set yourself aside for him in complete purity and faithfulness. I will bring him into your life in a way more beautiful than anything you can imagine. But wait for My perfect timing. Use this time of your life to focus on Me instead of chasing after foolish, short-term pleasure.” – Leslie

This book was such an enjoyable read, and I loved how Eric and Leslie respected their future spouses without even knowing them yet. It was beautiful.  It truly is a love story that only God could write. ❤

* Also, if you read the book, it advertises their music in the back. Leslie Ludy allows you to listen and download a few tracks for free on her website, Set Apart Girl, which are AMAZING.

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Review: Evidence Not Seen

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War IIEvidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1.)

Darlene Deibler and her husband went to New Guinea as missionaries, and at first, all was well. But then World War Two came along and she found herself separated from her husband and a prisoner of war. This book is about how Jesus sustained her during those hard times. Even after all she went through in the course of the book, she never lost her faith. She was quite an amazing women of God!

“Lord, I believe all that the Bible says. I do walk by faith and not by sight. I do not need to feel You near, because Your Word says You will never leave me or forsake me. Lord, I confirm my faith; I believe.” – Darlene

A friend gave this book to me Christmas 2016, and I’ve been slowly reading it since the beginning of 2017.  Even though it took me a while to finish, it wasn’t because of the lack of interest. I didn’t want to rush through the book too fast and miss something because there were many times I needed to stop and mull over the points she made or how God was working in her life and the lives of others. (Though I ended up reading much faster at the end of December when I first started to get sick; it was such an encouragement during that time, though I almost regret reading the end so fast because now it’s a giant blur. 😆)

This book was incredible and I highly recommend it. 🙂

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Review: Hinds’ Feet on High Places

Hinds' Feet On High PlacesHinds’ Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Much-Afraid, who lived in the village of Much-Trembling, desired to serve the Chief Shepherd with her whole heart, but she feared that she fell short of ever pleasing Him. Her feet were deformed which made walking difficult, and her face was disfigured, and more than anything she wanted to be free from things that she felt were holding her back.

But those are not the only things holding her back. Her relatives, the Family of Fearings, were always lurking in the Valley…

Mrs. Dismal Forebodings, her aunt, raised her along with her two cousins Gloomy and Spiteful and their brother Craven Fear, of who mistreated her horribly on a regular basis.

When Craven Fear and his family try to force her to marry him, she flees to the pool where the Chief Shepherd is waiting, and she explains all to Him. He tells her that she can come to the Kingdom of Love if she allows Him to make her feet into hinds’ feet – and He would have to change her name because a Much-Afraid cannot enter the Kingdom. And in addition to that, she would have to allow Him to plant the seed of Love into her heart…

He chose two guides to help her on her journey: Sorrow and Suffering, and she is as scared as her name suggests. Will she allow Him to work in her life so she can enter the Kingdom of Love, or will Old Lord Fearing have his way?


This story was so gripping. A friend gave this to me in August 2016, and it sure didn’t disappoint!

Hannah Hurnard’s writing style pulled me right in. The names of everyone and everything was so cute. (In addition to the ones I mentioned above, there was Pride, Bitterness, Self-Pity, and a little flower named Acceptance-with-Joy.) The symbolism and allegories were fantastic. Also, this book managed to expand my vocabulary with words such as estuary and hoary; I always appreciate when a book makes me use my dictionary.

The poems make me so happy and are based on Scripture. Here is one of my favorite ones from the book:

“I am the Rose of Sharon, a wild anemone.
As lily ‘mong the thorn trees, so is my love to me.

An apple tree ‘mong wild trees, my Love is in my sight,
I sit down in his shadow, his fruit is my delight.

He brought me to his palace, and to the banquet hall,
To share with me his greatness, I, who am least of all.

Oh, give me help and comfort, for I am sick with shame,
Unfit, to be his consort, unfit to bear his Name.

I charge you, o ye daughters, ye roses among the trees,
Stir not my sleeping loved one, to love me e’er he please.”

I believe this is based on Song of Solomon, chapter two.


I did find one error: “You will give me a new name when I get to the top?” quavered Much-Afraid, who all of a sudden seemed to have become deaf to the music who all of a sudden seemed deaf to the music around her and to be full of fears and forebodings again.

I reread that sentence so many times. But in hind-sight (oh, bad pun!), it wasn’t that big of a deal.


Spoiler-y stuff (in white text – highlight to read):

I loved how when Much-Afraid reached a milestone, she took a literal stone as a reminder – this reminded me of the rocks in Joshua 4 where the Lord ordered 12 large stones be taken out of the Jordan in remembrance of what the Lord had done for them, so that their children would see and ask about them and they could be told the stories of how God parted the river for them. Anyway. At the end of this book, the rocks Much-Afraid picked up were turned to jewels!

And her new name. LOVE.

And when she reflects upon her journey, it was so touching.

The end of Act One left me almost speechless. So emotional. So wonderful. And heart-wrenching.

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Book Review: First Love – Renewing Your Passion For God by Bill Bright

First Love: Renewing Your Passion for GodFirst Love: Renewing Your Passion for God by Bill Bright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you started off the new year with a resolution for getting closer to God or restoring your love for God, then you’ll like this book.  I’ve certainly enjoyed it immensely, and it was a great way to start off the new year.

I finished this book in less than two weeks (would have finished it sooner had I not gotten sick in the middle of it 😆) and it was really good. It’s less than 100 pages, so it’s a quick read. He makes so many great points that caused me to stop and ponder before continuing reading. It was a joy to read, and I breezed through the last 50 pages in one day.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“He submitted Himself to the most painful and degrading execution men could possibly inflict, just so He could offer His rescue from the kingdom of darkness to the very agents of His suffering. Even today, I feel deep emotion when I consider all that His death on the cross means to me. It might have been me at the foot of that cross, pounding iron nails into His wrists. Even so, He would offer me no less love, no less forgiveness.”

What a loving God. ❤

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Review: The Lost Art of True Beauty by Leslie Ludy

Hello all! 🙂 I just finished reading this book and WOW. 😍 This is a review that I wrote for Goodreads (trying out a new format for reviewing 😅):

The Lost Art of True Beauty: The Set-Apart Girl's Guide to Feminine GraceThe Lost Art of True Beauty: The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Feminine Grace by Leslie Ludy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend of mine gave this book to me for my birthday, and I enjoyed it so much! I think that this is a book that every woman, young or old, should read. It was very informative, telling how to exude a Christ-like femininity, not the femininity of the world. I wish I could give it more than five stars.

Leslie covers issues that many girls and women can relate to, such as peer pressure, fashion, eating disorders, body image, forgiveness, and even creating a Christ-like atmosphere in your home, room, or wherever you live. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Along with the quotes on the quote page, these quotes had an impact on me:

“The temptations of the world must not be looked at, listened to, or entertained even for the slightest moment.”

“She feels emotion at greater levels, but she is not a slave to her feelings.”

“If we live in a sloppy, disorganized environment with clothes strewn all over the floor and dishes piled in the sink, we are likely to feel chaotic, scattered, and sloppy as we go about our daily tasks.”

“The more you mull over it [an offense], and go over the scene in your mind, the more it has an opportunity to take root within your soul and plant deep seeds of bitterness.”

“However, though we are not to accept harassment from the enemy, we can still thank God for the opportunity to learn how to fight, pray, and be strengthened in our faith – just as it says in James 1.”

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Book Review: Christmas After All

People are losing jobs. Businesses are closing down. Willie Fae, a cousin from Texas, lost both of her parents and had to move to Indianapolis to live with Minnie’s family. (Minnie likes having a girl her own age around, though.) Her family is having to eat au gratin (which is French for “with cheese” and basically meant that they added potatoes and cheese to everything to make the food stretch farther) for dinner most nights. According to Minnie and Ozzie’s (Minnie’s brother) “vomitometric scale,” or “vomitron” for short, most au gratin dinners rate high, such as the cauliflower au gratin, which rated a solid 8 of 10 on the vomitous scale.

Times are hard. She knows, she has been to the shantytown (which they named Curtisville after the vice president of the time) before and seen people living in little shacks built out of old tires and scraps, burning whatever they can find in large tin barrels to keep warm. She knows that Christmas this year will be different, but she doesn’t know how different. Will they even be able to have a Christmas?

★★★★

(Now that I am on Goodreads, I will be sharing the number of stars that I give each book – soon I will try to connect my Goodreads account to my WordPress account and you’ll be able to see what I’m reading! 😉 In the meantime, if you want to see what I’m reading, here is a link to my Goodreads account: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/74692007-penelope-payne)

Without revealing too many spoilers, and keeping in mind that this is a children’s book: I was a bit surprised that the topic of suicide came up. Perhaps I haven’t read enough children’s books written in the 2000’s, but I’m not sure how I felt about this; I guess I expect a G rating in a children’s book. However, the reaction that Minnie had to it was believable, it was portrayed in the right light, and it was realistic to how it really was back then.

Speaking of how it was back then… I so enjoyed how there was a section at the end of the book that told about the things mentioned in the book, such as the radio programs, movie stars of the era, recipes for foods that they ate in the book (that were not on the vomitron scale!), and photos from back then. It added depth to the story, and I love it when books are educational. It was a really great read for Christmas. 🙂

This was my third Dear America book. The other two were So Far From Home (The Diary of an Irish Mill Girl) and Voyage On The Great Titanic. I plan to get a review up for So Far From Home after I reread it because it has been years since I read it. But I remember enjoying it.)

Eclipse Rave, Eclipse Poem, And A Book Review 🌒

(Hang onto your hat if you are wearing one, this is going to be a longer post than usual. 😄) The eclipse yesterday was really amazing! A friend sent me a pair of (approved) glasses in the mail a few weeks ago and I was so ecstatic! I had been scheming, trying to find a way to get a pair with no luck; everyone was either sold out, or my computer wouldn’t let me order, but who needs luck when you have thoughtful friends and an amazing God Who provides? ♥

Even though I had the glasses, I was still a bit sad that I didn’t have a filter for my camera so I could take a photo of the eclipse. And then I got a wild idea…

😂 😂 😂 I still can’t believe this worked. God is good! ♥ This was the peak for Arkansas; no totality here. (It was about 89% at it’s peak.) It got a little darker, but it wasn’t anything like I saw for the people who were lucky enough to be in the totality. It was still an amazing experience though! And I wrote a poem about it.


Eclipse

Performance has just begun,
The moon eclipses the sun.

Moons shadow travels the land,
From Pacific shore to Atlantic sand,
Isn’t it all just so grand?

And in the midst of it I wonder;
My mind can’t help but wander…

Like Satan tried to deliver a blow,
Natural satellite blocks the glow;
Sun is too bright, creates a halo.

Even in darkness, God remains,
To guide us; Satan is in vain!

The only begotten Son,
Jesus Christ, victory is won,
It is finished; it is done!

I just want to sing praise
Today, what a gift He gave!

Reminders of His grace
Everywhere; I’m abased
And His sweet embrace

Tells His beloved children
Of His love, again and again.

As I stand captivated,
The eclipse terminated;
But joy abounds, elated.

The light defeats the night
As the sun again shows its might.


Even though I didn’t get to see totality this time, there is another eclipse in 2024, in which Arkansas will be in the totality path, and I’m really excited for that! I hope I can see it then. 😀 Speaking of, have you seen the 2024 eclipse path compared to the one from yesterday?

Image from Biblegematria, originally from NASA

When I first saw it, there was an audible “Awww,” which confused my dad a lot. I had to explain that it looks a lot like a cross – if I tilt my head. This fact was even more amazing once I was reminded of the fact that the sun went dark when Jesus died upon the cross. (Thank you, wordcoaster8550!) “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” (Mark 15:33) That was one loooong eclipse, if that is what it was. How interesting is that?


To get myself even more excited, I pulled Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass from my bookshelf to read last week. It focuses on three teens preparing for a total eclipse. This is my second time reading this book; I read it a year or two ago and I loved it – it even has info in the back about yesterday’s eclipse (it was written in 2008)!

It’s a young adult book; I read a lot of YA because it doesn’t usually have quite so much cursing and suggestive themes in it.

What is unique about this book is that it has three points of view in first person – Ally, Bree and Jack. At first, this may seem confusing but when reading it, it wasn’t. Their points of view are so different, it was easy to tell them apart. Just in case it happened though, there is a symbol by the page number to let you know who is speaking – Ally is a crescent moon, Bree is a star and Jack is a planet with rings around it.

The following is the first sentence that each of them speaks to the reader:

“In Iceland, fairies live inside rocks.” – Ally

“I was switched at birth.” – Bree

“My father has no head.” – Jack

With introductions like these, I knew I was in for a wild ride!

Ally’s parents own a campground called Moon Shadow, in which they are preparing for the crowds who come to see the eclipse. Among the people coming to the campground are reluctant Bree, whose parents dragged her along, and Jack, who either goes here or goes to summer school. They have no idea that their lives will overlap at the campground and that they will change each others lives…

I identified most with Ally. Not knowing much about city life, knowing random facts about random things, living in the middle of nowhere, not to mention that she was homeschooled – haha, I liked her a lot.

If you’re a bit of a nerd like me, you’ll appreciate all the science facts about space in this book. 🙂 For a YA book, it was quite educational. And in places, it was hilarious. So for now, I’m going to experience an eclipse in totality through this book and its characters, and look forward to 2024.

Hope y’all are having a great week so far! 😊