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.”

View all my reviews

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.)

Even More Awards! ❤

This is truly so humbling, y’all. Thanks so much for the nominations! 🙂  ♥ If it’s okay, I’ll skip the “tell three things about yourself” rule for the Mystery Blogger Awards since I am answering a lot of questions here. #rebel Hang onto your hat if you are wearing one; this is going to be a wild ride!


Thank you to Message in Stanza for nominating me for the Awesome Blogger Award for the second time! Maggie over at Dreaming of Guatemala created this awesome award. This is a direct quote from her blog about it:  “This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Include the reason behind the award.
  • Include the banner in your post.
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
  • Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated!

Message in Stanza’s Questions:

  1. If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play, what instrument would you play and what would you band name be?
    • Are there pianos in bands? If so, I’d say that, because that’s the only instrument I can half-play. 😄 I really like rock music, so I guess some sort of Christian rock music. (I love rock ballads!) Band name… The Rock Band? Like, how Christ is our Rock? 😉
  2. What triumphs and obstacles have you faced that has inspired your creativity?
    • God is helping me overcome depression. I still have battles with it on occasion, but He has already won the war! I am so grateful, I can’t help but write Him praises. I wrote one poem that I have yet to publish that really highlights this, I think. The running title is “Cross In My Heart,” so keep your eyes open for that!
  3. What makes you the happiest, family, friends, religion, or being inspired with your creativity?
    • All of those do, but it is only by God’s grace that I can enjoy them. In Him, there is joy!
  4. If you have no fear of death, what would you do?
    • Get up close and personal with some of God’s creation that I would normally stay away from in order to not be lunch. 😄 I would pet a tiger, ride an elephant, hang glide with the eagles, swim with sharks – the hang gliding and swimming thing would normally scare me to death, so if I don’t fear death, that is no longer a problem; I’ll just be scared senseless without dying. 😂
  5. Would you rather fish or skydive? And why did you pick that one?
    • Fish! Because I am back to being able to die from my fear of heights again. 😂
  6. What bores you to death?
    • Many sports. (Sorry sports fans.) I’d rather play than watch. 😄
  7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
    • …just one? 😄 When I can’t find something. It makes me nuts. I have a tiny book of nature poems that I misplaced last month and it drove me up the wall that I couldn’t find it. My mom eventually stumbled across it. In the bookcase. Talk about frustrating… 😅
  8. If you could choose your last words to your loved ones on you death bed, what would you say?
    • Okay, so… is it sad that this question requires the least amount of thinking of all of these questions thus far? Just a warning, this is going to get a bit dark. These are fragments of a poem that I wrote years ago:
    • Before I depart, there is one thing I’d like to teach.
      As the pendulum goes forth and back,
      It will eventually stop, when the end is reached;
      Like a candle soon runs out of wax,
      Or the tide washes ashore a beach –
      These, my friends, are the facts.

      I wish for no one to lament because of me,
      I believe that everything happens for a reason,
      Even if we know not what that may yet be.
      Time will pass, and change will the seasons,
      My impending death will not stop these.

      So as my spirit is slowly taken away,
      To heaven where I may again find peace,
      I want you to remember me as today,
      Not as the body that will soon cease.

Thank you to Teresa for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award for the third time!

The Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. Thank you to Okoto Enigma.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share your link to your best post(s).

Teresa’s Questions:

  1. If you could change one thing about our country, what would it be and why?
    • That God isn’t taken out of schools. Give the children a chance to know Him, and maybe they will be less likely to go down the wrong path!
  2. Which super hero powers would you like to have, if given a chance? Why?
    • Skye // Daisy from Agents of SHIELD. (I’m not sure what that power is called, but I really like it, it’s quite unique.) I could use that to protect people and also have a little fun when no one needs saving…
  3. What motivates you to blog (write)?
    • My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 🙂 I also enjoy writing for some blogging prompts and challenges.
  4. What is something you like to collect, if anything?
    • Too much over the years! As a kid, it was bottle caps and pennies. Now, I still like old coins – my grandma gave me some of my great uncle’s collection that she inherited and I treasure those. I also collect crosses. I have one whole corner shelf dedicated to crosses. It’s a constant reminder of what He has accomplished. And I have too many books. I can’t forget postcards. I like getting postcards wherever I go, because they are inexpensive and usually have a pretty photo on them. I was lucky when I went to a flea market and found a bunch of old ones from all over the world! And sometimes, my friends send me one when they go someplace. Here is a small sampling from my collection (you should be able to click each one for a larger view):

  5. If given the chance to rename any fast food restaurant, which would it be? What new name would you rename to?
    • Wow, that is such a great, unique question! 😄 I’m tempted to say Taco Bell. Why a bell? The bell isn’t made of taco, and the bell isn’t shaped like a taco. It makes no sense. La Casa Grande De Tacos. (Large House of Tacos. I think. Thank you to my friend who is more fluent in Spanish than I am for helping me figure out how to say that in Spanish!) That makes more sense!

Thank you to Maggie for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award for the fourth time!

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. Thank you to Okoto Enigma.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share your link to your best post(s).

Maggie’s Questions:

  1. What is something you used to despise, but actually quite like now?
    • Westerns. The Rifleman, Gunsmoke and Bonanza are pretty good sometimes.
  2. When was the last time you laughed really hard?
    • When I was talking to a friend online and I made a typo and auto-correct failed me and made it even worse. XD
  3. What’s the best book that you read recently? Why did you enjoy it?
    • That’s hard! I haven’t finished Humility by Andrew Murray or Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper yet, but I really like them so far. The last book I finished was Black by Ted Dekker and it was so great! I also love the author’s ability to create such an interesting world and plot!
  4. Name 5 of your favorite movies.
    • In no particular order: On The Town, Sound of Music, The Lion, The Witch and The WardrobeThe Hunger GamesIt’s A Wonderful Life.
  5. What are you the most thankful for?
    • Jesus! Without Him, I am nothing and I would have nothing.

Thank you to Hannah for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award for the fifth time!

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. Thank you to Okoto Enigma.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share your link to your best post(s).

Hannah’s Questions:

  1. If you had one wish, what would it be?
    • That everyone would have a chance to hear the Gospel. 🙂
  2. If you could get a sequel/extra series to a film or a show that is no longer on air, what would you choose?
    • Revolution. NBC cut the show without ending it. Now I will never know what happened! I liked Charlie; she reminded me a little of Katniss from the Hunger Games.
  3. Who would you choose to be your alter ego and why?
    • Hard question! In a way, I guess I already have one. I am Grace, but Penelope Payne has been my online alter ego since 2009. I don’t know if that counts? If not, then… Skye // Daisy or “Quake” from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I would have too much fun with that…
  4. If you could meet any person in history, who would it be and what would you ask them?
    • Jesus. 🙂 “Why did you create mosquitoes?!” “Why did you create poison ivy?” 😂 Okay, seriously… “What did You write in the dirt?” (In reference to John chapter 8 verse 6.)
  5. What is your favourite band?
    • There are so many I adore, but lately, I love Rend Collective. A lot.

I’d like to thank Elizabeth from The Comfortable Coop for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award! This is my first time receiving this one. 😀

  1. Is there something that you do that makes you really happy when you’re feeling down?
    • Praying and talking to friends. 🙂 Writing and reading also helps.
  2. Is there someone (real or fictional) who inspires you? Who is it and why does this person inspire you?
    • Jesus! 🙂 He died for me, so that I may live for Him. Also, He has done so many wonderful things – how can I not be inspired by Him?
  3. Do you spend a lot of time listening to, reading, or watching the news?
    • No. Not at all. It’s too depressing.
  4. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
    • Night owl. I’ve tried being a morning person, but unless morning can start happening around noon, it’s probably not going to happen. XD LOL. I am my most creative at night. 🙂
  5. Do you have any pets? What kind and what are their names?
    • This is going to take a while! I have 17 cats: Angel, Belle, Blackie, Catalina, Dottie, Firecracker, Gabbie, Jay, Lolli, Mama Kitty, Monkey, Ode, Rabbit, Radar, Simone, Sketcher, and Sparrow. I also have two opossums that hangs around that I call Prim and Philip, and a raccoon that hangs around that I call Rocky. There is a rabbit that has been hanging around too, but I haven’t named him // her yet. Oh, and a toad has been sitting on the porch-step for the last six days during the afternoons, and I may name him Domino.
  6. Do you talk to yourself out loud?
    • Yes. 😂 You gotta talk to someone intelligent sometimes. (That’s what my grandma said about it. XD I’m not that boastful, I promise!) I also talk to animals as if they were humans…
  7.  Is Jesus your savior?
    • Yes! ❤

Nominees:

[Sorry if you are award free or have received these awards before!]

For the Awesome Blogger Award, I nominate: Teresa, Cajunsweetie, Celebrate His Love, Peggy, Robyn, and Gilda. Your questions: The ten questions are below! 😉

For the Mystery Blogger Award, I nominate: Margaret, Alan R. Kive, and Elizabeth. Your questions: Pick five of the questions below. 😉

For the Real Neat Blogger Award, I nominate: Message in Stanza, Hannah, Maggie, Keri L, Shannon, and Incomplete Thinker. Your questions: Pick seven of the questions below! 😉

My Questions for you:

  1. If you could rename yourself, what name would you choose?
  2. Spaghetti or pizza?
  3. If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?
  4. (Weird // funny question) If the moon were made out of cheese, what kind of cheese would you want it to be?
  5. If you could have a pet // have another pet, what would you chose?
  6. Favorite dessert?
  7. Do you keep a journal?
  8. What is a favorite photo that you’ve taken?
  9. If you could be any age for a day, how old would you want to be?
  10. If you garden, what do you grow in it? And if you don’t garden, is this something you would be interested in doing?

Titanic Talk + A Review of SOS Titanic by Eve Bunting

The R. M. S. Titanic sank 105 years ago today, and I think a lot can be learned from this tragedy. Here is a quote from my post a year ago:

I realize not everyone shares my interest in this historic disaster, but there is one aspect of it I’d like to touch upon. I saw a church sign years ago: “Men built the Titanic. God built the ark. Which one sank?” God had Noah build the ark, and did it sink? No. It stayed afloat for 40 days and 40 nights (and many months after the rains stopped). Noah had faith in God, not in himself.

In the back of Voyage on the Great Titanic, it has a timeline of events, and it amazes me how many things could have been prevented. People thought that the Titanic was unsinkable – they had such faith in their own works and were quite boastful and overconfident in themselves and the ship’s abilities – that they ignored the many warnings that could have possibly saved the great ship. (The book also says that the overworked telegraph operator even responded to one of the ships sending ice warnings, telling them to “shut up”.) In addition, they were so confident that the ship would not sink, that they didn’t install nearly enough lifeboats to even attempt to save all of the passengers who were on board. Proverbs 13:10: “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” The story of the R. M. S. Titanic is so sad. If only the people had not been so arrogant, maybe the Titanic could have been saved. But I guess we will never know.


SOS Titanic by Eve Bunting

When Barry is sent aboard the Titanic to go be with his parents in New York, it looks like it will be just a lonely journey across the Atlantic. His archenemies, the Flynn brothers, are in steerage while he is in first class, so he hoped that this would keep them at bay. Just when he begins to feel safe, he hears rumors of icebergs…

In a terrified rush of imagination, Barry saw the way the stars would see it. The way God would see it. Lying there big and black and helpless. A great sea creature, bellowing its death cries.

S.O.S. Titanic by Eve Bunting

My second post ever on this blog was about the Titanic. I included two book reviews for children’s books that took place on the ship. This year, I chose another children’s book, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was mostly clean. Not much filthy language (one word was used a couple of times at the end, which I could have done without, but it didn’t bother me enough to stop reading), no adult topics – it was a fun read. 🙂

Delightful Vacation Day

…with 36 minutes to spare before Sunday! **whew** 😂 It is week seven of 100 Word Wednesday, and here is the photo and my response. If you would like to participate, just click the link! 😉 This week I made it to exactly 100 words! 🙂

I love this image; it reminds me of one of my favorite computer games as a kid. And who am I kidding, as an adult too. It holds a special place in my heart. Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. If you want to look at screenshots taken from the game for comparison, here is a link to it: http://www.herinteractive.com/shop-games/nancy-drew-ghost-dogs-of-moon-lake/

Image Credit: Olivier Guillard

I approach the log cabin,
A deep breath of fresh air
I inhale to take it all in,
I’m in the middle of nowhere.

Scent of pine, almost reminds me
Of my favorite laundry detergent.
Ah, of course, silly me,
This is what inspired the scent.

Inside there is a cozy chair by the fireplace,
Perfect for curling up like a feline,
With a really good book in my face,
Totally unplugged from anything with a line.

No technology to distract me,
No electronics to keep me away,
I decide to write in a diary,
Of this delightful vacation day!

The Reader’s Playlist (Tag)

the-playlist-tag1

The Reader’s Playlist (Tag)

Thanks to Hannah for tagging her readers! I have been looking forward to filling in the answers, but I’ve been so busy lately that I’m just now finishing Part A. (I hope to do Part B and C sometime soon!) Also, I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award (twice! :D), so look for that in a few minutes! 🙂 (I would wait between posts, but WordPress is refusing to load the new posts or any of my drafts at home, so I’m using WiFi right now, and I don’t know when I’ll be back or when it will start working again. o_O )

The Rules 

  • Answer as many or as few questions that you like. Hannah suggests if you want to attempt them all that you turn it into a few daily/weekly posts, probably organized as Hannah has. Make sure you have fun with it!
  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their post.
  • Leave a link to Hannah’s post so that others can see all of the questions!
  • Tag the post with the tagline ‘The Reader’s Playlist Tag’ so that Hannah can see all of your lovely posts!
  • Use the logo as above in your post if you want! However, Hannah asks that you don’t modify it, please!
  • Tag a few friends to take part in the tag at the bottom of your post!
  • Feel free to leave a link in her post to your responses.

Part A: Books

  1. Cassette = A classic that you love to read:

Does the Narnia series count as a classic? (My copy is all the books in one massive volume.)

  1. Rewind = Most shocking moment in a book

Probably (slight spoiler alert) when Cinder’s car crashed in Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. Like… she spent the whole book up to that point fixing it up, and then in just a moment, all that hard work went up in smoke.

  1. Vinyl Record = A book that had you in a spin, through sheer confusion!

Probably the Jennie McGrady Series #1, Too Many Secrets. It was such a great mystery!

s-l400

  1. Repeat = A book/series you read over and over again

Savy / Scumble / Switch by Ingrid Law. They never get old.

  1. Stop = A book/series that made you stop and think

Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnand. Oh my. I had to stop so many times to think and look at Bible verses during this one. Also, I had to stop and just ponder the poetry // songs in it. It was great. XD I just finished it, actually.

  1. Broken Record  = A book that you have tried and tried to finish but just cannot

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Now, it had nothing to do with the book itself. I loved the style and the story. It just seems like it’s so long (my book has part one and part two) that I somehow end up putting it down and choosing another book. XP

  1. Shuffle = Books in a series/companion novels that you DIDN’T read in chronological order

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. I read them in no order at all. I’m still reading them out of order. XD

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  1. Sheet Music = Books with endings that didn’t quite seem finished and require a (currently non-existent!) sequel

I think that Switch by Ingrid Law might qualify, though the author usually writes a companion novel, not a sequel. But there were a few unanswered questions that I desperately want to know the answers to!

  1. Play = Currently Reading

Black by Ted Dekker. Looks like it’s a thrilling ride!

  1. CD Case = Favourite Book Blurb

Once Upon A Summer by Janette Oke. It pulled me right in and got me so excited to read it. 🙂

  1. Artist Bio = Autobiography that you have read or want to read

Elizabeth Elliot. I’ve heard that she lead quite an amazing life!

  1. Pop Music = A book that you loved that (deservedly) had a big hype around it

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Hehe, I was so obsessed with that series and the whole franchise when it came out. X)

13. Add To Queue = Your TBR 

Black by Ted Dekker, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper, Pursued (Jenny McGrady Series #3), Close Your Eyes (Sierra Jensen Series #4), The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis), When Dreams Come True by Eric and Leslie Ludy, When Calls The Heart by Janette Oke, Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot and SO MANY MORE. I am drowning in books; it’s great. XD

 

And now I tag all of my readers who want to participate in this awesome tag! 😀 This was so fun, Hannah; thanks for creating this tag and tagging your readers! 🙂