TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2018

I read over 100 books in 2018, and I’ll be sharing my top fifteen favorites of the year in this post… And I’m ready to fangirl. Are you?

ALSO, let’s ignore that graphic, because, ha, no, I didn’t read all those books in 2018. I read like… 3 of them in 2018. But. It looks pretty. And alll my books are packed up right now so I cannot take another photo.

 

BEYOND HER CALLING, by KELLYN ROTH

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SOOOOO.

AHHHHHHHH.

Ahem. Basically, I’ve read the whole Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series, as an alpha/beta (which is why I have yet to leave reviews on any of the books, which will change this year, as I’ll be rereading them). And this is my favorite book from Kelly so far. Scotland? Romance? Sweet characters? Sass? Dogs? (DID I MENTION BENJI *swoon*)

This being said, I want to fight a couple of characters and bury them. I hate so much. I wanna die. Let’s pretend this series ends at this book. =)

 

THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH, by ROSEMARY SUTCLIFF

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Huge thank you to Allison Tebo and Mary for sparking my love for Rosemary Sutcliff! My Mom bought a few of her books for the school year, but The Eagle Of The Ninth wasn’t really required of me to read. I read it, loved it… then found Alli and Mary did, too!

This book hit me hard. The cast was strong, the plot intriguing, and it made me laugh and cry. I mostly related to Esca–his determination and selflessness really impacted me. I especially related to how he cared for Markus since Markus wasn’t entirely able-bodied.

 

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME, by VICTOR HUGO

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I read this in less than 24 hours and I loved it so very much. It is one of the best classics ever. Just… read it so we can… be speechless together…

 

HE’S MAKING DIAMONDS, by SARA WILLOUGHBY

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This nonfiction book is one of the best books ever. I don’t say that lightly.

This is, as the title says, about a teen’s thoughts on faith through chronic illness–but it is not limited to those who are ill. My Mom has had Chronic Lyme for over 3 years and this book ministered deeply to me. I still find myself recalling things from its pages to keep myself focused. It is very dear to me and I pray you guys read it.

 

HORSEMAN, by KYLE ROBERT SHULTZ

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This book is too good, y’all. Sometimes, it reminded me of the movie Maverick. Other times, I was grinning at the monsters, beasts, and hilarity of the characters (yes, it’s normal to grin at werewolf-like beasts).

I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more!

 

ACROSS FIVE APRILS, by IRENE HUNT

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A day might come when I don’t mention how much I love this book. But today is not that day. Rereading this book was like a really big hug. I love it so much.

 

SAFELY HOME, by RANDY ALCORN

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My mom told me how good this book was. But her words did little to prepare me for how good this book was. This novel opened my eyes to just how much God loves us and how prepared we need to be. God tells us to be ready. Are we?

 

BEHOLD, by FAITH POTTS

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I was soo excited to get this for Christmas and I read it in one sitting and IT IS SO PRECIOUS, Y’ALL. I loved the sequel story to Dandelion Dust, but I also loved the other stories sooo very much.

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A ROYAL MASQUERADE, by ALLISON TEBO

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Book review is HERE.

THIS WAS SO CUTE AND FUNNY AND ADORABLE. I LOVED IT. This series is one of my all time favorites. So much hilarity and precious characters.

 

MY COMPASS HOME, by MICHAELA BUSH

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I read this book in one sitting because I couldn’t believe things could get better than book one? But they did. And the cast blew me away and the emotions were so poignant and the plot was just AHHH. MY HEART. This book deserves a lot of love!

 

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There we have my top ten favorites from 2018! I MANAGED IT, Y’ALL. Because I’m actually a… really picky reader. So picking ten FAVORITES was… interesting.

I’m so excited to see what 2019 brings (actually, I’m already enjoying the books I’ve read so far!). 🙂

God bless,

Ang

PS. Don’t forget to fill out a form so you can see more content on the blog you likeMAYBE. MWUAHAHA.

 

YOUR TOP FAVORITES FROM 2018? DO YOU LIKE ANY OF THE ONES I DID?

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SURRENDERING FEAR AND CHOOSING FAITH

Last week, I wrote about having faith when you’re broken. Before continuing, I suggest you read the other post. I shared one line that this post will be about: “It is OK to be broken or scared–as long as we fight on and turn to the Lord and have faith.”

It’s been difficult for me to accept this truth. I’m struggling, and I know my family struggles, too, if not more so (my mom has Chronic Lyme disease. How can I struggle when she’s struggling soo much worse?) Tiny lies I used to believe as a kid have crept back onto me when I wasn’t expecting. So I had to stop and ask myself, “Why am I not OK? And shouldn’t I be OK?”

Let’s talk about when I said how it’s OK to be not OK. Seems a bit contradictory, doesn’t it? After all, the Bible tells us to have faith and be of good courage. But it’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to struggle. It’s OK to feel lost. It’s OK to feel afraid.

Why?

Because Jesus.

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. – Matthew 26:38-39

Like I mentioned in the previous post, Jesus wept. As the above Scripture adds, he was sorrowful before his death, asking God to pass the cup from Him. Therefore, it is not a sin for us to feel such things. It’s OK for us to feel such pain. In fact, it’s healthy. Let’s be honest–if you bottle your pain up, hide it, lie to yourself… It will only deteriorate your heart.

Notice how Jesus prayed as his heart was heavy. We must do the same. In order to surrender to the Lord and find faith, we must tell Him our fears (He knows them before we do) and give them up. We cannot move on in faith if we are clinging to fears. But giving up fear is not always easy. Sometimes, it is a journey. A painful one. But with God, all things are possible. So have faith when you kneel to pray to God about your fears. He doesn’t see you as less-than when you bear your heart like that.

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. – James 5:13

So, we must have faith in God as we weep. We must not worry. Again, contradictory much? It isn’t. Here’s more Scriptures about having rest and peace in God, because while it is OK to not be OK, God calls us to have faith. Have faith through the pain.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. – Isaiah 40:28-31

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

What about when we’re furious at Him? Or we’re questioning God with all our might, because we have little to no faith in His plan? God is big enough to take that. He will not strike us down or forsake us for our questions. But once we have our breakdown (and we may have many of them, even in close precision. We’re human), we must choose faith. Even trying to muster some faith in God will please Him.

One verse I found comforting is this, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Fear not. Those two words again! Let’s look at the latter part… It’s God pleasure to give us the kingdom. Wait. What? How can it be His pleasure when all human nature does is complain, struggle, fail, and sin? Let’s look at the verse before it, “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:31-32) There it is! God does not require we be perfect, sinless, happy all the time, or ‘OK’. He finds joy in blessing us if we seek His Kingdom!

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:29-30

We can choose faith because our God is loving. He will not forsake us in our weakest hours, but give us rest. He will not curse us if we seek Him, but bless us. He will not forget us, but put a crown on our heads in heaven. He promises so many good things in His Word… And nothing can conquer Him. So have faith, even when this world hurts, even when you’re faith seems small (again, this post has some verses for when faith feels ‘small’!). He is the only thing that’s overcome this world.

Thank you for reading, and God bless you.

– Ang

P.S. A form is open for blog followers, so you can tell me what blog posts on The Peculiar Messenger you like best, and what ideas you want me to tackle. Just for funsies! Form is here.

 

ANY VERSES THAT HELP YOU TO FIND FAITH?

 

HAVING FAITH WHEN YOU’RE BROKEN

Faith isn’t always easy. Actually, maybe it never is. Faith is believing in God, believing in the unseen, but it’s more than that. Deeper.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? – John 11:25-26

Faith is believing in God’s Love. If Jesus died for us, suffered for us, weeps with us, rejoices with us–how can we have no faith in Him?

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. – Matthew 17:20

If we cannot see something, or see the future, we must have faith that His future for us is good. We often get ideas of what faith must look like. We get goals and think, “OK, God, my life must look like this.” But that isn’t what faith is. Faith isn’t believing what we want will happen. It’s believing that God’s Will is best and it will come to pas, no matter what things Satan–and ourselves!–try to do to stop it. And guess what? The mustard seed parable is pretty important because we cannot believe the lie that our faith, no matter how ‘little’ it may seem, is worthless.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. – Romans 10:11

God says have faith in him. Well, that doesn’t always make us look like bold lions. We can be beaten, bruised, weeping, bloodied, tired (For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. – Philippians 1:29)–you name it, we can look as pathetic as possible. Because the war is hard. Fighting and having faith? It doesn’t mean we will stand tall. It means we have faith that Jesus is our Savior. While we are on our last breath and can’t stand up to keep going, Jesus is our Refuge. When we need help to just keep pushing through mundane days, Jesus is guiding us. So be bold in faith. Be bold in what God promises us. Do not be ashamed of our human weakness–glorify God for being merciful.

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. – James 2:17

Faith, even if it doesn’t look like much, when it comes from your heart, and you ask the Lord to give you it… It is enough. It is not ever something out of our reach, by the mercy and grace of God!

Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? – John 11:40

With faith, we find peace. We must choose when to have faith in the Lord. We may be tempted to have faith in people, ourselves, or other foolish things. Pray. Pray for faith in the Lord and act accordingly. Make a conscious effort to turn your big and little worries or fears to the Lord. Give them to Him! Your prayer might be as simple as, “Lord, I’m really scared/worried about this thing, but I have faith You have a plan. I believe You love me. I believe You are in control. Please, give me peace and guide me.”

It is OK to be broken or scared–as long as we fight on and turn to the Lord and have faith. God is the only One who can give our broken bodies rest, our shattered hearts healing, and our tired mind peace. So have faith.

God bless,

Ang

 

HOW DO YOU FIND FAITH?

DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE LAUNCH FOR REVERIES CO.! I’LL BE A HOSTESS FOR THE FACEBOOK PARTY, TOO!

Welcome to Reveries Co! (e.g. the reason why I’m currently going insane) — Reveries

Hey, ladies and gents! Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for … a book bundle giveaway, HUGE discounts, an amazing Facebook party, and more! Basically, we’ve got it all … and NOW you are welcome to take advantage of them! Enter the giveaway, use the discounts (before they all run out!), and be sure to…

via Welcome to Reveries Co! (e.g. the reason why I’m currently going insane) — Reveries

GOODBYE 2018, HELLO 2019

2018 comes to an end. 2019 is welcoming us, and life moves on, season after season. Change is inevitable. When a new year draws close, people have the illusion they have control over the year to come. We have no control over what life will toss at us. We have no control over how our goals or plans will go.

However, God does. God knows what we will face, and not only does He know all, He will help us through everything. He’ll be there in 2019, whether to pick us up and help us keep toddling on like clumsy toddlers, or to spin us around in triumphant dances. No matter what the seasons hold, we can trust the LORD to guide us. And love us. 

We have control only over ourselves. We have control over how we react and adapt to change. We have the choice to turn to God every time we face a decision. We have the choice to rejoice in the storm.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

I’m not a huge fan of recapping-the-year posts, to be honest. Sure, it is fun seeing how much things change and how much I’ve grown as I ponder 2018. 2018, however, held plenty of sorrows, and I feel like a tired runner who doesn’t want to look back for anything. I just want to focus where I am right now. And right now, my life is jumbled full of changes. Still, I’m writing this post speaking from the heart, and share some things that happened during 2018.

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We bid goodbyes to two of our sweet, friendly horses, Ulu and Ziibi, and our old, loyal dog, Rosie.

Ulu’s passing was a very difficult disaster–she broke through the frozen pond, and we spent the next nonstop 24 hours trying to save her. Ulu passed away, despite our prayers and strenuous efforts. She was a fantastic mama horse and taught my whole family how to love, even when it hurts.

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Ziibi was a sweet Ojibwe pony who fought to survive over the span of time he was with us. We said goodbye to him, as well, but find peace in the fact he can run, happy and free, up in heaven.

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Rosie was the dog who taught me an old dog can learn new tricks! She was sweet and loyal. We’re grateful she went to heaven peacefully in her sleep.

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We sold our house.

This is a recent blessing. We sold the home we built from the ground up–seriously. Name something (framework, roofing, flooring, kitchen, plumbing, electric work) and my Dad did it all himself (with help from our Uncle for super hard electric stuff). It’s sad leaving this home, but God is calling us to move, and we look to God for guidance as we pack up and prepare to move into campers. We also must find land to move to. So, yes, when I say I’m facing changes… moving is a big part. 😉

Welcomed Gabby into the world.

Gabby is my youngest niece and she was born in February. She’s grown into quite the sweet (but secretly rotten!) baby!

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I earned my blue and purple belts in Wado Ryu karate.

I didn’t get to compete in the USEWF championships in March, because I got really sick, but Kody did and he got second! Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

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Karate grill out.

So. Fun. I’m not one for sports, but watching a bunch of guys play football with only some skills and the risk of little kids running into the game? Entertaining.

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^ that’s me (red shirt, duh) and Kody is in the bag (brown shirt)

Got my driver’s permit.

This was a 2018 year goal, but I didn’t get my license, though I’m working on it now, so it’ll happen.

Traveled out of state.

We visited my grandparents in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. During this trip, I also got to meet the super sweet Faith Potts!

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Celebrated the little things during Mom’s doctor visit trips in Maryville/Knoxville.

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I published Seek.

This was a huge goal for 2018. And guess what? I also published The Thief, the Damsel, And the Dragon, Homeward, and Emmanuel. I had a goal of publishing a novella and succeeded. The short stories, Homeward and Emmanuel, weren’t planned. But Seek is out for all the world to see and I’m so blessed!

I am so grateful for the things I learned as a writer in 2018. I won both Camp NaNos, wrote a ton, and published! I also got plenty of new ideas (big shocker there). A big thanks to my online writing community as well as my family.

I’m manager of Reveries Co.

Reveries Co. is a company dedicated to helping authors succeed without spending an arm and a leg. The company is launching January 1st-5th, and it will be very fun. So be sure to follow Reveries Co. on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

We went to the fair!

I haven’t been to the fair in FOREVER. And it was a blast! I love fair rides, even if Kody gets green super easy (teacups, anyone?), but it’s still great fun.

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Gardened and produced meals with my bro.

The garden was terrifying when the giant caterpillars got to the tomatoes, but we took care of it.

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Reached 250+ WordPress followers (and other social media triumphs).

I created a Twitter and a Instagram in 2018. I also created a Facebook author page. I’m no social media wizard, but 2018 was a great start of learning the ropes.

Read my whole Bible.

Not necessarily cover-to-cover, but I’ve officially read the Bible through and through!

Spread Lyme awareness.

May is Lyme disease awareness month, but I worked to spread awareness through the year, too. This was an important 2018 goal for me.

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I had more goals for 2018, some I failed, some I did, but that’s enough recapping. I’ll now list some (not all, because, hey, some goals ya gotta keep in your journal, friends) goals for 2019!

  • Move into camper, sell house #2, etc. Hah. So, survive life, basically. On that note, I want to not just survive the chaos of moving, I want to be able to rejoice through it all. It has been so hard, but I want to focus on God through the frenzy. I want to listen to music and sing while working in my little camper I’ll share with my brother.
  • Earn green belt in Wado Ryu. And make it to championships… I can’t get sick this time, ha!
  • Read Bible cover to cover.
  • Travel out of state.
  • Get driver’s license.
  • Put Taloowa in the curly field, work with Sugar Baby, train new foal (who will be born in 2019).
  • Write AWAKE, the first book of The Infidel Books. Publish it.
  • Give JUMP to alphas, rewrite it, and publish it.

And my biggest goal, as always, is to grow closer to the Lord, grow in wisdom and kindness, and above all other goals, follow God’s will for me.

I learned a lot in 2018. While 2018 was full of trials, pain, and feeling lost, God was always there. I learned so much about the Lord this past year, and I’m grateful for the pain and storms, because I learned how close to Jesus you can get during difficult times. For instance, when my family and I were under (another) tornado watch and were hiding in our closet, we prayed and laughed together. We face extreme weather often, and we always have a strange peace when in that kind of danger… We pray aloud and even sing songs of praise as the storm outside brews. God is there during the dark times and we can find peace in Him despite what’s happening. Again, we only have control over ourselves, not the storm.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

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Well, y’all, thank the Lord, I did it! I recapped 2018 and listed some 2019 goals. 😉 I shall see you all in 2019 very soon. *jumps in time machine*

God bless,

Angie

 

HOW WAS YOUR 2018? (IF YOU HAVE A RECAP POST, I’D LOVE TO CHECK IT OUT!) WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS FOR 2019?