12DoC | HE SEES EVERY SPARROW–AND TREE!

I’ve never had an artificial tree before this year. We always enjoyed the family tradition of either cutting down a tree ourselves from our land, and when those pines grew too tall, we would go choose the best tree at a tree lot.

Well, in the middle of a move and with mom’s health pretty rough, we decided to do an artificial tree for our official tree.

I’d put my little artificial tree up in our camper so I could have some Christmas cheer + a nice place for my Insta Christmas theme. But just last night, we put up a 7.5 ft artificial tree in the big house–the house still isn’t completely finished building and all. We did the hardwood flooring this week in the bottom two rooms so there’s space to kinda “live in”–aka, we can have the tree up, put gifts under it, etc. So that’s what we’ll be doing.

The tree was pretty ugly. I didn’t come out till it was halfway “unfolded” or whatever y’all call it. Kody laughed, telling me it looked like a stick. I helped finish it. And if you were completely clueless like me… the tree limbs have to be pulled apart, one by one. Big limbs, then little ones, move ’em around, spruce ’em up, you get the idea. Well, as we were fixing it, I go, “You know what I just thought of? That thing where God knows every hair on our heads? What if He’s like that with trees and alllll of their little branches?”

And for some reason, it astounded me. Sure, you think about God painting every sunset, but that’s pretty. Trees? Not so… “wowing”. Every single tree, even the skinny, tiny, ugly ones? Every single branch? Kinda mundane to think God put so much effort into a skinny tree that’s not super strong or even beautiful to us. And, what about all the trees we never even see?

But it was such a random, cool thought, y’all. It was neat fluffing out artificial tree and bringing it to life. And it was insane to remember that God puts just as much care and enjoyment into each of us. Am I comparing humans to trees? Maybe. ;P But think about it. Whether we’re strong, weak, big, little… overlooked or sacred… God loves us. He loved us even before He created us in flesh and blood. He came to this earth as a baby boy and died for our sins.

To God, nothing is mundane. The Bible says God know when even a sparrow falls. No matter what is going on in our lives, let’s try to be a bit more like trees, yeah? Let’s stand strong in the storm without snapping or falling. Let’s reach higher to God and let His Light and Love help us grow.

Because life isn’t easy lately, y’all. I’ve had some plans change, some I’m pretty bummed about. But I must focus on growing and becoming who God wants me to be. It helps to take a step back in life and remember how big this world is, how big God is, and then… certain things don’t seem so bad. Or if they are still bad, at least I remember I belong to a pretty powerful God. ♥

Merry Christmas, friends. I hope this rather strange post was encouraging. God bless!

Ang

12DoC | REJOICE… ALWAYS?

I was looking back at my 12DoC posts from 2018, and… I can relate so much to a post I shared then… so I am resharing it. The following post is what I wrote in 2018. ♥

REJOICE

Christmas is a busy time. Stressful. Painful. This year, for my family, it’s been one tough year and things are very chaotic. More so than the usual holiday busyness. To be honest, I’ve had trouble getting in the normal Christmas spirit. I lack time to watch many movies, but I make up for it by blaring For King And Country Christmas music so I can worship God. I lack time to read a lot of fiction, but I focus on reading my Bible and writing my own things. I’ve had to learn how to stay focused on what matters because I don’t have time for everything.

 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, Rejoice. – Philippians 4:4

Christmas is a time for remembering Jesus’ birth. It is a time to worship. Celebrate. But what we easily forget is that God doesn’t expect us to have everything together. He doesn’t want perfection. He wants us to find joy in HIM. We cannot find joy in gifts. You’ve heard that before. But let’s take a step deeper. Think you’ll have a nicer holiday if that one relative wasn’t so overbearing? Would Christmas be more joyful if it were less loud? Would you be happier if you didn’t have to work so hard to keep up with things? Here’s the answer, folks: no. We cannot find peace or joy in anything but Jesus.

How do we find Jesus in chaos?

Before you wake up to tackle the to-do list, thank God for waking you up.

When your nieces are losing their cool, try to breathe and thank God for your family.

When you put another gift under the sparkling tree, thank the Lord for the Greatest Gift.

When you’re listening to Christmas carols, sing along and praise God.

When you are doing chores, pray for someone.

Above all… REJOICE. No matter what you face, God is there and we can find peace in HIM!

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. – Psalms 5:11

God is not limited to our to-do lists and expectations. We have to choose to trust Him, even when our stress is high and we want to have a break down. God is in control. He loves us. He gave His son for our sins so we could choose everlasting life. Rejoice in that Love… Because it is enough to not only keep us going, but Jesus’ Love helps us rejoice in the storm. And Jesus’ love is something to celebrate.

… ALWAYS?

Wow. 2019 now and I still relate to this post. Why?  Because we were in the midst of moving then–and we’re moving again now (building a house, then moving in, I should say). It’s been hard to find a lot of “Christmas spirit” this year, also, because of my mom being sick since November because the hemp farm in the neighborhood refuses to stop burning 40+ acres of woods.  If anything, this winter has been many blows of “ha! people are no good!” Which isn’t true. There are good people, kind people, people who love me. People who love you. Sure, there are some bad eggs. But this is the perfect time of year to really hand everything to God… and choose to rejoice.

My mom hasn’t been able to leave the house to do much Christmas shopping at all. But I can rejoice in the small moments of us making cookies, gift shopping online, and talking about Hallmark movies.

My dad has been super busy working and trying to get our house done. But I can rejoice in the time we get to work together, tease each other, and talking.

My siblings are busy, and we don’t always know what the “perfect gift” is (*cough* me, I’m the one who doesn’t know what to get anyone), but we always have each others’ backs. We can always talk to each other and be real with one another.

My nieces are often loud and tiring and like to try jabbing my eyes out (Gabby has an obsession with glasses?)… but they’re sweet, funny, and my little army of blue-eyed children. ;P

All in all, sure, there are things to be upset over. There are family members and friends to miss and mourn. But we can choose to rejoice in every moment… not because we even have a whole long list of blessings, but because Jesus gave us the ultimate Gift. His blood is enough for any worry, fear, or pain we want to bear… we can give it to Him and be washed clean. That is the ultimate thing to rejoice over–Jesus’ love.

I encourage y’all, whether you’re in jolly spirits or you’re in a place of mourning, to take a minute every day to truly think of what God has done for us each.

 

GIVEAWAY

Two winners will receive:  a paperback copy of Behold (by yours truly), a pair of fuzzy Christmas socks, a Christmas ornament, and a few other small goodies (magnet, candy, something like that).

ENTER HERE!

Check out Faith’s blog for the rest of the bloggers’ posts!

God bless,

Ang

12DoC | CHRISTMAS BOOKS

OK, OK, I’m doing this post again this year because, c’mon, how can I resist fangirling about the limited Christmas books I adore? I only get to once a year! 😛

Faith hosts the 12 Days of Christmas over at her blog and I’ve participated since it started, which has been years, and this year… I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like. We’re in the process of building a house and moving, and besides the usual life chaos, it hasn’t been easy to sit and plan posts. BUT, excuses aside, I WILL PARTICIPATE. And this post is super fun (for me) so I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOKS OF ALL TIME

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

by Charles Dickens

MINI REVIEW

I LOVE THIS LITTLE BOOK SO MUCH. I’m not a huge Dickens fanatic (not yet, anyway) but this book is an absolute delight. Hope mixed with some dark, spooky themes? Sign me up, y’all.

 

BEHOLD

by Faith Potts

MINI REVIEW

MY HEART IS BOTH SHATTERED AND HEALED. Behold is full of short Christmas stories, and as you probably know, Faith is a master at stories with a lot of heart. Behold is dear to my heart.

 

 

KIND

by Kellyn Roth

MINI REVIEW

Obviously, I’m a sucker for short Christmas stories, especially if there is some kind (PUN INTENDED GET IT) of war involved. Kind is short, packs a punch, and leaves you wanting more. *cough cough, Kelly*

 

MACCABEE

by David Carlson

MINI REVIEW

“Angela! This is not a Christmas book!” No, but it is about the Maccabees, and my family celebrates Hanukkah (no, we’re not Jewish, but we celebrate the Biblical holidays. Fun fact: I’ve celebrated more Hanukkahs than I have Christmases!). THIS BOOK IS FULL OF PAIN, WAR, TEARS, AND HOPE. So much hope. The story of the Maccabees is not one we need to forget. This book does a fantastic job at shedding bold light on the story.

 

EMMANUEL

by Angela R. Watts

MINI REVIEW

PSYCHE. I’m not reviewing my own book. But I am reminding you 1) it exists, it is free, and it loves readers. 2) I adore it very much. Sooo much. Also, it hit 31 reviews on Goodreads and is SUPER close to 10 reviews on Amazon. So if you like it, I’d love Amazon reviews. ♥

GIVEAWAY

AAAH! LOOK! Two winners will receive:  a paperback copy of Behold (by yours truly), a pair of fuzzy Christmas socks, a Christmas ornament, and a few other small goodies (magnet, candy, something like that).

ENTER HERE!

~~~

Have you read any of these books? 😀

God bless,
Ang

 

 

 

REASONS TO LIVE | 13RW TOUR

I’m gonna list a lot of reasons to live in this post and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Whether you list some of your reasons in the comments, journal a list, or make your own blog post, never forget to take a moment and adore the tiny things.

Life is big but it takes a lot of little things to make it so. ♥

 

MY REASONS TO LIVE…

Eight O’Clock coffee at my grandparents house in North Carolina while I read my Bible at the counter top.

Singing to music, whether the music is silly or makes me cry.

My family gives reallyyy good hugs.

My mom going on adventures with me.

My chief karate instructor being super excited for my newest novel.

ANIMALS. My animals, other animals, just… AHH.

Late night conversations with friends are the bestest.

GOOD BOOKS.

Challenges and goals. They make life interesting.

Weird surprises that make you gasp (like finding out one band shut down but started another!).

New song releases.

Seeing happy dogs while out in town. 

Funnel cakes during festival seasons.

Bringing a smile to a stranger’s face in the store.

To learn to do something new.

To see another sunset and another sunrise.

Saving the turtles who wander into the road.

Laughing over silly things till your stomach hurts.

Late night conversations with the stars.

Swimming in the summertime.

Making snow ice cream in the winter.

Driving down dusty roads.

Taking photos.

Learning new things and finding new hobbies.

Beautiful artwork.

Fields of flowers.

Going to Sonic for ice cream with my siblings and blasting music we barely know the lyrics to.

Meeting new people that will change your world.

Watching people be HAPPY and being happy with them.

Movie nights, alone or with friends.

Facing fears. (Or, in my case, facing frogs.)

Bonfires and s’mores.

Swinging on a swing set.

Buying gifts for people.

Praying for the souls who need God.

Being set free from myself by the Gospel of Jesus.

;

 

In the end… there are so many reasons to live. Maybe they seem big, maybe they seem small, but in truth, the very fact we are alive and breathing… We have a soul… a mind… a heart… we have a reason to live and that is because we exist in the first place. God breathed air into our lungs and put us together in our mother’s womb. That’s enough to keep going. God loved us from the start, that’s a gift, and there’s beauty in the path that follows.

So don’t give up. Even if you feel alone, insignificant, or rejected. Maybe you feel like a burden or that maybe no one knows your pain, or your pain is nothing “compared” to someone else’s pain… No reason we could make up in our head is a good reason to end our own life.

So own your dash. Own your semi colon. Own your reasons to live. Seek them out. There are countless testimonies of precious lives who almost chose suicide… and by a miracle, they didn’t, and didn’t regret choosing life. You won’t regret living. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a friend, a family member, a pastor, or contact a suicide hotline. You’re loved and you are worth the fight. Never be ashamed to seek help.

Big thanks to Faith Potts and Kaitlyn Krispense for publishing their novels that deal with the topic of suicide. Check their blogs out and give them some love. They started this #13RW tour and it’s been incredible.

Also, for those struggling, I have a short story for you. ♥ Homeward is right here for you.

God bless and I am always here,

Angie

 

REST IN THE LORD

Rest isn’t our enemy. 

As Christians, it can be super easy to drown ourselves. In the everyday chaos of life, in our goals, in our dreams, in our friends and family. It can be easy to focus so hard on glorifying the Lord by what we do, we forget to glorify the Lord with rest, as well.

God gave us a Sabbath for a reason. I’m not a perfect Sabbath keeper and I don’t go to church, but the more I study the Word, the more I see that there’s a strong difference between a sluggard and a man of God resting.

Sometimes, we don’t have a choice but to rest. Maybe we’re sick, or have an illness, or injured ourselves. Resting can be difficult when you don’t have a choice in the matter. I mean, I’ve been sick for a couple days and already feel my To Do List piling against me.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord,  only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

What about if life leaves us no choice but to keep fighting, working, and pushing on? We can’t rest! That’s laziness. We have to push on, people depend on us, we set deadlines, etc etc. Believe me, I understand this. I understand seeing mountains of life stacked so high, I want to break down and run away so I don’t have to keep working. It’s human nature. What makes us different as believers? We don’t run from mountains. We move them.

And guess what? You have to rest in the Lord to do so.

Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalms 46:10

In all that we do, we must glorify the Lord. He calls us to rest. And it isn’t easy, taking rest, or relaxing when we “have things to do”. I’m not saying be lazy all the time, but I am reminding y’all that there’s a reason for everything God commands, so there is a reason He says rest, too. We must find absolute rest in Jesus to be able to fight on.

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  – Matthew 11:28-30

So, even while our actions, goals, and dreams might glorify God, don’t forget that obedience does, too. It is something I’ve struggled with lately. I want to obey the Lord, but it is very intimidating to follow His commandments when I have mountains threatening to run me down. Can you relate? I also started to recall times in the Bible when Believers faced crisis, and God told them to rest, and they did. They obeyed when it made no sense.

That’s what I choose to do. I choose to rest when God calls me to rest. I choose to trust God’s timing instead of my own. I choose to be fearless instead of fearful.

God bless,

Ang