Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament

I’m becoming an advocate for combining art and faith. I am learning how the Lord has given us artistic creativity to express our praise and worship of Him. Everyone naturally accepts that of music and even of creative writing, but artistic rendering through brush and pen are sometimes neglected. I’ve been a fan of Karla Dornacher for a while and was super excited to check out this collaboration she is a part of! 

Studying how Christ has been a part of history from the beginning fascinates me. This wonderful way of looking at Scripture brings new life and insight into the Old Testament as well as helps us to understand the redemptive nature of our Lord and Savior. I have heard sermons which traced Christ through the Old Testament, but have never completed a Bible study which solely focused on this. I really liked the simple format as well as the artistic application as well. 

Each of the 12 chapters is divided into 5 daily readings. There are also artistic activities to go along with each chapter. These would be so very fun to do as a group! The projects should not be overwhelming to beginners (just like me!) and will open up lots of opportunity for discussion during creating. I love the coloring pages at the end which are great no matter your age. There are also beautiful bookmarks to correspond with the chapters as well. 

The reader is encouraged to find their own creative outlet as well. There is a spring-board list of fantastic ideas in the appendix to get you started. I found this to be helpful to think outside of my personal creative box. 

I plan to have my daughters work through this study this year. It is deep enough to challenge them, but not so academic that it will become drudgery. This would make for an interesting group study as well. I’ve been excited to read this title and look forward to working through some of the art activities as well. I think it would be fun for a high school girls study or young women too. I really see many applications for use! 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Finding Lady Enderly: A Net Galley Review

I love a good mystery with a bit of humor and romance. This wonderful story had all three and was one of the most creatively written novels I’ve had the privilege to read. The author was new to me and I enjoyed this so much I am already exploring some of her other works. 

The basic premise is a bit of a Cinderella story. A poor young lady is given the opportunity to live a life of opulence for a time as she pretends to be someone she is not. The enticing presentation of a solicitor, who guarantees there is no harm nor illegal act, is too much for her adventurous curiosity. Since she learned of the death at sea of the young man she loved, she has been looking for a way to escape her life and this seems to be the opportunity. Soon, however, she realizes there must be something awry in spite of all the fine promises of the solicitor. 

Two things struck me as I read this novel. The first was the way in which the author presented the story. Current trends lead novelists to write in 3rd person limited fashion with usually two lead characters (one male and one female) giving us insight into their perspectives, but not from the personal perspective of I. In this novel there was a shift in perspective, but one used 1st person (the heroine) and one used 3rd person limited (the hero). I was initially surprised by this style but ended up absolutely loving it! It kept the writing fresh and alive and my attention was completely held from page one. 

The second was the setting. I loved that the mansion our heroine arrives at is actually a abbey which was once used by monks. Its history and beauty shone through the author’s pen and made me want to live there myself! Not because of the opulence, but rather because of the meaningful spiritual context. 

Finally, I loved the complex plot and unexpected twists throughout the narrative. I was continually surprised and ready to learn what would happen next. 

I highly, highly recommend this novel! I can’t wait to read more by the author.
Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Dictionary of Tommies’ Songs and Slang, 1914–1918: A Net Galley Review

I am completely fascinated by how language changes over time. I also love studying history. This wonderfulbook provides a combination of the two. It is in ever sense a dictionary, alphabetized with slang and definitions of each word as well as a collection of songs from the British during World War I. 

This period of war-time history was particularly brutal. In studying the war you will find the first use of chemical weapons, flame throwers, and many more horrible affects of war. As with any major period of history the culture is greatly impacted. One of the ways during this war was the rise of a slang particular to those in the war, known as Tommies. Some of this slang inevitably carried over to our own country. 

This is a republication of a text from 1930 and revisits an era long forgotten. The political agenda of the war is long forgotten by many and when discussed the individuals are lost. This beautiful compilation is an effort to bring back the individual soldier, specifically of the lower class, who was at the mercy of the reigning powers. While others may debate the war’s causes and consequences, these authors do a wonderful job of preserving the culture of the every-day soldier who lived, fought, and died at the whims of world leaders.

You will thoroughly enjoy reading through this title and getting a glimpse of the language of the day. You may recognize some slang, while much will undoubtedly be new to you. For instance, kahaki, is a term we use readily to describe the light brown colored pants and originates with the British Army. It was first used in the 1880s and is from a Hindi word which described a drab colored linin cloth. Beginning in the early 1900s the word began to be used for the material we know as kahki today. 

Discover this and more as you enjoy this fabulous time machine of language!
Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Amazing Loom Knits: A Net Galley Review

When I was young my great-grandmother taught me to knit the traditional way. I have a faint memory of how to knit, but I was never very good at it. I loved the idea of loom knitting and bought a set for myself from a local store. I have made a simple hat and scarves using the looms, but that was all I thought they were for. Little did I know just how many amazing creations could be made with either round or square looms! 

This book is full of simple instructions to follow for each of the 30 patterns. Everything from hats to scarves to mittens to socks is represented here in beautiful detail. I was thrilled to discover a wide variety of simple stitches can be used! 

The fiber arts can be daunting and feel overwhelming when you first begin. The author, Nicole F. Cox, does an excellent job of giving precise yarn types as well as the specific supplies needed. Special stitches are clearly explained, even if they may take some time to master.

I am personally excited to try my hand and making the Highland Ear Warmers. I am definitely a beginner, and this simple pattern seems to be one I could manage. I also get very cold ears in the winter! I like that there are several color patterns shown as well as the optional flower adornment.

There are many fun patterns to choose from. If you are like me and have had some looms stashed away without much understanding of how to use them, this would be a great book to pick up and give a try. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

We Too: A Net Galley Review

This was a really difficult book to read because of the subject. I have not experienced sexual assault or abuse personally, by the grace of God. I do know I was sheltered from a lot by parents who took their role as protector very seriously. But even so, it could have been me. 

I have many friends who have been on the receiving end of the types of horrific incidents described in this book. Many have been understandably hesitant to share their pain and continued grief. Most have been ignored or not believed at some point, dismissed without compassion. It is sadly true that much of this has occurred within the American church. Mary DeMuth has been a voice at the front of those working to protect women and children within the church from predators. Her own horrifying childhood experience has given her a relevant voice in our culture. One of firm determination to expose the truth and find justice for victims. 

One important area which she deals with heavily is the problem of pornography in our society. It has never been okay, but the ease with which it is available and the increased violent and pervasive acts portrayed are far beyond what it was 30 years ago. This deplorable industry is fast growing and the money made from it fuels even more. Women and children are preyed upon to a degree many of us cannot fathom. It reminds me of ancient Rome and the culture of sexual depravity woven in and out of that society. This is nothing new. Satan merely finds new ways to entice and addict. Sadly the cycles continue when children find sexual perversion normalized. Of course, ever individual is responsible for their own actions no matter what has been done to them, but those who have faced trauma unchecked struggle more to say no to the temptations.

We as the church must rise and stand against these sins and lawless acts. The call to action is clear and must be heeded. When a victim is finally able to face what happened to them and tell someone, they must not be ignored. Truth should prevail, and they need to know they are believed.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of this title. You will gain perspective from personal experience and learn compassion for those who are grieving. But for the grace of God, it could have been me. I am blessed to not have the nightmarish past to confront, but that does not give me cause to ignore the problem. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery: A Net Galley Review

I remember visiting my family in Kentucky when I was little and seeing the bookshelves full of the Foxfire books. They intrigued me so and I could tell they were well read and well-loved. I love learning about our family’s history and Appalachian heritage runs in my veins. I was really excited to have a look at The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery.

One of the beautiful aspects of this book are the many photographs, stories, vignettes, and recipes straight from the Appalachian region. This series is doing a wonderful job of preserving the ways and history of the people of Appalachia. There is a wealth of natural wisdom and this book captures the resources beautifully.

We often go there to take our family pictures and I just love how they turn out! 

I particularly enjoyed The Grist Mill chapter. We have a beautiful, working grist mill just a couple of miles from our home. It is no longer the primary way people have their grains processed, but it once was the primary means of grinding. The same stone still grinds cornmeal a few times each month during the warm seasons. 

My children are learning a bit about their Appalachian heritage through traditional clogging. I am enjoying sharing even more through this wonderful series! I hope to one day visit the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center with the girls. It would be a bit of a drive from North Carolina to its location in Georgia, but it would be more than worth it!

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Draw 62 Magical Creatures and Make them Cute: A Net Galley Review


Sketching and drawing cute things is relaxing to me. I’m not fantastic on my own, so sketching and drawing books like this one are a great help! 

The sketches in this book remind me of modern adult cartoons, think Simpsons style. I’m not a huge fan of this type of artwork. I didn’t realize it would be quite like this and honestly I’m not sure I would classify this style as cute! Still, there were some great tutorials within these pages. 

Each of the pages involves sketches only, which I really like. Nice clean lines make it easy to see what I’m supposed to do. For a non-professional like me this is quite important. I loved that the coloring was only on the final product and was still simply black and white. 

Again, the drawing directions are excellently laid out. I’m just not sure if I agree with the “make it cute” section. 

I created this in a little sketching journal I have. I started with a pencil sketch, painted with watercolors, and then use a think-line ink for the details. I picked this little salamander because we have a blue-tailed western skink running around outside in my flower bed. He’s really quite cute and eating some of the nastier bugs so I’m happy to have him living there. 

So even though I wasn’t impressed with the “cuteness” factor, I did find myself quite pleased with the outcome. Art is, after all, in the eye of the beholder. The best art books inspire you to create and give clear, simple instructions. There certainly isn’t any fluff here and since I’m pleased with my drawing, I give this book a high mark! 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Painting School: A Net Galley Review


I’ve been dabbling in doodling recently. Trying out sketching and watercolor just for fun. I’m never going to sell any of my artwork, not that I wanted to, but I do like improving my limited skills and learning new things. 

I was really excited about this title, Painting School by Tanya Emelyanova, for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s geared towards kids and that’s about where I’m at! I also liked the look of the artwork. It has a Japanese Kawaii look to it with cute little eyes and facial features. I also like the variety and layout style of the book. 

Grace and I sat down to have a little art session! I had fun painting a whale shark and she a hammerhead shark. 

While I really liked the setup of this book and how the beginning is explained, it is very clear this artwork was done digitally. Now that isn’t a problem exactly unless you are trying to recreate using watercolors or acrylics as is suggested in the beginning. I’ve never made digital drawings so I started out with water color. The directions for painting these clearly makes it difficult for them to turn out the way you expect them to. For instance, you cannot put light colors over top of dark. I wish it had given clearer directions for painting in an order that would work. 
I do think this would make a great beginners guide to digital painting. 

Grace really enjoyed the painting. She didn’t seem bothered by the fact that it wasn’t easy to make it like the picture, but then she’s a kid and a really easy going one at that! My oldest daughter is a perfectionist and knowing her this would have been quite frustrating. 

Here are our finished art pieces! I ended up using watercolor pencils and then painting with water on top. Grace just used straight water colors and then added a fun background! 

Overall I still liked the book, but I think it could have been a little more practical or specifically address digital painting.

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Song of Joy: A Net Galley Review


Lauraine Snelling has been one of my favorite historical novelists for quite a number of years. I was first introduced to her through the Blessings Series, which I eagerly awaited new titles as soon as I completed one! Dakota Treasures and the Secret Refuge Series were both compelling sets as well. It has been a while since I picked up one of her novels, so I was really excited to start turning the pages in A Song of Joy, the fourth title in Under the Northern Skies. 

As with many of Snelling’s titles the story centers around a Norwegian immigrant. I love the setting and time period for this particular title. Set in 1911 in Minnesota, it is a time of simplicity and new innovations all at the same time. Nilda, originally from Norway and most recently from a small farm near Blackduck, MN, works alongside Mrs. Schoenleber. The older woman completely trusts Nilda, who acts a sort of personal assistant. She is also quite altruistic around town and with those whom she encounters, much to the consternation of her brothers who are more miserly and greedy with funds from the family business. It becomes increasingly apparent that these brothers are conniving. Nilda, meanwhile, is struggling with memories which haunt her of a man who attacked her. He is no longer living, but even in death he makes her life a nightmare.

I love how Snelling weaves truths from Scripture throughout the pages. We see the very real struggle of what it is like to live with the darkness which comes to someone who is attacked. I appreciate her ability to empathize and guide the reader through what the experience is like. I also appreciate the advice given by Nilda’s family and employer to help her through this time. 

I also find the struggle some of the characters have with English a truly beautiful thing! We learn a few Norwegian words along the way, but are reminded that those new to our country may need some help, not to mention patience and understanding, when they come to this country. It is easy to take our native language for granted. 

There are three novels previous to this which I have not yet read. Although I greatly enjoyed the book, I would recommend starting at the beginning of this series in order to fully appreciate the family structure and know the background of the characters. I myself intend to go to the beginning of the series and read them all!

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Noble Guardian: A Net Galley Review


Quality, clean historical fiction is my favorite genre. I don’t mind a little mystery as long as it isn’t too intense. Neither some romance, as long as it remains clean. A Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep filled these requirements well! 

This is the third title in The Bow Street Runner Trilogy. I have not read the first two titles, but this story stands alone and it is not necessary to have done so. I love that it is a pretty lengthy book! I love reading long books where there is plenty of time for character development. 

This particular title was peril-filled! Lots of action and adventure follow the heroine and hero along the way. I did have some trouble getting a good feeling for the setting, but I think this may have had to do with the nature of travel in the book. The heroine is traveling to meet her fiance and in the process the hero must accompany her for safety reasons after she is attacked. I do think if I had read the previous novels the setting would have been a little easier to grasp. 

I did like the heroine of this story. She is plucky, but also naive in many ways. At times I felt her reactions didn’t match other parts of her expressed character, but then I remember none of us is able to be exactly predictable in our natures. 

Like most romance stories there is a lot of will-they/won’t-they play back and forth. I appreciated that it was handled well and with tact. The more “romantic” descriptions were very tasteful, but were still a little deeper than I would have my daughters read until they are older, maybe college age. They aren’t interested in romance yet anyway, but I do keep that in mind as I am reading. 

I was pleased with the closure. There was miscommunication and misunderstanding, not all the fault of the characters, but it was cleared up eventually and everything tied up nicely. I do not like cliff hangers or unresolved endings and I was quite satisfied with how things tied up with both of the main characters as well as the young child who plays a significant role in their story. 

I would highly recommend this title, but I think going back and reading the first two in the series might be beneficial to getting the most enjoyment out of this one. 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.