From My Playlist – I Can Only Imagine

Music whispered in the background as I held my mother’s hand. Her breathing came in rattled spurts, laboring in between longer breaks. When would her body give in?

My sister caressed Mom’s other hand. My brother and sister-in-law stood at the end of the bed.

We waited.

In silence.

Goosebumps formed on Mom’s arms.

Her eyes widened.

She gasped.

And slipped into eternity.

Our family often shares the story of when Mom died. It was gut-wrenching to watch, but at the same time we wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. Why?

Because we were able to witness when Mom saw Jesus.

I noticed the goosebumps.

Sue saw her eyes widen.

Murray and Natalie had the bird-eye’s view at the end of the bed and saw her peaceful face.

I wonder…what did she do when she walked into Jesus’ presence? Did she dance? Did she kneel at His feet? Was she silent?

I can only imagine.

But, if I was a guessing person….I betcha Mom was giggling and dancing like a school girl when she first saw Him! I can just see her now standing on her tippy toes praising Him. There’s no way she sat still. Her knees would be bouncin’! :-) My Dad was probably grinning ear to ear.

Can you imagine what it will be like when we see Jesus and walk with Him? When we stand in His presence, how will we act?

imagine

I’m not sure. I think we’ll have times when we won’t be able to speak and times when we will dance.

We will be in awe at His radiance and glory.

What a day that will be!

I can only imagine.

What do you think you’ll do when you see Jesus?

Revelation 1:16b-17 (NIV)

“His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

I Can Only Imagine (written by Bart Millard)

I wanted to share Lynn Hickey’s version of this beautiful song. This was at the Acoustic Café in London, Ontario.

Close your eyes as she sings and imagine….

Are the Odds in Her Favor?

The First Principle by Marissa Shrock

What would you do if you lived in a world where your decisions were taken away from you? Would you try and beat the odds by fighting the system or join the majority, letting the government tell you what you can and can’t do, read, or believe?

This is exactly what Vivica Wilkins faces in this young adult book, The First Principle. In this futuristic novel, the citizens of the United Regions of North America must conform to the government regime. If not, they’re punished.

In the opening, Vivica defends a classmate for trying to hide her pregnancy for fear of having to terminate it. The young girl tries to run, but is shot with a tranquilizer and taken away. The school is left in shock at the brazen treatment.

Days later, Vivica finds herself in the same predicament—pregnant and caught between two worlds. As the daughter of the next presidential candidate, does she conform and terminate the pregnancy (they don’t call it killing) or does she join the rebellion and save the life growing inside her?

Torn at what to do, she begins to read the old forbidden version of the Bible given to her by her baby’s father and investigates what the rebellion is all about. She discovers all is not what it seems and danger lurks around every corner.

An assassin’s bullet finds its mark and kills the resigning president, but fails at their attempt to take out the presidential candidate—Vivica’s mother. The rebellion is blamed, but were they set up?

Vivica struggles with the regime she’s known all her life and the new world the rebels are showing her. Can she terminate the life growing inside her and turn away from her mother for this faith she can’t see or feel?

FirstPrinciple-258x400

The First Principle is Marissa Shrock’s first novel, but you would never know it! This book had me hooked from the start. I loved the world Ms. Shrock created with her United Regions of North America, which includes the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It’s believable. The government regime reminded me of The Capitol in The Hunger Games. They needed to be in control of every aspect of their citizen’s lives. They were always watching. Telling you what to read, eat, believe, etc.

Ms. Shrock’s characters are well rounded. Vivica is strong-willed, but with a soft heart. She’s not scared to stand up against her mother.

The book is labeled as young adult, but even adults will love it. I did! It’s fast-paced with twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Who is behind the conspiracy? Can you figure it out? Don’t be so sure!

I give The First Principle 4.5 stars. I sure hope Ms. Shrock will continue with more in this dystopian series. If you liked The Hunger Games, you will love this book.

Pick up this delightful novel and find out how a teen handles an adult situation. You won’t be able to put it down.

I promise!

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.)

Contest!!

I would like to give away my copy of The First Principle. The contest rules are simple—leave a comment on the blog and you will be entered. Bonus entry– if you leave a comment AND share this post on Facebook you will get two entries (tag me on Facebook or let me know in the comments). Contest closes Saturday, Jan 24th at midnight. Enter now! (Open to residents of the USA and Canada only.)

Old Man Winter

Call me crazy, but I love winter (okay, maybe love is too strong of a word :D ). I was disappointed we had a green Christmas and was wondering if winter would ever arrive. I needed to see some white stuff falling from the sky.

winterWell….it did this week and with a vengeance! Old man winter came and breathed down our necks with a bitter cold wind. Plus, our area was pummelled with snowy conditions. School buses were cancelled and the roads were treacherous. However, it was a snow day for some!

Don’t you remember snow days as a kid? Such fun! We used to build snowmen, make snow angels, build forts and have snowball fights. Remember?

We tend to forget the beauty of winter when the bitter wind is freezing our faces and our backs are killing us from all the shovelling. I get that. But…there’s nothing more beautiful than a field blanketed in fresh fallen snow or how it glistens in the moonlight’s glow.

How about a forest full of trees sagging with mounds of snow weighing them down? Breathtaking!

Why don’t we stop and take in that beauty?

winter craft 2

Design by Jamie Mills-Price

Old man winter can be rough, but it can also be a time of rest. A time to enjoy a hot cup of chocolate (yes, with the whip cream!) by the fireplace while reading. Or to visit with friends. And of course….there’s skiing!

Over my holidays I was able to finish my “Winter” scene. It was such fun to paint it! Tole painting is one of the things I love to do in the winter.

I’m glad winter has arrived! It’s a season to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.

And of course, let’s not forget the beauty of that fresh fallen snow!

What’s your favourite part of winter?

winter craft

Design by Jamie Mills-Price

 

From My Playlist – I Surrender

She skidded to a stop at the end of the corridor, her sneakers screeching their irritation at the interruption. Bending over, resting elbows to knees, she inhaled in and out to calm her rapid breathing.

The race had come to an end. All she needed to do was go through the correct door to finish.

She glanced left, then right.

Which one would give her all her hopes and dreams?

Which one would shatter them all?

She stilled her thoughts and listened.

Surrender.

It was the word she kept hearing over the past few months.

Yes, I hear You.

She made her selection, turned the doorknob, and entered.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015.

Do you feel like me every time you enter into a new year? Just like the lady above? Partly excited, but scared to death of what the year will bring?

I have to admit…I’m glad to put 2014 behind us. It was a tough one that held a lot of stress, disappointments, and heartache. I found myself asking God a lot of questions. I heard the same answers.

surrender

Trust Him.

Everything happens in His time. Not mine.

However, 2014 wasn’t all doom and gloom. God is faithful and brought us through. He gave us gifts in between the rough patches. As Mama always said, “God is good…ALL the time!”

What does 2015 hold? I have no idea. I’m taking a big breath, turning that knob, and stepping through. I’m trusting Him with what’s on the other side of that big scary door.

A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. I personally choose not to. A friend of mine got me started on picking a word for each year (thanks Lisa!). As you might have guessed, mine for 2015 is….drumroll….

S U R R E N D E R

Yes, surrendering everything to Him will be tough. We humans tend to leave things with Him and then snatch them back in a blink of an eye! However, I’m going to try my hardest to stay on my knees, surrendering every aspect of my life to Him.

When I think of surrendering, I picture my mother standing on her tippy toes, praising God and singing at the top of her lungs. She had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor yet her face radiated joy.

That’s what true surrender looks like.

One of the areas I will be surrendering - my writing! (photo used with permission - http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.ca/)

One of the areas I will be surrendering – my writing!
(photo used with permission – http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.ca/)

One other thing I do instead of making resolutions is setting realistic goals for the year. I write them down and tack them up on my corkboard above my desk. This way I’ll see them whenever I’m at my computer.

I’m looking forward to 2015. It’s all in His hands.

New year. Fresh start.

Total surrender.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Do you choose a word for the year? If so, will you share it with us? We’d love to hear it!

I Surrender (by Matt Crocker)

This song fits perfectly with my word! Powerful words…listen to the lyrics.

 

 

From My Playlist – All Is Well

Christmas Day has come and gone in a flash! It always does. Did you enjoy your time together with family and friends?

all is well

I’m taking a little break from blogging during a much-needed downtime but wanted to leave you with one more song of the season. This is a newer one for me. I love Michael and Carrie together. Breathtaking! Enjoy.

Happy New Year!

What was your favourite 2014 Christmas moment? Share with us by leaving a comment.

 

All Is Well (duet with Carrie Underwood) (written by Michael W. Smith/Wayne Kirkpatrick)

From My Playlist – Silent Night

If you were only allowed to listen to one Christmas song (gasp!), what would it be? Which song stands out from your childhood memories? Brings the most emotion? Wraps Christmas up for you with a beautiful bow?

That’s an easy one for me.

Silent Night.

For a number of reasons.

silent nightIt talks about why we celebrate. This is a season of sharing and being with family, but most of all it’s about celebrating Christ’s birth. On a silent night and in a humble manger, Jesus was born. The perfect gift so that we can have eternal life. All we need to do is accept that gift. So simple.

It was my dad’s favourite. And soon became my mom’s. I remember going to our Christmas Eve services and at the end we would light the candles as we sang Silent Night. Today, it’s hard to sing this song without tears forming. I can picture both of my parent’s faces, beaming behind their candles singing from their hearts.

The hush of the song makes me want to be silent. This is such a busy time of year! We rush to get our shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. done before the big day. Then when the 25th comes, we’re too tired to enjoy it. When I hear this song, it makes me want to just STOP and be silent. This year has been a tough one. I’m looking forward to taking some time to be still over the holidays not only to rest, but also to listen to what my Saviour has to say to me.

Love’s pure Light came thousands of years ago on a still and silent night. What a perfect setting for a perfect gift!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

What song would you choose as your one Christmas song? Share with us.

Silent Night (by Franz Gruber)

I’m featuring Pentatonix again. They have such an amazing sound. Gives me chills!

From My Playlist – Winter Star

Do you remember waiting for Christmas to come? When we were young, it seemed to take FOREVER to get here.

You know what I’m talking about. The anticipation builds inside you every day, threatening to bubble and spill over? Christmas just couldn’t get here fast enough!

Now as I’m getting older, the season comes and goes way too fast. Why is that?

Part of it could be because time flies when we age. ;-) However, could the biggest reason be we’re caught up in the busyness of the season that we’ve lost the excitement we once had as children?

Have we forgotten to remember?

Let’s take a step back in time to when we were kids. How about we caught up in the excitement again?

winter star

Most of all…let’s get caught up in the excitement of that first Christmas morn.

The first winter star led the path to the baby Jesus.

The best gift of all!

Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Winter Star (by J Reid/M Selby/B Ezrin)

This was a new song to me last Christmas. It’s sung by Canadian country star, Johnny Reid. It talks about waiting for Christmas to come. Jeff sang it recently at the Acoustic Café in London, Ontario. I want to share his version. Listen to the words.