When You Run Out…

Things are getting busy on this end again with musicwriting, and photography, and my little blog has been pushed onto back burner — meaning that scheduled posts are running out.
I don’t want my busy to just be busy. I want my busy to be in line with what GOD would have me to do. So I’m seriously praying and seeking God’s direction for what He would have me say “yes” to and what He would have me say “no” to. Until I decide what that direction is, things just might be a little sketchy here on the blog. I probably won’t keep up with Word Wednesdays but just share random Scriptures throughout the week. Guess we’ll wait and see. 🙂

I greatly appreciate all of my faithful readers and commenters. I’m not saying “goodbye,” I’m just probably not going to be quite as talkative in the near future. 😉

A Treasure Concealed | Book Review

26266298I have already done my “Friday review” but this book has been on my shelf a little too long and I need to get it reviewed here. So two review today.

About the Book
Emily Carver wants a home where she can put down roots instead of following her gold-hungry father from one mining camp to another. She also longs for tenderness and love, both of which are missing in her life. Yet when she realizes she’s losing her heart to the intriguing new man in camp, she fiercely fights her feelings, afraid that love will only result in disappointment and heartache. 
Caeden Thibault, a young geologist, comes to Montana to catalog minerals indigenous to the state. He’s a serious and guarded young man trying to escape the pain of his past. He has avoided all romantic entanglements, fearing he might become like his abusive father. But something about Emily Carver has caught his attention, something he never expected. . . . 
Will these two broken souls allow God to bring healing and hope to their hurting hearts?

My Review
This is my second Tracie Peterson book to read, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, I have a little infatuation with things mining and old West, so the whole theme of the book drew me in.
The POV goes between Emily Carver and Caeden Thibault, both who are trying to understand how God works, basically, how their mothers had strong faith in God even though their lives were not ideal. I thought Peterson did an excellent job with explaining that God is not unjust because of circumstances He allows (brought on by wicked men).
There was a beautiful salvation message in this book, and I really think I can say that the spiritual plot of this book was strong. I’m finding that I like a lot of quotes in Peterson’s books.
However, this book wasn’t without a few things that made me cringe. For example, why do authors always add moments of “almost unacceptable” that were “unavoidable?” Besides that, there were illusions to men desiring to mistreat women, but it wasn’t vulgar. Younger readers may not want to read this book because of that, though. There is romance in this book, but I didn’t feel like the story was only wrapped around their emotions (there were moments in the story that hung only on the romance, but overall, the book wasn’t just about that).

Quotes I liked:
“A house and little fence will not be what makes you happy. Don’t be deceived and throw away the good things you have in search for something that doesn’t exist.”

“God never is the One to walk away, Caeden. Only we can do that.”

“If God knows all, then how can He be disappointed?”

“Trust comes in knowing [God] better.”

*I received this book from Bethany House in exchange of my honest review*

About the Author
Tracie Peterson is a bestselling author who writes in both historical and contemporary genres. Her novels reveal her love for research as well as her strong desire to develop emotionally meaningful characters and stories for her readers. Tracie and her family live in Montana.

Buy the Book on Amazon

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts | Book Review

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts by Maja SäfströmAbout the Book
An artfully playful collection of unexpected and remarkable facts about animals, illustrated by Swedish artist Maja Säfström. 

Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom (Bees never sleep! Starfish don’t have brains!) are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.

My Review

I got this in and read it in about ten minutes. It is a very whimsical, simple book with facts placed creatively on the pages. It was so much fun to learn several animal group names that just made sense (like a group of cockroaches called an intrusion). I personally don’t care to know all of the information about animals and their digestion…but that was about the only negative I found. I was pleasantly surprised to find no evolution in this book!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange of my honest review*

About the AuthorMAJA SÄFSTRÖM is a Stockholm based architect and illustrator who has gained international recognition for her quirky animal drawings. For more of her works, visit: http://www.majasbok.se
Buy the Book on Amazon

Word Wednesday #104

What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? 
Job 21:15
Such are the thoughts of the wicked (see Job 21:7, 14)–yet, if we’re not careful, our lifestyle as believers can scream these questions. When we choose our own path and walk however pleases us–what is God that we should serve Him? When we neglect prayer or doubt that prayer is beneficial–what profit do we have, praying to Him? Oh, believe, our lives should be one of seeking God and serving Him, being faithful to communicate with Him daily!

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you’d like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog! Did you post on your blog? I’d love to see — share your link in a comment!


Do we…?

Do we believe that God’s Word converts (turns back)? Do we read it when we notice our hearts straying towards the world?
Do we believe that God’s Word gives wisdom? Do we turn to others or God when we need wisdom?
Do we believe that God’s Word rejoices the heart? Do we seek it or secular entertainment when we need cheering up?
Do we believe that God’s Word is pure? Do we turn to it when we need cleansing or wallow in our sin?
Do we believe that God’s Word endure forever? Do we try to cling to worldly, temporal things for our security instead of clinging to God’s Word?
Do we believe that God’s Word is true and righteous altogether? Do we dwell on the lies and fears of this world or dwell on the truth of God’s Word?

Do we truly desire God’s Word? Is this evidenced in our daily lives? Do we spend more time seeking worldly things, following worldly entertainment and devices, letting the world determine our thinking–or do we spend time renewing our minds according to God’s Word? 
7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:7-10

Mr. Zip and the Capital Z | Book Review

Mr. Zip and The Capital ZAbout the Book
After a terrifically hard and terribly disappointing day before the Fourth of July, Peanut Johnson, wandering aimlessly down Main Street, stumbles upon The Capital Z, a This and That Shop. Stepping inside, he meets Mr. Aloysious Zip, the kind and eccentric shopkeeper, who introduces Peanut to a most wondrous place. There are toys and trinkets, model cars and miniature wagon trains, even memorabilia from days gone by—“reminders,” says Mr. Zip with an air of mystery.

Discovering “everything from A to Z” inside The Capital Z, Peanut also finds history unfolding before his very eyes. Touching a Kentucky rifle hanging on the shop wall, he is transported to the wilderness where he sees his Great-Great-Great-Great Uncle Milkweed Johnson fighting in Andrew Jackson’s regiment during the War of 1812. George Washington’s sword brings Peanut onto the battlefield where the General, on horseback, dodges bullet after bullet. And while staring at a beautiful stained-glass window depicting the building of the Tower of Babel, Peanut finds himself in a crowd of angry and confused spectators, all speaking a different language!

But Peanut’s visit to The Capital Z turns out to be much more than a journey through history. As he peers into the past with his Uncle Milkweed and some of America’s greatest leaders, he finds courage and hope to face his own mistakes, taking his first steps from boyhood to those of a young man. 

My Review
2.5/3 stars
The Capital Z holds many memorable historic items–each with a story: a Kentucky rife that told of Milkweed Johnson’s bravery in returning to his former plantation, a sword replica that told of George Washington’s battles, and a room with books and stained glass windows. As Peanut listens to tales of history, he realizes how he can be brave in the problem he created two days before.

The premise of this story is clever: create a shop where the shopkeeper can teach history in a creative way. The writing style is great for children–easy going and funny. The historical tid-bits seem well-researched, with foot notes.


There are some strange things that, in order to give my honest book review, I feel necessary to mention.

“People tell me that when they’re in this shop, they feel like they see or hear unusual things.” As Mr. Zip tells stories, Peanut “sees” what is happening. Kind of like a time-travel, yet he’s still in the shop for most of them–and it’s never really explained. Mr. Zip was in all of the pictures even from 100 years ago and “It seemed to Peanut that Mr. Zip had a firsthand knowledge, almost as if he had actually been there! ‘No way.’ Dismissing the thought, Peanut caught up to what Mr. Zip was saying.”

I’ll just mention that Peanut had an infatuation with a girl which, while it was a little silly to a grown-up, just does not seem needed for a children’s book.

Spiritual (this is the main thing that pulled my star rating down):
The stained glass reminders went straight from the Garden of Eden to Noah’s flood–no mention of HOW sin came into the world. The cross was mentioned, and how God has a plan, and being a Christian–but no mention of Jesus Christ (ever). In all of this, it was all paraphrased Bible stories with opinions inserted that just didn’t QUITE sound Scriptural. There was more of a “good morals” slant and how Peanut should do the right thing because that was what the men before him did.

When I started this, I honestly thought it might be a good family read-aloud book. The introduction of all of the Johnsons’ names was just hilarious. But given the negatives, I’m just not comfortable with recommending this book unless you like fantasy (but even then, the spiritual slips just have me concerned).

*I received this book from BookCrash in exchange for my honest review*

About the Author
Kimberly Bryant-Palmer never dreamed of becoming a writer, but always loved reading–her favorite authors being James Michener, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Harper Lee. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts degree in both music and biology from Mary Washington College (now The University of Mary Washington). While in graduate school, studying music theory, she worked a short time in cancer research before going on to write and record a CD, Just Enough. But it was when she met an artist named Jerry Palmer, and wrote the introduction for a book idea he had carried in his head for 25 years, that she found what she truly loved to do.

Mr. Zip and The Capital Z, a story of restoration and hope, tells of a young, dark-skinned American boy, Peanut Johnson, who has just endured “a terrifically hard and terribly disappointing day.” In this tale, Kimberly explores matters of the heart while taking her readers on a magical journey through history.

As she wrote, Jerry sketched the characters, and together, they brought the eccentric Mr. Zip, the tenderhearted Peanut, and his hilarious, lovable family to life.

Buy the Book on Amazon

Near to the Heart of God | Music Video

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

Words & Music: Cle­land B. Mc­A­fee
Piano solo arranged by Amanda Tero

Word Wednesday #103

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 
Job 1:20-21
When we find ourselves facing small trials (compared to Job’s), we whine instead of worship and blame God instead of blessing Him. Job had his perspective right: we deserve nothing and absolutely any good we have is from God; and God doesn’t need our permission to leave or take. We usually have an elevated image of self, thinking we deserve better or God owes us. Not so with Job. He was a picture of humble faithfulness.

Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you’d like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog! Did you post on your blog? I’d love to see — share your link in a comment!


Music Sight-readers Needed

Do you like new music? I’m praying about seriously diving into music editing so I can put more up on my website (www.withajoyfulnoise.com). I would like a few pianists to sightread for me and proof the music. I’ll be having different levels from beginner to advanced. Are you interested or do you know someone who is? Sign up here  (or send the link to a pianist friend):  http://goo.gl/forms/UmkxgW9e80

Nigh to God

One day, in my Bible reading, I came across Hebrew 7:19, about drawing nigh to God. This verse made me curious about other references to drawing nigh to God. I was surprised that there weren’t many references. But, the verses that there are have a powerful message!

For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?  Deuteronomy 4:7
Before and after this verse in Deuteronomy 4 is a reminder to keep God’s laws. For Israel, the nearness of God was contingent on their obedience to Him. If they kept His laws, He was nigh to them.
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.  Hebrews 7:19
For New Testament believers, we can draw nigh unto God because of the “bringing in of a better hope.” This verse alone explains that the law, given in the Old Testament, given to Israel, was never able to make the doer perfect. However, this “better hope” (which, in context of this passage, is Jesus Christ) is able to make one perfect. This “better hope” is what draws us nigh to God, not our ability to keep His laws.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  James 4:8
The two verses prior help us to get the full picture of this verse: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6-7)
We are given the promise, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” But how does one draw nigh to God? I believe that Hebrews 7:19, linked with James 4:6-8, gives us the answer:
1) We can draw nigh only through Jesus Christ and His cleansing
2) We can draw nigh only through humility–acknowledging that I cannot do it by my own works and ability
3) We can draw nigh only through submission–realizing that I can only draw nigh by the process which God has placed before me
Drawing nigh to God is not based on the works that I do (the more good works I do, the closer I’ll draw nigh). Rather, drawing nigh to God is based on submitting to His way of drawing nigh: through humility, acknowledging that I cannot, of my own self, draw nigh to God. Through submission, realizing that I must come under Christ’s blood to draw nigh to God.