Tuesday, September 4, 2018

An Hour Unspent - Release Day! Review! Giveaway!

Happy Release Day to Roseanna White for the final book in her Shadows Over England series, An Hour Unspent! Roseanna has a bunch of giveaways posted on her website, and an upcoming coloring contest that sounds pretty exciting! Make sure you head over there for some fantastic goodies! The books are on sale at the author's website where you can signed copies, and the first two books are currently 20% off! They are also available on Kindle and paperback at Amazon.


About the Book:

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancĂ© to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.


My Review:

I have so loved this series and this family, it is sad to see their story ending, but this heart-warming conclusion to the series did not disappoint! I experienced all the feels as I finally got to learn more about Barclay, the self-designated big brother of the noble family of thieves. Central to the core of his character is the desire to protect and care for others. Once someone touches his heart he is committed to them no matter what, often sacrificing what little he has to make sure they are provided for.

Evelina was quite a feisty character! Battling and surviving a childhood illness, as well as her domineering mother and aunt, has given her a fierce desire for independence and a passion for justice. She fights for the rights of the working class, even though it's not quite the fashionable cause her mother and suffragette friends would have her involved in.

Though Barclay and Evelina come from such different worlds, they see each other's profound strengths as well as their biggest hurts and fears.  My favorite part of reading is watching the characters come to grips with their most defining traits and come to a better awareness of themselves. Roseanna White does this very well in all her books.

One nice surprise in this book is that we (finally!) get to learn a bit more about the mysterious Mr. V!!! Alice's small role in the story was also a real treat.

This is a beautiful story of love and family, and the importance of spending your time well, woven into the historical backdrop of World War 1. I have loved these characters and their story. I am sad to see them go, but this was such a sweet conclusion for Barclay and his family. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have.

I received a copy of this book for promotional purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Favorite Quotes:

"The Lord uses even our broken pieces in the most remarkable ways."

"Something had to be done. And the certainty of what settled on him with that same solid weight that he knew so well. The one that always said, Give the little one your food and You don't need a coat. Not like he does. That certainty he was only now beginning to realize was God, showing him the way to love those put in his care."

"God saw him anyway, in complete clarity. So why try to hide?"




Monday, May 28, 2018

Dagger's Sleep and Dissociate Blog Tour - Interview with Tricia Mingerink





Author Interview with Tricia Mingerink

It is my privilege to have the opportunity again to promote one of Tricia Mingerink's books. I have followed this woman since her very first book, Dare, in the Blades of Acktar series and it has been a joy to see her grow as an author through that series.  Sad as I was to see that series end, (and as much as I am "secretly" hoping there will be follow up stories with those beloved characters some day ;-) ) I was excited to hear that she was writing a new series, in a different type of world.  Dagger's Sleep is an allegorical retelling of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty, with a slight twist. Instead of a princess sleeping for a hundred years, it is a prince! Because life has been CRAZY lately, I am still in the middle of this story, so my actual review will come later. I will tell you that this book has a fantastic storyworld with beautiful descriptions, deep characters, and an intriguing plot. No surprise, of course.  I look forward to giving you even more information and sharing my thoughts on the whole story, once I have finished. In the mean time, I want the author herself to have an opportunity to introduce her creation.  For those of you who loved the Blades of Acktar series, and for those of you who are new to Tricia Mingerink's work, here is what you can expect from Dagger's Sleep. Please welcome again, Tricia Mingerink.


What was different about writing this story than writing The Blades of Acktar series?

The biggest difference is that Dagger's Sleep is allegorical while The Blades of Acktar has Christianity portrayed as it is in the real world. So while the Christianity part of The Blades of Acktar was fairly straight forward, I spent most of the time writing Dagger's Sleep double and triple checking that I wasn't accidentally stepping into blasphemous territory or saying something I didn't intend to say with the allegory. I'm sure there are ways any allegory can have more read into it than the author intended, but I can at least rest assured I did my best. 

What was your biggest surprise or most difficult problem to solve while writing this book?

Probably the ending, getting a certain romance to turn out not creepy. I can't say too much more than that without giving away spoilers. 

What did you have the most fun with?

The character of Berend. He wasn't even truly a character until the third draft when I figured out one piece of his character that really made him come alive on the page. I'm afraid I went a little crazy with the bear puns after that. 

If the characters from this story met the characters in The Blades of Acktar, who would be best friends and who would get on each other's nerves (and why)?

Pretty much everyone from The Blades of Acktar wouldn't like High Prince Alexander. Keevan might try to give him some good advice. Leith would grit his teeth and do his best to ignore him. Martyn would purposefully prod Alex into being arrogant just so he could internally laugh at him. 

Kayleigh, Brandi, and Rosanna would probably be fast friends. They all have a certain adventurous streak to them. Isi would bounce between them and Renna. Leith and Daemyn would probably get along well enough, though I think of the two of them, Leith is more willing to be lethal than Daemyn is. 

What is something (quirk, personality trait, interest, talent, etc.) that you have in common with a character in Dagger's Sleep?


I love mountains, trees, and the land the way Rosanna and Daemyn do. I love hiking and seeing new waterfalls.  

Thank you, Tricia! I hope that wets your appetite, readers. Keep reading for my review

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I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

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 Thank you for stopping by my blog! If you would like to visit the other blogs on the tour and learn more information about Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink and Dissociate by  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Introducing The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin


Good evening, everyone!  Celebrating my last day of school by reviewing a new book, The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin, which just came out this month! I love discovering new authors and story worlds and I was privileged to be able to join the launch team for this awesome new story.  Lindsay Franklin is a delightful person, and I have really enjoyed being a part of her launch team. 

Goodreads Bio:
Lindsay A. Franklin is a best-selling author, award-winning freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. She spends a lot of time in made-up worlds, and she's passionate about sparking imagination through stories of infinite possibility. Her debut fantasy novel, The Story Peddler, releases in 2018. When she's not exploring the fantastical, she's exploring the Bible and encouraging young women through her devotional books.

Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder of a husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following. You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn't hijacked all her accounts. She's @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin.


And now for my review!!!


***Full disclosure***
I received an advanced copy of this book.  What follows is my honest review:

I had so much fun reading The Story Peddler! Tanwen is a Storyteller, gifted with the ability to weave beautiful glass ornaments from the stories she tells.  She dreams of two things: the family she does not remember, and the fame and fortune she one day hopes to obtain through her storytelling.  She is a hoot!  I enjoyed reading her quirky observations of the people and world around her.  She's a bit awkward, sometimes painfully so, but she knows that about herself and doesn't seem to worry about it too much.  She is a very honest person, both with others and with herself.  Though her goals in life are a bit misguided at first, she knows who she is, what she wants, and what her failings are.  She recognizes her feelings even when she acknowledges they are unfair. I think my favorite part was being able to experience her transformation as a character through her eyes.

Braithe is the daughter of a corrupt king, desperately trying to use her position to save as many subjects as possible from the wrath of her father. She is strong and holds fast to her convictions even when it means putting herself at risk to stand up to the king. I really look forward to watching her develop more in the coming books.

Speaking of honesty, I love how the author portrayed the truth, almost as its own character. "Art has a way of revealing the truth," one character says, and sometimes in spite of the intentions of the artist. For instance, Tanwen finds herself at odds with the king when one of her stories begins to tell a different tale than she had intended and reveals truths he would rather stay hidden.  Later, one of her tales speaks the truth about the one who they call The Creator, another being the king would like everyone to forget. There is a strong message that truth will always come out no matter what, which reminded me of two passages of scripture:

"As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Luke 19:37-40

"For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light." Luke 8:17

If you enjoy quirky fantasies, with creative magic, fun characters, and thought-provoking dilemmas, this is the book for you! But don't take my word for it, check out the endorsements from these awesome authors:

“Traitors, rebels, and the most original magic system I’ve seen since Patrick Carr’s A Cast of Stones make Lindsay A. Franklin’s The Story Peddler a unique and engrossing debut! I read through the book in two days. Did not want to put it down.”

—Jill Williamson, Christy Award-winning author of By Darkness Hid and King’s Folly 

“Lindsay Franklin is a fearless storyteller. She weaves a colorful fantasy of light, darkness, and the many adventures in between. The Story Peddler is a perfect blend of humor, heartache, and healing.”

—Nadine Brandes, author of Fawkes
"The Story Peddler is like nothing I've ever read. Lindsay A. Franklin weaves a magical and one-of-a-kind tale packed with danger, treason, and forbidden stories. A girl who wants to escape her mundane life. A king who harbors dark secrets. A princess in search of truth. The Story Peddler has it all.
Filled to the brim with mystery and intrigue, this stunning debut will transport readers to a realm from whence they’ll ne’er desire to return. Save a spot on your TBR list for this beauty! The Story Peddler is a binge-worthy read sure to be treasured by peasants and kings alike."
—Sara Ella, award-winning author of the Unblemished trilogy




#TheStoryPeddler #TheWeaverTrilogy #CorsythCrew #FlyingFluffhoppers 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Cover Reveal - Tricia Mingerink's Latest Novel



I am so excited to announce the coming of Tricia Mingerink's upcoming novel. have been privileged to help promote Tricia's Blades of Acktar series in the past and have so enjoyed the opportunity to watch her grow as an author.  Her stories grab you by the collar and don't let go until the end, making it almost impossible to set the book down. She makes you feel for each of her characters, even her villains, and the way she brings about growth and change in each of them is truly beautiful. 

This new story is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a very interesting twist. I am a sucker for a good fairytale retelling, and I cannot wait to read this one!

And now for the big reveal.....


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Gorgeous isn't it?!?

I LOVE the blue mountainous backdrop and the castle illuminated by sunlight. And the dagger in the title adds a nice contrast to that peaceful scenery, don't you think? I am so excited about this book. Speaking of which, here's a little blurb to make you drool...

About the book: 
A prince cursed to sleep.
A princess destined to wake him.
A kingdom determined to stop them.
 High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.
A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?
One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest king himself, their quests will demand greater sacrifice than either of them could imagine. 

Release Date: May 28, 2018

About the author: 
Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
You can connect with her on FacebookPinterestGoodreadsTwitterInstagram, and her blog.
To make things even more exciting, Tricia Mingerink is going to be co-hosting a blog tour from May 22 to 28 with Sarah Addison-Fox to celebrate the release of both of their latest books. Her next book Dissociate releases May 22. More details about blog tour will be coming in April.  


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Giveaways, Cover Reveals, and Valentine's Day!

It's Valentine's Day!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I would like to highlight some awesome historical romances by one of my favorite authors and announce the cover reveal to the upcoming finale of her latest series, Shadows Over England. Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post for the cover reveal and giveaway!

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.







In the first book of The Shadows Over England series, A Name Unknown, we meet Peter Holstein and Rosemary Gresham.  Rosemary is sent by the mysterious Mr. V to steal family information about Peter's heritage for the government.  She enters his employ posing as a librarian, sent to help organize his family books and gets way more than she bargained for.

In the second book, A Song Unheard, we get to know Willa, Rosemary's adopted sister, as she is sent on a mission to steal a cipher from her favorite musician.  She is taken off guard when he becomes enamored with her musical talent.

My favorite aspect of Roseanna White's writing is the way she makes her characters work for their happy ending. Historical Fiction/Christian Romance is one of my favorite genres, but I always get annoyed when the characters "fall in love" too fast.  In a Roseanna White novel, even if the characters admit attraction early on, she makes them go through the ringer before allowing them to be together.  I LOVE this because in real life every relationship has obstacles to overcome that have to do with the people IN the relationship. What happens when that person hurts you? What happens when your happy life gets interrupted by their needs? What happens when their baggage rears it's ugly head and causes trust issues?

Roseanna's characters deal with all of these, and more, and today I would like to highlight seven ways true love is shown in The Shadows Over England series:


1. Love is selfless - Peter shows a general love for people by the way he goes out of his way to care for them.  When he first meets Rosemary, he welcomes her into his home and offers her the cottage to stay in.  Twice, he puts up money to care for a sick person he doesn't even know. 

2. Love is a choice - Though Rosemary and Willa grew up orphans, they choose to love their adopted family as their own.  Lukas and Peter choose to love in spite of being hurt by loved ones.

3. Love protects - Both Rosemary and Peter defend each other against people who speak against them. They also stand up for those who are suffering or in trouble, regardless of the benefit (or lack thereof) to themselves, even after they have been hurt by those people.

Willa risks her life to help a girl and her mother, knowing full well that she will not be thanked for her actions.

4. Love is patient  - Lukas makes it clear early on what his intentions are towards Willa, but he respects her limits and, while he prods gently, he never pushes.

5. Love is persistent - Lukas is also a very difficult man to dissuade, despite Willa's best efforts.  She puts up all kinds of barriers, and he continues to let her know that he is still there for her.

In Willa's and Lukas' respective faith journeys they both come to realize how God has been present throughout their lives, even when they did not recognize Him.

5. Love does the right thing, regardless of consequence. - Rosemary and Willa both come to a crossroad in their journey when they have to decide whether to do the right thing and sacrifice their personal goals, or do the right thing and sacrifice someone they love.

Which brings me to my final point...

6. Love forgives.  Lukas and Peter are lied to by the women they love (who, let's not forget, have also been hired to steal from them. Can we say, counseling?) Willa has been hurt by her parents, and that hurt holds her back from forming new relationships.  Peter has been threatened, shunned, and slandered by the people in his town because of his German ties.  Somehow, all of these people are (eventually) able to love in spite of their very real hurts. How? Forgiveness.  No relationship, no matter how strong or perfect it's beginning, can completely escape the necessity of forgiveness. We have all hurt and been hurt by someone we love.  Just like the characters in these books, we come to a point where we must ask ourselves: Do I care more about my hurt than I care about the relationship?


And now it is time (hehehe) to talk about Book Three: An Hour Unspent which is due to release in September of this year.

Book Description:

Once London's top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker's daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiance to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can't help being interested.  But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge - and Germany realizes it as well.  Evelina's father soon finds his whole family in danger - and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.


And now the moment you have all been waiting for....Drumroll, please.......
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First, the good stuff:

I LOVE the gorgeous image of the clock face in the background with the radiant light shining through, illuminating the room. The woman on the front is a red-head, which is exciting because red-headed heroines are always awesome (Anne Shirley may disagree, but I have always loved gingers). You can tell she's going to be a feisty one. She looks ready to engage in some witty banter, and probably take someone's ego down a notch or two. Based off of the character description, and what I have read in interviews with other bloggers, I would say there is a very good chance of this happening at least once in the book.  Looking forward to some awesome dialogue!

My ONE teeny tiny complaint with this cover is that it does not have Barclay on it.  I have enjoyed getting to know him as a secondary character in the other two books and am really looking forward to becoming better acquainted with him in An Hour Unspent. Because of this, I am slightly disappointed he is not on the cover, but I love what is on the cover enough to get over it. I am so excited about this book!



To celebrate this cover reveal, the author is giving away one copy of each of the first two books in the series, A Name Unknown and A Song Unheard. Click on the titles to read my reviews. They are both excellent and you will not be disappointed. If you would like to enter the giveaway, click here or on the link above. What a perfect opportunity to get caught up before Book 3 releases!

One final note: An Hour Unspent is now available for pre-order! Click on one of the  links below to reserve your copy!

Amazon:  http://a.co/3hBOMdu 


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36590922-an-hour-unspent 

Thank you for reading! If you would like to know more about Roseanna White and her books, visit her website and Goodreads page by clicking the links below.  Good luck with all your upcoming releases, Roseanna! Keep writing!


Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White



I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve on the launch team for Roseanna White's latest book, A Song Unheard. A few months ago, I wrote about the first book in the series, A Name Unknown, which followed Rosemary as she attempted to steal a name from a man whose ties to Germany have made him the object of suspicion in a pre-World War 1 England.

In this book, we get to know Willa Forsythe, Rosemary's adopted sister. She is tasked with stealing a cipher from her favorite musician, a Belgian violinist whose father had been working on an important machine that could be used against the Germans. 

Will she be able to complete her task and continue to support her family?

Find out when you purchase the book on Amazon, available in ebook or paperback form!  ;-) Or, you can order directly from the author's website and receive a signed copy! 

You can read my review and thoughts about the book below. I hope it inspires you to read it for yourself. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope you will too.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone***

Synopsis:
Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Review:
My must-have in any great story is multi-dimensional characters who undergo serious character development throughout the events of the story.  This book did not disappoint.  A Song Unheard was full of all the classic elements of a Roseanna White book: deep characters, beautiful descriptive language, humor, drama, and of course, characters and relationships who earn their happy ending after much character development.  Willa and Lukas both start out as flawed and hurt characters.  Willa, who was abandoned by both of her parents as a child, does not trust anyone outside of her adopted family of thieves. She has grown up poor, having to steal in order to survive.  Lukas, by contrast, comes from a loving family who has always supported him, but he has not fully appreciated their influence before.  He has lived the life of a famous musician socialite, going to parties, meeting beautiful women, and reveling in his fame.  He struggles with guilt over not being able to take care of his family, Willa struggles to trust anyone outside of her circle.  Both of them find refuge in music, and it was interesting to see the way it played into their personal journeys of faith.

This book had a great cast of supporting characters as well.  I enjoyed getting to read more about Barclay, the leader of Willa's family band of thieves.  He wore the roles of Big Brother and Protector very well and  I look forward to reading more of his story in Book 3!  Another character I hope to see more of is Margot.  I absolutely LOVED her character.  Some of the most hilarious and profound quotes in the book came from her and I hope she gets her own book someday.


The writing contains beautiful storytelling, intriguing characters, and a profound message of God's faithfulness and love.  Thank you, Roseanna White, for another great read!

Favorite quotes:
"Can a man compose a symphony without paying attention to each individual note? Can he put together an orchestra without caring about each musician in it? It's ridiculous to posit a Creator who stands back, unconcerned.  If we grant a God, we have to grant a complete God."

"But she heard music.  And for the first time in her life, she wondered if maybe...maybe this was what the Lord sounded like.  If He'd been whispering to her all along, all these years.  Little snippets of melodies she'd never quite caught."

"Peter said something before he left about God calling us, drawing us while we're still sinners.  And I wonder...I wonder if that's what He's been doing all along.  Calling us to Him.  To His work."

Final Thoughts:
I believe God finds ways of speaking to us in ways that are uniquely meaningful to us. I loved the way the author brought that out in the individual storylines of the characters. In Willa's and Lukas' storylines, He speaks to them through music. In Margot's story, He speaks to her through numbers and order. In my personal walk with God, I have heard His voice through stories and books. There have been times when I have been able to look back and make sense of events in my life by looking at them in the context of a story. His greater story. The question is not whether God speaks to us in any given moment. The question is whether or not we are willing to hear His voice, listen to His song, read His story. It brings to mind a quote from another great book, The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis:

" 'You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,' said the Lion."

May each of us be able to hear His voice calling to us, and be willing to answer back.

Discussion Questions:
Have you ever heard God speaking to you through your hobbies and passions?
What spiritual lessons have you learned, or can be drawn, by experiencing these different areas of interest?

Friday, January 5, 2018

First blog post of 2018

New Year's is always a time for reflection upon the previous year, and anticipation over the year to come. What will we accomplish in the new year? How will our lives change? Looking back on the old year, what did we accomplish, and how did our lives change? I ask these questions every year and I usually enjoy looking back on the old year and finding highlights. However, this year, I don't want to do that. While I have been ready for a new beginning before, I have never, in my memory, been so glad to be rid of an old year.


2017 was a beating.


It must be stated, for the sake of honesty, that there were plenty of good moments last year, that I will treasure forever. Plenty of defining moments that were significant and character developing.


In 2017:
Relationships were solidified
Bonds grew tighter
New life was made
Cities and organizations came together to help each other in a time of crisis
The impossible became reality
I experienced new places and experiences that both enriched my life and made me grow as a person.(Traveling to New York and Broadway, being in charge of auction and having to get it set up when my partner got sick, signing up for Medicaid and going to prenatal visits, seeing my son through an ultrasound, etc.)

I am (or will be) be grateful for 2017. For the good experiences as well as the trying times and the way I grew and am continuing to grow (albeit very reluctantly) as a result of them.

That said, I am SO glad 2017 is over with.

Also in 2017:
Dreams were crushed
Lives were turned upside down, shaken, not stirred, and set down to dizzily navigate a new path
Jobs were lost
Homes we lost
Locations were changed
Friends were separated
Goals were made and not met - both because I was unable to meet them and because I simply gave up
Matthew and I were separated for the better part of four months.

2017 was a yucky, yucky year and it has left me reeling and trying to find my bearings. I realize that, in perspective, my trials have been minor in comparison to those who lost their homes in Hurricane Harvey. I try to keep that in mind when I find myself wallowing in self-pity. I do not mean to downplay their trials, or make it seem as though mine are on the same par. This is my response and attempt to process my personal trials from last year.

Things are beginning to slow down now, but they will start spinning again in a month or less when my son is born. 2017 has forced me into a place where I have no choice but to take life one day at a time.

In 2018:
My son will be born.

That is both exciting and terrifying. That one event, in and of itself, is going to change my entire life...again. More about my feelings on that in another post.

Everything else new that may or may not happen seems to hinge on this one event, and it is the only thing I know for certain about this year. There are many changes ahead, most of which I cannot fully prepare for because each possibility hinges on another possibility that may or may not happen.

There are many things I would like to happen, but I have no way of knowing if they will at this point, and no way to make them happen. Honestly, last year has made me afraid to make plans, and the uncertainty of where (in any sense of the word) we will be in a year has made me hesitant to put down roots.

2018 is not without its difficulties, friends. But I know this:

I am ready to move past 2017 and let it stop defining my attitude on life.

I want this, but at the same time I feel crippled by this because I still have days when I am driving to work and I have to give myself a firm talking to in order to keep from crying at the unfairness of 2017. I would like to know for certain what will happen. What will happen with school? Jobs? Housing? Location? Also, Parenthood?! When will, how will, what will?

How can I move on with so many questions? I don't know that I fully can.

Regardless, my attitude needs to change.

There are many possible things that could happen in 2018, and just as many chances that something else will happen instead.

I have no way of knowing which combination of events will occur. But I know this, I need to give up my need to control the situation (because, let's face it, I have no control over my situation) and trust that God has a plan for me that will be way better than anything I can come up with.

In spite of all that has happened, He has not left me. He has made me uncomfortable and He has forced me to grow, and, I will be completely honest, I have not liked Him for it. I have been the angry teenager pouting in her room after losing an argument with her parents. Deep down I know they have my best interests in their heart, even though I don't see it right now. Eventually, I have to decide whether to continue fighting against them, accomplishing nothing but more misery, or relinquish my control and open myself up to the possibility that they know better than I do.

So here is my prayer for 2018:

Father, help me to give up control and open myself up to your will. Change my heart so that I will be happy to go wherever you lead me. Change my desires so that they line up with your will for my life. Take away my anxiety over the future, and replace it with hope and contentment. Thank you for always taking care of me and showing me in little and big ways how much you love me.

Amen