Thursday, September 1, 2016

Love Is Never A Lost Cause

"Love's never met a lost cause." This phrase of lyrics from One Step Away by Casting Crowns speaks volumes to me and ignites memories from years gone by.



When I was a teenager, my father, a pastor and retired State Trooper, was asked to help a friend with a youth camp for inner city kids. Naturally, I tagged along.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." - Ephesians 4:2

What I remember so vividly to this day is a young teen who felt lost, forgotten, and misunderstood. He quit school just weeks prior to his graduation despite his excellent grades. I remember spending hours listening to this young man talk, making him promise me he would return to school and graduate (which he did), and simply letting him know someone believed in him and truly cared about him.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." - John 15:12



What breaks my heart to this day is that an adult counselor at the camp told me not to waste my time on this young man. I was appalled! I may have been a young teen but I knew that was NOT what God wanted me to do. To God, no one is a waste of time or effort. God wanted me to listen, to believe, to show His love in very real ways, and to certainly never give up because too many others had already done just that. These young people knew plenty about hurt, brokenness, and heartache. What they needed was to see the beauty God brings from the brokenness, the strength He gives so we can persevere even though we are weak, and a love like none they could ever imagine nor would ever experience but for the grace of God.

"Do everything in love" - 1 Corinthians 16:14

Every time I hear the lyrics: "Love's never met a lost cause," I know that this is exactly what God's grace is all about. His grace is about loving people who feel unlovable, it is about believing in people who feel tossed aside, its about listening even when there is only silence, and it is about seeing the hurting person who is lost and just needs to know they are not a lost cause because God's grace is more than enough and His love is deeper, higher, wider, and farther than they could ever imagine. They will know this because we take the time to be the difference, because we know love never met a lost cause, because we know that to God every person matters. Never give up hope and always keep praying even if it takes thirty years or more for the answers to be revealed.

"Love builds [us] up" - 1 Corinthians 8:1



"Rico" this post is dedicated to you. Thirty years later and I still believe in you, my precious friend. I know God has great things in store for you whenever you are willing to run to Him and not from Him. His love for you runs deep, wide, high, and far. I still love you too, sweet brother! You matter because love and God's grace have never met a lost cause! To God, you are a priceless treasure, my friend, far better than the finest gold or gems. My heart overflows with joy at having spoken with you last night!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

God is

God so graciously meets me right where I am. Even when I have more questions than answers, I know He is hard at work and fighting my battles for me. I may not be able to see His hands at work but I trust in His love for me: a love that is deep, wide, long, lasting, unfailing, and unyielding. I just need to be still and allow His presence to surround me. When I want to run and hide, He is my strength that enables me to take a strong stand for what is right and just. When I want to give in, He encourages me to persevere. When my world is chaotic and messy, He is the calm and peace I feel holding me together. When life gets hard, the battle is real, I put on the full armor of God and trust in Him to guide me, to refine me, to save me, to redeem me, to seek me, and to fight for me. He is my anchor, my refuge, my salvation, my resting place. To Him be all glory, honor, and power.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Book Spotlight: Sword in the Stacks: The Ninja Librarians and Book Giveaway

 
Sword in the Stacks: The Ninja Librarians
By Jen Swann Downey
June 7, 2016; Hardcover; ISBN 9781402287732
Book Info:
Title: Sword in the Stacks
Series: The Ninja Librarians
Author: Jen Swann Downey
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Praise for Sword in the Stacks

“Dorrie's quest to join the heroic lybrarians in protecting intellectual freedom in all times and climes takes her literally and figuratively from Passaic, New Jersey, into deadly waters in this madcap sequel to The Accidental Keyhand… Never a dull moment in this lybrary school.” –Kirkus 
 
Summary:

Now that Dorrie’s an apprentice, she has the power to save Petrarch’s Library—or destroy it.

Shelve This Book Under “D” for Dangerous.
(Also daring, dramatic, dashing, daft, and dazzling!)

After stumbling upon the secret society of time-traveling ninja librarians, Dorrie has finally joined Petrarch’s Library as an apprentice! One day, she’ll actually go on missions to rescue people whose words have gotten them into trouble. For now she’s taking some interesting classes:
-           First and Last Aid: When Nobody Else is Coming
-           Spears, Axes, and Cats: Throwing Objects with Precision and Flair
-           Codes, Invisible Inks, and Smoke Signals: Keeping Secrets 101

But on a training mission to 1912 England, Dorrie finds herself dangerously close to a member of the Stronghold – the Library’s biggest enemy. This is her opportunity! Dorrie can spy on the enemy, find the missing key…and become a real Lybrarian!

But if she makes a mistake, Dorrie could lead their enemy right to the very place she’s trying to save…and everyone she cares about.


Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21991200-sword-in-the-stacks?from_search=true&search_version=service

Buy Links:
Amazon- http://ow.ly/xV7a300mZCb
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/x4oJ300n0VP
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/6TRL300n16O
!ndigobooks- http://ow.ly/y7sG300n1pq
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/ShuY300n1A1
 


About the Author:

Jen Swann Downey’s nonfiction pieces have appeared in New York Magazine, the Washington Post, Women's Day, and other publications. She’s never visited a library in which she didn't want to spend the night. Jen lives in Charlottesville, VA, with her husband and three children and feels very lucky they have yet to fire her. Visit her at www.jenswanndowney.com.

Social Networking Links:
Website:  http://www.jenswanndowney.com/
Twitter:  @jenswanndowney
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JenSwannDowney
 



Excerpt from Sword in the Stacks: The Ninja Librarians:

Twelve-year-old Dorrie Barnes was on pins and needles.

And thumbtacks.

The thumbtacks were plastic—and scattered the length and breadth of Great-Aunt Alice’s shabby ballroom where the Barnes family did most of its living and dining and everything- else-ing. The reason that Dorrie, coffee can in hand, was crawl- ing among the thumbtacks—and occasionally upon them, feeling slightly mocked by their cheerful colors—was that she had a four-year-old sister. A sister who had thought it made perfect sense to create a thumbtack garden beside the sofa and even more sense to run over it with a vacuum. The results had been spectacular.

Only a minute before, the tacks had been zinging through the air, ricocheting with hard pings off windows and Great- Aunt Alice’s piano, embedding themselves in lampshades and couch cushions, and sending four members of the Barnes family streaking for cover. The fifth member—the perpetra- tor of the event—had simply squealed in delight. The sixth member—Great-Aunt Alice—had not been home at the time. Even if she hadn’t been halfway around the world, it’s quite likely she would still have escaped the need to streak for cover since, preferring order to chaos, she visited the Barnes on their side of her decrepit mansion as rarely as possible.

The reason Dorrie was on pins and needles was because a week ago, she’d been abruptly sent home from Petrarch’s Library, the headquarters of the Lybrariad, a society of warrior lybrarians who took very unkindly to people who set fire to books or tossed writers into rat-infested dungeons. Hypatia, the director of Petrarch’s Library, had given Dorrie only the haziest idea of if or when she’d be invited to return.

Since the lybrarians who occupied Petrarch’s Library were just as likely to spend a Monday morning rappelling down a cliff with swords clamped between their teeth as shelving books…

And since Dorrie had longed to chase down villains with a real sword ever since she could hold a fake one…

And since, while staying in Petrarch’s Library, Dorrie had unexpectedly served as the Unofficial Temporary Apprentice to  Hercule-Savinien  de  Cyrano  de  Bergerac—possessor  of the finest sword skills and grandest nose of the seventeenth century—and wanted to serve as Savi’s Extremely Official Until-the-End-of-Time Apprentice more than she wanted her heart to keep beating…
Dorrie was finding the uncertainty excruciating.

Much worse than the pain caused by the thumbtack that had just driven itself into her knee.


ALSO BY JEN SWANN DOWNEY:
The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand
Available Now in Hardcover and Paperback


Summary:

An Overdue Library Book Can Change Your Life. (So Can a Pet Mongoose.)

When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase Moe—an unusually foul-tempered mongoose—into the janitor's closet of their local library, they make an astonishing discovery: the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians.

Their mission: protect those whose words get them into trouble, anywhere in the world and at any time in history.

Petrarch's Library is an amazing, jumbled, time-traveling secret base that can dock anywhere there's trouble, like the Spanish Inquisition, or ancient Greece, or...Passaic, New Jersey. Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society, fighting injustice with a real sword! But when a traitor surfaces, she and Marcus are prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?


Buy Links:
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/EvvY300usUN
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/6tbU300ut3S

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Sword in the Stacks: Ninja Librarians (Runs June 1-June 30;  US & Canada only):

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Spotlight , Review and Giveaway: I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur!



I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur!
By Heath McKenzie

May 17, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492632993

Book Info
Title: I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur

Author: Heath McKenzie

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky



Photo copyright: Angela Ginsberg

Book Summary:

Want to find out what it takes to be a Great Big Dinosaur? This book is for you!

More than anything in the world, one little boy wants to be a great big dinosaur. And he’s in luck! A great big T. Rex shows up to teach him how to stomp and roar just like a dinosaur. But dinosaurs aren’t so great at soccer or video games… Maybe being a little boy isn’t all bad?

A story about being whoever (or whatever) you want!

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27421170-i-wanna-be-a-great-big-dinosaur?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/4nqm11

Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/4nqm5D

BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/4nqmas

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/4nqmix

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/4nqmqm


Photo copyright: Angela Ginsberg

About the Author:

Heath McKenzie is a bestselling author and has illustrated numerous picture books and children’s book jackets. He lives with his wife, Emily, and kids, Ava and Oscar, in Melbourne Australia. Visit him online at heathmck.com Heath also wrote My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess.



I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur is a fun read for children, especially those who are enamored with dinosaurs. I had the honor of reading this book with my son, a true dinosaur lover. He enjoyed the illustrations of one of his favorite dinosaurs, the T-Rex, and the lively interactions between the boy and the dinosaur as they learned more about one another.

Moreover, this book teaches children a valuable lesson: while it is fun to imagine and explore new worlds and ideas, sometimes it truly is best to simply be who God created us to be.



You have an opportunity to win a copy of I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur! to read to the precious child or children in your life.

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Finished Copies of I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur! (Runs May 1-May 31st; U.S. & Canada only):

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Thank you for stopping by to learn more about this book, the author, and to enter for a chance to win your own copy.