Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Battle for Your Soul | A Literary Analysis.

{Written by Johanna}

Arrows soar past you head, the sounds of harrowing explosions impair your hearing, and a dimming smoke burns your eyes as you frantically search for light. Forcefully putting every ounce of your momentum into each step, your legs carry you across the wooded field. Trepidation builds within your heart, as you witness militants drop to the floor from inherent exhaustion and countless wounds; their faces tacitly deferring to despair. Accentuated within your very being is the bleak quandary; will you survive this battle?

In the year 1942, Clive Staples Lewis published his renowned novel, The Screwtape Letters. Written in epistolary style, The Screwtape Letters is a masterpiece of parody, as the story forms a sequence of letters from a master demon, Screwtape, to his apprentice, Wormwood, in order to instruct him on methods of procuring the damnation of a man, known solely as "the Patient". Although fictitious, The Screwtape Letters masterfully exploit a shift in perspective to reveal the existent spiritual tactics used by The Devil to manipulate our minds, in order to take over our souls.

     Throughout The Screwtape Letters, Lewis proficiently depicts one such method; keeping thoughts out of our minds. We often underestimate the devil, by thinking his work is to exclusively put evil thoughts into our mind; when, in truth, he works hardest on keeping holy thoughts from entering: “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” (Lewis #16) In the scriptures, we read: 
By using a demonic viewpoint, and divulging the slyness of the devil in such a bitter tone of hate towards human ignorance, Lewis effectively illustrates the importance of filling our minds with thoughts of holiness, and not allowing the Evil One this strongpoint in our lives. Furthermore, he tacitly stresses the importance of 2 Chronicles 10:5, which says, “Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” He well demonstrates, through the words of Screwtape, the fact that when we submit our thoughts to God, the devil is defeated.

     Subsequently, Lewis skillfully divulges the deadly scheme used by both Wormwood and Screwtape; causing us to fix our gaze on ourselves rather than Jesus. In some people, it can be construed as vanity. When perceiving the way we look, act, and carry ourselves, all we will grasp is the imperfections that prevent us from being a child of God. In other instances, our hearts are either filled with the remorse of what we have done in the past, or trepidation as to what shall happen in the future; leaving us with the bleakness of character flaws and uncertainty. Both types of fear are fatal tactics used by the enemy to weaken and demolish the relationship between us and God. For, as Screwtape puts it: “There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against [God].” Lewis powerfully demonstrates, through the voice of Screwtape, how hard the devil tries to exploit our thoughts in this way; ensuing conviction in his readers to refocus on Jesus.

     Although the opening story of being on a battlefield – where arrows are souring, explosions are heard all around, and fallen men are seen everywhere – seems fictitious or at most, inapplicable to todays topic; in truth, it illustrates the never-ending conflict and warfare that goes on within spiritual realms; it puts into reality what seems to be beyond real. While we may not realize it, fiery darts are being thrust by the Evil One daily, hoping to mar our souls for eternity. Trials will be as explosions, echoing in our ears the voice of despair and self-pity. And we will inevitably watch as the people of this generation give way the Enemy, and let go of their faith in God.

     Throughout the Screwtape letters, Lewis effectively paints the vivid picture of the battle that goes on for our mind and soul. While many previous authors had achieved describing the love of God in a completely understandable way, Lewis realized the equally important task of sharing with his readers the opposite side; that of evil. While writing from a demons perspective, Lewis intensely portrays the contrast between the unassuming love of God and the passionate hatred of Satin and His workers. This is perfectly summed up, when Screwtape writes, “We must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our [God]: He really loves the [His Children]” (Lewis #72) 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Monthly Interview :: Miss Samantha

Greetings, ladies! Today I have the pleasure of sharing a very special interview with you all! Today I will be interviewing Miss Samantha, whom some of you probably know from Emarie Creations Etsy Shop, Sunshine Blog as well as Simple Delights Blog! I've had the pleasure of "meeting" Miss Samantha through blogger and etsy and today she will be sharing on the topic of home businesses. So please enjoy and a special thanks to Miss Samantha for allowing Reflections of Grace to interview her! ~ Blessings, Bethany

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: Hello! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

MISS SAMANTHA :: My name is Samantha, and I am a recent home school graduate. I am a born again Christian who is striving to honor God in all that I do. I still have a long way to come, but am thankful for a loving and patient God who doesn't give up on me!
I have a great many interests that include music, reading, cooking and baking, watching movies with my family, being with friends and blogging. I greatly enjoy historical fashion and would love to someday have a closet full of pretty historical and vintage outfits.

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE ::  What is your salvation testimony?

MISS SAMANTHA :: I received Jesus as my Saviour as a little girl, though I don't think I truly was able to understand what it was all about until I was older. Being a Christian is so much more than saying a little prayer and receiving Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Being a Christian involves putting away your sinfulness and striving to live a godly, Christ-centered life, even when it isn't easy. I fail so much, yet am so thankful to have a God who loves me and cares about me. His love for me never fails, not matter how many times I mess up, and He is quick to offer me His forgiveness every time I ask.

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: As some of us know, you have an Etsy shop, Emariecreations. Could you tell us a bit about how it got started and under what inspiration?

MISS SAMANTHA :: My sister first introduced me to Etsy in early 2009, so that is how I knew about the website. Both my sister and I enjoyed crafting, so we decided to open up a shop and sell some of our creations. My sister no longer sells her items, but I had so much fun with the venture that I have kept up the shop.

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: Is there anything you have learned through having your own business from home?

MISS SAMANTHA :: I have learned that your shop will only be as successful as you make it. If you don't want to spend the time and effort that is needed, you probably won't get very far. You have to enjoy what you are doing, not just do it for the money. If you only do it for the money it will be a drudgery to you!
Many times I find myself basing the success of my shop on how much I made in a month or how many sales I have. When I do this I have to stop and reevaluate my purpose for selling online. If you are going to have a business you should put yourself into it and make your items as beautiful and unique as possible and not just churn out items hoping to sell them. Forget about the money and strive to put your personal touch on your items.

Think of how special it is to get a handmade, hand wrapped gift from a friend. Apply that concept to your shop and you will find yourself getting repeat customers and referrals. Treat your customers with respect, love and kindness and put an effort into your items and packaging. It makes all the difference!

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: What advice would you give to girls looking into possibly starting their own business?

MISS SAMANTHA :: Don't give up when things aren't going well! Even though I have been blessed with a wonderful amount of sales in my shop, I still have times when nothing seems to sell. It is easy to get discouraged and disheartened with this happens! I try to take that time to either work on new items for my shop, re-take pictures or even spend time off of the computer. Maybe that is God's way of telling me that my focus is off of Him and on my business too much.
It is also important to ask advice whenever needed. I have learned so much about selling handmade/online just by reading articles others have written or asking questions. 

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: Do you have any favorite memories of being a shop owner, maybe through making your items, selling them, etc?

MISS SAMANTHA :: One happy memory I have was when I had only been open for one month. I had only had one sale, and was feeling pretty down about my shop. All of the sudden, I got a sale, then another, then ANOTHER! A wonderful group of Etsians (that's what we Etsy people call ourselves) where having a "Sneak Attack" on my shop! I had read about these "attacks" before, but never guessed that it would happen to me! A Sneak Attack is basically a group of shoppers who are looking to support shops that have low sales or that are new. At an appointed time they all "attack" this one shop and buy items from the shop. 

It was an amazing experience, and I am SO grateful to those ladies who brightened my day!

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: What are the benefits of having a business at the convenience of your own home?

MISS SAMANTHA :: First off, I really enjoy working from home and would probably choose to do that over going to an out-of-the-house job (I've had both). Working at home means that you can set the time of when you work, how long you will work and who you will work with (if your shop includes more than one person). Having a business at home is a wonderful thing for young ladies, as it gives them something to do with their hands, it provides some income for them and it also keeps them under the protection and guidance of their parents. And anyone can have a business when it is from home. When you go to an out-of-the-house job you have to be a certain age, whereas if you are doing things from home even a 10 year old can be selling something or helping with the business!

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE :: In what ways do you strive to be a godly shop seller and point others to Christ through your shop?

MISS SAMANTHA :: This is something I am striving to improve, as I am not quite sure how to go about it yet. The ways I have done this so far are by only listing items in my shop that are appropriate for everyone, stating that I am a Christian in my shop profile, and trying to always be kind and polite when dealing with others, even if they are difficult to work with.

REFLECTIONS OF GRACE ::  Do you have anything you'd like to share in closing?

MISS SAMANTHA :: I would like to thank Miss Bethany for asking me to participate on her blog. This blog is such an encouragement to me and I am so thankful for a place for young ladies to go and read articles written by other young ladies who love the Lord.
I enjoy a great many things, so instead of taking up any more room here I invite you to check out my blog, Simple Delights, to learn more about me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Aroma of Christ | Recipes

There is something very special about filling your home with the lovely aroma of baked goods. I know there is nothing my daddy likes better then to come home after a long, hard day at work and walk through the front door to the smell of chocolate chip cookies or homemade bread baking in the oven. *smile* Just the other day, as I was completing the recipe to my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I thought of how the Lord working in my life is very much the same as the method of baking cookies.  

The Lord will often combine various things into our own lives, just like we mix  lot of various ingredients into doe. Think about it; sugar, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and lovely aromatic spices are what make the doe taste good; in the same way, the Lord is faithful in blessing our lives, and promises us to fill our hearts with His sweet presence the moment we ask. Yet, what truly fabricates a doe? Well, it certainly isn't just sugar. *smile* You need flour, baking powder, baking soda, etc. In the same way, things will be thrown into our lives that are not so sweet. He will allow trials to knock at our door that are not in any way welcome to us. However, when we look back upon these times, we realize that they were some of the most richly blessed, as we learned to lean on Christ through them; we understand they were truly some of the most important times in our lives; the times in which we grow. 

But another parallel we can draw from this is the aroma of baking. We need to be, to God, the aroma of Christ; one that reflects the love, faithfulness, devotion and forgiveness that Christ demonstrates in our own lives. To me, one of the loveliest parts of baking is filling my home with a wonderful aroma. We need to be the aroma of Christ in this world. One that draws others to the faith, and welcomes them to partake of the rich blessings therein. 

Be the aroma of Christ, dear friend, and you will certainly have a sweet and blessed life! 

>>--- This is my absolute favorite recipe! --->

Texas Chocolate Chip Cookies

>>--- Ingredients --->
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tb. baking powder
1 Tb. baking soda
1 Tb. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tb. vanilla
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

>>--- method ---> 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

In 8-qt. bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 min. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 min. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, and coconut.

For each cookie, roll into a golf-ball sized ball. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly.

Bake in 350 degree oven for about 12-14 min.

>> --- ENJOY --->

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I Believe What I Believe

Jesus Cross{Written by Bethany Ann} 
Note: It was planned for my article to post tomorrow, but since today is Valentine's Day, I thought it would serve as a tribute to my Lord. So I am posting it today with the hopes that it will inspire and encourage you.
It was a cold dark night. The wind was howling crazily as if it knew death were near. The whole town seemed to know it. I was coming home from the market and saw a crowd gathered and shouting wildly. The town never does this for just any occasion so I went closer to see what all the fuss was about. When I came close, I heard the grunts of a man in pain, and the soldiers mocking words, harsh slaps and stinging marks were matched with this mans pain. I realized they were probably getting ready to kill a criminal, a common thing, though a harsh one at that. But no matter the regulatory of it, when I looked at the man on the floor shrieking in pain I felt pity. The soldiers spit at him, tied a cloth around his eyes so he wouldn't see and slapped him asking if he were God to tell them who slapped him. I thought it rather harsh as they hit him hard. With each pound of the arm, kick of the foot upon his back, each moan of pain, I felt sorry. Then they struck him in the head with huge clubs. They did it over and over and over. Each hit being harder, causing a bigger wound on his head, making more blood flow down his face. Oh, the look on his face was horrid. He did not speak nor did he fight back. He simply stood there and let them crush him. When they took the so called "crown" which they had twisted from the longest thorns and crammed it on his face I thought I would faint. So much blood, so long thorns...the sight of it made me vomit. When I finally composed myself they had finished. I hoped that for the poor mans sake they were finished, but no. They took him and beat him. With each crack of the whip there was a new stripe on his back...the stripes grew in number, often over-crossing the other. They tore his back and I knew I couldn't stand it. The roman whips were made to have hook like material at the end of the whip so that it would pierce the skin and rip it when it was pulled and released to repeat the injustice. After so many lashes his back was all bloody and raw...practically torn. That combined with what they did to his face, to his head...oh how could anyone live under such pain? I noticed the man did not speak through it all. Most times the criminals curse and try to get away or yell out in pain when the whip comes down. But not this man, he seemed to know he had to endure it without speaking, without retreating. What misery he must have felt...what pain...what humiliation to be treated as such before the crowd. 
After they beat him, his body looked horrid. How he was held together, I do not know. They gave him a heave wooden cross they size of himself and expected him to carry it uphill to the place were they were going to crucify him. He would barely move, so a kind man helped him bear the weight but I know it was still miserable. The poor man had the pain written all over his face...with each step he seemed to drain the life out of him. With each breath he seemed to bear the world on his shoulders. For he was bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders. Once they got up the hill they laid the cross down and then him on top of it. He knew what was coming and so did everyone else. They took a nail and used a heavy hammer to drive it through his hands and into the cross. With each pounding of the hammer, the nail when through more and more. The pain was intense. After one nail was through his hand, they  did it to the other hand, and then to his feet. They raised the cross up and with as his body clung to the wood...all the wight of his body bore down on his hands and feet and the skin tore under the weight of the nails. They had taken his garments and gambled for them....they misery, the pain, the shame was a higher level than possible and it was so intense it was indescribable. Simply harsh. Simply unjust. Simply horrid. Simply overbearing. Simply unimaginable. Simply cruel. What else is there to say? The circumstance did not have a just word to describe it. There is no word to describe the pain he felt or the shame he bore. No word to perfectly describe the humiliation, the fear, the heartlessness. Not one word even comes close so how can we properly define it?

Jesus and the Cross, purple the color of RoyaltyHe stood there...all alone. They continued to treat him cruelty yet he kept his cool and suffered without speaking or cursing as the others normally do. He bore it wholly and completely and with such courage. But then he looked up. He looked at me in the eye and it look took my breath away.
He seemed to say "I love you" it said a thousand other things too, it said "You are mine" it said "You are treasured" it said "For you I suffer, in your place I hang. My hands took the nails for you so you didn't have to. I've bared the shame for you. I've born the humiliation and cruelty. I took that sword for you. For you those lashes dug into my skin. For you. All for you. Because I love you with an everlasting love. Because I want you to live with me forever in Heaven. Because I love you. I love you so much that I'm bearing this for you. You are the sinner and should die. I am the  perfect one who has chosen to take your place. Even if you were the only one in the world...still I would do it for you. Only for one person would I do it. Even though you are a sinner and have rejected me completed. I still am doing it for you. I love you and my love overflows even more than my blood does. With every last lash on my back, my love is multiplied for you a hundred, thousand times over and more. With every thorn in my crown I love you a million billion times. I love you." I couldn't look up. Sobs shook my body and I couldn't do anything about it. I've never felt so loved ,so treasured...I realized that he did it for me. All for me. He loves me that much! I couldn't comprehend it...such depth was too much for my brain to carry. Ever since then I knew He loved me, and because of it my life has never been the same. I've started to live for Him. I've given Him my life...He gave me His at such a price...what am I do do anything less than give Him mine,  be it small, in return? As He breathed his last He looked at me again. He smiled at me and after that He died. 

     I was in a trauma. So much to much to go through. How could I? Would I ever be the same? But my life was filled to the overflowing. Just knowing the price He paid made my "problems" seem like ants compared to that of the whole world. Knowing His depth of love for me made all my sorrows bearable. Knowing He was bearing them, and had born them for me already." This is why I live", I whispered to myself, "this is why I am who I am." This is why my life is not only livable but a joy, a blessing! To be able to pray to the Lord and the ability to read his Words over and over each day...what a privileged! What a sacrifice he will never cease to amaze me or stop blowing my mind. Is such love found anywhere else? Is such commitment ever found? Can such fulfillment be possible? Can one person be so special to one? Can such worth be comprehended? Can such be grasped? All I know it that whatever comes, I can face it with His help. With Him all is possible. With Him all fear is gone. With Him such joy is found. With Him such fulfillment is found. With him all seems new. With Him life is a joy. Knowing He is there, with arms wide open ready to brush away my tears and bear whatever I'm going through with me...such words cannot be found. Just knowing He loves and matter what I do, no matter how I act towards Him. Oh, that life my life was changed. Because He rose from the dead I'm never to be the same. My life will NEVER be the same.



So now that my life has changed. I am changed. I am new. I used to be a sinner, a horrid wretched sinner. But now, oh, now Jesus I tell you that...

Now that I've got Jesus...


I am free from sin. I am living for Jesus. Now when I'm worried or afraid or don't know what to do I don't look to the "keep calm and carry on" is my theme...


When I don't have it all together {which I don't} I find my real need for Him. He uses those things to draw me closer to Him. How else can I know His perfect love if He doesn't have a chance to show it to me?  Through this I am found:


Now that I'm saved. My life is lived for Him. I don't always live up to that standard but I try my hardest. When I fail ,I recommit myself to these words:


I say this and mean it:


This is my comfort in times of trails and times of fear:


I cry out: 


It's true:


So I will strive to:


How can I walk by faith and not by sight? I'll tell you how...this hand leads me...


So what do I believe? I believe this:




Oh Jesus. Thank you for your love!



Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Reviews

Viking Quest Series #1: Raiders from the Sea
Raiders From The Sea {Book 1 in the Viking Quest Series}
By Lois Walfrid Johnson
{Review by Bethany}

When I first heard about The Viking Quest series, it was in a book review in a magazine I was subscribed to. The reviewer seems to have really enjoyed the series, but I didn't know if I would like them or not being that my first interest isn't exactly focused on water, the sea, vikings, etc. :D {I am for on the feminine type ;D} But when my sweet friend, and faithful pen-pal Haley told me that I HAD to read them, and said she had read the series 5 times, well I then knew they were must reads. So that following Friday I got the series at our local library. I was very surprised to find that the first book wasn't at all boring like I though it would be. I read it in a only a day and really enjoyed it! It would be great for all ages, as well as both girls and boys and would be a great read aloud book! It was very suspenseful and kept you interested and I would highly recommend them! All the books are very spiritually grounded and show the importance of prayer and trust in the Lord.

   The story is about Briana and her brother Devin who are captured by Vikings when they came to raid their Ireland community. The books are set in the 900th century, and makes reference to monks re-writing the Bible in their language. The story starts on Briana's 13th birthday. As she is out in the woods she comes to the spring were she sees a young boy whom she at first though to be their family friend, Tully. Remembering her fathers warning against the strength and danger of the quickly rushing water, she calls out to the lad who is crossing on the rocks. When the boy turned around, Briana finds that it sin't Tully, and that she doesn't recognize this new boy. The boy, in a rush to get away, fell and hit his head against the rock and had it not been for Briana's strong swimming strength, the boy would have died. After the boy is conscious again, he questions Briana and she feels uneasy with him, knowing that they was something not right. She goes home to get food and water for the boy, but when she returns he had left and practically disappeared. A few days later Vikings came and raided the land, and Briana and Devin are captured. To Briana's disbelief she finds that the leader of the Vikings is none other than the boy whom she saved from drowning! As Briana and Devin are lead away to the Vikings land to be slaves or sold, Briana and Devin look for a way to escape and go home to their family. Will Briana and Devin ever get to go home, or will they become slaves to Mikkel, the boy whom Briana saved, the leader of the Vikings? Find out in this interesting read! I give this book 5 out of 5  stars.

Viking Quest Series #2: Mystery of the Silver Coins
Mystery of the Silver Coins {Book 2 in the Viking Quest Series}
By Lois Walfrid Johnson
{Review by Bethany}

I really enjoyed the second book in this series, again reading it in one day. In the second book they start were they left you last at the end of the first book. The Viking ship stopped for a night on their way to the Viking home and while they did, all the prisoners were allowed to get off the boat and stay on the sand, with several guards watching their every move. Devin was set free in the last book, but Briana is still captured and Mikkel has no thought of setting her free since his mother is in need of a "spirited" slave. Finally Briana sees her moment were she is able to escape with Lil, a 8 year old who was also captured. Now Briana and Lil have to learn how to stay hidden during the day, and run in the night to keep out of sight for Mikkel's men who have been order to find the girls no matter what. Briana must learn of a way to keep herself and Lil fed as well as warm and safe from all others who seek them. As Briana gets closer to the place were she will get a safe vessel to take her home, Lil becomes sick. In the mean time a bag of silver coins turns to be missing from Mikkel's belongings and Briana and Lil are accused of being the ones who took them when they ran for their life. Will Mikkel find them before it's too late? Will Lil get better? Will they get to finally be home? And who really stole the silver, and will the truth come forth? Find out in this book! I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Viking Quest Series #3: The Invisible Friend
The Invisible Friend 
{Book 3 in The Viking Quest Series}
By Lois Walfrid Johnson
{Review by Bethany}

In this third book, the epic journey of Bree, Devin, Lil and Mikkel continues. At the beginning of the book, the Viking ship had just arrived to the Vikings home-the home of Mikkel but not that of Bree. Once they got to shore Mikkel starts to assign out the slaved captives to a home to be their slave. Bree is assigned to be Mikkel's mothers slave and when Lil goes to another home, they are separated, unsure of when they will see each other again. In this book, you will learn of Bree's troubles and triumphs with being a slave, how she deals with knowing a grave secret of Mikkel's which could hurt her, if she will get to see Devin again as well as Lil and more! Bree learns that even though she is a slave, she is really free in Jesus and that her owners are the true slaves to their foreign religion with many pagan gods. Bree learns that God had a plan in having her come to Mikkel which turned to be helping share Jesus' love with her owners. During the book, Bree finds out that Keely, her younger sister who was taken captive by Vikings six years ago, is here and she looks desperately for her when her owners are asleep. But when finding Keely requires breaking a promise with Mikkel, what will she do? Will she ever find her sister? And what about Devin and Lil? Will they ever return home as a complete family? Will Bree survive being a slave? Will Mikkel's family accept Christ? What about Mikkel's deep secret? Find out in this book. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Viking Quest Series #4: Heart of Courage
Heart of Courage

{Book 4 in The Viking Quest Series}
By Lois Walfrid Johnson
{Review by Bethany}

In this fourth book, the journey continues with Bree, Devin and Mikkel. In this book, Mikkel promises that he will give Bree freedom if she and her brother accompany Mikkel on his next voyage to Iceland and beyond. In this book we see how that voyage turns out and whether Mikkel will really keep his promise or not. During the voyage both Bree and Mikkel learn to have a heart of courage and learn to ask God for it. In this book, during a hard time with sailing, fog, problems-when everything seems to go wrong and comes to the point of near-death, Mikkel's heard heart is softened toward the God of Bree and Devin and accepts Him to be his personal Savior. So now that Mikkel has a change of heart, will he keep his promise to Bree? Will he ever get the heart of courage he desires? And will Bree be able to continue being courageous during this hard time? Towards the end of the book, we learn more of Mikkels deep secret, and when Bree kinds out the details, what will she think of Mikkel's "change of heart"? Is it still genuine? Find out in this interesting read! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Viking Quest Series #5: The Raider's Promise
The Raiders Promise

{Book 5 in The Viking Quest Series}
By Lois Walfrid Johnson
{Review by Bethany}

This was probably my most favorite book in this series. In this volume, the writer takes us to the last part of this series were Bree, Mikkel and Devin are on their last voyage together. Mikkel has promised to take Bree and Devin home after one voyage, and due to his stretching "one voyage" out to a long drawn out process, Bree wonders if he will ever keep this promise. But as times goes on and Mikkel proves himself by keeping that promise...and going far beyond that to be honest and forgiving, she sees that Mikkel has changed only by the grace of God. She realized he isn't the man who captured her 5 years ago and she realized how much she, herself has changed. Once they finally arrive home, Mikkel's deep secret only known by three people starts to unfold and this secret of a long since stolen item is returned with extra to make up for the loss. Through this Bree and Devin realize that through this hard act of obedience to God, Mikkel is being formed into the man God has called him to be. Once arriving home, Bree eagerly awaits Tully, for he had been said to desired to marry her once she comes home. Once Bree and Tully meet, Bree realized that Tully no longer loves her and that he instead loves her sister who came home in her place: Keely. Though deeply hurt by this, Bree trusts in God and ends up marrying another whom she never though she would ever want to look at again, much less befriend or respect...much less marry! This book had a most wonderful ending and was so times I couldn't put it down! Overall I really enjoyed this book and would whole heartily recommend the series to you! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

In Overview of the Series ::
This series was such a blessing to read. I always found myself wanting to read more and was surprised that it only took 2 weeks to read the whole series. ;) Not only was it wonderfully written fiction, it was one with a meaning, a purpose behind just reading another story. It was such an encouragement and blessing to see how Bree, Devin and Mikkel changed for good through the hard trials they walked in their own way. Each character learned to rely on God and trust in Him even in the worst of circumstances. They learned to believe in God for everything...even when it didn't go their way. They acted positively despite their harsh condition's and because of it, they had grown in their faith by the time the series was finished. I would HIGHLY recommend this series to everyone-boy or girl, young or old! They are wonderful books that are very inspirational and interesting! Thanks to Haley for encouraging me to read these books! :D

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Valentines Day Craft Tutorials

Valentines day is such a wonderful time to show your friends and family that you love them-so why not do so by giving them a special handmade gift? Today I've complied a few tutorials that I hope will give you ideas for making your valentines gifts extra special this year! Please enjoy!

{Notice: If you've not already, then we suggest you take a look at our February Program. Recently Johanna and I decided to decrease the amount of posts here on Reflections of Grace, due to our busy lives and desire to spend less time on the computer. But we are praying that our ministry still encourages and inspires those who read it. Thanks!}

{Sweet Stitched Heart Bookmarks}
Origami Heart Earrings
{Origami Heart Earrings}
all crafts 10 Valentine Party Favors {Valentines Day Crafts}
{Sweet Smelling Heart Sachets}
{Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve}
{Valentine's Heart Apron Tutorial}
{Darling Valentines Day Heart Bobby Pins}