Thursday, November 21, 2013

1 John Chapter 1 Commentary

What follows is a verse-by-verse explanation of the book of first Chapter of 1 John. Feel free to comment, or add your own insight, as I am certain I will not glean every grain of truth from this wonderful book, nor would I expect to; one of the best things about God's word is that it is alive, and the Holy Spirit can reveal new things each time we read through it. I will do my best to be as accurate as I can with definitions and explanations, but there is always room for growth, so feel free to do your own study along with me, and decide for yourself what John, by the Holy Spirit, is telling us in his first epistle to the church of Christ.

I will be citing primarily the King James bible; I prefer it, for one thing, because it is a literal translation, versus paraphrased (not to say it is the only reliable translation, nor completely without flaw).


Written by the apostle John, about AD 85-AD 95, to the church in general.


1Jo 1:1 KJV - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
1Jo 1:2 KJV - (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

John testifies to being an eye witness of Christ's life on earth. He was there for Christ's ministry, the time leading up to his death, and saw him after his resurrection. (See also the Gospel of John 1:1-4, where John also refers to Christ as being the Word)

1Jo 1:3 KJV - That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1Jo 1:4 KJV - And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

John's purpose in imparting this Spiritual knowledge to the church is (1) to bring unity within the body, (2) thus bringing unity between the church and God, (3) to bring to the church fullness of Spiritual joy.

Strong's definition of "full" G4137: "to make replete, i.e. (lit.) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (fig.) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.

1Jo 1:5 KJV - This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

This, you could say, is the basis of John's entire letter. God is light, and there is no darkness in him. It is important to note that "in" does not simply mean "inside of", as in "God has no sin within himself", which, while that is true, the following verses suggest that "in" implies "in relation to".

1Jo 1:6 KJV - If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

God who is light (used to symbolize purity, clarity, understanding, etc.), will not dwell in the presence of someone who is dark (symbolically impure, obscure, and without understanding). So if we, the proclaiming believers, are walking in darkness (i.e. sin) but calling ourselves Christians, we are liars.

1Jo 1:7 KJV - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

If we are following the light that God's word casts on the ground before our feet (walking according to His commandments), then we are in unity with the rest of the body, and our old sins are not credited against us, because, as Christians, we have repented of and confessed our sins, and through the blood of Jesus Christ, they have been washed away.

1Jo 1:8 KJV - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

We must take this verse in context with all of what John is saying. His point thus far has been that, if we claim to have a relationship with God when we are in darkness, we are NOT in a relationship with God at all. In verse 8 John is not saying that we all have sin within us presently (because he just said in v 7 that the blood of Christ has cleansed us from our sins), rather he is emphasizing the point: if we say we don't have sin when we do, then we are liars.

So how do we not have sin within us?

1Jo 1:9 KJV - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Note that 1 John is written to the church, not to the world, so this verse is not referring to our initial salvation, but to the need for repentance if we sin after we are saved. And if we do repent for our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. At this point, it would not be a lie to say "I walk in the light, I have no sin". We cannot separate our body from our spirit in the sense that one can be righteous while the other can be sinful, Jesus Christ was without sin and had an earthly body like ours. There is not, nor can there be, anything sinful about our flesh body itself; sin is the choice to abuse and wrongly pursue the natural, God-given desires of the flesh. When we do this, we use our body as an instrument of sin.

1Jo 1:10 KJV - If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

We cannot say we have not sinned when we have. We cannot say we have never sinned, because all have, at some point, sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23-26). The difference between the believing and the non-believing, the sinner and the saint, the workers of light versus the worker of darkness, is that for the Christian sin should be a thing of the past, a practice we denied when we stepped through the door of the cross into salvation. We have crucified the old man and his deeds (Rom. 6:6), and are alive anew in Christ, to dwell in the light, and should we sin thereafter, we need not lie and claim no foul, but own up to it and repent, then we are restored to the glorious light of the presence of God.

Sources and Tools:, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines, Authorized KJV Bible

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thoguhts on Purity

As most of you know, I recently got married! And, not surprisingly, I feel compelled to write about it.

There is something that keeps going through my head again and again and again. I know I have to share it with as many people as possible or I just won't be able to forgive myself.

It would take days and days to tell you the entire testimony of how my husband and I came to be where we are, so I'll save that for another time. Right now, I want to appeal to my unmarried readers.

If I could tell you just one thing, it will be this.

Keep yourself pure.

Again, if I tell you nothing else, if you listen to nothing else I say, listen to this one thing. Keep yourself pure.

I don't only mean physically, though that is the most important. I mean in every single sense. Keep your mind and your heart pure. Do not waste your body, soul, or spirit on someone who is not your spouse. I don't care if you believe he will be your husband someday, or if she will be your wife someday, nothing you have belongs to him/her until you say "I DO" for BETTER or WORSE, for as long as you both shall live.

My husband and I did nothing more than hug and hold hands prior to marriage (okay, and maybe a LITTLE bit of snuggling!). We were both virgins, and I am more thankful than I can express for that. It was not a requirement that I marry a virgin, but it was the desire of my heart, and I was blessed by God to have that desire granted. God does forgive, and I would forgive too, but I am thankful I didn't have to. Giving yourself to someone who is not yours will rob you of one of the most precious things you will ever experience in life, and the most precious gift you could ever give your spouse. I urge you to not only save sex for marriage, but kissing and other intimate acts as well. Pure means pure, there's no way around it. God sees what is in your mind and your heart, do not forget that. Be pleasing to Him and He will bless you.

I promise you will never ever regret your choice to remain pure, but you will surely regret your choice not to.

Even if you have messed up in the past, there is no reason to add new scars on top of the old ones. Stop. Make it right. Commit to pleasing God instead of pleasing yourself. Stand up for what you know is right, and anyone who is worthy of your heart will respect your choice and choose to do the same. Don't cheat yourself, don't cheat God. There is a reason He wants you to wait, it's not just to give Him glory, it's because He knows that it is better for YOU to wait. Everything God asks of us is because He loves US. He truly desires our greatest good. Believe His word, trust His word, and OBEY it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Book Review: Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

This review is for the first fifteen chapters of the book.

It may be due to the layout of the kindle format, but I'm having trouble working my way through this story and decided to go ahead and review it and come back to it later.

The premise-- boy and girl forced by girl's father to get married after being falsely accused of improper conduct, seemed interesting if not original, so I gave it a try, and sadly have been disappointed so far. I think the author has a great idea, but could have dug just a bit deeper and gotten a better story.

Often it's difficult to tell which perspective is being used. I'll pull an example of this from my current place in the book in chapter sixteen. Lonnie and Gideon are traveling through the forest, when a stranger levels a gun on them (parenthesis is mine).

"Her (Lonnie's) gaze lifted as high as his (the man with the gun) plaid coat, and she nodded. Fear filled Gideon's eyes, and Lonnnie felt her body relax, more grateful than she could express for the sudden change in power. Gideon swallowed."

If I'm in Lonnie's head, which I think I am, and if Lonnie's gaze is on the man's plaid coat, then how does she know that fear filled Gideon's eyes? She is looking at the man, not at Gideon. We are also given Lonnie's thoughts- she is grateful that there is a change in power from the overbearing Gideon to the man with the gun, which again makes me assume we are in Lonnie's head. But, again, how does Lonnie know that Gideon swallows unless it is a very loud swallow?
Maybe this is how the book is meant to be, but I think this has a lot to do with why I'm having trouble getting through the story-- I have a hard time knowing who's perspective I'm in, and just when I think I know, I get a piece of information that the perspective character would not have.

As for characterization, I'm sure that redeeming qualities manifest later in the story, but at this point there is nothing likable about Gideon, the male protagonist, which makes me dislike reading his scenes; however, the female protagonist, Lonnie, is likeable and her emotions are conveyed well enough that I am able to sympathize with her. Overall the character development itself is not bad.

I also have to commend the cover artist for a beautiful design, which I think was also part of what drew me to select this book (I can't help it, sometimes I do judge a book by its cover!).

I love the blogging for books program through which I received a free copy of this book, and look forward to a more enjoyable read next time! This one's just not my cup of tea!



I did eventually finish reading this book and I'm afraid my opinion is little changed. It seemed to take  a very long time to get anywhere, and when something did happen it was usually predictable. Many people seem to think highly of this book, but it just wasn't my thing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

God's Not Your Maid

Are we just picking and choosing what part of God's commandments we want to obey? Are we trying to craft God and His word into our own design? I'm telling you now, it's not going to work. If you claim the name of Jesus Christ, then you are responsible for obeying all of His commands that you are aware of. Look around you, now is no time for lukewarm Christianity. It's time for believers to step up to the frontlines and stop messing around.

Stop thinking that you know what is best, because the only place to find what is best is God's word. Stop believing that you're better than everybody else, because you're not. Stop thinking that you are not cutout for a relationship with God, because you are. God is not your vending machine, He's not your maid, and He's not an ideal. God is real. God is now. God is at the door. Are your actions righteous in His eyes? Not your own eyes-- His eyes. "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits." Prov. 16:2 There's only one real brand of Christianity, and it's God's, not yours, not your church's.

God will judge. He is mighty, He is just. Do not think that God is sitting by turning a blind eye to your life as you live the way you want to and disregard what He has asked of you. You are storing up judgment against yourself if you think you can sin and maintain a relationship with God at the same time. Forsake sin. Hate it for the disease that it is and the harm it has caused to this world and let Jesus Christ heal you from it. He came to call the sinners to repentance! Repentant now if you have un-confessed sin in your heart and see the work that God is waiting to do in your life. "God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." Psalm 7:11

Are you willing to be broken for God? Because until you break the seed that is within you cannot take root in the soil of Truth. It cannot go forth and sprout more fruit for His kingdom. LET GO of YOU. God wants to fulfill your life, He wants to wildly bless you, but if you're hung up on your own stubborn ideals those blessings will never come. If you don't know where to start, ask Him to guide you and look into His word. "And whosoever shall fall on this stone (Jesus Christ) shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Matt. 21:44

Do not forsake love. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt. 22:37-40

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Gal. 5:14-15

All the stubborn faith in the world won't do you any good if you fail to love God through your obedience (Jn. 14:15) and if you fail to love your fellow man. What does it mean to love? To put others' needs ahead of your own. Selfishness says, "Me, me, me!" Love says, "Not me, but you."

You can speak a thousand different languages, heavenly or earthly, but if you are not behaving in love, you're just making a lot of noise without any real purpose.

You can prophecy over hundreds, you can understand things that many others do not, you can have all the intelligence in the world, you can have faith strong enough to uproot and mountain and move it somewhere else-- but if you're not fulfilling the simple act of LOVING, YOU ARE NOTHING.

You can empty your entire house and give it all to the starving and impoverished of the world, you can throw your body into a fire for some great cause, but if LOVE is not the drive that is motivating you to do so, then it profits you nothing.

Love suffers for a long time, it doesn't get up and walk away when things get hard, or when God himself seems to have abandoned us (of course, He will not).

Love has a mild disposition. Even in correction, love treats others with kindness.

Love does not jealously strive with a bitter heart to achieve the success of others, or to satisfy self.

Love does not put itself on a pedestal and say, "All hail me!" Love puts itself at the bottom, giving to others, as Jesus did.

Love cannot be prideful.

Love does not flaunt sinful behavior.

Love does not seek to satisfy itself, but to satisfy God and then others.

Love does not lash out in anger on any little whim, even when provoked.

Love does not think evil of others nor wish it upon them.

Love does not find joy in sinfulness, but in truth.

Love will bear everything that life throws at it, it will even wrap itself around what is precious to protect it from harm. Love believes all truth it is presented with. Love holds onto hope. Love bravely and calmly endures all hardships.

If you behave in this way, your life will never fail to have purpose, and you cannot fail, for you are operating as God has asked you to.

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13

Yes, I just made a major paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13, but I wanted to present the words in a less common way, based on the Greek text behind the writing and my own understanding of scripture. Of course you could go pick the chapter apart and reword everything differently than I did, and probably do a better job, but I just wanted to get people thinking. We need to stop and think about what God is really asking of us. Meditate on His word and search it out. You don't have to go out and do something that looks mighty in other people's eyes in order to please God, you simply have to be a good steward of what you have and where you are at right now. Let hardships and trials stir your spirit to a new level of commitment to God. If you fall, get up, get up, and get up! Start living for God right now and never stop. If you have to make the choice every second of every day, then do it. Further His kingdom, not your own kingdom. Prosper His truth, not your ideals. He has done so much more for us than we can ever do for Him, and He wants to do more. Don't think that surrender means surrendering joy; indeed, it is just the beginning of your joy.

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Eph. 6:13

Stand in righteousness.

In Christ,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"The word of God is the best medicine you can take"

I come to you from the world of potato chips and chocolate, the world of rejected writer-dom. Yes, my book was not chosen as a semi-finalist in the ABNA contest, but don't cry for me, world wide web, the truth is... I'm alright. In fact, I feel like this contest-- shoving my baby out into the world and getting feedback (mostly positive feedback, at that! Mostly...)-- it's a great springboard for me as an author and for my book. I feel more confident about myself and more confident about sending A Wife for Miles Bradley out for a few more pilgrimages until it finds a home in the hands of a willing publisher.

The fact is, going from one out of ten-thousand to one out of five-hundred in this contest really isn't a bad thing. So, I'm not one of twenty-five, I'm sure the books that were chosen instead were well-deserving. I give them my heartfelt congratulations.

Anyway, as I eat more chocolate and nurse my self-esteem, I'll tell you why my book was rejected.

Here's what Publishers Weekly says:

Early settlers in a marriage of convenience trust in God to get them through a harsh life in Montana territory in this novel full of Christian messages. It’s 1864 and Caroline is on a wagon train to Oregon as a nanny to her 3-year-old cousin. When he dies in a wagon accident, her aunt and uncle blame her and kick her off their wagon. Widower Miles Bradley proposes a marriage without love, an arrangement that gets him a mother for his two children and Caroline a place to live, as they head for Montana territory to work on a ranch with his brother. They struggle with the arduous daily chores of early settlers, they are threatened by attacks by Indians and the white townsfolk who don’t like the fact that they have befriended other Indians. All this is a backdrop for two years of marriage in which Caroline grows to love Miles while her somber, taciturn husband still aches for his dead wife. This novel is slow to start, and when there are action scenes, they end with a sputter. Characters rely heavily on their faith in God to get through life -- with the overwhelming theme that “the word of God is the best medicine you can take.” Quotes from scripture abound, often at the beginning of chapters. It may seem heavy handed for a general fiction reading audience.

In short, my book is too Christian, and the actions scenes are a drag. I can live with that, but Caroline's cousin was not three, he was seven. Where did three come from? And could you make my story sound a little more boring, please? Can't you just imagine that review in Sour Bill's voice (from Wreck-it Ralf)? "They kick her off their wagon"... as if they're riding along and one-day *punt* "LIEK GET AWF!" (I'm not bitter, honestly, I'm just having fun with this).

I like the Amazon Expert Reviewers better; they liked my book. They said nice things like,
"The strongest aspect of this excerpt is the author's ability to draw the reader in to the story right away. The premise for the story is interesting and I felt involved from the first page. I felt like I was watching a movie, the way I was able to visualize the chain of events." and "The author’s writing competently placed the reader at this historical scene, and the tragedy sufficiently placed the two protagonists in a bind that can only be solved by reaching out to each other." I think I'll invite these guys over for tea and Pirouline.

So, yeah, there's still hope for my story. It'll get published someday. In the meantime I'll keep writing for Encouraging Word (they still love me) and planning my wedding (he still loves me). So... yeah.

Yours truly,

ARose, the heavy-handed

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarterfinalst!

I am thrilled to report that my novel, A Wife for Miles Bradley, has made it into the quarterfinals in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest! I entered my book in January after my best friend discovered the contest and passed the information on to me.

When I found out about the contest, the submission deadline was about two weeks hence and I had a full manuscript that needed to be edited. The contest had a 10,000 entry limit and I had no way of knowing how close they were to reaching that limit. With lots of support from friends family and fiance I buckled down and set to work on editing the 150 page manuscript; I finished with one day to spare. I threw my document into the contest, zipped out a brief pitch (which later when I could not edit it I, to my chagrin, realized contained at least two typos),  and breathed a sigh of satisfaction. Even if this contest went nowhere, it had prompted me to see to the long-neglected editing of my beloved novel and booted me back into the world of writing, a world I dearly missed.

When the 2,000 novels that would be moving into round two were announced and mine was on the list I was surprised and excited-- at least I knew my book wasn't complete rubbish! This latest round has trimmed the contestants down to 500, and when I saw my name on that list I laughed giddily and scurried downstairs to announce it to my mother like a seven-year-old who had gotten an A on her science project. Needless to say, I am pretty excited about this. It's been a great experience thus far, plus I've been learning a lot about keeping a positive confession and attitude. I give all thanks to God whose boundless love grants blessings beyond our imagining. This has been a boost in confidence to me as a writer, and gives me hope for a future in the career of my dreams.

Yet I acknowledge that without God it would all be so empty; He is the richness of my life, the fullness of my soul, and the joy of my heart. Living for Him, using the gifts he has given me, and seeing Him work in my life through seemingly impossible trials brings His love to life in me.

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Col. 3:17
You can download an excerpt from my book on by clicking the link above. If you enjoy it feel free to write a review to help me along in the contest!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review-- The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

I seem to be on a review trend lately, so here is another one.

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo (WaterBrook Press 2011)

I did not realize when I selected this book for my next Blogging for Books read that it is actually third in a series, The Rocky Mountain Heiress Collection; however, the novel is quite independant and works well as a stand alone.

Charlotte is eager for independance and bent on recieving a higher education so that she can help run the family business, but the only way her dad will agree to let her attend the renowned Wellesley is if she agrees to marry Alex Hambly, a handsome English Viscount. Alex is also offered strong incentive by Charlotte's father to marry into the Beck family, and the two agree to wed but make a secret agreement to annaul the marriage after a short time. What follows is an entertaining and lighthearted, if somewhat predictable, story which I enjoyed reading, even if it didn't exactly turn my world upside down. It seemed like a quick read, though the writeup says it's 352 pages (I read it on kindle). The book did contain some fresh aspects which I really appreciated, such as Alex being an astronomer and Charlotte somehow managing to be both spoiled, even outright bratty at times, and yet endearing. Overall, a pleasant and simple read. I wouldn't go out of my way to seek out the other books in this series, but may read them if given the opportunity.

I recieved the kindle edition of this book for free from the editor, in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Les Misérables film review

It suddenly occurred to me whilst I sat pondering what ever in the world to make my next blog entry about, that I have not written a review for the Les Misérables film! How could this be!? I shall promptly remedy such an oversight. So...DUN DUN!

The film was released on Christmas day and I had the joy of seeing it just after. My pulse was pounding the instant it started-- how could it not be with Look Down thundering pleasantly in my ears? The story focuses on a man named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an ex-convict who has spent the past 19 years working in the galleys as the repercussions of stealing some bread. At the beginning of the story Valjean's sentence is up and he is released into a world too unforgiving to accept him because of his "dangerous" reputation. He finds refuge, however, in the home of a kind Bishop (Colm Wilkinson), but repays the Bishop's kindness by stealing from him. Valjean is caught and hauled back to the Bishop who orders the officers to release him and insists that he gave the man the silver. With this deed the Bishop tames Valjean's wild heart and thus the hardened criminal becomes a changed man, committing his life to good. The story that follows is of a man redeemed in the eyes of God but ever pursued by the strict and unforgiving laws of man personified through the legalistic Inspector Javert (Russel Crowe).

I will tell you flat out that if you do not like musicals you will hate this movie, because I could count the times the actors spoke their lines as opposed to singing them on my hand, but that's the way the play was written and that's the way the movie goes and that's one of the reasons I love it. I do feel that the story as read in Les Misérables the book could definitely be better represented than the play on which the movie was based, but as a film and as a work of art, it was beautiful.

Keep in mind that the title of the movie IS Les Misérables, and it IS a portrayal of "the miserable", so the story is not at all times uplifting, and you will likely cry more than you smile; in fact, it will break your heart, but in that emotionally binding way that we humans seem to love. Also, be warned that some scenes are inappropriate for children (the film is rated PG-13 and I did avert my gaze on a couple occasions).

The only thing I have left to tell you is, even if for NO other reason at all, see this movie for Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine singing I Dreamed a Dream-- there has never been and likely never will be a more powerful performance of that song than hers.

I mentioned a while ago that I was reading the novel and wanted to finish it by the time this film was released; well, sadly I did not meet that goal, but I am still working my way through the very, very long --and incredibe-- story. Also, my wonderful fiancé is taking me to the play next month-- yeah, I'm more than just a little bit excited about that. So, certainly more thoughts and reviews to follow!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review-- The Girl in the Glass

"The Girl in the Glass" by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press, 2012 )

Since her grandmother promised her as a child that she would take her to Florence someday, Meg has dreamed of little else. Then after her grandmother passes away, the promise to take her to Florence passes on to Meg's unstable father. Finally, after years of saying they would go only to let her down, it looks like he is finally going to pull through. Then everything goes wrong, and it seems that Meg's job as editor for a travel book company is the closest she is going to get to Italy. Her father let her down. Again. Or did he? When a ticket to Florence shows up on Meg's doorstep, she risks everything and takes the trip, hoping her dad will be waiting on the other end, but when she arrives no one is there to meet her. It falls to Meg's clients, brother and sister Lorenzo and Reneta, as well as Sophia, a woman who's memoir Meg is trying to convince her company to publish, to host her visit. Amid the tours of awe-inspiring cathedrals, statues and paintings, Meg discovers, not only the beauty of an ancient city, but the complexity of the human soul, and the necessity of dreams.

This book has a pull akin, perhaps, to the tantalization of Florence itself, and once I hit a certain point it was difficult to put it down. Though this is the first of Meissner's work I have read, I caught on quickly to her distinct style; while some authors paint their stage and leave most detail to the imagination, Meissner seems to pinpoint and give detailed descriptions as she chooses, leaving most of the broader setting to the imagination. While I found her style tedious at times, I can not fault a writer for having a voice, and she is good at what she does. The characters were well-rounded (we meet a diversity of personality types within these pages, not just generic cutouts), and the plot alluring, though I did stumble a little over the first several chapters while I waited for the story to get moving, but when it does begin to move it holds its pace well.

As for the overall message, I'm somewhat torn. I consider myself a dreamer, but can we make something true simply because we believe it to be so? This book seems to suggest that we can. On the other hand, Meg does draw the conclusion that dreams are good as long we know where the dream stops and where reality begins; both have a place. I like to think that dreams can change reality. While we cannot always change the circumstances around us, we can choose the attitude with which we handle them, and that can make reality easier to bear. A dream, a simple dream, seems empty if it does not contain some substance. I feel that Meissner's characters are dreamy creatures who move to the winds of their emotions, and by the end of the story have at least half learned that we can take charge of our own destiny and make our dreams, the ones worth having, a reality.

The fact that this novel is considered Christian and didn't seem very Christian both pleased and disappointed me: on one hand I do not like overly "religious" books that manipulate a story to make God into something that He isn't, but on the other hand it perhaps could have carried a more resonating message of the healing and change that is possible when we look to God for our strength.

Overall, an enjoyable read, and I would pick up another one of her books in the future.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.