He Found Favour in Her – The Visit

Hello again! Ahhh, Christmas is fast approaching, and everything is so exciting! 😀 We have Christmas cookies coming out of our ears, Christmas music spilling constantly out of our mouths, Christmas packages constantly arriving (Amazon is a life saver :D) and lots of visitors coming for Christmas activities at our house. Christmas has really snuck up on me this year. It seems like it was just last week that we were just beginning the Christmas season, and now it’s only 3 days away! :O But everything is joyous and Christmas-y and crazy and it’s all wonderful! 😀

And since today is now upon us, that means it’s time for part 3 of He Found Favour in Her! Click here to read Part 2: The Telling

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The Visit

Two women, one young and one old, sat outside a low, earthen house. The young women’s hands flew as she deftly worked a small loom that was sitting on her lap. The older women spun wool with ease, though her hands were stretched at a rather awkward angle around her belly. For the older women was pregnant. Very heavily pregnant.

“Elizabeth,” Said the young woman, breaking the silence “Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course my child.”

“Why did God choose me to carry the Messiah?” She let the loom slip to the ground, and placed her hands gently on her slightly swollen abdomen. Before that gesture, you would not have noticed that she was pregnant. But now, closely looking, you would be able to see a small bump swelling beneath the girl’s robe.

“Why me, and why here? I’m not married. Did God not know it would cause a stir? And why in Nazareth? It’s a nowhere place with a bad reputation! People even say ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’!

So why would God choose a young, unmarried girl from Nazareth to carry his son, the Messiah? Why did God chose me?” The questions came to an abrupt stop, and the two sat in silence for a moment.

“Well, my dear, I’m no rabbi or priest.” Elizabeth slowly began. “I am just a simple woman who has faith in God. But I do know this – God does not look at the outward appearance and circumstances, but instead what is in the heart.” She placed her wrinkled hand over Mary’s slim, brown one. “He chose you Mary. He saw your heart and chose you. And you know, God has a plan. He has had a plan right from the beginning to rescue his people, and we’ve been waiting so long. But now, it seem it is finally going to happen!”

She gave a small laugh. “I never dreamt it would happen in my life time, or that the Messiah would be born to my cousin. But where was I…? Oh yes, his plan. It is a perfect plan, and you are part of it. God will take care of everything, after all he’s had plenty of time to work it all out. You only need to trust him. Does that help, my child?”

“Yes…” Mary sighed. “I know in my heart that God has a plan. It’s just hard to see through all the questions sometimes.”

She looked into Elizabeth’s warm eyes and smiled. “Thank you, Elizabeth, for opening up your house, and for your kind, wise words. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come here.”

“Oh, it is nothing. My home is always open, especially to my favourite youngest cousin! Come here…” Elizabeth wrapped her arms around Mary, hugging her tightly. Then they both broke into laughing, and pulled apart.

“Did you feel that?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes! He is strong!”

“Here, feel.” Elizabeth took Mary’s hand in hers and placed it on her belly. Mary’s eyes glistened with joy as the child inside kicked out. Elizabeth’s face erupted into thousands of smile wrinkles as her miracle baby moved inside her womb.

“I think he is ready to come out. What do you think?” Mary asked

“Whew, yes he is… Any day now!” Elizabeth sighed, rubbing her stomach. “There is not much room left!” She broke into another joyful chuckle.

“Just think, one day, our sons will play together!” smiled Mary.

“They are both destined for great things. Just think, their comings were both foretold by angels!”

Elizabeth’s eyes grew distant for a moment, as she remembered the day, nearly 9 months ago now, when her husband had staggered out of the temple, mute and shaking. An angel had visited him, and foretold the birth of their miracle son. Their lives had never been the same since that day.

“Yes, they are both miracle children…” She mused quietly.

Oh, God has been so merciful to both of us.” Mary rejoiced. “He is worthy of our praise!”

“Yes, he certainly is! He has given us miracles and kept his promise of long ago.” Said Elizabeth. “Shall we thank him for his goodness now?”

“Oh yes, yes.” Mary responded. Elizabeth took Mary’s hands in hers, and they both bowed their heads.

“Lord God, we thank you that you have kept your promise…”

~

That’s part 3! How are you enjoying the so far? We have 3 more parts to come, so see you back here soon! 🙂

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He Found Favour in Her – The Telling

Hello! I’m excited to be posting the second part of my Christmas story He Found Favour in Her today! I hope you all enjoy it! 🙂 Click here to read Part 1: The Message

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The Telling

How do I make them understand? Mary stood in front of her parents, eyes downcast, hands tightly clasped.

“You’re saying that an angel came to you, and told you that you would have a child?” Mary’s mother disbelievingly questioned her.

“Yes. It is the truth”

“Enough!” Mary’s father stepped over to where his daughter was standing, and took her by the shoulders, forcing her to look up into his angry face. “Who is the father? A soldier? Who?!” His voice trailed away as he looked deep into his daughter’s dark eyes. “Stop lying and tell me the truth…. Now!”

“I have told you how it happened. That is the truth.” Mary’s calm voice betrayed none of the fears that clenched so tightly in her stomach. She had never seen her father this angry.

“Oh, I have had enough with this girl!” Her father angrily turned away, the tautness of his back clearly displaying his disappointment and anger. The room was silent for a stiff minute.

Then her Mother’s teary voice cut through the tension. “Mary, you know that- that you could be killed because of this?!”

“Yes.”

“Then why don’t you tell us the truth? Your stories are childish, you are a woman now!” her mother wailed.

“I have told you the truth. It is not a story.” Mary answered. Oh, how I wish this was over!

“And how are we going to tell Joseph?!” Her father turned toward her again. “He is an upstanding and righteous man. How could you do this to him? You know he could lawfully have you stoned for being unfaithful?!”

“You may tell him. I want to go to visit Cousin Elizabeth for a month or so. If I may…”

“What?!” Her parents turned away together, and a hasty, whispered conversation ensued. Then they slowly turned back, their pain etched deeply on their worn faces. Her Mother replied “It may be for the best. You may go.”

“Thank you.” As Mary turned towards the door, she faced her parents one more time. “Everything I have told you is true.”

Her parents just stared at her sadly. She ducked her head and slipped outside.

Lord God, I’m trying to do the right thing, but it’s so hard! Why did you pick me? How do I help them understand? And what about Joseph?

~

See you right back here tomorrow for part 3!

He Found Favour in Her – The Message

Welcome back! It feels a bit funny to me, posting smack in the middle of a week like this – I’ve never done it before! But there’s a first time for everything, right? 😀 And what better time to do it than around Christmas! The days are rapidly slipping by, and we’re on the final countdown now! I am rather excited. 😀 (that’s an understatement).

So, in honour of my first Christmas in the blogging world, I’m going to be posting parts of a Christmas story that I wrote on the next few days leading up to Christmas. I actually wrote this story almost exactly 2 years ago. My littlest sister was newly born, and I had babies and Christmas on the brain. 😀 And of course, what better way to combine the two than by writing a story about the first Christmas! I’ve done a bit of editing to it in order to prepare it to be posted on here. My writing style has matured and changed in the past two years, so I felt it needed a bit of an update. But the majority of the story stands as it did, two years ago. I hope and pray that this story will encourage and bless you this Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the greatest gift ever given to the world, Jesus Christ.

Now without further ado, may I present to you: He Found Favour in Her 

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(Part 1) The Message

Dawn crept over the trees towards the village of Nazareth. The great blue bowl of sky slowly turned from dark blue, to purple, to pink, as the sunrise tinged the edges with fiery red and orange. A girl of about fifteen slipped out of a house with a large, earthen jar, and made her way to a well just outside the village.

As she walked along the dusty road, she revelled in the silence, breathing in the crisp morning air. When she reached the well, she lowered her jar into it and filled it to the brim.

Bringing it back up, she briefly rested it on the edge of the well, before lifting it, dripping, to her shoulder. She turned back towards home but then stopped abruptly.

She was face to face with a man.

Startled, she jumped, and then shrank back. The man wasn’t like any other man she’d ever seen. Dressed all in white, he seemed to glow, and an aura of light surrounded his head.

Her dark eyes dilated into pools of fear, and she slowly lowered the jar and pressed back against the well.

“Greetings Mary, O favoured one. The Lord is with you.”

Questions came into the girl’s eyes, but she remained silent. Who-what is this man, and what does he want?

“Do not be afraid Mary.” His voice was soft and kind, yet strong. “For you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Thoughts raced through Mary’s head during the strange man’s speech. I will have a baby, a son? He will be Son of the Most High? Son of God? Who is this man? How will I have a son?

She looked at him, fear and questions mingling in her heart, then summoned up the courage to ask a question of this strange, smiling man.

“How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.”

This must be an angel! Who else could speak so?

Then seeming to answer another unspoken question in Mary’s eyes, the angel went on “Behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.” Elizabeth? A son? Impossible! She is over 60 years old!

“For nothing is impossible with God.”

Nothing is impossible with God… Sinking to her knees, Mary replied “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” She bowed her head, and when she looked up, the angel was gone.

I have seen….I have seen an angel! Thoughts spun like a whirlwind in her head. Then suddenly they were all stilled by a single lightning strike of fear.

How can I tell my parents… and Joseph?

~

See you back here tomorrow for part 2! 🙂

Top 5 Books – November 2017

Well hi there! Sorry this post is later in the day than normal… I just got back from my church’s live Nativity play (which went incredibly well!) and so have only now sat down to write out my book reviews… Now if I had been organised, I would’ve written the reviews earlier in the week. But I’ve been down with a heavy cold all week, and besides, I’m rarely organised… 😀 Soooo, I’m writing the reviews now, and if they’re shorter than normal, I apologise and blame it on the fact that I’m exhausted after tramping around a farm in about 20 layers of clothing all afternoon. 😀

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the princess bride

The Princess Bride ~ William Goldman

Good gracious me, I can’t believe I haven’t read this book before!! I was aware of the story for a while, and watched the movie for the first time this year. But I hadn’t really been aware it was a book until recently. And boy, I’m glad I read this book! It’s hilarious. Seriously. The notes that Goldman puts in and how he explains the back story and how he came to abridge it all are fascinating and so witty!

It’s the typical fairytale story of true love and a beautiful maiden in distress and the daring prince that rescues her from the dastardly rogue and it all ends in true love. Or is it? Maybe the daring prince is really a rogue in disguise, and the dastardly rogue is really not what he seems? Let me tell you, this story is SO clever! It turns fairytales on their heads and liberally adds humour and eccentricities to the mix. I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning finishing it – it’s definitely a page turner! I’m giving it a solid 9* out of 10, and recommending it for 12+.

 

out of mormonism

Out of Mormonism ~ Judy Robertson

This was a really interesting read. I have a general knowledge of Mormonism and what their beliefs are, but I’ve never really properly delved into that religion. This book helped change that. I found it randomly on my parents’ bookshelves, I started reading it, and finished it in one sitting!

It’s the true story of how the author was convinced to become a Mormon, and then how 10 years later she became disillusioned with it and left the religion (Spoiler alert, she comes back to Christianity!) Mrs Robertson writes with clarity and insight, and I was gripped by her story. I found it so interesting reading the reasons why she was so attracted to Mormonism in the first place, and then how she gradually had more and more doubts as she got deeper and deeper into the religion. I learnt a lot about the in’s and out’s of the religion, and I feel that I now have a better understanding of Mormonism as a result. (And just for the record, reading this convinced me that I should not become a Mormon!)

If you’re interested in learning more about how Mormonism works or what they believe, this book is definitely for you! (Or if you want to be thoroughly convinced not to become a Mormon, it’s for you too, lol :D) I’m giving Out of Mormonism 8* out of 10 and recommending it for 15+ (due to some mature content in some parts. And it’s just generally written for an adult audience, not a teen one)

 

the giver

The Giver ~ Lois Lowry

Well this is one of those books that you finish and then have to sit silently for ages while you just try to work through the emotions it brings up in you. I’m not even sure how to write about it now.

It’s an incredibly beautiful book – beautiful in a haunting, poignant, aching type of way. It’s a very cleverly written story, with some very beautiful characters in it. It’s that type of book that makes you want to scream with anger and throw it at a wall. And it’s that type of book that makes you want to cry, but you don’t know why. Just the way it’s written and the storyline and the characters and the ending all weave together to form a lump in your throat and a deep ache in your chest.

I made the mistake of starting it late at night. Bad idea. 😀 I then proceeded to read into the early hours of the morning, and then lay awake with the previously described emotions swirling through my head.

No description of mine can do any good, so if you want a good description, just google it. And then go buy it on kindle or Amazon or get it at the library and read it (not late at night though!) I promise you will not be the same afterwards.

I’m giving this book 9* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 14+ (You can probably see why, based on my above review. It’s got a couple pretty disturbing parts in it.)

 

the unquenchable flame

The Unquenchable Flame ~ Michael Reeves

So, in case you didn’t know, I’m a history nerd. I love history of all types – something about the stories of days gone by thrills my imagination and sparks my joy! So this book is great for me. It’s very well-researched, and written by an expert in the topic. The Reformation was a pivotal time in the history of Christianity, and it’s chock full of capturing characters and incidents! I loved getting to delve down deep into that time period, and really get a grip on all the facets of the Reformation. Mr Reeves writes with a humour that is rather surprising for such a “dense” history book. I realise that history is not for everyone, but I’d really recommend giving this book a go. It’s a lot easier than it looks, and you will learn a lot through reading it! I’m rating this book 10* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+

 

Girlsavage

The Girl Savage – Katherine Rundell

Katherine Rundell is an incredible writer. She has a way with words that is so beautiful and imagination-inspiring! This is the 3rd book I’ve read by her – and I loved it!!

It’s the story of a girl called Will. She lives in Africa, and loves it. She runs run free in her beloved grassland with her companions – the natives and the animals. Her life is wild, and she loves it. But then tragedy strikes, and she is shipped off to England to boarding school. And Will finds that living in the wilds of London is a lot different than living in the wilds of Africa.

Ahhh, this book is seriously gorgeous. The writing, the story, the characters – everything is woven together into a absolutely delightful story! It might be aimed towards younger readers than I, but I couldn’t put it down! Buy it for yourself, your younger siblings, your friend, your grandchildren, whoever, and it will be a hit! I’m giving it 9* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 12+

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There we are – my top 5 books of November! What about you? What books have you really enjoyed reading in the past month?

Also, I have a special Christmas story that I will be posting in segments from the 20th-25th! Keep your eyes peeled for the first part coming this Wednesday!

 

Recently I have been…

Hello lovely readers! Today I’m back with a new type of post for this blog. The plan for this week’s post was going to be ‘my favourite books of November’. But life (aka school :D) happened and I ran out of time and inspiration to write up my reviews. So look for that post next week! Instead, this week I’m doing a ‘life-update-type’ post, except instead of covering my whole life, I’ll just cover the last week or so. 😀 I hope you enjoy this little snapshot into my life right now!

 

christmaaaas

(Here’s a random Christmasy picture courtesy of Pinterest :D)

 

Recently I have been…

Reading

~ Idylls of the King

~ Pleased to Dwell

~ The Killer Angels

~ Friends and Enemies

Writing

~ Not much for pleasure, unfortunately. Just a lot of stuff for school. I wrote a rhyming poem for school actually the other day – that was fun! 😀

Singing

~ Christmas songs of all size, shape and colour. 😀  Like this one and this one. Gahhhh, I LOVE Christmas music!

Wearing

~This Jumper

~ This Cardigan

Two words: SO WARM – ❤

Watching

~ Studio C – They’re hilarious 😀

~ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – I watched it just last night, and ohhhh it is good!

Thinking About

~ The future – I need to start applying to colleges in the near-ish future, and so I have to think about scary things like college options and college fees and degree choices. Time is going by so fast and I’m getting too old!

~ Getting a job – cause I gotta pay for driving lessons and college expenses somehow!

~ Christmas – of course! 😛

Buying

~ Christmas presents, of course! But they’re surprises, so no links here! 😉

Doing

~ Schoooooool. So. Much. School. High school is no joke guys.

~ Random stuff like cleaning the house and delivering flyers for my church’s carol service and staying up waayyy too late

~ A LOT of college research – gotta be prepared!

Listening to

~ Pentatonix Christmas music – Pentatonix do the BEST Christmas music!

~ Hamilton – Because I can’t go for long without listening to Hamilton, my one and only theatre obsession 😀

~ Prepare him Room – This Sovereign Grace album is SO beautiful and full of amazing truths and I definitely recommend it!

Laughing at

~ My hilarious younger siblings –  5 yo sis quote: “Mummy, if people didn’t hear Jesus’ name right, do you think they would think his name was Jamie?” 😀

~ My family’s attempt at playing a recently acquired didgeridoo (it literally sounds like a dying cow, lol).

Anticipating

~ CHRISTMASSSSS – only 16 days eeeeek!

~ My church’s live nativity play next weekend

~ Going to the National Gallery in London next week

~ Christmas break! – two blessed week of freeeeedoooommmm! 😀

~ Did I mention Christmas?! 😛

 

See you back here next week for the (by then long overdue) November book favourites post! 😉