Brothers in Valor, The Prayer of a Broken Heart, and The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology

(Courtesy of Google.)

(Courtesy of Google.)

Brothers in Valor by Michael O. Tunnell

I almost put this book down because the writing needed work. At first I couldn’t get my brain to stop editing the sentence structures and word choice. Even though it was 1st person, I couldn’t get into the head of the main character. I couldn’t even picture him, and keeping track of him and his two friends wasn’t easy. About to give up, I looked it up on Goodreads to see if everyone else had this same problem. All the ratings were very high. Curious, I Wiki-ed the side character and totally spoiled the story for myself. But, that one spoiler drove me to finish the book.
This is the story of three boys in Germany who stand up to the Nazis and pay a stiff price for their bravery.
I still wouldn’t claim it to be the best written book I’ve read, but the story was gripping. It showed what life was like for Germans during the war, the pressure to toe the line, and the persecution of not only Jews but other religions. It’s not detailed but it is chilling. It is also a reminder that no matter how young a person is they can be brave and stand up for others. Children and teens aren’t incapable of understanding, nor are they incapable of fighting. If you want a MG-YA book where teens don’t mope around in their bedrooms, this is a good place to start.
Parental Warnings/Talking: The main characters are Mormon. The book never suggests this is anything but true Christianity. There is a fair amount of violence. Not graphic but still there.

Rated: PG

(Courtesy of Solid Ground Christian Books)

(Courtesy of Solid Ground Christian Books)

The Prayer of a Broken Heart: Expository Discourses on Psalm 51 by Robert S. Candlish

I enjoyed this little book expositing Psalm 51. It was both convicting and encouraging as it delved into the different aspects of the Psalm. There was only one point I disagreed with doctrinally: at one point Candlish explained something as being entirely based on a deep emotion. He spent two pages talking about the deep emotional joy that was unexplainable. I can’t imagine that being very helpful for someone struggling with sin or in the process of repenting. I wish he had expounded more of that section with the truth and less with emotion. Other than that one part, the book was a delight to read.

Rated: G

(Courtesy of Google.)

(Courtesy of Google.)

The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology by Pascal Denault

Well, this may be the first book this in-depth and technical that I’ve managed to finish! Denault’s writing is easy to read and fairly easy to follow, though I think sitting through several of his lectures during our conference last year helped. I don’t think this book would necessarily convince a Pedobaptist to become a Baptist, but it is very encouraging to someone of like mind…like me. I’m thankful for the work Denault put into researching and tracking the Baptist distinctiveness. I don’t think I followed every argument, but I followed more than I expected. I would highly recommend this book to those looking for their Baptist roots, and for those seeking to understand the covenants.

(If you follow the links above they will take you to Amazon where you can purchase these books which will gives me a small tip. Thank you in advance!)

Quote of the Weekend

“Well,” he said, “it’s all over. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. True, it was rough. But I learned an awful lot that I couldn’t have learned at university or anywhere else. For one, I’ve learned about the things of life that are real and for another, I’ve learned it’s great to be alive.”

It was easy for me to see how he could make such a remark. The experiences we had passed through deepened our understanding of life and of each other. We had looked into the heart of the Eternal and found Him to be wonderfully kind. – Through the Valley of the Kwai by Ernest Gordon

(The testimony of two Japanese POW’s after they were freed. Both were saved during their captivity and saw the widespread salvation of the men with them leading to a camp life filled with self-sacrifice and service to one another. Wonderful testimony of God working to save his people.)

World-Building Wonders – Unborns in the Metaphysical World

I participated in a Friday Series on World-building. Here’s your peek behind the curtain of my world.

Welcome to another installment of World-Building Wonders! Find a Friday escape into an author’s awesome world — and worldview! Today’s featured author is Abby Jones.

What if? What if aborted children lived on somewhere else? What if they got to experience life in a different world? These are the questions that inspired my world-building.

There is nothing more heart wrenching to me than the idea of abortion. Millions of children who never get to experience all the joys of life. Millions of children who never get to find out who they are, have friends, play, laugh, struggle, stand, endure, fight, love, or have children of their own.

This is the driving force of my world-building. I created a place where aborted kids are given a chance to live. Now, granted, the world I made for them isn’t the nicest place at the moment because conflict is necessary, but…

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The White Rose, Alas, Babylon, and War and Grace


Courtesy of Google.

The White Rose By Glen Cook

About 4/5’s of the way through this book, I grew suddenly tired of it. I don’t think this is the authors fault and I still rated the book pretty high on GoodReads, but the style of book doesn’t lend to strong emotional connections, per se. It’s written in a very military straight forward matter with the lead characters being hardened marines. Also, I was reading several more ’emotional’ books at the time.

But, when I finally jumped back in to finish it, I was rewarded with plenty of feelings of loss and the end of something great.

I loved the more fantastical elements of this book as the Black Company hides in the desert: whales that swim the sky and rocks that move and talk! I loved the pulling together of the villains and heroes. I loved that the Lady had just enough light to left in her to want to do what was right.

Yes, the style is a bit dry, but if you enjoy historical narratives and military history, this style will be comfortable to you. You will be able to bring the emotion to the story. Again, I spent a large part of this story chanting something about Raven being alive or being rescued, and with that, I joined Darling in her love and hate of him which is just brilliant writing.

I will always have a special place in my heart for the Black Company and am glad I got to join their adventures.

Rated R: Violence, War, Adult Situations


Courtesy of Google.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

What a fun, politically incorrect book! Granted, I haven’t read many post apocalypse books that actually include the apocalypse, but this book gave me chills. When the bombs fell on The Day, the sense of incomprehensible horror and suddenly being cut off from the world felt real. Pat Frank did an excellent job realistically capturing what would happen to a community of survivors, their needs, and how life would break down. He shows how some of us would deny what had happened, some of us would die off quickly, and some of us would band together and keep going.

This book is a bit hard to qualify. It reminds me of an adventure story, plus a bit of horror, and obviously, parts of it read like historical fiction. Either way, this book is close to, if not, the father of the post-apocalyptic genre and a must read!

This would be a great book to read if you were in the middle of studying the Cold War just to get a sense of what the world feared. It does say in the preface that it is a great adventure book for an 11 year old, but a few adult subjects come up and some fairly violent situations, so I’d probably go for someone just a bit older, like 14.

Rate PG-13: Adult subjects, survival of the fittest, end of the world, loss, death.



Courtesy of Google.

This book was far too short. When I got to the end I just wanted to start it over again. Can you think of better praise? Price bought it for me for Christmas and in just a few weeks I devoured it.

War and Grace covers a handful of men and women who were either saved before, during, or after WW1 or WW2 and how the war and their salvation interacted. From pastors who helped save soldiers and Jews, to the chaplain for the Nazis during the Numberg trials, the book is filled with bravery, courage, and salvation.

Don Stephens is, I believe, and Orthodox Presbyterian. Because of this, he isn’t interested in feel good stories, but in genuine salvation. He is careful with his wording, seeks out true professions of faith, and makes sure a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel is nowhere to be found in the men and women he featured. This made the stories all that more encouraging. They aren’t ‘feel good’ stories, but tales of saints living out their lives. I’ll admit, the Numberg trials story brought me to tears. God saves sinners, some of the greatest sinners, humanly speaking, of all time. Mr. Stephens corresponded with the subjects of the book and their families. He also suggest further reading at the end of each biography making my reading list just get longer.

This book could easily be read aloud to children, used in the classroom, or for personal devotions. I can’t recommend this book enough and I know I’ll be reading it again soon. It would also make great Christmas gifts for any history buff or man in your family . . . or wife too. 🙂

Rated PG: war


(If you follow the links above they will take you to Amazon where you can purchase these books which will gives me a small tip. Thank you in advance!)



Quote of the Weekend

“Even in the darkest moments, light exists if you have the faith to see it. Fear is the poison produced by the mind, and courage is the antidote stood always ready in the soul. In misfortune lies the seed of future triumph. They have no hope who have no belief in the intelligent design of all things, but those who see meaning in every day will live in joy.” – One Door away from Heaven by Dean Koontz

(I found it interesting that a man who I don’t think is a Christian says that you can’t have hope unless you believe in intelligent design. So true.)

Happy Birthday Rachel and Lauren


Lauren, from years ago! Now a teen who might kill me for sharing this picture. 🙂


Rachel, who may also kill me. :-))) Such beauties both!

It finally happened: teens! My nieces are teenagers! I can’t believe it! I love you both so much and I’m so proud of you. You’re both adventurous, brave, smart, and beautiful! You shoot guns, raise animals, read lots of awesome books, travel, cook, have awesome hair and being with you both is one of my favorite things.

I love our birthday tradition of Tolkien parties and can’t wait  to watch the Hobbit with you this year.

Y’all are the greatest young women and I’m blessed to be your Aunt!



Happy Birthday Bruce!


Silly Boy! (Picture stolen from Liz.)

My nephew Bruce is often a main character in my Texas Cousins Adventure stories. Today, he turns 5! I can’t imagine life without him. He is smart, funny, extra fast, loves anything with wheels, loves movies and stories, has an over active imagination, and is very tall.

I love our movie dates together and I love that he loves Chronicles of Narnia.

I love you Bruce! Happy Birthday!




Me and my Mom about 3.5 years ago.


I’d always knew I would get old.

I always promised myself I’d age gracefully.

Working in retail, I saw my fair share of women willingly augmenting their physical bodies in a vain effort to stay young-ish. I saw plenty of examples of plastic surgery gone wrong. I really didn’t have any interest in going that route, nor do I now, but I understand the fear that drives women to want facelifts, tummy tucks, boob jobs, and such. I do understand.

Getting old is . . . interesting.

It’s odd to realize I’m middle aged. It’s odd to realize there are lots of people younger than me, not in the nursery, but in my workplace. (Be that out in the world, or at home.) I’m no longer the new generation full of hope and promise. I’m the generation thought of as strange and boring by the new generation. It’s odd how much I still feel eighteen in my head. And it’s odd how much I deny, subconsciously, that I’m middle aged until something makes me realize it like telling a story about myself from twenty years ago, or talking about my favorite movies or music, or when my celebrities start dying off.

Fashion becomes an even bigger challenge. I see other women who work to keep up with the trends and it makes them appear as‘current’ older woman. I like that. They look awesome. Then I pick up a fashion magazine and it makes me feel tired. I just don’t want to fight to stay trendy anymore. I see something that says “such and such is right out” and I think, “but I like my such and such.” Oh. I see why there are so many people who aren’t trendy. They liked ponchos. They liked flared jeans. They just don’t feel like keeping up with what is the newest and greatest anymore.

Not to mention, as I get older and seek to age graciously, covering up becomes the better part of valor. The realization that older women like pearls and sweater sets makes sense. Sigh. Getting old is . . . interesting.

Have you ever laughed at your parents’ complaints about technology? Or maybe you complained about your grandparents not keeping up with texting? I’m here to tell you that it’s hard to keep up. You want to see what all the young people in your life are up to, but that means learning something new. Learning something new, with it’s own lingo, it’s own rules, isn’t nearly as much fun as it used to be. It’s seems much nicer to just stay where you’re comfortable and confident. I had my first experience asking a young person how to make something work on my phone the other day. See, old age is setting in. lol.

Life gets scary as I get older. My skin isn’t what it was. I’ve twice now looked in the mirror early in the morning and wondered why my Mom is over. Even my phone mistakes my mother for me.

There are health problems to face. If I’m this tired at 35, what is 65 going to be like?

I know more and have seen more and that only frightens me more. I’ve read history and can see what happens to a country on the path we’re on. Teens are just crazy. This generation’s music is bad.

Many rainbows have been polished off this life by sin and suffering. Dreams have been set aside. And on top of all of that, comes the realization that it won’t get easier only harder.

For the first time in my life, I considered coloring my hair for age reasons. I’ve thought about coloring my hair blue for fun, but the other day I thought about it due to gray hair. Passing on that idea, I felt a sudden pity for all those plastic surgery women.

I understood.

As a woman seeking Christ, it’s very intimidating to realize visually that yes, physical beauty is fleeting. If you have done nothing to build your character you have nothing to stand on. Growing old gracefully isn’t about accepting your gray hairs and wrinkles. It’s about developing a godly character that continues to grow in spiritual beauty as your body continues to sag towards death. And trust me, that’s a much more taxing challenge than keeping up with a proper beauty regiment. No wonder women would rather just get a facelift and pretend they’re young. Without character, old age is only scary and ugly.

So what do I do? As a woman who realizes she’s no longer a young lady, but is now a middle-aged, what do I do? The same thing I did as a young lady! I look to older women. I watch my Moms. I watch the older women in my church. I see how they dress, carry themselves, tend to their older relatives, love their husbands, and keep their homes. I ask questions. I get help.

This makes me thankful for Christ’s work, for prayer, and for all the wonderful women in my church that are walking this road ahead of me. What would I do without them?

Facing middle-age when I’ve been a young woman for the last 15+ years is a bit terrifying. The hard work of growing my godly character to stand strong, by God’s grace alone, as my physical body crumbles feels overwhelming. Where do I find hope? God is good and generous. He feeds us, chastises us, and guides us. He will never leave us or forsake us. And this life isn’t my goal. Staying young and fit and trendy and up-to-date isn’t the path God has set me on. He has promised to resurrect my body after death and promised that I may dwell with Him forever in heaven. That’s my goal. Not staying physically attractive.

(I feel I should put a disclaimer here: I know plenty of godly women who color their hair, keep up with trends, and maybe even get some work done on their faces and bodies. I don’t think those things are inherently sinful. I believe they fall under Christian Liberty and if you enjoy them to God’s glory and with a clear conscience, I have no problem with them. I’m more looking at it personally. I may color my hair someday, but I want it to be because I think it’ll be fun, not because I’m trying to make up for a lack of character or out of fear.)

Quote of the Weekend

“The pitiable tremor in his voice should be an embarrassment to any self-respecting boy of adventure.

Of course, he isn’t adventuring at the moment. He’s socializing, which is immeasurably more difficult then engaging in dangerous exploits and heroic deeds.” – One Door away From Heaven by Dean Koontz

(…so feel all introverts.) 🙂