Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Currently Reading–Shattered Dreams

Shattered DreamsI’ve started a new book that my sister sent to me, one I had begun reading last spring, but it just got crowded out by so many other things I had to, or needed to, or wanted to read. Mostly I think, what I read in just the introduction, impacted me so much it was as if I had read the whole book and the crux of what he wrote (below) has sustained me through these difficult months. In a nutshell, it was this: “He uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God.”

In the midst of everything, this was like a balm to my soul….

“There’s never a moment in all our lives, from the day we trusted Christ till the day we see Him, when God is not longing to bless us. At every moment, in every circumstance, God is doing us good. He never stops. It gives Him too much pleasure. God is not waiting to bless us after our troubles end. He is blessing us right now, in and through those troubles. At this exact moment, He is giving us what He thinks is good.” (Crabb, Larry (2012-06-13). Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy (p. 1).)

The horribleness we have experienced this past year, for me, has been a bitter cherry on top of a long string of very difficult years. Because the enormity of it dwarfed the reality, which has culminated over time, that the hopes and dreams you have for your kids or yourselves after they are grown, is never going to be what you thought or what it looks like when you look at other couples, other families, it has forced me to find a way to make peace with what is. So, that is why reading this suddenly made such perfect sense, a blessing in itself:

God wants to bless us. That’s the first idea. Because He can’t resist giving us the highest good, He’s determined to give us an encounter with Himself. It’s the greatest blessing He can think of. It’s the highest dream the self-aware human soul envisions. But we’re not self-aware. We’re out of touch with the central longing of our hearts. An encounter with Him is what we want, but we don’t know it . That’s the second idea. Let me develop it a little further. We dream lower dreams and think there are none higher. We dream of good marriages, talented kids, enough health and money to enjoy life, rewarding work , and an opportunity to make a difference in the world. All good things. Of course we want them. But we think they’re the best things.” (Crabb, Larry (2012-06-13). Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy (p. 3).)

“The greatest blessing is no longer the blessing of a good life. It never was. It is now the blessing of an encounter with God. It always has been. But now, in the new way, the greatest dream is available. But we don’t view things that way. So God goes to work to help us see more clearly. One way He works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn’t make it better. We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we’re aware we want Him to do. In fact, what He’s doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we feel our strongest passions. It’s there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life. And that begins a revolution in our lives.

The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It’s an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, an encounter with Himself.” (Crabb, Larry (2012-06-13). Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy (pp. 3-4).)

So, that just really affected me because in the place where I was when I first read this, crushed with the overwhelming-ness of everything that was happening, it brought me real joy and hope. And going forward now, even though things will likely never be the way we thought they would when Jack and I started out, it makes me look at my dreams, everything I was looking forward to, differently. I can let them go now, or embrace them as they are, not as I thought they would be or look like.

I have no idea what the rest of the book will be like, but the introduction alone found me right where I was at and left me determined to hold onto the truth of it and remind myself on the hard days where I want my focus to be. If you are interested, you could read the introduction on Amazon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The King’s Scrolls Cover Reveal + Giveaway

This is always fun for me and it’s hard to believe it’s that time again, to share with you the cover of my daughter’s newest book, The King’s Scrolls, second in the Ilyon Chronicles series. I love what she has done with these covers and can’t wait for each one to be revealed. Being the mother of an author has its perks, and I sure loved this book. So, I’ll whet your appetite with the beautiful cover, a bit about the book and its author, a peek inside with an excerpt, and a fun giveaway in honor of the event!

The King's Scrolls

About the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?


goodreads

 

About the Author

JayeAuthorPhotoJaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

 


Giveaway

To celebrate her revealing of the cover, Jaye is giving away one of her handcrafted quill pen necklaces (like the one below) and a $5 Amazon gift card! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please.

QuillNecklace

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

StarAnd now, here is a peek at the story.

Excerpt

The other younger crete took a swig of his coffee and set his eyes past her. Kyrin peeked over her shoulder at Kaden who, of course, was staring at the dragon. The female creature stared back in mutual interest.

“Go ahead,” the crete said suddenly. “You can touch her. She loves attention, and she’ll only attack if I tell her to.” A sly glint sparkled in his spring-green eyes.

Besides Jace, Kyrin had never seen anyone with such bright and colorful eyes as these cretes.

Kaden looked at him, his brows rising. “You can do that?”

The crete nodded. “Dragons are highly intelligent. You can teach them almost any command. Storm here is young, but she learns fast.”

Kyrin smiled at the delight in her brother’s eyes as he stepped closer to the dragon and ran his hand over her bluish-gray neck scales. A grin split his face.

“She’s so smooth. Kyrin, come and feel it.”

Kyrin stepped to his side and laid her hand on the dragon. The scales were indeed very smooth, reminding her of the polished marble stair-railings in Auréa Palace, but they weren’t cold. Warmth radiated through them. The dragon, still watching them, let out a little rumble, almost like a giant cat’s purr.

“I told you she liked attention,” the crete said, grinning.

Kyrin chuckled and glanced at Jace to see if he wanted to touch the dragon, but he made no move to come closer. This certainly had more to do with the crete than the dragon. He was very fond of any type of animal. She faced the crete again.

“So they can breathe fire?”

“For short bursts, but that’s usually all it takes to deter any threat.”

“That’s incredible,” Kaden breathed.

While he continued admiring Storm, Kyrin observed the dragon’s rider. He appeared to be in his early to mid-twenties—about ten years younger than Captain Darq—though his exact age was impossible to guess. Cretes were said to mature faster than humans, so he could be anywhere from seventeen to twenty-five. He too wore a sleeveless jerkin. Brown tattoos, a little darker than his skin, marked both shoulders. Darq and the other cretes had them as well, but Kyrin hadn’t taken a good look at them until now. This man’s were a complicated pattern of spirals and dots, but the shape of a fox stood out in the center of his right shoulder.

Though she tried to be discreet, he must have caught her studying him and suddenly extended his hand to her. “I’m Talas, by the way. Talas Folkan of the Fox Clan.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ResistanceThe King's Scrolls

Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles Book 1)
The King’s Scrolls (Ilyon Chronicles Book 2) will be coming in early 2015!

Monday, November 3, 2014

In Need of an Inspiring Adventure?

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Close your eyes, Ela of Parne. Close your eyes and you will see.

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified, bad tempered, and only seventeen--not to mention that no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as the elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Istgard has turned their back on me. See the evil they do.

Yet after experiencing His presence, she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to follow the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. Here she meets Kien, a young Traceland ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela must surrender to her destiny...and determine how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

Will you accept the branch and speak my will? Will you be my prophet?

I have another post I’m planning to write, but I just finished the last book in R. J. Larson’s Books of the Infinite series. Molly read them a long time ago and I was just really intrigued by what she told me. Though fantasy, and not a genre I usually choose to read, they have a strong Old Testament feel. I love the Old Testament, so this really appealed to me. In the first book, a young woman, Ela, accepts the Infinite’s request to become his prophet, even though she knows she will die young because the prophets of her country never live long enough to have gray hair. The Infinite makes Himself known to her in so real a way, all throughout the book, on nearly every page, it just stirs your heart to know our Infinite so well. To know the depth of His love, to serve Him as Ela served her Lord. To seek Him to the exclusion of all else, to put Him first, and to have our hearts broken by the things that break His… I want that.

It was such a fascinating story, so well-told with such rich characters. Even the huge horses, the destroyers, are characters. I just loved that part. Best of all, the story continues through all three books. I am expecting you will just completely love Kien Lantec, the young man Ela meets. He is the judge in the second book, and R.J. Larson has created a perfectly larger-than-life character for the young king in the third book. There are marches through countries, imprisonments, plagues, kidnappings, fascinating parallels with O.T. stories, wars, deaths, but also wonderfully light-hearted camaraderie and delightful dialog between characters and their families.

If you’re in the mood for or in need of an adventure to take you away every now and then, one that will stir your soul, read the Books of the Infinite. So glad I finally did!