Miriam Scavenger Hunt

The Hunt is now over, I hope you had fun and good luck on the big prize!

I’m so excited to be a part of this scavenger hunt blog hop in celebration of the launch of Mesu Andrews’ second book in her Treasures of the Nile series, Miriam!

Miriam Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop

I realize most of you are probably already “on the hunt”, but if you just happened on this page first, you’ll want to hop on over to the start of the hunt at Mesu’s blog and then you’ll finish your journey at Mommynificent.com. At the bottom of this post, you can find the full list of stops for the entire hunt. Between March 15th and 20th, click on the next link, head over to the page, meet a new book-lover, and read their thoughts about Miriam. Somewhere in each post there will be a single word that is in BOLD AND ALL CAPITALS. Write it down. (The words “Home” and “Good Luck” are not secret words for anyone.)

Then, go to the next stop. That post will also have a word that’s bolded and capitalized. You will need to visit all 14 blogs as each one will have a word that you need. Once you reach the end and have found all the words, you will have found an inspirational quote from the book Miriam. There are 14 words in this quote. Enter the quote into the Rafflecopter on the last stop and you will be entered to win a Kindle Fire from Mesu Andrews! (Open to U.S. residents only)

If you have any questions, get lost, or experience any technical difficulties, you may email Tina at tina{at}mommynificent{dot}com for help.

Now, let’s talk about this fantastic book!

Miriam by Mesu Andrews

About the Book

Title: Miriam

Author: Mesu Andrews

Series: Treasures of the Nile, Book 2

Publication Date: March 15, 2016

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Print Length: 384 pages

Summary from the publisher: At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.

Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

My Thoughts about Miriam by Mesu Andrews

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while, knows that I am passionate about Biblical Fiction. Although I have been wandering in my own writing wilderness for several months, it is writers like Mesu who encourage me to keep going.

Mesu Andrews is even more passionate than I am about this genre and it shows in her research and the development of her characters. Miriam is not your typical boy-meets-girl romance tale, (although there is some of that!). Instead, Miriam is a love story of God for his people, particularly for one old woman who has always been close to her God. In this new phase of Israel’s spiritual journey, Miriam must learn to know and love God in new ways while clinging to the promise that her nations’ centuries of bondage are nearly over.

Miriam is by turn, amusing, tender, and heartbreakingly sad. Each chapter draws you deeper into the ancient world of Egypt, which is so strange and yet so familiar. The people in that time struggled to understand a God who allowed his chosen people TO experience the horrors of life under a cruel leader. I have heard that question echoed in our own time with each news story of violence and the death of innocents. Reading through this book, we get a glimpse of the bigger picture and the blessings God had planned for his people. Perhaps it can also give us hope and courage for the struggles we face in our own lives as well.

About The Author

Author Mesu AndrewsMesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes, Love’s Sacred Song, Love in a Broken Vessel, In the Shadow of Jezebel, as well as two books in her Treasures of the Nile series: The Pharoah’s Daughter and Miriam. Winner of the 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author, she has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture, bringing the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

Mesu’s Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Stops on the Scavenger Hunt

  1. Mesu Andrews
  2. A Holland Reads
  3. Mother of Three
  4. Just A Second
  5. Grace and Glory
  6. Angela Arndt – Joy on the Back Roads
  7. God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae
  8. What If
  9. Carole Towriss
  10. Kate Hodges, Storyteller
  11. Backing Books
  12. Creative Madness Mama  This blog is not working right now. 😦 The keyword for this one is WHO. Sorry for any inconvenience.
  13. Climbing to the High Calling
  14. Mommynificent

Win Both Treasure of the Nile Books

WaterBrook Press has given me permission to give away one copy of each of Mesu’s Treasures of the Nile novels to one lucky winner so to enter to win your own copies of both The Pharoah’s Daughter and Miriam, all you have to do is leave a comment below. (Open to U.S. residents only.)

Crossing the Desert

My efforts at storytelling lately have been strained, even nonexistent. I know the Author of my stories has not changed or gone away. I only know that my own well of creativity has dried up and I am like the dry bones that Ezekiel saw in the desert. dry-bones-live

Sometimes we need to go through a desert to reach the land of milk and honey. That doesn’t mean that we stop searching for nourishment or that we lay down and weep until the dry bones become dust. No. The Giver of Life is still walking beside us, whether we feel him or not. My goal is to keep walking, keep seeking him, keep following him until it is time to cross the river to the land of Promise.

In seeking him, I have been reading others words and stories. The book I am reading now contains the story of the Israelites as they prepare to leave Egypt, bondage and the life they have always known. Before them is the harshness of the desert. Although it happened many thousands of years ago, it is still the story of my today. I need to find new ways to commune with my God. I need to deepen my faith and intensify my search, not because my God had gone anywhere, but because I have lost sight of the one who Loves me.

As I read, seek, and stumble my way across my own desert, I will choose to trust that My God, the God of Issac, Abraham, and Joseph, and the God of John, Peter, and Paul, will not leave me. Instead, he will see me through the valley of dry bones and lead me to the mountain top of his blessing.

sequoia national park - 3

Coming to Your House!

coming to your houseThis Sunday is Easter, the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. It is a time of reflection, joy and renewal. It is also a time when many of us gather for a special meal either with family, friends or both. Jesus shared a meal with his friends before he offered up his life. He shared a meal later as well before he was taken up to heaven on the clouds.

In fact, Jesus shared meals with his friends and followers many times through his ministry. His first miracle was performed at a wedding. Twice he fed thousands of people with food that would have been sufficient for one. He ate with religious leaders and social outcasts.

We often thinking of him teaching on the hillsides or in the temple, we think of his miracles and debates with the Pharisees. Jesus like to eat. He liked to hang out with friends and relax. It is a part of him that we often forget.

I have written my own imagined account of the day he met Zacchaeus, the short tax collector. I am offering it free for this Easter weekend. In it, you can meet Jesus just days before his final triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VB0PBR0

 

Try Again

How are you doing on your 2015 resolutions? Even if you don’t make specific resolutions, most of us at least have something in the back of our minds that we want to do better this year.

I know I do. I have a whole list but there are two that stand out at the top of the pile.

1. Lose weight/get in better shape.

Now that isn’t exactly an earth shattering revelation, the majority of Americans have weight loss somewhere on their ‘to-do’ list. But this year I have to get serious about it. I’m no longer 20 and with middle age in full swing . . . or droop as the case may be . . . the hours I spend sitting and staring at this screen are taking their toll. I am teetering on the brink of Hypertension and diabetes. Perhaps I have already begun the plunge to my doom . . . unless I can make some changes, I am done for.

2. Get at least one writing project finished and ready to pitch to an agent.

This one is a little trickier. I have trouble finishing what I start and my writing is an innocent victim of my predilection for procrastination. I sit at my desk and think, ‘I will work on my WIP today.’ I turn on my computer, and think, ‘Let me just check my email first, just in case there is something important.’ There seldom is, mostly ads, reminders and those dreaded Facebook messages. So I of course have to go to FB to check on things there . . . the next thing I know, three hours have gone by and it is time for lunch. I can’t type while I’m eating, of course, so I check on some of my favorite blogs and shopping sites. Another couple hours go by, the kids are home and I have to settle squabbles, help with homework and start supper. The kids and my husband get the  computer in the evenings, so another whole day has gone by without even looking at my stories. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

So my plan is to make a schedule for myself . . . just as if I was back at work and accountable to my boss for a certain amount of work to be finished before I am done for the day. I will have a block for eating, exercising, writing and critiquing the works of my writing friends. There will also be a block of time to check Facebook and blogs . . . after my other work is done.

I’m not sure I can contain the procrastination gene that keeps popping up to disrupt my best laid plans, but every day that I do the right thing is a step in the right direction. There will be days that I fail to follow ‘the plan’ . . . probably a lot of them . . . But each day is brand new, with no mistakes in itdouble rainbow, to quote Anne Shirley. So each day I will get up and prepare to try again. And again. And again.

I will never be perfect, but perhaps I can edge a little closer to that goal.

Seasons of Change

I’m not as young as I used to be. I know that may come as a shock to some, but it it true. Middle age has caught up to me. I keep telling myself that I will grow old gracefully, that I will embrace the changes to come. But I still find myself fighting each wrinkle, each gray hair and each new ache in my body.  I cast sly glances toward my sisters and friends; are my wrinkles deeper, do I have more gray under the fresh coat of color? How old to I look compared to them?

It’s sad but true. I am vain. I can’t seem to help it.

Today I went for a walk. The fall colors are at their peak and the weather is supposed to be wet and windy for the rest of the week so I wanted to enjoy one last autumn walk. I walked to the hill behind my house. I have enjoyed the colors from my windows, but today I wanted to be out among the blooming trees. I walked along the edge of the field where trees formed the boundary between our land and a neighbor’s. I had not walked that trail since . . . well, it has been a long time. What I found humbled me.

The border of trees was barely 50 feet wide, but inside that limited space, the trees had survived and grown old. All along the field, I found trees that had survived against all odds.

Forgotten Fence

 

 

In their younger years, the trees had doubled as fence posts holding up barbed wire fences. The fence and whatever it had held were long gone. All that remains is the wire, rusted and broken. The trees had grown around it and made it an irremovable part of itself.

Other trees had been damaged by wind, rot and lightning. Yet contorted, scarred and shattered, they still live and even thrive.

Is It DeadThis tree looked dead when I walked up to it, but when I walked to the other side, a single branch  projected from the trunk. That single branch was too big for my hands to wrap around. Supported by its neighbors, that single branch flourished. The Living Branch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw so many trees that bore scars and wounds. Far more than were whole and sound. Each one was unique. Each one accepted its imperfections and lived

Strong Survivor5 Strong Survivor6 Strong Survivor3 Strong Survivor2 Mismatched Couple.2 As I walked, I learned their silent lesson. We are all scarred, all imperfect. We all have wrinkles and gray hair, (or will someday). We can take the parts of life that cause us pain, embrace them and with time, love and effort, we can turn them into something that makes us beautiful and one of a kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each one of these trees, although horribly scarred still lifted their branches to heaven and shared their beautiful colors with the world.

 

 

 

 

Strong Surviver

Holding On

When you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hold on.

Have you ever heard that? I remember seeing it on a poster when I was a teen and it stuck with me through the years. Back then the end of my rope dangled over the cliffs of rope's endhomework and tests with the jagged rocks of failure waiting below. Somehow I always managed to get back on track and avoid that dreaded fall. Again and again I was brought back from the brink by my faith in God and my family. Their support and encouragement kept me going.

Now, decades later the memory of that poster has come back to haunt me. No longer in danger of failing the tests of high school, now I battle endless bills and housework. I strive to provide my husband and kids with a home that is happy and healthy -although I seldom offer one that is clean and tidy.  I make sure there are clean dishes and clean clothes if not clean floors and tables. I am not a great housekeeper, as anyone who has been in my home can see.

I am a good wife and mother. I am a listening ear for my husband after a stressful day at work, I am my kids cheerleader and drill Sergent depending on what is needed. I help with homework and dreaming alike.

But there are days when I feel that not only have I reached the end of my rope, but it is fraying and thin. I tie that knot and hold on. Digging my nails deep into the coarse fibers, straining with everything I have left to hold on. Because now failure isn’t just about me and my future, failing now would cut deep into the ropes that hold my kids and my husband above their abyss. We are a family and what affects one will affect another.

Sounds good, right? The benevolent mother sacrificing for her family because she is the glue that holds it all together . . . except my glue is weak and ineffective. There is no way I can save those I love the most. I am not strong enough. I am not able to battle my own depression. Not to mention my families trials and struggles. I can’t.

That is hard for me to admit. I have always been proud of my strength. Strength of will, strength of character, strength of spirit. Even now when I can admit it, say it, share it with those who read this post . . . inside, I am still trying to do it alone even though I know I can’t.

So what is a mom to do? I can’t save my kids. I can’t save my husband. Heck, I can’t even save myself.

The knot at the end of my rope is slipping. Soon there will be nothing between me and the abyss.

But wait, there is Something, Someone who is helping. The knot on my rope is retying. A big strong knot. In fact, it is a platform; a strong and steady place for me to catch my breath and climb back to level ground.

Because Kate  loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. Psalm. 91:14 (paraphrase)

And there it is. Only God can do it. Over and over He has proven His faithfulness to me. He knows my weakness, even better than I do, and has always been there to save me from myself. When the depression rises up and despair sucks the joy and hope from my life, God is always there to remind me of His grace in the little things. Slowly, slowly I am learning to trust. Inch by inch I am learning to loosen my grip. When it becomes too much and I cling tight to my rope again, fearing that yawning gap waiting to swallow me, I am not alone. God puts his arms around me and whispers comfort in my ear, just like I did when a little one woke with a nightmare, I held them close and whispers prayers and songs of comfort.

I know I can’t save my self or my family. I also know that I can trust God to save us, we don’t have to rely on our own feeble grip to hold on, God is holding on to us and for us.

After taking the picture of the rope for this post, He sent me this on the way back home . . . a little bit of life and color amid the gray stones. Color amid the Gray

Keeping the Faith

Sometimes it is hard to trust.

God has been convicting me about that lately. I have always said that I trust him for the big things. I know I will not be tossed out on the street or go hungry, but is that faith in God or my family? I was blessed with parents, siblings and extended family that I know, beyond doubt, will be there when crisis hits.

But trusting God with the little things- that seems to be another story. I haven’t tithed in years, but have been feeling convicted to start again. I end most months scraping the double rainbowbottom of the barrel money-wise often waiting to purchase groceries and gas, nursing that last jug of milk, that last gallon of gas, until payday. The thought of giving the first 10% of our income to God makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Don’t you trust me?

I can hear Him ask it. In my head, I know that I can.

But taking out that pen and writing a check?

Whoa, lets take a step back there, pardner. I have things I need to get with that money, food, clothes for the kids, gas for my husband to go to work, a new book here and there, my guilty pleasure- soda. There’s also the kids dance lessons, Marching Band cost, that writer’s conference I am dying to go to.  I can trim those last few extras out, those last luxuries that have survived the last few budget cuts. The rest are all good things, right? If I give God control of my money, we can’t do those things.

Why not? Am I sure He won’t allow these things to happen? God wants good things for us and our kids. He knows how my children benefit from those extracurricular activities. Doesn’t He love them as much as I do, and more? And the conference, do I truly believe He has called me to write? Can I trust Him to do what is best?

That’s where the rubber meets the road, where the pen touches the paper. I know I can trust Him. He told me and I believe.

In my head I believe.

My white knuckled hand clutches the pen, the check remains blank.

Help me Lord, in my unbelief.