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.)

Scavenger Hunt for Miram

I have the privilege of being a part of the launch team for Mesu Andrews’ newest book, Miriam, the second installment in her Treasures of the Nile series. Several of us on the team decided to get together and have a scavenger hunt and giveaway to celebrate the book’s release. We want to invite you to be a part of the fun next week!

Miriam Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop

From 1am Eastern (US) time on March 15th, the book’s release date, until 11:59pm on March 20th, there will be a scavenger hunt with stops on 14 different blogs!

You’ll start at Mesu’s blog and finish your journey at Mommynificent.com. At the end of each post, you’ll find links to all of the stops in the 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 this fantastic book. 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!

In addition, each blogger will be running their own giveaway of a set of paperbacks of Mesu’s two Treasures of the Nile books – The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam!

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

Good luck and have lots of fun!

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.

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Grace and Mercy

I have noticed a distu022 (5)rbing trend among Christians lately, including some people whom I love and respect deeply. I have also noticed there are few others who seem troubled by it. Surely, I am not the only one….
Across the ocean and far from our shores, people are in fear of their lives. They are fleeing their homeland in terror, often with little more than the clothes on their backs. Everything they have ever known is going up in the smoke of war and tyranny. They seek refuge wherever they can find it.
The Syrian Refugees.
I generally go out of my way to avoid any mention of politics. But to me this is not just a political matter although politicians have lost no time in sharing their views loudly and self-righteously. There are politics involved, certainly and the government will have its hands full in dealing with the mess. That part is on them.
The matter I am struggling with is our unwillingness to share what we have with those that have nothing.
In Matthew 25, Jesus speaks of separating the sheep and goats in heaven. Of the sheep he says,

Caught!

I don’t remember ever reading qualifications. Take care of them when it is convenient. Help them when they agree with your religious and political views. Encourage them when their countrymen are harmless.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36
I understand the fear of allowing the terrible things that are happening across the ocean to come to our safe, tidy little world. I know that there is a possibility that a terrorist could slip in among the huddled masses. I agree that opening our borders also opens us up to trouble that right now seems far away.
All that is scary and a very real possibility. I know what it is to be afraid.
But my God is stronger than my fear. Even if my faith wavers, underneath it all, I know that I can trust him to care for me and my family. He is higher, stronger, and infinitely more powerful than the terrorists that seek to destroy me. Do you think God can’t protect us, or that the government can do a better job of it?
Do you think Islamic extremists, terrorists, are stronger than God?
I don’t. I will put my trust and faith in God and do as he asks me to do. Even if I die, or my family killed, I will trust and do as he commands.
Can I do less when my King has given so much more?

I will believe.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
And the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
And the mountains quake with their surging. Ps. 46:1-3

Balloon Busters

Oh shiny rubber wonder
Bobbing along beside me
Tugging at your tether
Longing to be free

Oh, bouncy balloon of delight
You hold the best
The brightest parts of me
Within your supple skin

The hopeful dreams of ‘someday’
The whispered bliss of ‘maybe’
The terrified promise of tomorrow
Swirl endlessly within

I keep you safe and silent
For the dreams you hold inside
Could shatter and die within
If I dared to give release

This week’s sermon dealt with finding your God-given dream. To find the passion that he laid on your heart and to go with it.

Well, I know my dream, I know what he has called me to do. Or I know about as well as any of us can truly know the heart of God. One of the few things on this earth that can really fire me up is an increasing ignorance of the Bible. More and more I come into contact with people, average American adults, who have no idea what is in the scriptures. Many of them don’t even know the most basic stories that were once common knowledge like Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, to name a few. Or if they know the story, it is from a simplified children’s story or a blockbuster Hollywood film.

Yet there is so much more within those wonderful pages. The stories within are about real people, real events, and a very real God. My passion is to reacquaint today’s people with those people of long ago. To make their stories come alive and awaken the world to the God who loves them.

I have the calling. I have the talent (or so I believe). What I don’t have is the courage. Yesterday, the pastor spoke of turning away from the dream busters, the people who tell you that you are not good enough, not worthy, and you don’t belong. But what do you do when the biggest ‘balloon buster’ (I like the alliteration) is yourself?

I read the words of other authors and often think to myself; I could never write like that, I will never be that good, and other self defeating phrases. I could go on all day. Yet even with such negative ‘self-talk’ God keeps bringing me back to the computer to type another scene, another chapter, another section. Because like the prophet Jeremiah,

If I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name’, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed, I cannot. Jer 20:9

I am no prophet, and my stories are not earth-shattering messages to God’s people, but there are stories within me that beg to be told. I have stories of God’s faithfulness and grace, of his love and provision for everyone and they burn to be told.

And yet, lack of faith holds me back. Faith in myself, in my words, and yes even in God. Even then, in my darkest place of despair, in that vast sea of hopelessness, He meets me there and encourages me.

Oh, faithless child
Your dreams are safe with me
Let go the chains that bind you
Yield them to my hand

Look close, you will see
That my dreams are also yours
I put the spark within you
To brighten up the night

So trust me, child
To lead you where you want to go
To feed your dreams of ‘someday’
And take you safely there

 

So while others may not understand the dream that I hold close and tight, a dream that I can barely speak of (unless it is couched in a joke) because it is too important to risk the attention of a ‘balloon buster’. I know that God understands the dream and the weakness that holds me back. And he will never bust my balloon, he is waiting for me to find the courage to release it so that He can make it come true.

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

Life Goes On

Did you ever notice how birthdays have a way of showing up every year? No matter how I hide or run, there it is waiting for me, same day every year.

Great. Super. I’m so excited.

Not.

But then, life isn’t so bad when you get right down to it. Sure, I have the cheapest dumb phone available. Sure, I sit home, day after day, trapped with no vehicle because my husband feels that he actually has to go to work. Sure, my kids come home, interrupt my work to tell me about their day and proceed to dirty the dishes I had just washed, again. Even with all that and more- life is pretty darn good.

My dumb phone is nevertheless a working phone ensuring that when my kids or someone else needs me, they can reach me. Since my number is given to a chosen few, I am not swamped with calls that are not important. My dumb phone can even text, which for me, who hates to actually talk on the phone, is a wondrous thing. Now if I could just get to the point where I can make appointments and sell stuff by text instead of phone or face to face, I would be on cloud nine.

I sit home without a car most days, but I also have this lovely computer that allows me to do what I love, write. Day after day, I sit here and write my own stories or critique the ones my friends have written. In this way, I can add to the stockpile of well written words that millions can access for entertainment and encouragement. Added to that, I have a husband who supports my literary efforts and has a strong work ethic, even at a job he hates. He agrees that it is important for me to stay home and focus my efforts on my writing and raising our kids even if a second income would help pay nagging bills.

My kids come home from school everyday with their noise and their appetites. but I am grateful they have food to eat, a good school to learn stuff in and maybe best of all, they feel comfortable enough with me that they can tell me the ups and downs of their day. How many moms have teenagers who actually like to spend time with her? I am blessed.

Now my birthday looms over the horizon and as I look at the halfway point of another decade I realize something. I am far from where I wanted to be when I reached this point. But where I am . . . with all its trials and blessings. . . . is right where I want to be. Not that I wouldn’t mind some of those fancy electronic gadgets, or my own vehicle, or a maid to do those darn dishes-again. I am human enough to want such things. But when you get right down to brass tacks;

Life is Good . . .

Spring Pond1