Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 TBR Pile Challenge - Final Count

Create your own banner at!

I guess you're wondering how I did this year.
I didn't finish the pile, but I did get through most of it.

Since my last update I have read:

  • Cast of Characters by Max Lucado
  • Every Day Deserves a Chance by Max Lucado
  • God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
  • Where Jesus Walked by Ken Duncan
  • Glory of Creation by Thomas Kinkade
  • Reflections of a Thankful Heart by Lori Wick
With these ones being finished, it means I read all but 5 of the list, which means 24 out of 29.
Of course, this was just some of my reading for the year. I actually read a total of 140 books for the year.

How did your year finish up? Did you achieve your reading goals? Did you get through your TBR pile?

Stay tuned for next year's challenge!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Reading Wrap-Up

So, Christmas is over and so is my Christmas reading - the last book was finished this morning.

Following on from my last update (you can see it here):

A couple of compilations came next, the first was That Christmas Feeling by Catherine Palmer and Gail Gaymer Martin. Followed by A Victorian Christmas Tea by Catherine Palmer, Dianna Crawford, Peggy Stoks and Katherine Chute.

Then came my favourite Christmas book - I've read it every year since it came out in 2010.
Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K Paul.

My last Christmas book for this year is not strictly a Christmas story although most of the book does take place at Christmas time. The Substitute Guest by Grace Livingston Hill.

So what books did you read over this Christmas season?
Are there any that you read every year?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

When Santa Learned the Gospel

When Santa learned the gospel, he first heard it from an elf.
This tiny Santa’s helper had just learnt of it himself.
A child had asked for Christmas to receive a Bible book.
This elf had made one in the shop, then paused to have a look.
He read all about Jesus and the call to follow him.
He learned how Jesus lived and taught and died to pay for sin.
He learned how Jesus rose again and how he will return
And then this elf read how he should respond to all he’d learned.
He shut the book, put down his tools, then closed his eyes and prayed.
Right there and then this little elf trusted in Christ that day.
The next day he told Santa. It was awkward, unprepared.
He knew he didn’t know that much, but what he knew he shared.
He told Santa the gospel. It was simple. It was short.
But a seed was sown in Santa’s heart, which grew into a thought.
Santa reflected on his life and the message he supported,
Then compared it to the gospel that the elf had just reported.
He’d always thought that everyone was naughty or was nice.
He had them all on two big lists. He even checked it twice.
He’d always thought that you got gifts only if you’d been good.
The naughty kids got lumps of coal. That’s what he understood.
They’d all line up in shopping malls and sit upon his knee
And claim that they were always nice. As nice as nice can be.
Of course, he saw them when they slept and knew when they awoke.
He also knew their nice attempts were pretty much a joke.
Their heads were filled not with nice thoughts of kindness, peace and joy,
But with the never-ending list of their desired toys.
He knew their hearts, but he had thought, “They’re trying to be good.
That’s good enough to make the list. Otherwise no one would!”
So every year their “good enough” with toys would be rewarded.
And every year (he realised) this message he supported:
That was the message that he knew, but now he knew another.
He had just heard the gospel. So he compared them to each other.
The message of the gospel turned his message upside down.
The good, the bad, naughty and nice, it switched it all around.
“There’s no one good but God alone” he’d heard Jesus concluded.
And those who claim they’re “good enough” are simply just deluded.
If there’s a list of who is “good”, the standard we’ve all missed.
And Santa saw that even he was on the naughty list.
That shook his world. That rocked his boat. That gripped him in his soul.
To think that even Santa Claus deserved a lump of coal.
But that was only half of what the gospel message said.
It also flipped what happened to the naughty on its head.
Instead of being written off as just not good enough.
The message to the naughty list was one of grace and love.
The gospel offered mercy to all those deserving coal.
The gospel offered forgiveness and cleansing of your soul.
The gospel told how Jesus died our death to pay the price
To reconcile us all to God – both naughty and the nice.
This offer was a real gift, unlike presents ‘neath the tree.
It was not earned by being good. It was offered for free.
For all his life Santa had claimed that if you had been bad
Then you would not get presents and your Christmas would be sad.
Santa compared his message with this new one he had learned.
His message said you get the presents your good deeds had earned.
The message of the gospel offered something so much greater…
Jesus had come to reconcile the world to their Creator.
When Santa grasped the gospel, he did not know what to do
And so the elf said nervously, “How ’bout I pray with you?”
Then that night at the North Pole, by the fire in his den,
With a simple prayer led by an elf, Santa was born again.
And now, in Christ, forgiven, free – his new life had begun
and Santa had a new message to share with everyone.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unexpected Christmas

I know I posted this last year, but I think it's a good reminder for every year.

God does unexpected things all the time!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Reading Part 2

As promised, I am letting you know what I've been reading that is Christmas themed. I'd originally planned to do this weekly, but my life has been crazy busy with finishing work for the year and some rather traumatic changes that are taking place.

So here we go ...

As you know my first book was The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson.

As a cat lover, this was fun! And surprisingly, the cat on the front cover looks a bit like my sister's cat!!

Next came Robin Jones Gunn's Christmas novellas: Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas.

 Back to Melody Carlson for the next 3: Christmas at Harringtons, The Christmas Shoppe and The Treasure of Christmas.

Moving on, Tracie Peterson's Silent Star.

And just finished this morning, we have Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Silent Night

Ken's Christmas Message 2014 - Silent Night from Ken Duncan Group on Vimeo.

Thank you Ken Duncan for your beautiful photography and for being willing to share it with us.
Make sure you watch this full screen so that you can really see these beautiful images!

Thursday, 4 December 2014