…our inner lights increased…

“The Creator of our souls had left a part of Him inside us, and the more we responded to and came to resemble Him, the more our inner lights increased.”
The Messenger by Siri Mitchell


I love that fiction is often more than just a story to enjoy. I love how amazing authors can seamlessly deal with truth through a character’s life, actions and story. In Siri Mitchell’s The Messenger, a Quaker woman (known for pacifism) must choose to save her brother or remain silent during the Revolutionary War. What ensues is an engaging story and in the midst of it wonderful life lessons.

This was one of my favorite quotes from the book. What do you think?


Coming Back Stronger | Drew Brees

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” C.S. Lewis

Well internet if you’re expecting anything negative in this review of Coming Back Stronger, then you don’t even know me. A) The Saints and B) Drew Brees. We all know how I feel about the Saints and the jersey I own proudly displays #9.

But, to keep it real and unbiased, I would have loved this book even if I wasn’t a Saints fan. It’s a powerful and well-written story. I cried. Not only because of his personal story, but what New Orleans meant to him and his wife as well as what they meant for the city. I was once again reminded how sports can sometimes become more than just a game, but a vehicle that brings together a community through adversity.


In the aftermath of one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history, the city of New Orleans needed a hero.

What they got was a Saint.

When a potentially career-ending shoulder injury left quarterback Drew Brees without a team—and facing the daunting task of having to learn to throw a football all over again—coaches around the NFL wondered, Will he ever come back? After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, leaving more than 80 percent of the city underwater, many wondered, Will the city ever come back? And with their stadium transformed into a makeshift refugee camp, forcing the Saints to play their entire 2005 season on the road, people questioned, Will the Saints ever come back? It takes a special person to turn adversity into success and despair into hope—yet that is exactly what Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees has done—and with the weight of an entire city on his shoulders. Coming Back Stronger is the ultimate comeback story, not only of one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, but also of a city and a team that many had all but given up on. Brees’s inspiring message of hope and encouragement proves that with enough faith, determination, and heart, you can overcome any obstacle life throws your way and not only come back, but come back stronger.

“Was I going to quit or come back stronger? I chose to come back.”

The prologue kicks off with Brees sharing about the injury that changed his life and career. And Lord have mercy on all of ours souls, did I get the chills. Not because it’s overly gruesome or anything like that, but if you’ve ever had an injury in sports, you know that feeling. Not only the pain of the injury, but the emotions of it too.

“Adversity is actually an opportunity. It’s a gift, though it may not look like it in the moment. The difficulties life throws at you can be a doorway to something better-something you hadn’t even dreamed was possible.”

Throughout the book, Brees shares with refreshing honesty about his struggles, his faith, what brought them to New Orleans, giving back to the community, his family (definitely cried as he shared about his mom’s suicide) and there’s plenty of football goodness as well.

“God created each one of us for a purpose…When people think you’re not big enough, not smart enough, not wise enough, or not experienced enough for a task, remember that faith will carry you through. The test of adversity is one that is fought with faith.”

“God’s refining process is never easy. It’s kind of like a blacksmith creating a sword. The metal is strengthened when it is repeatedly put in the fire and then pounded with a hammer. But the end result is perfection. All the heat and pounding create a strength and beauty, not only on the outside, but especially on the inside.”

I know I’m a Saints fan, so I already love this team, but even if you aren’t, you can’t help but feel the emotions (or tear up on an airplane in my case), as Brees describes what it meant to return to the Dome for the first time since Katrina hit, watching a video of Katrina devastation, and what the team meant to the city.

Any sports fan will appreciate and enjoy this book and I definitely recommend it! If interested in finding out more about the Brees Dream Foundation, be sure to check it out! Who is one of your favorite sports personalities? Or if sports aren’t your thing, who would you love to read an autobiography of?

Oh and Who Dat!!


Snow on the Tulips | Liz Tolsma

So some of the grad research I did was about the Nazi resistance in Germany during World War II. So, as you can imagine, I was quite willing to read a book about Nazi resistance. And as it would turn out, Snow on the Tulips by New York Times bestseller Liz Tolsma is a fantastic read!

A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.


I first need to let y’all know, this is based on true events. The book just bumped up a few more points of awesome. One of my favorite aspects of the novel was Tolsma didn’t shy away from including all aspects of the war. Innocent people died at the hands of a wicked regime and families were torn apart. People who risked their lives to do good were killed. She even dealt with the different Christian responses (i.e. some refusing to resist authorities). It’s an honest look at a dark time in the world’s history.

But there’s a beautiful story among the chaos and I enjoyed both Cornelia and Gerrit’s stories. There were some incredibly brave men and women who resisted and I love to see a well-written story showing that.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced and great story, I recommend grabbing a copy of this one (and if you check out below, you can win one!). So what’s one of your favorite time periods?

(Thank you Litfuse and Thomas Nelson for the Advanced Reader Copy! I was provided a copy in exchange for my honest opinion).

Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulips, by giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what other readers are saying about the book here.

One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz’s blog. Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz’s blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)

…Every coin in the case looked different after that…

“In his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning writes, “We are all equally privileged but unentitled beggars at the door of God’s mercy.” I thought of that as person after person walked past without donating or even making eye contact. I felt my frustration rising until I realized how unentitled I was. No one deserves mercy. And no one walking by owed us a die. Mercy is, by definition, undeserved, or else it isn’t mercy.

Every coin in the case looked different after that.”
Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski


This is the true story of a young man searching what it means to be homeless in America and it’s a fabulous book I highly recommend to anyone and everyone. “By his own choice, Mike’s life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag and a guitar, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities—from Washington D.C. to San Diego.”

Have you read this book? What do you think of the quote? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Captive Maiden | Melanie Dickerson

Much like Marissa Meyer does a fabulous job with fairy tales set in futuristic/sci-fi times in The Lunar Chronicles, Melanie Dickerson brings to life classic fairy tales with the same intrigue, twists and captivating writing. Only her backdrop? Centuries past. And you know how I feel about all things historical!

You’ll find her latest (releasing next month on November 19th!), The Captive Maiden, has a very Cinderella vibe, but with a touch of Ivanhoe and twists of her own.


Happily Ever After …Or Happily Nevermore? Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke’s son, Valten—the boy she has daydreamed about for years—is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

I thought it was such a sweet tale and for those who love fairy tales, you’ll love this one too! I kinda need to go and watch Disney’s Cinderella now. What I really appreciate about Melanie’s writing is they are stories I’d gladly let young girls and teenagers read. Bringing to life such a classic story isn’t an easy task, but she does it with ease. Young women will be reminded that some things are worth the wait, worth fighting for and even when life tries to say otherwise, they are valued.

The good news too is you don’t have to be YA to enjoy this YA. I enjoyed it myself! It releases next month, so be sure to pre-order it today!

(Thank you Zondervan for the advanced review copy in exchange for my honest review!)


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