Saturday, July 21, 2018

My Bookshelf: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, Miss Permilia Griswold has finally figured out a way to pass the time at all the New York high-society events she attends. Under the pseudonym “Miss Quill,” she is the author of society gossip columns filled with tidbits only an insider in society—albeit one on the fringes—would know.
When she overhears a threat against Mr. Asher Rutherford, the owner of one of the most up-and-coming department stores in the city, she’s determined to warn him. But the irritatingly handsome man doesn’t believe her, leaving her no choice but to take matters into her own hands. What she doesn’t anticipate is that she’ll end up putting herself at risk in the process—or that she and Mr. Rutherford, a man with secrets of his own, just might end up joining forces after all.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

This Isn't Love

Can I ask a serious question this morning? I’m hoping it’s not too early for what I have to say, because I have been thinking about this a lot in my life, and I am sure there are some people who need to hear it. I know I need to hear it, and I’m the one writing it. I just hope people will take the time to open their hearts to what I have to say instead of shutting them down with the familiar “Everything is fine just the way that it is” and “I’m fine, I don’t need to change.” I just recently read a book that I know is going to stick with me for quite some time, and when it doesn’t anymore I am going to read it again so that it does. This book, this fictional story at that, has taught me more about loving others and living my life than many sermons and Bible lessons ever have. So I’m working on an a series about not living with “shut down” hearts, and I think this is my first step, though this one is more my own and has a lot less to do with what I read about in that book (the review of which will come at some point, when I’ve finally stopped being behind on all my reviews).

(This picture is from a recent trip I took to Nashville, Tennessee to do mission work there. THAT taught me about love. I'll have to tell you all about it in my upcoming posts, I just thought it was fitting.) 

Why do we—those of us who claim to be Christians especially—allow ourselves to treat others the way that we do? Why is it that instead of first speaking to others with kindness, love, and compassion, we are always quick to judge, to snap at others, to raise our voices and say something nasty, either with just our tone or even with our actual words? Where is our patience? Where is our human decency? I know that sounds a little harsh, and that sometimes we can be provoked, but I haven’t even gotten to that yet. I’m just talking about the way that we all—myself included—let our emotions and what is going on in our lives, our personal ones that we probably don’t even tell other people about, change the way we talk to those very same people.
Just because I’m frustrated about something doesn’t give me the right to be frustrated at someone else who is just trying to help, whether I want their help or not, whether they’re doing it right or not, it just doesn’t matter. Just because I’m tired and I’ve had a long day doesn’t mean I get to get annoyed at every little thing and snap at anyone who does something annoying. Just because I’m sick and tired of something doesn’t mean I get to act like I’m also sick and tired of anything someone else has to say. Since when do we feel that we are allowed to treat others however we feel like at the time? Since when are our emotions allowed to dictate how well we love another person, how well we live out “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, NIV)?
Let me tell you something friends, this is not love! This is NOT fulfilling God’s commandment! And this is definitely not how Christ would have treated others. Even when provoked, He never did anything out of anger, so why are we acting out of anger, frustration, and any other emotion we have, especially when we’re not being provoked? I understand that we’re human, and Jesus is the Son of God, but we can’t let that be our excuse anymore. What ever happened to living our best lives? What ever happened to trying our hardest to be like Jesus? What ever happened to simply loving others the way He loves us (John 15:12, paraphrased)? Cause let me tell you, this isn’t it.
Loving others means putting them first, no matter what kind of day you’re having, even if they never put you first in return. In fact, love doesn’t even do anything for what it will get in return. Does Jesus dying for sinners who will never, ever accept Him sound like it does? Love means just taking your time—taking a second really—to think about what you are saying and how it will make others feel before you say it. Before you use that tone. Because just like those people never know what kind of day you have been having, or how tired and frustrated and angry you are, you never know what kind of day they have been having either. You see, this goes both ways. It’s not just you.
Words hurt. Believe me, I know. As someone who lived a good portion of her adolescent years believing the lie that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t fun enough, just wasn’t enough, I KNOW how a small, simple little word can mean so much more to the person who hears it. You have NO IDEA what someone else is going through, even if you think you do, even if they’ve told you all their secrets. Because no matter how much truth they share, you will NEVER be able to understand what they are feeling, even if you think you’ve felt some of the same heartbreaks yourself. The feelings are always different. The way they affect different people is always different, even in the smallest of ways.
That is just one of the reasons why it is SO extremely important that we are careful about the way that we treat others! Because it’s not just what you say and the tone you use when you say it—even though those two things alone can be enough to hurt someone and break down even just a tiny piece of your relationship with them. But it’s also what those words, that tone, mean in light of everything else that’s going on in their lives. Just like we speak out of frustration even if our frustration comes from a totally different situation that we’ve brought into the conversation with us, our frustrated words can bring hurt to those we are speaking to because of the other hurt they have tearing them up inside that may or may not even have anything to do with the kind of frustration you’re showing. We’re just compiling the hurt, adding more pain on top of the pain they already have to carry. Why, why would we do that? Why would we EVER want to cause someone additional pain?
Because we’ve never thought about it that way. We’re too busy thinking about ourselves.
I could go on for so much longer about this topic. But I’m not, I want to give you some time to think about what I’ve already said. Though I’ve got a lot more where that came from, and I will be beginning to scratch the surface with these upcoming “open heart” posts. Because I want us to live lives that we love. I want us to live alive. Not these dead shells that we’ve been living in, with our shut down hearts and our lost childlike wonder and innocence. So, do me a favor, and really think about what I’ve said. Let it change you. Because God didn’t call us to be the same, He knows we all could use a little refining. It’s a good thing, you know. So, be refined. Love people. And come back next week if you want to hear more like this, and maybe even if you don’t, because it just might be what God wants you to hear.

May God bless you and keep you,

Mackenzie Carol

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Novellas

Happy Tuesday! This Top Ten Tuesday is about favorite books again—which if you know me you love talking about my favorite books—but with a little bit of a different twist. Today we’re talking about our favorite novellas which is something I haven’t really written much about on the blog before. However, I have read quite a few novellas in the past, many of which were part of some of my favorite series, so I’m so glad I have the chance to share them with you today!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018

Happy Tuesday! First, before I get to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, let me say that if it seems like I have been somewhat absent on my blog for the past few days, that’s because I have been, though not by choice. My laptop apparently decided it was time to stop being the trusty little laptop it usually is, and completely stopped charging, no matter what I did to it. Fortunately, my dad knows everything about computers and was able to identify quickly what the problem was, but we had to order the new part it needed which meant I was without a computer for most of the week. But now my laptop is charging beautifully again, and I’m back just in time for one of my favorite Top Ten Tuesday posts. Today we’re talking all about some of the best books we have read so far this year, and since I have read quite a few phenomenal ones, the only hard part about this list was figuring out how to keep it to only ten! Check out these fantastic novels! Oh, and if anything sounds interesting to you, you can check out my full reviews just by clicking on the coral-colored titles!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Happy July! This is another linkup post that I haven’t done in quite some time, but I am so excited to be back to writing Currently posts once again! I’ve been up to so many things lately, but for today I’ll just keep it to the recommended topics. This month I am currently…

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Red, White, and Blue Covers

It’s Tuesday again! And, since it is the day before our nations Independence Day, today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a special one to honor the holiday. Although I haven’t participated in many Top Ten Tuesday topics that have focused on covers in the past, I do love a good cover, and that has been what has helped me to pick out some books that I might not have read otherwise. Besides that, this is such a fun way to begin the celebration a day early, so I am excited to be a part of this post all about red, white, and/or blue book covers! Here are some books I found on my lists that fit that description.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Bookshelf: Storm Front by Susan May Warren

Life and love hang in the balance during a deadly summer of storms.
A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community, and among the missing are not only a group of students but also PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved—and lost—walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.
A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked—no ran—from over a year ago. She had her reasons—good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up—not on the missing students or on her.