Why I Never Made a Future Spouse Checklist (And Things to Consider Before Making Yours)

Why I Never Made a Future Spouse Checklist (And Things to Consider Before Making Yours)

Happy Saturday, everyone. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been on somewhat of a relationship-topic kick lately. When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved, Crushes + True Love: Twenty-Seven Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Twelve, and random posts I’ve been stumbling across online have gotten me thinking about what love truly is.

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When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved

When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved

 

Maybe it’s a silly notion. Though I’m sure we’ve all felt it.

 

Unworthy. Undeserving. Afraid of not being enough. Not good enough to be loved.

 

Because deep down, we know we’re not truly “good,” in and of ourselves – and that’s a terrifying thought. But that fear doesn’t have to destroy us.

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Crushes + True Love: Twenty-Seven Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Twelve

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Part of what makes teenagers so complex is our emotions. When we’re young kids, we feel pretty much three things: happy, sad, and angry.

 

And then by the time we’re twelve or thirteen things really start to change – and we feel things like infatuation (which we can often confuse with love) and deeper emotions like stress and anxiety that confuse us so much, especially as young teens.

 

Like most people my age, I started noticing myself and others more, and was curious about boys, crushes, dating, and true love.

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Four Life Lessons from SoulFest 2015

SoulFest 2015

Good morning, my friends.

Just as a heads up, this post is going to be shorter than usual, for it is already 1:30am on Friday night as I’m starting to write this and I’m exhausted and about to pass out. That delicious chocolate hazelnut coffee I had at 9pm has stopped working, so I’m on the verge of collapsing.

I’ve been at SoulFest in New Hampshire since Thursday, and Friday night I was at an amazing show until midnight. Hehehehe.

So as a tribute to this amazing annual Christian music festival…I’ve gathered up a few life lessons to take home with me and share with you.

  1. The Gospel is NOT something to be ashamed of.

Over and over again, artists and speakers alike are sharing their faith in front of thousands of people. You know why? Because the Gospel changes lives from the inside out. It’s not a cult…it’s a relationship with the Creator of the universe; a relationship that we were made to crave. It’s so amazing, and so inspiring when someone shares their story, because it is so true that we will never be satisfied in life until we know the love of God.

  1. God sees us as beautiful, and there are no mistakes.

We all have a story being written. There are no mistakes written by the pen of God, only beautiful purpose. And beauty comes from broken things, like us. We’re all sinners, saved by the amazing grace of God. We are seen as flawless in the eyes of our Creator, for our being saved has absolutely nothing to do with what we’ve done. His perfection is given to us, for He is the picture of love.

  1. God isn’t finished.

Just because life is dark, it doesn’t mean the night will last forever. The sun hasn’t died. His love for us is as sure as the sun, as is His purpose.

He never will leave or forsake us, and He can see it all. Like a song I heard live today says, “To You, my future is a memory.” (Already There by Casting Crowns)

He isn’t finished. Just keep trusting!

  1. God can use anyone.

Our life purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be singing on a stage in front of thousands of people, or it might be. Our ultimate life purpose is to bring glory to God and others to know Him, so whether that’s singing every day for a living, being a light in your school, raising kids as a stay-at-home-mom, or whatever it may be, God will use all of us. Are we willing?

When I come to full consciousness, I will have more to say. But for now, I do not, and I’m just going to ponder these four truths in my mind for a while (*cough cough* as I sleep).

Enjoy your lovely Saturday. I’m praying for all of you!

*aj

Book Thursdays: BLOG TOUR – A Dream Not Imagined Review

Blog Tour Banner

Hey everyone!!

This week, I have a wonderful new book to share with you. It’s A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu. Today through the 31st are the days of her blog tour to spread the word about it! And I’m REALLY excited, because I got to pre-read and review this adorable tale.

Today is the release date!!! Congratulations, Shantelle!!! A Dream Not Imagined is such a wonderful story.

1A Dream Not Imagined Cover

About the Book

A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret…

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince.

In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

My Review:

As it is said in the previous paragraph, this story is a non-magic (but absolutely delightful!) fairytale loosely based on the story of Cinderella. Key word: loosely based. Honestly, if we knew exactly what was going to happen, where would be the fun in that?

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Ellie Abbington is our protagonist in this story. She has two snobby stepsisters, a strict stepmother, and an unloving father. Despite being abused by her family in her life as a maid, unaccepted by those of her flesh and blood, and not seeming to fit in amongst the other servants, Ellie maintains her sweet personality and is never one to argue back at the unfair demands of those around her. Ellie dreams of her future with Prince Charles, who notices her in a crowd of many. Could this be her dream to be noticed and loved coming true?

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A Dream Not Imagined is a novella strongly rooted in faith and true love. It’s not a fluff story, although you could read it that way if you wanted to (and get more out of it than you expect!). The story is lovely, and I truly have no objections to it whatsoever.

But there’s a twist.

Perhaps even the best dreams are the ones we haven’t even imagined yet. Our love stories are the most beautiful when we allow God to write and orchestrate them. This is the central theme of the book, and it makes the love story even better. *sighs with happiness*

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When I read it, I was soooooo not prepared for everything the story would entail. But it was so much fun! The ending made me cry so happily. (Side note: I was laying in my bed at the time that I was reading it and I felt tears slide all the way across my face and onto my pillow. Books that make me cry have to be REALLY good, so examine the evidence for yourself.)

As I’m writing it, I’m being reminded what a special tale this is (and I’m going to go read it again!). If you’d like to get your hands on A Dream Not Imagined, today is the day! Check out the giveaway at the bottom to enter to win it. And if you don’t win, well, it’s only $0.99, and a $0.99 that you will not regret spending. 🙂

About the Author

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Shantelle Mary Hannu was born in the mountainous west, spending her golden childhood years there. Since then, she has relocated time and again with her parents and seven siblings, making cherished memories in both the South and Central United States.
A Christian homeschool graduate, Shantelle has a passion for writing and all things books. From a young age she’s been penning tales with a hope of sharing with the world adventurous and soul-stirring stories that bring glory to God.
A Dream Not Imagined, a fairytale novella, is her first published book. She’s currently preparing a full-length fantasy novel for publication as well, and working on its sequel.
Shantelle blogs at A Writer’s Heart: http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/ about her stories, favorite books and movies (with reviews), healthy wheat-free recipes, and hosts fellow authors, among other things. One of her joys is connecting with fellow writers and readers! You can also find her on:

Facebook: Shantelle Mary Hannu, Author (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shantelle-Mary-Hannu/1622068488014168?ref=aymt_homepage_panel)

Twitter: @shantellemary (https://twitter.com/shantellemary)

Goodreads: Shantelle Mary Hannu (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13804303.Shantelle_Mary_Hannu)

Google+: Shantelle H. (https://plus.google.com/101772131563789927466/posts)

Pinterest: Shantelle H. (https://www.pinterest.com/h0160/)

Purchase as a kindle book on Amazon Now!
(http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Not-Imagined-Cinderella-Story-ebook/dp/B00Y1PUJH4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432257980&sr=8-1&keywords=shantelle+mary+hannu+6)

ADD TO GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25331538-a-dream-not-imagined?from_search=true

Giveaway!

Enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a kindle copy of A Dream Not Imagined and a $5 Amazon giftcard!
One winner will be chosen May 31st, and I will send the kindle book and gift card to their email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, May 28th

Shantelle Hannu at A Writer’s Heart (http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/) – It’s published!!!

Cookielover at The Story Forest (http://lulu-renee-writes.tumblr.com/) – Author Interview

Laura Pol at Crafty Booksheeps (http://craftybooksheeps.blogspot.com/) – Character Introduction

Amanda Beguerie at Scattered Journal Pages (https://scatteredjournalpages.com/) – Book Review

Kendra Ardnek at Knitted by God’s Plan (http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Natasha at Through My Lens (http://tashahphotography.blogspot.com/) – Character Interview with Cinderella

Kaycee Browning at The Pink Cave (http://thepinkcave.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Friday, May 29th

Deborah O’Carroll at The Road of a Writer (https://deborahocarroll.wordpress.com/) – Author ‘Cinderella-themed’ Interview

Claire Banschbach at The Overactive Imagination (https://clairembanschbach.wordpress.com/) – Book Review

Ghost Ryter at Anything, Everything (http://ghostryter.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Skye Hoffert at Ink Castles (http://skyehoffert.blogspot.ca/) – Character Interview with The Stepsisters

Natacha at Mi Baile Perfecto (https://mibaileperfecto.wordpress.com/) – Author Interview

Saturday, May 30th

Hannah Williams at The Writer’s Window (http://williamshsj.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Raechel at God’s Peculiar Treasure (https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com/) – Book Review

C.B. Cook at The World of the Writer (https://theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com/) – Character Interview with The Stepmother

Lena K. at Read, Write, Laugh, DANCE (https://readwritelaughdance.wordpress.com/) – Character Spotlight (The Fairy Godmother)

Sierra at Flights from the Aerie (http://flightsfromtheaerie.blogspot.com/) – Author Interview

Sunday, May 31st

Shantelle Mary Hannu at A Writer’s Heart (http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/) – Tour Wrap Up and Excerpt

What is True Love?

What is True Love?
Where does it come from? Is it Prince Charming sweeping Cinderella off her feet? Is it a romantic moonlit stroll on the beach? Is it chocolate and roses on Valentine’s Day?
 Is it getting the attention and affection that a girl wants? Is it getting the appreciation and respect that a guy wants?
How do we know what love really is?
Let me start out by saying that I want to be loved. Like really and truly loved. (Not that I’m not loved by my family. I *truly* am. But I mean that I want to be loved by someone who has absolutely no obligation to. I think most people seek after this love.)
I want someone to look deep into my eyes and say, “Amanda, you are worthy of love (which is actually what ‘Amanda’ means) and I love you with my whole heart.”
 Deep down, don’t we all want that in one way or another? I know that I do. (Maybe that’s just because I’m a girl. Whatever.) Acceptance. Love. Respect. Affection. Appreciation. We all want it! But – you’ll never find that PERFECT satisfaction in a person.
There is a love that I have found – true love – it goes deeper than any human love. Regardless of my performance, I am reached. Despite my everyday failures, I am pursued. This love died for me and is the only love that can satisfy. What love have I found? The perfect love of God.
We’ll never be truly satisfied until we set our hearts in the love of God. We can even be Christians and not do this! (Bad scenario, by the way.)
Our ultimate love and satisfaction should come from God’s love. I know this might sound cheesy, but I’ve learned to say, “I know how to be content in all circumstances, whether in a relationship or single, because my relationship with God is TRULY ALL I NEED to be satisfied.”
Last year, I sought to be noticed. I don’t think I understood then how useless that would prove to be! This year, I’m focusing on more important things – like loving my Heavenly Father and loving others. Why get into a dating relationship now? I have all that I need to be content…and even more, full of JOY.
Disclaimer: I do NOT know everything about love. And NOT AT ALL am I saying that a serious relationship or marriage is not fulfilling. From all the people I’ve talked to, marriage is truly wonderful (and personally I’m really looking forward to it!) but only God can satisfy our craving for love. Marriage is an expression of God’s love, not the fullness of it. The fullness of God’s love – Jesus’ death on the cross for us and therefore forgiveness, love, and acceptance – is truly satisfying.