Saturday, January 26, 2013

Audio Review: Les Miserables

About the Audio Drama: 
Les Miserables is one of the world's masterpieces. It enthralled audiences worldwide as a great a motion picture...and as a blockbuster musical play. Now, this mighty drama has been adapted as an epic production starring some of Britain's finest actors. True to Victor Hugo's original novel, this grand production follows the tale of Jean Valjean as he encounters first the savage injustice of the law, and the greatness and grace of God.

My Review:
Being a first time listener to Focus On The Family's Radio Theater, I didn't know what to expect for their rendition of Les Miserables. I've heard that Victor Hugo's novel and the recent movie was amazing and since I haven't been able to enjoy either, I hoped that this audio version would be equivalently amazing. It was!!!

Focus On The Family told this epic story in such a way that you have no problem imagining that you are sitting on the sidelines, watching as the story unfolds. The powerful sound effects give eyes to your ears and you become enamored with the "good" characters, even though you are only hearing their voices. Background sounds like horse hooves or gunfire could be heard as well, adding to the feeling of "being there."

Though I cannot give full credit to Focus On The Family for the story, plot and characters, because they were Victor Hugo's original work, I was moved by their take on Jean Valjean's life. I was so inspired to find that a simple act of kindness by Bishop Myriel of Digne was what God used to turn Jean's life around. It encourages me to show the light and love of Christ more often, even to the "least of these."

I highly recommend that you hear Focus On The Family's Radio Theater version of Les Miserables. Listeners become emotionally attached to Jean Valjean, Cosette and Marius. Listeners are taken on and emotional journey as well as spiritual journey toward learning to forgive. I'd rate this audio drama 5 out of 5 stars! I am eagerly awaiting another audio drama by Focus On The Family.

I received this audio drama from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Diary Entry 0001

Thursday January 10, 2013

This may sound strange, especially because I am a teenage girl who is supposed to have a lot on her mind: In the fifteen years of my life, I have yet to keep a successful diary. Sure, I have had tons of cute little journals in which I've written a few sporadic entries - but where are they now? After re-reading "Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl" I felt somewhat inspired to begin dairy writing again. This spiral bound notebook is nothing fancy or formal; it's just a place for me to write everyday happenings, my thoughts and misc. ramblings.

Today was a good day. I woke up at 9:45-ish and began homeschooling shortly after. In English I wrote an expository essay with the theme "Helpers For A Greater Cause." It shed light on the contributions women made during the American Revolution. That was definitely fun and I learned so much!

For now I"ll say good-bye but I hope to keep this dairy- writing thing going.

Until later entries,
Kianna Rose

The above entry is an actual entry that I wrote in my diary. I've never been very consistent in writing but I hope that I can successfully stay on track with this one. Ever so often, I want to share with you all snippets of my diary entries and I give you permission to hold me accountable. (Feel free to remind me to write and blog those entries!)

Monday, January 7, 2013

This Little Light of Mine...

I'm gonna let it shine...

We all know that catchy 1920's song but are we really living it out? Yes, we hum it, sing it at Sunday School and maybe even have it as our ringtone but do we understand the task that we, as Christians have to let our light shine?

In the Bible we read,

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

Hmm... Letting my light shine sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? But what is the light?

Jesus said, I am the light of the world in John 8:12 and the light that shines in the darkness in John 1:5. Paul speaks of the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ in 2 Corinthians 4:4. Moses had the light after speaking with God in Exodus 34:29.

The light is what differentiates us as children of God. The light shows others the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. The light reveals that He we have a wonderful and mighty Savior who was, and is and is to come. The light tells others that we have been redeemed and bought with the precious blood of Jesus. The light is an internal joy that no one can steal.

So, we know that the light is Jesus and as children of God, we have that light in us. I encourage you, shine from the inside. Shine the light of Jesus. Shine the love, compassion, grace, and mercy that embodies who He is. I dare you!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Recipes: Cream Cheese Cookies

I am always looking for simple recipes that I can make in a pinch. When I found and tried this cookie recipe, I knew I had to share it. 

In this recipe, cream cheese and butter team up to create deliciously flaky, tender cookies with just the slightest tang.
You'll need:
1stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour 

1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar on high speed for three minutes.

2. Add the vanilla, egg yolk and salt and mix at low speed until blended. Mix in flour at low speed until incorporated.

3. Let the dough chill for a bit in the fridge. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with wax paper.

4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheet. 

optional: sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar

5. Bake the cookies for 10-20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool. 

6. Serve with a tall glass of cold milk and enjoy!

If you want to get that cute little circular shape I got, just use the cap of a three-liter soda bottle.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: The Lesson

About the Book:
Nineteen-year-old Mary Kate Lapp yearns for adventure, but all she seems to find is trouble. Her dreams of travel have taken a backseat to her assignment to teach school this year. And nothing ever seems to happen in her sleepy Amish community.

But when a sudden and unexplained death conveniently coincides with the arrival of a mysterious young man, M.K. is frustrated that no one takes it seriously. She's determined to take matters into her own hands and get to the bottom of it. Will she find more than she bargained for?

My Review:
How I have waited for the final book to the Stoney Ridge Seasons series! M.K. Lapp has been my favorite character since the beginning of the series and whose story I was most interested in reading. 

Suzanne Woods Fisher did an amazing job developing the character of Mary Kate Lapp. M.K. is  a spunky, restless soul who longs to travel and loves to use big words. The reader is immediately drawn in by M.K.'s written thoughts and her comical persona. I loved M.K.'s detective intuition. It made her stand out as a character. All of her positive, negative, and some-where-in-between attributes make M.K. a very relatable, likable and amusing character that I came to love from the first book in the series to the last page of this book. I also admired M.K.'s journey toward maturity, making decisions and paving her own way. Deep down, I can tell that M.K has a good heart and wants to help in anyway she can, despite her tendency to jump to conclusions. 

I think that the plot of The Lesson was the best by far. The first page immediately draws the reader into a murder scene that M.K is trying to solve. The addition of a secretive young man who, of course, is probed into answering questions, adds another layer of interest. Jimmy Fisher, witty, humorous and too handsome for his own good, keeps things interesting the whole way through. And lastly, the secret pasts of certain characters and the problems they are trying to hide add a mysterious element. All of the characters were well-developed and grew to be ones that the reader can relate to and love.

Suzanne ended the book appropriately and in a satisfying manner but I secretly hoped that M.K. would end up marrying a new and improved Jimmy Fisher. Chris Yoder was a more suitable spouse for M.K. He was loving, compassionate and extremely protective of those he loved. He was careful and always a step ahead, trying to fix the problems of his past and protect his sister.

Aside from being thoroughly entertained by this story, I also found inspiration, especially on page 6 with the quote, "Every now and then, life throws you something you'd never have chosen in a million years."

If you're looking for an amazing read, don't hesitate to pick up The Lesson. You'll laugh, cry and become emotionally attached to every character, even Fern. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars for overall experience, plot, characters and lessons learned.

I received The Lesson from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Have Big Plans For 2013

At the beginning for last year, 2012, I created a list of goals here. Over the course of the twelve months that followed, I learned an impactful lesson: be disciplined. Being disciplined plays a major role in our everyday lives and influences our everyday choices. I was able to complete many, almost every goal I set for myself, all for HIS glory. 

For 2013, I've revised my list and have set 9 reasonable goals that I hopefully can complete by the end of the year.

What are some of your hopes and goals for the new year?

I hope that all of you had a wonderful New Years Day and have a blessed 2013!!!
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