Posted in Thing 1 Rants

Thing 1 Introduces a (hopefully) Semi-regular New Segment: Thing 1’s Thoughts and Rants

Hello readers of Combing Through the Pages, it is I, Thing 1, the eldest of my mother’s children.

Wow. That was more dramatic than I thought it would be.

Anyway… I’m here to introduce a new segment of posts that I will be doing this summer that are just going to be me ranting about things that I feel strongly about or about some random thought that I recently had.

These posts will hopefully be posted on a semi-regular basis on Friday. I make no promises on that though cause I’m a procrastinator at heart and it’s hard to keep that in check when it’s summer. So apologies in advance if this segment ends up not happening that often, but I will try my best.

I do hope that you all will enjoy the rants and thoughts that I do end up posting about. And I hope that you’ll find them as entertaining as me and my mom do.

Posted in faith, foster care

What Jesus Feeding the 5,000 Taught Me About Fostering

We haven’t been fostering for very long. Our first placement came to stay with us in December 2017 and left the following November.

Of course, that’s the goal of foster care – to help keep families together by providing the guidance and resources necessary to make that happen…

But it doesn’t make life any easier or hurt any less when the children who’ve become a part of your family are no longer there. It almost killed me to say goodbye.

Time to grieve.

We decided to take some time to heal and mourn our loss after that first placement left.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop workers from contacting us to take in another placement. I couldn’t get upset or blame them. In our state (and many others) there is a severe shortage of foster families willing to take in foster children.

As hard as it was to say no, we just couldn’t open up our hearts and our home to another set of kids. We were still too broken.

The emotional roller coaster I went through during that time is incredibly hard to describe…

I deeply desired to take in every child they asked us about.

I missed having a house full of children running around all the time. It was way too quiet and the silence sometimes felt as if it would swallow me whole. I’d heard that phrase before, but it was the first time I actually understood it.

At the same time, I couldn’t imagine other children sleeping in the kids’ beds, playing with their toys, wearing the clothes they’d outgrown. And I knew I’d be comparing the “new” kids to the “old” ones, which wouldn’t be fair to any of us.

So we continued to turn down placements, convinced we were “doing the right thing.” And that saying no was “for the best.”

WWJD?

Our logic seemed infallible.

But as I sat alone one day, having my quiet time and reading the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Matthew, something changed. I saw something there I’d never noticed before…

If you’re not familiar with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, it goes as follows:

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® 

I’ve read this story more times than I can count. I’ve heard it preached on Sunday mornings, listened to podcasts, and watched videos on it.

To be honest, I’ve read and heard it so much I tend to gloss over the miracle part of it. Like, yeah, Jesus fed a bunch of people with just a little bit of food… it’s Jesus. He could do things like that.

But this story has never really hit me in a way that I could relate to. As a disciple, it’s not one I’ve drawn strength from or looked to for guidance — at least, not until now.

If you notice, the beginning of this story starts with “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” That’s important as to what took place in my heart that day reading this story and having it hit me like it was the first time I’d ever heard it…

What was it Jesus had heard happened? John the Baptist had just been killed. He was Jesus’ cousin and friend. He was the one who’d baptized him! Jesus loved him deeply and fiercely.

Jesus was in mourning.

He took a short time to grieve and pray, but he didn’t shut down or shut people out. He could’ve turned the crowd away. Everyone would’ve understood if he had.

But he didn’t.

He took care if them, providing for their physical and spiritual needs despite his grief. If it was me, I wouldn’t have had any desire to care for the twelve apostles, much less some huge crowd I knew was gonna turn on me soon!

I wasn’t doing the same. I was wallowing in my own pain and grief and not willing to be Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth in the way He called me to be.

But were we “ready”?

I was already feeling the urge to take in more kids despite my heartache by this time. I felt a little lost and incomplete. Fostering is the one thing I’ve known, without doubt, that God has called me to. I felt selfish taking a break before my “WWJD” revelation.

But my husband didn’t feel the same. Neither did our kids.

Each time a call or text would come through, I’d start preparing in my head for new arrivals. Then I’d talk with the rest of the family about it and realize…it’s just too soon. Not only were we still dealing with loss, we had other issues we were also dealing with and taking in more kids during this time just didn’t make sense.

I think there are certain moments that the Lord just puts everything in place and softens hearts to bring him glory. The day I had the above heart change, He did just that.

I talked to my husband when he got home from work about accepting the next foster placement…and he agreed! This might not sound significant to you, but believe me, it was!!!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

We’re currently blessed with a new foster child in our home. She’s been here for about 3 months now and we’re enjoying every minute of having her here (even during the late night screaming parties).

I wanted to share this because I found it funny when I thought about it later. Jesus providing for 5,000 over 2,000 years ago led me to see past my own pain and provide for someone in need now. And out of all the passages in the bible about caring for orphans, widows, the least of these, etc., the one that pierced my heart never mentions them.

What do you think? Have you ever been surprised by what you’ve gotten from a seemingly random piece of scripture? Let me know your thoughts below!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019

Wow! It’s been a super long time since I’ve done one of these posts! Excited to get back into the swing of things though.

So… Happy Wednesday!!! 🎉 It’s time once again for WWW Wednesday ! WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.
Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Published by Chartwell Books on November 26, 2015
ISBN: 0785833501
Pages: 202
Goodreads
Synopsis

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the unfinished record of Benjamin Franklinâ??s life written by Franklin himself and is one of the most influential examples of an autobiography ever written. Franklinâ??s account of his life is divided into four parts, reflecting the different periods at which he wrote them.

The first publication of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Part One, was published in Paris, in French in 1791. It wasn't until 1818 that the full version of Franklinâ??s autobiography was published by his grandson, William Temple Franklin, who did not include Part Four because he has previously traded away the original holograph of the Autobiography for a copy that contained only the first three parts. In addition, Franklinâ??s grandson felt free to make stylistic revisions to his grandfatherâ??s autobiography. W.T. Franklin's text was the standard version of the Autobiography for half a century, until John Bigelow purchased the original manuscript in France and in 1868 published the most reliable text that had yet appeared, including the first English publication of Part Four.

This edition of Autobiography of Ben Franklin comes from the original manuscript of Ben Franklinâ??s Memoirs and is presented in its entirety for enjoyment by all English speakers.

I’ve finally started reading through the Harvard Classics, which was a part of my 2019 reading goals. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the first book on the list. I’ve actually read this one a few times now, but taking the opportunity to read it again 1) because I love it so much and 2) because I feel like not reading it is cheating on my personal challenge to read all the Harvard Classics.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Published by Harper on June 28, 2016
ISBN: 0062300547
Pages: 257
Goodreads
Synopsis

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

I received an ARC of Appalachian Reckoning from WVU Press, but I’ve never read Hillbilly Elegy before. I figured to be fair, I should read this first. So far, I have very mixed feelings about it.

What I recently finished reading:

Reviews will be posted soon for most of these so I won’t be saying much here.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Healer (Truth Seer Trilogy) by Kay L Moody
on January 7, 2019
ISBN: 1792918283
Goodreads
Synopsis

Cairo 2121. The city is failing.

To save it, all they need is a list.

A list that has the names needed to take down the slave cartel that targets orphans. A list that’s impossible to find.

In an unfamiliar city, Imara attempts to secure the list, but her efforts are thwarted again and again by a man who grips Cairo with terror and control.

She joins a security team, hoping to save Cairo and her new boyfriend’s business all at the same time. With the team’s numbers dwindling more each day, they prepare for an upcoming event to attract new recruits to help them hunt down the list and stop the terror for good.

But then, their efforts get hijacked by an old threat and their problems multiply. Now, Imara faces a man who enslaves orphans and a woman who craves revenge. As the fight progresses, she’s forced to make an impossible choice:

Fix the mistakes of her past… or save the city?

Healer is the 2nd book in the Truth Seer Trilogy.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Breakthrough: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection by Joyce Smith, Ginger Kolbaba
Published by FaithWords on March 12, 2019
ISBN: 1546010602
Pages: 256
Goodreads
Synopsis

The impossible true story about the powerful impact of prayer that inspired the major motion picture starring Chrissy Metz, Topher Grace, Dennis Haysbert, and Josh Lucas.
Through the years and the struggles, when life seemed more about hurt and loss than hope and mercy, God was positioning the Smiths for something extraordinary--the death and resurrection of their son.

When Joyce Smith's fourteen-year-old son John fell through an icy Missouri lake one winter morning, she and her family had seemingly lost everything. At the hospital, John lay lifeless for more than sixty minutes. But Joyce was not ready to give up on her son. She mustered all her faith and strength into one force and cried out to God in a loud voice to save him.

Miraculously, her son's heart immediately started beating again.

In the coming days, John would defy every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction. Sixteen days after falling through the ice and being clinically dead for an hour, he walked out of the hospital under his own power, completely healed.

Breakthrough is about a profound truth: prayer really does work. God uses it to remind us that He is always with us, and when we combine it with unshakable faith, nothing is impossible.

Previously published as The Impossible.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Blood on Fire (Blood Arcana #1) by Monica P. DePaul
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on July 22, 2012
ISBN: 1478277416
Pages: 260
Goodreads
Synopsis

My name is Amy Able. I used to be just a scrawny geek...until that morning. I was in a daze, with no memory of recent events. Sunlight burned, I had fangs, and I hungered for blood. What happened? Why did I turn into a vampire?Then I got that call from my worried friends and the invite to go see the Lupia concert with them. I cautiously accepted, but it turned sour when I uncontrollably bit my best friend and a strange enemy, representing a group under the command of someone called "The Fool," attacked Lupia.By mastering my newfound strength and power over fire, I can fight back. I also have my uniquely talented friends-modern warlock Will Jadis and lovely sharpshooter Amelia Valentine-and together we can defend Lupia and our hometown from these vicious vampires, one of whom is that hulking beast from my past.To complicate matters further, mom and dad are missing, those jerk journalists won't leave me alone, and I still have to survive school, where I must now brave deadly sunlight and the continued stares of my classmates. What did I do to deserve this?

Because Blood on Fire is a book I’m currently working on for audiobook, I’ll be talking about it more later but won’t be writing an actual review. (However, if you’re interested in receiving a review copy of the audiobook, once available, then please contact me.)

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019The Rose Diary by Curtis Maynard
on March 26, 2019
Pages: 201
Goodreads
Synopsis

A young girl dies mysteriously from what can only be explained as a rare illness. Her younger sister finds a diary in her room that has never been written in. Day by day the book reveals a new writing that urges the young girl to investigate the death. From encounters to the writings, there is a story to be heard, a mystery to be solved.

Because The Rose Diary is a book I’m currently working on for audiobook, I’ll be talking about it more later but won’t be writing an actual review. (However, if you’re interested in receiving a review copy of the audiobook, once available, then please contact me.)

What I’m reading next:

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy by Anthony Harkins, Meredith McCarroll
Published by West Virginia University Press on February 13, 2019
ISBN: 1946684791
Pages: 432
Goodreads
Synopsis

With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyze new, more inclusive political agendas for the region’s future?

Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia’s intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019Half Finished by Lauraine Snelling
Published by FaithWords on March 26, 2019
ISBN: 1478920076
Pages: 324
Goodreads
Synopsis

In bestselling author Lauraine Snelling's new novel, a group of women realize that life is full of half-finished relationships and projects. However, they discover that the outcome is not as important as the journey.

Recognizing how common it is for crafters to start many projects and finish few, a group of women join together to form a guild--Unfinished Projects Anonymous to keep each other on track and accountable. Three friends are tasked with the job of home visits for their guild. They are laughingly called the Cartel as they do visits to snoop around craft rooms and knitting baskets to report on progress for the members. The guild has even expanded to checking on half-trained dogs and half-weeded gardens.

Over the course of the story, this ensemble of women discover that much of life is half-finished--relationships, the raising of children, even our very relationship with the Lord. And that may be perfectly fine.

WWW Wednesday – June 5, 2019The Lunatics Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on April 17, 2012
ISBN: 1475183399
Pages: 234
Goodreads
Synopsis

Another blackout night...Myla drank too much. Again.Then she notices the bloody scratches on her leg.Panic sets in as scattered memories from the evening surface. The Persian guy, the Junkie girl. The streets of San Francisco are not friendly to teens with fake ID's. And especially harsh to arrogant girls like Myla, whose pastime consists of chasing complete abandon.Instantly, she knows something is wrong. Fatally, and irreversibly wrong. Nothing would ever be the same again....not after the wrath of The Lunatics.You'll love this Magic Realism adventure novel because everyone loves the freedom of breaking all the rules.Get it now.Seven N Blue is the winner of the Paris Book Festival for the Young Adult Fiction category. The Lunatics is book one of the series.Amazon Verified 5 Star ReviewHere's the deal with me... I buy a lot of books, read the first few chapters, ... and that's about it. To put it plain and simply, I get bored, really bored, really fast. Twilight, Hunger Games, The Notebook, to name a few. I truly thought I just didn't like reading.The Lunatics proved that to be wrong!!! I could not put it down!! I am a mother and wife, ... so that makes me pretty busy, but every "free" moment I had, I was reading The Lunatics on my little iPhone!!It is exciting from BEGINNING TO END!!! Otherwise, I wouldn't have finished it!!!!!Amazon Verified 5 Star Review: This is a world I wish I could inhabit. Myla is a free spirit with a highly creative imagination. I was totally taken with her in the first five pages when she "went off" at Christian Luna when he appeared to becoming on to her while a supposed girlfriend was standing nearby. Love the spunk.At the same time, there is a deep humanity of Myla that was very real. Her life was complicated, but you hang in with her and root for her to succeed, and triumph. A refreshing talent and a great read. Will look forward to more work from Seven N Blue.Amazon Verified 5 Star Review: While other YA books deliver a heaping serving of vampires, witches and warlocks - Blue has given us the answer to the age old question "how do crazy people lose their mind" Bravo! A page turning novel with characters that will leave you wanting for more. A little dark, sexy, w/ a side order of the SURREAL. Does anyone know if this is a series?Amazon Verified 5 Star Review: Vertigo spirals, alternate lives, a touch of magic, characters you wish you could meet in person! I've read a lot of YA, and i have to say that this is a fresh outlook on the "villan." Forget vampires, witches and warlocks. The grim reaper's got competition. Hooray for the Lunatics

Posted in Weekly Update

Studio Under the Stairs – Weekly Update #1

Happy Monday!

I hope you’re rested better than I am by the weekend and ready to face the upcoming week! As I’m writing this post, it’s currently 3:45 a.m. and it doesn’t seem my dear little one will be letting me get back to sleep anytime soon. Thankfully, the cuteness factor makes the exhaustion worth it! Plus, I can use this time to write my first weekly update, sharing what I’ll be working on in my studio this week and what books are now available for sale.

Currently Recording:

This week, I’ll be in my studio under the stairs finishing up narrating and producing What Kind of People Ought We to Be by Patsy Scott.

Studio Under the Stairs – Weekly Update #1What Kind of People Ought We Be?: Preparation for the Day of the Lord by Patsy Scott
Published by Independently Published on November 15, 2018
ISBN: 1724028863
Pages: 206
Goodreads
Synopsis

Peter (2 Peter 3:11) asks us to consider what kind of people we ought to be in light of the fact that the Lord will return for His people at any time, that this world as we know it will then disappear and that we need to be prepared every day for this anticipated event. This book delves into those things the Lord expects us to be doing and ways we are to prepare. There are four emphases: loving well, readied, holy and growing, Each chapter ends with prayer and includes a "Reflect" section with probing questions. Excellent for individual or group study.

On Sale Now:

In addition to the short stories you can find on audible, the following are now available:

Studio Under the Stairs – Weekly Update #1Bible Made Easy: The Starting Guide for Beginners Getting to Know Jesus Christ by Sarah O. Annie
Published by Independently Published on April 8, 2019
ISBN: 109323007X
Pages: 72
Goodreads
Synopsis

Is God Calling For You?Ever wanted to explore Christianity but not sure where to start?Is the bible too complex for you to pick up?Want a change in your life?Understanding Jesus doesn't have to be that complicated. It can be as SIMPLE as sending a text message.8 Out of 10 people do not even know who or what they are praying to while in the church.Why not...Discover the basics of the Bible?If you're a new Christian and want to learn the significance behind both the new and old testaments, you are in the right place. If you want help looking up verses or finding popular stories, we can help. If you'd simply like to learn more about God, how to be closer to him, and how to pray to him, we are here for you.We know the Bible, and we want to help you know it as well. We want to help you understand what the Bible is and how to use it as a tool in your daily life. We want to show you powerful stories and verses and teach you to find them on their own. We want to show you what words God has given us through the gift of the Bible.Inside this book you will find: History of the bibleStories in the bibleThe Ten CommandmentsThe journey of JesusUseful bible verses

Attention! This book is NOT for everyone!This book is not for people: -Who are atheistic-Who doesn't want to have a better relationship with God.-Who doesn't believe in afterlifeIf you are ready to learn about Jesus and Christianity, Scroll Up And Click On The "BUY NOW" Button Now!

Bible Made Easy Purchase links: Audible US, Audible UK, Audible FR, Audible DE

Posted in Giveaway

Summertime Giveaway!

This year has been filled with lots of exciting and unexpected events and opportunities, for which I’m super grateful! At the same time, it’s flying by at a speed I feel incapable of keeping up with.

And now, here we are, on the brink of summer and I haven’t managed to keep one single 2019 Blogging Goal:

I haven’t started reading through the Harvard Classics.

I haven’t managed to consistently blog once a week, let alone four days a week!

And I haven’t run a single giveaway… UNTIL NOW! I’m finally starting to catch up and my first order of business is a summertime giveaway!

I’ll be giving away one book of the winner’s choice (up to $30) from Book Depository*. The winner will be chosen and announced on Friday, June 21 and you have until June 15 to enter! Entry form is below.

Quick note: This is my first time doing a giveaway and using Rafflecopter, so please excuse any hiccups in the process, and feel free to give feedback and suggestions for future giveaways! Thanks and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Book Depository must deliver to your location in order to win. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and announced on Combing Through the Pages and Twitter.

Posted in book reviews

Be back June 1!


Hey guys! Just a quick post to let everyone know I’m not gone forever, just until June 1. And… I’ll have a new sidekick joining me when I return!

Till then, happy reading everyone!

~Jess