About Sandy Quandt

www.sandykirbyquandt.com

The Runaway Bride Book Review

If you enjoy Christian historical romance, the The Runaway Bride by author Jody Hedlund might be for you. In 1862 Arabella Lawrence painfully learns the consequences caused by deviating from society’s expectations and norms when the things she desires are at odds with the things she was taught were acceptable.

Fleeing an abusive situation in England, Arabella boards a bride ship destined for Vancouver Island. Upon arriving, she finds two suitors. Lieutenant Drummond, a respectable officer in the Queen’s Navy. And Peter Kelly a struggling baker. The two men could not be more different. While one encourages Arabella to be herself, the other believes she should act according to societal expectations. The mix causes unseen consequences of Arabella’s actions she never considered.

One of the things I enjoyed most in The Runaway Bride was Jody Hedlund’s use of dialog, especially the banter between Arabella and Peter. This book holds distinct characters, injustice, honor, and deceit. What more could you ask for in an historical romance?

Although this is the second in The Bride Ships series, you do not need to have read the first book. Each book stands alone.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

How Do We Line Up?

Do you pay attention to things which don’t quite line up correctly? Things that aren’t level? You know, like pictures?

Among the variety of things that bug me, unlevel wall hangings is near the top of the list. Pictures. Mirrors. Plaques. Whatevers. I can’t help it. I notice them everywhere I go.

When I see pictures in our house which need straightened, I straighten them. Do you have any idea how much restraint it takes not to reach out and straighten things in others’ homes or offices? Especially all those crooked posters in doctors’ waiting rooms.

In the same way it bothers me to see unlevel things hanging on a wall, I imagine it bugs God to look at our lives and see them deviate, even by a minuscule amount, from his level, his truth.

We might look at ourselves and think we aren’t that bad. We’re only a little off-kilter. It isn’t that big a deal. No one will notice.

But God notices, and it’s a big deal to him. So much so, he went to great extremes to make sure there was a way to make us level. To make us straight. To make us pleasing to him.

Maybe we’re unlevel because our foundation’s cracked. Maybe we’re unlevel because we’re lining ourselves up with those on the wall beside us who aren’t level. Maybe we’re unlevel because we’ve been jarred by the knocks we’ve taken. Or maybe our frame is warped.

Whatever the reason, the solution remains the same. We need to pull out God’s level – the Bible – read his directions, and measure ourselves against that. Then, and only then, will we be able to do what I often heard my dad say, “Straighten up, and fly right!”

So what bugs you? What’s that one irritating thing you have trouble looking beyond?

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The Lord showed me a vision of himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it. The string and weight had been used to measure the straightness of the wall. Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A measuring line,” I answered.

The Lord said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up, and I won’t forgive them any more.  Amos 7:7-8 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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With All Our Heart

When Moses addressed the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, he gave them this command. Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

That commands still applies today to all who claim God as Lord. God wants us to be all in. Totally committed. With every part of our being. All the time. Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when we feel like it.

We are sinners who live in a broken world. A world which works overtime to pull us away from God and Jesus. This world tells us we’ll never measure up. It tries to define us by its standards. It is a world which tells us our efforts are hopeless, and we should just quit trying.

Sometimes we buy into Satan’s lies telling us we are unworthy, failures, and too far gone to have a chance at redemption. But those are just lies from the father of all lies. That is not God’s truth.

Our brokenness doesn’t define us. Our relationship with Jesus does. Jesus tells us we have the right to seek him and chase after his heart. In fact, he invites us to do just that.

Sure. We mess up. We sin. We fall short way too often, but Jesus knew all that before he willingly took our sins on his perfect sinless self. He allowed himself to be crucified for those sins. That’s where his grace comes in. Something we desperately need, but which we can’t earn or bargain for.

And what are we told to do in response?

Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We are to worship God with our entire being. Despite how the great deceiver might try and tell us our sins disqualify us from God’s presence, the only One whose opinion matters tells us he loves us with an everlasting love and adopted us into his family.

We are God’s beloved children. As such, we should strive to love him with all our heart.

How do you put this command into practice in your life?

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Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Through the Lens of Faith

When problems loom huge before us, do we look at them through the lens of faith, believing with God’s help our problems can be conquered, or do we look through the lens of fear, turning those problems into unconquerable giants?

I have to admit, this is an area I struggle with. Many a time I’ve allowed fear to keep me from stepping out to conquer those scary giants in the land.

When Moses sent twelve spies to scope out the land God promised them, ten of the spies looked at the land through a lens of fear. They exaggerated the proportions of what they saw. Large men became giants. They themselves became like insects. Walled cities became impenetrable. Looking through a lens of fear, these spies determined conquering the land was impossible.

Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, looked at the land through a lens of faith. They saw the same obstacles as the other ten spies. They saw the same large men and walled cities. Their faith, however, said with God’s help conquering the land as possible.

It took forty years of wandering in the desert before Caleb and Joshua entered the Promised Land they said could be conquered. Because of their faith, they enjoyed God’s blessings.

Because of the ten spies’ fear, they died in the wilderness. They did not enter the land and enjoy God’s blessings.

Like the ten spies who allowed their fear to become doubt to the point of refusing to enter the land and conquer it, our fears can become doubt, causing us to believe we’ll never conquer whatever it is that lies in front of us. We can exaggerate and enlarge our fears to the point of paralysis to move forward in faith. We can focus on the scary, and forget all about the God who promises to be with us in the midst of the scary.

I want to be like Joshua and Caleb. I want to look through a lens of faith. Instead of looking at the obstacles in front of me and allowing fear to keep me from moving forward, I want to look to God in faith. Knowing with God’s help, even my largest seemingly insurmountable giants can be conquered.

How about you?

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They told Moses, “We explored the land and found it to be rich and fertile; and here is some of its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and their cities are very large and well fortified. Even worse, we saw the descendants of the giants there. Numbers 13:27-28 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Worth the Effort

Two weeks ago I mentioned I needed to continue exercising my leg if I expected the muscle strength to improve. And I was. Until I wasn’t.

I didn’t stop exercising intentionally. It just happened. Slowly, I began backing off from how often and how much time I invested in strengthening my muscles. The effects of not exercising as much as I needed weren’t immediate. At first, I ignored the renewed stiffness and pain. When I couldn’t ignore it any longer, or rationalize it as just a momentarily fluke, I admitted I slacked off from doing what I should do. Exercise.

I told myself I reached an acceptable level of improvement, but I hadn’t. There is still work to be done.

Sometimes I believe we treat our spiritual strengthening the same way. We read our Bibles, study, pray, meet weekly with fellow believers. It’s all good. Then life happens.

We pull back a little from how often and how intensely we read our Bible and pray. We skip meeting regularly, and the more times we skip church, the easier it becomes to stop going altogether.

The results are subtle at first. A little stiffness here. A little ache there. Until one day, we try to walk and end up limping. Our spiritual muscles have weakened. We aren’t as strong as we thought we were. We need to get back into the routine of daily exercise; daily Bible reading and studying, and drawing close to God.

Yeah. Not being farther along in my physical rehab is frustrating. Not being able to walk without needing to remember how it’s supposed to be done is frustrating. Having to deliberately take the time and make the effort to reach the ultimate goal is frustrating.

But you know what? Just as putting in the necessary effort to develop my leg muscles is more than worth it, so is developing a right relationship with God.

Even more so, wouldn’t you say?

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But do not follow foolish stories that disagree with God’s truth, but train yourself to serve God.  Training your body helps you in some ways, but serving God helps you in every way by bringing you blessings in this life and in the future life, too. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NCV)

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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