Books & Reviews 📚, Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

The Entertainer Book Tag 📚

I haven’t done a book tag in a while, but when I saw The Entertainer Book Tag on Jade’s blog, I thought I’ll give it a try. It’s a short one, but you know the drill: grab your coffee and let’s go!

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1) Your favorite form of reading (ebook, audiobook, etc.)?

This question pops up in almost every book tag I come across. My answer is always the same no matter how many years I age: physical books. I tried ebook, but we were not compatible. I’m yet to try an audiobook, so maybe I’ll give that a chance one day.

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2) If you could trade places with any other MC in their fictional world facing the same problems as them, who would you trade places with?

Haha! This is funny, for although I’ve read hundreds of books, it’s always the male characters that resonate with me the most. Like, I can name five of my all-time favorite male characters at the snap of a finger (d’Artagnan, Spencer Reid, Luc Moncrief, Alex Cross, and Ethan Hunt!), but I can’t do the same when it comes to female MCs.

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Eh, guess I adore male MCs more than their female counterparts. Oh, wait, I didn’t answer the question. Well, to be honest, when I was into mangas and the then anime for Yu-Gi-Oh! I wanted to trade places with Yami Yugi for at least one episode. He was the coolest dude around and perhaps in the world of anime, still is. No one has spiky hair like him, the deep baritone or can even dream of wearing a jacket like him. Not even one Seto Kaiba. 

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3) Favorite Movie?

I don’t watch movies anymore. The only ones I’m currently attempting to watch are the ones that I’m doing for the TC Challenge which I may not complete, but that’s okay. Anyway, my favorite movie is the Mission: Impossible franchise. If I have to choose one, Ghost Protocol.

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Only in my dreams, I am this free to fly off buildings like this!

4) What do you wish you could see more of in books?

Characters that aren’t reduced to stereotypes such as Frenchmen. Almost every book I read, Frenchmen are reduced to the same great looking, adorable, lovable, philandering, smothering, delicious heartthrobs! Why can’t we have Frenchmen who aren’t dreamboats and hair that aren’t the best? The Frenchmen who have flaws like their other fictional male counterparts. Why can’t we have that?

5) Favorite first line from a book?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

(The Holy Bible)

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6) A book that isn’t your favorite all-time read, but one that you could read over and over again?

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*** GIFs via Google Images

Devotion 💙

🕊Blessings!🕊

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A blessing is…

…an answered prayer
the people in your life
the stranger at your gate.

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Happiness!
Joyfulness!
Cheerfulness!
Blessedness!

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the sun during the day
the stars by night
The moon that shineth, oh so bright!

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There are so MANY blessings to be thankful for. Make sure you thank God for EVERY one of them not neglecting the smallest ones for sometimes, they can be the greatest blessings.

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***GIFs via Google Search

 

Espresso Shots ☕

Body scrubs, lotions, and oils by Sadia Cosmetics

The packaging is so beautiful!

Image via Facebook

A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me a few body scrubs, lotion, and oil samples to try from Sadia Cosmetics. I admit that I was a little hesitant at first for I don’t use body scrubs and I’m a loyal servant to Bath & Body Works products. 

But I went on to try the samples and I ended up liking some of them. 

My favorite body scrub was the Almond Biscotti Dead Sea Salt. 

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Dead Sea Salt contains minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium. It can help the skin in many ways such as enhance hydration, calm allergies and reduces puffy skin. It also helps in the fading of stretch marks. It was not rough on the skin and after I washed it off, my skin felt nice and smooth. 

I ended up using the oils (calming and energizing oils) to massage my hands and feet after a hard working day. I’ve never really used oils before and I find it very soothing. 

The lotions/body butter comes with scrumptious scents such as Amaretto Cocoa and Peppermint Candy Cane. They’re longlasting and smells delicious!

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I think these products are decent and what’s nicer is that they’re made locally. Thank you again, Sabrina, for providing me with these samples. I’ll definitely be purchasing some items soon. 

For further information, see these social platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

#amwriting ✍

Sometimes, you can’t go home.

Short Story #25

Jack Payet absentmindedly sat in the empty office amidst the clutter of reports strewn on the floor, twisting his wedding ring back and forth bruising the pale finger in the process. Things were not as they used to be and he found himself staying later at the office pretending to throw himself into his journalistic work so he’ll be the last person to leave. 

Until he stopped leaving altogether. 

His assistant editor had found him asleep on the couch twice with an overnight bag on the floor but didn’t have the gall to say anything. However, curiosity got the best of her the fifth time she found him chasing sleep away with a yawn as he struggled to get his jacket on to begin work for seven and without holding back, breached his privacy by remarking, “Don’t you go home anymore, Jack?” 

And before he could stop himself, words were tumbling out of his mouth. “Sometimes, you can’t go home.” Before she could ask what he meant, words that he never shared with anyone since the mishap tumbled out in quick succession before he changed his mind about sharing. 

“The comfy embrace of bed and sheets no longer welcomes me. Our bedroom feels… hallowed out as if it’s suffering from a terrible loss. I used to hang on to her words. Her breath was mine to take. I just can’t accept the fact that Denise won’t be coming back. Without her, home is never going to be the same again. 

“I simply cannot go back there now that it feels like a tomb… cold and empty.” 

He bows his head in silent respect for his loss and dusty brown hair flops into tired gray-green eyes hiding stories that were yet to be told.

Not knowing what to say for she was not expecting a grieving response to her rhetorical question, his assistant awkwardly asked if he’ll like a cup of coffee. He nodded, not willing himself to speak anymore. 

His heart ached painfully for his beloved. 

So he sat alone in the empty office twirling the ring around his finger as if willing his wife to come walking through the door, but it was all in vain. 

All grammatical errors are mine.

This short is part of a serial I’m currently working on titled “Sanctimonious”. Jack Payet is one of the main characters that is dealing with a huge loss as you can tell from the story. Did his wife leave him? Did he do something regrettable and is too late to fix it? Is his wife dead? Speculations. Speculations.

I’ll like to say more, but this is a story that my bestie (You guys know Tammy!) is reading whenever I update it and I don’t want to spoil much for her. Also, I simply wanted to write a little angst. 

***GIFs via Google Search

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Bible Study

Genesis part XIV: Abraham proves his faith and Sarah dies

In case you missed it:

PART 13: Abraham pulls the sister card again and Isaac is born

Part 12: Wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

A colleague recently told me that she was glad she asked for the name of my blog, for now, she has something to look forward to on mornings. I was most delighted when she told me that she was excited over the Bible studies series for she’s currently reading/studying the Holy Word and there were things that she did not understand. All praise and glory to the Highest for without Him, the Bible studies wouldn’t have been possible. I, too, did not know where to start when it comes to studying the Bible. Even though I read it cover to cover multiple times, there were many things I still did not understand. I started praying about it, and God revealed how I should go about studying His precious Word.

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God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son

Scripture in focus: Genesis 22

God asks us to do things. Sometimes, they can be outlandish and sometimes, we don’t like where it may lead us, but He asks us to do things. He asked Abraham to do something that could’ve made the patriarch question His action, but it took faith and trust for Abraham to complete the task. Chapter 22 is ripe with symbolism and we’re going to look at some of them as we study.

“God did tempt Abraham” (22:1). The word “tempt” here does not mean anything maleficent. Rather, the verb here means “test” or “prove”. This was a test to reveal faith for God spent years building up Abraham into a man of faith. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son in the land of Moriah (22:2). Note:

^ “only son” – God calls Isaac the only son of Abraham and yes, we know about Ishmael, but he was put away from Abraham’s family, so as far as God was concerned, Abraham only had one son which was the promised son Isaac. God repeats “only son” thrice in this chapter (2, 12, 16). And how’s this for a fun fact: This was the first time “love” was mentioned in the Bible and it was love between a father and a son which was connected by the sacrificial offering of the son. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. Do you see what God did there? He is not a God of half done jobs but a God of detail! 

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Read 22:3. Read it again. Do you see the symbolism relating to Christ? I had to reread it more than twice to see it. bible-studys.org broke it down nicely:

God sacrificing His only son. Abraham sacrificing his son.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass. The provisions for this sacrifice were carried on an ass.

Jesus died between two men on the cross. Abraham took two men with them.

Jesus carried a wooden cross. Isaac carried wood for the sacrifice (wood means worldliness).

Jesus went to Golgotha on orders from God. Abraham and Isaac went to Moriah in Jerusalem on orders from God.

Jesus obeyed His Father and said, “nevertheless not my will, but thine.” Isaac obeyed Abraham without question.

I love discovering these beautiful treasures! 💙

Abraham journeys to the place of sacrifice from Beer-sheba to Moriah without hesitation and came unto the place on the 3rd day (22:4). Symbolism: It is implied by many that Isaac was “dead” during these 3 days and Abraham grieved for him as the disciples did for Jesus 3 days. Jesus was in the grave for 3 days. Can you imagine the heartache God went through at the sacrifice of His Son?

Abraham was convinced that he and Isaac will return from the mount so he left the two men behind (22:5). Symbolism: Abraham trusted God to the point that if Isaac were to die, God would resurrect him (Hebrews 11:17-19) hence he said: “come again to you”. This verse is parallel to the cross when Jesus left the two men on the cross just as Abraham left the two behind and Jesus promises that He will come again.

Abraham took the necessary items for the sacrifice and gave Isaac the wood to carry (22:6). Symbolism: Isaac carries the wood for his own sacrifice up the hill. He typifies Christ who carried His cross to die for our sins on it. This is also the first time we read about fire for use and also of a knife. Isaac is now aware that there is no lamb to be sacrificed (22:7), but his father said, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” {Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)} and he still obediently follows his father (22:8). This takes me to the 5th commandment of honoring our parents.

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22:9 is a great verse of faith on both father and son’s part. Abraham builds the altar and perhaps tells Isaac what Isaac suspected all along: “Son, you are the lamb which God has provided”. Abraham was over 100 years old and Isaac could’ve overpowered him and ran off, but what does he do? He willingly submits as Jesus did to His Father’s will. We should not forget Isaac’s great faith. This experience was surely memorable to him as long as he lived. Some said he was in his 30s when this event took place. If so, I’ll like to believe that he was 33, but the Bible made no mention of his age.

Abraham readies to deliver the fatal blow (22:10), but the Son of God stops him (22:11). He passed the test in proving his faith (22:12). We can say to the LORD, “Now I know that You love me, seeing You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son from me.” (via blueletterbible.org). God loves us tremendously. There is no other greater love than His. You can search high or low, but you won’t find another love like His. 💙

But God still required a sacrifice and He provided a ram in substitute of Isaac (22:13). “in the stead of his son” is perhaps the greatest symbolism of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind. Had God not provided a Substitute in the form of His Son, we would’ve suffered and died on that cross with no chance at salvation. Praise God always for the Sun of Righteousness. Abraham calls the place Jehovah-jireh meaning The LORD Will Provide (22:14). It’s highly significant in meaning. God provided the substitute ram and later, He provides the ultimate atoning Sacrifice for our sins.

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The Son of God has more to say to Abraham (22:15) and He swears by Himself thus making it a great oath for there are no other greater than Him (22:16). Abraham is blessed once again for obeying the voice of His Creator (22:17-18). Abraham honored God by his obedience to Him and his example should be one for all believers to follow. Abraham, Isaac and the two young men (servants) returns to Beer-sheba (22:19). 

22:20-24 lists Nahor’s family. Nahor was Abraham’s brother and although they probably hadn’t seen each other in years, the news still reached Abraham about a family update. Rebekah, Isaac’s future wife is given special mention (22:23).

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Sarah dies

Scripture in focus: Genesis 23

Remember after the Flood, God reduced the human’s lifespan to about 120 years. Sarah lived until she was 127 years old (23:1). FACT: She is the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is recorded. Abraham mourns and weeps for his wife (23:2).

23:3-16 records Abraham negotiating with the Philistines for the land to bury his wife:

I am a foreigner and a sojourner among you (23:4). Here, Abraham acknowledges that he did not own the Promised Land as yet, but he wanted his wife to be buried there. He can also be acknowledging that he did not belong of this world, for his home was in God’s coming kingdom and he was just a stranger passing through the earth. 

“That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field…” (23:9): This place became the burial ground for Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob.

23:17-20 records Abraham buying the field and burying his wife. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Moriah was a mountainous region as you can tell from 22:2. It was the site of numerous acts of faith. After God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac there, a thousand years later, King David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and built an altar to the Lord so that a “plague may be held back from the people” (2 Samuel 24:18, 21). After his death, King Solomon built a temple on the site; it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies in 587/586 B.C.

Seventy years after this, the temple was rebuilt, around the first century, it became known as Herold’s Temple which was the same temple Jesus cleansed (John 2:15). The temple was once again destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman armies. The portion that remained came to be known as the “Wailing Wall” or “Western Wall”. Bible prophecy shows that a third temple will be built at/on the site of Solomon’s temple (Daniel 9:27).

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King Solomon’s temple via Wikipedia

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search