The Ranger Way

by Kris Paronto

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Of course you have heard about what happened in Benghazi and I’m sure you probably saw the movie 13 Hours too. (If not, it’s free on Amazon Prime right now!) For most of us, it is one of the biggest scandals of the decade. For those that lived it, it was one of the bravest acts of the century. 51Rf4lP9nZL._PI_PJPrime-Sash-Extra-Large-2017,TopLeft,0,0_AC_US218_

Kris “Tanto” Paronto is one of the six elite soldiers that protected and saved the lives of many of our American citizens that September 11th night in 2012. He was an ex Army Ranger that helped to ward off hundreds of anti-American fighters trying to overtake the “secret” CIA compound.

This book delves into his life and the professional and personal trials these heroes go through to protect our country. His faith in God is inspiring as he shares the things he’s learned over the years.

I will caution some readers as certain subject matters and language can be a bit offensive. Unfortunately, it’s not a world that loves God, so many things they face are dark and evil. If you can see past that, I think you will really enjoy reading his narrative of the things he’s learned over the years.

Be sure to pick up a copy – the link is provided in the pic! As always, thanks to Hachette for such great books!!

Finding Freedom

Hey, guys! I want to give you an update on my exciting projects. As most of you know, I have been working as a playwright and enjoying every moment of it! It’s been such an answer to prayer as I am able to still do this when I am not feeling well.

A year ago, I was approached by the LEAH group in Pennsylvania and New York. They asked if I could write a play based around the founding of our nation and with the theme of freedom – both in life and in God. As an avid history buff, I was more than excited to jump in.

I was able to write the play and be part of an amazing experience. In November, I went to New York to help with the casting. It was so much fun to see these kids just jump in and become part of a world I had created in my head! So surreal.

Opening night was April 27, 2018 and I was not sure if I was going to make it. As you know, I haven’t been well and I was mostly confined to bed rest over the last 6 months. As always, God is good and I was able to get some answers and make it up there!

I decided to set the story in Boston as the tensions were rising. It centers around a group of friends as they make big life decisions. Which side is the right side and what are the reasons for choosing? What does God want? It was a tough time and I can’t even imagine going through it! It gave everyone a lot to think about – for sure!

I wanted to share some pics with you from my time up there! Hope you enjoy!!

Run-through and practice:

 

Opening Night:

 

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There are hundreds of pictures and I can’t possibly choose my favorites! I am just so proud of what they did. God used it in such an awesome way and I’m really thankful I was able to be a part of it.

I’m currently workin on their next project and can’t wait to share more with you! For now, here is a scene from Finding Freedom and I hope you enjoy it!


(Set: outside in a field as the boys are walking home from hunting together)

(All laughing)

Malachi: (laughing…) And did you see Titus tryin’ to chase that coon and fall flat on his ear?

Titus: Now hold on there a minute! ‘Twasn’t my fault there was a tree stump in the way! I reckon I gave that coon more than he bargained for though when I came flyin’ face first right at ‘im and even managed to get a shot off…

Adam: Truly? “Get a shot off’?” I am fairly certain you misfired and could have killed any one of us out there just because you fell on your face and lost all control! I sure wish Emeline could have seen you then!

(Laughter continues as they all speak over each other)

Malachi: (Malachi stops and puts his hands on his knees to catch his breath and they all stop) Look at us. (Pauses to look up with a crooked grin) I’m gonna miss this! Tomorrow, everything changes for us.

(The boys nod in agreement – still catching their breath. Malachi straightens back up.)

Malachi: Sure will be different…

Adam: Yeah, well you went and got yourself that fancy internship with none other than Mr. John Adams! You didn’t think that would be all coon hunts and dodging Titus’ bullets, did ya? (Said with a smirk)

Malachi: Blood and ‘ounds! I thought I might lose an eye today! ‘Tis best I be moving on to the law! (He tries not to grin and looks innocently up at Titus)

Titus: (Punches Malachi on the arm and starts for Adam as they are all laughing) I’ll have you know that I wouldn’t waste a bullet on either of you clods! I’m savin’ those for the redcoats.

Malachi: (gets serious) Alas, Titus, do tell us about this meeting you are attending tonight. I hear that Mr. Samuel Adams may be in attendance! Some say that he can be a dangerous fellow – always stirring up trouble.

Titus: (becomes more and more angry as he says) Dangerous? Do come on, Malachi. We live in dangerous times. Our own homes and shops are subject to the king’s royal army at their whim. What rights do we now have? ‘Tis as if we are the King George’s unwanted stepchildren and he hopes to punish us for the crimes of others.

Malachi: But we are only paying taxes to cover the war not long ago fought on our own soil. The king protected us from the French and the Indians and ‘twas a costly war.

Titus: (barely containing his anger) They invaded Boston, Malachi! ‘Tis not past wars I dwell on, but what is on our soil at this very moment! British soldiers are here, taking up residence and extending curfews as if we were their children! They tell us when we can eat and sleep and what we can buy! (He spits to the side)

Malachi: (Looks at Adam and asks) And are these your feelings as well? (Titus also looks up to see Adam’s response.)

Adam: (Adam is very uncomfortable and fidgeting) I thought I might tag along with him, Mal. It can’t hurt to see what they are saying. They call themselves the Sons of Liberty and believe that we should not be governed by a foreign power and that we should rule ourselves. (He kicks at the dirt seemingly lost in thought.)

Malachi: And where is this meeting?

Adam: Under the Liberty Tree.

Malachi: The Liberty Tree!

Titus: Nay, Adam. ‘Tis been moved to The Green Dragon Tavern as a storm looks to be a-brewin’.

Malachi: Aye! A storm is brewing, indeed! Did you not hear what the “Sons of Liberty” did to Mr. Andrew Oliver at that said “Liberty Tree”? They hung a man that was just doing his duty to King and country! They then proceeded to walk upon his dead carcass and burn him as if his body had been not defiled enough! (He pauses.) Are we, ourselves, not British citizens? (Malachi remains calm as if curious of his friends’ feelings on the subject, yet concerned for their welfare. Titus is visibly growing agitated and angry. Adam feels very uncomfortable.)

Adam: ’Tis just a meeting, Malachi. As Titus said, ‘tis not at the Liberty Tree, so you need have no fear on that account. I only wish to know what is being done in my own city. We have lost so many of our freedoms these weeks past. Julia says that soldiers come into Emeline’s family store and take what they please without regard to coin. How is it that she is to be paid when her employers are not compensated for their wares? ‘Tis a trying time, Malachi, and I, for one, shan’t turn a blind eye. I must at least have knowledge of what is taking place all around us.

Titus: (looked up when Adam mentioned Emeline and looks angrily at Malachi as if it is somehow his fault.)

Malachi: Can we not find a peaceful way to deal with the situation at hand? (He looks back and forth) Truly?

Titus: (Spits to the side) I’ll not stand idly by and let this happen in my own city. Sam says that all might be free if they valued freedom and defended it, as they ought. Shall I not defend my right to freedom?

Malachi: (eyes wide) Sam? I presume you are speaking of Mr. Adams? (Gives Titus a chastening look)

Titus: (rolling his eyes) If only I could be half as fastidious as you are, Malachi, I may not assume the world and these trying times shall trouble me either. However, I cannot. I shall not. I shall do my part.

Malachi: I did not intend to…

Titus: (waves him off) Say no more of it. I only pray that you shall not think less of me for doing what I must. We must each do as we believe is right in such a time.
Adam: He speaks the truth, Mal. We must look to ourselves to govern our actions.

Malachi: I believe not what I am hearing! (Voice raised) Can you truly say that you must look to your own selves for truth? If mankind is to look to self for truth, pray tell, what happens when we, each man, finds his own truth and such truth does not resemble the truth his neighbor has found? (Looking dumbfounded) We can only look to God for truth! Who’s to say that my truth is above your truth? Nay! I will not agree! For this very reason is why we have war and suffering!

(Titus begins to walk away while shaking his head.)

Malachi: Titus! (Runs to catch up) Do not walk away, brother. Indeed, you and Adam are my brothers in every way that can be – barring blood.

(They stop and pause in quiet. Malachi looks up at the sky and closes his eyes for a moment.)

Malachi: Today is the last of our childhood as we have come to know. No more coon hunts, late night fishing or even brawlin’ over who gets the biggest biscuit. I desire not to spoil such a day. So much of me wishes we could roam these woods with all of the innocence it has provided thus – to never face the injustices of this world and come face-to-face with the men we truly are. I, for one, fear to see my true reflection staring back at me. I know not what I shall find when I’ve the courage to look upon it. I do not think any less of you, Titus, or you, Adam, for being brave enough to gaze upon it and face the truth within.

(Titus visibly relaxes.)

Adam: You two are startin’ to act like a couple of women. I daresay ‘tis time for me to away! (He grins and punches his friends as they continue to pummel each other and walk off set)


* The issue of Andrew Oliver is cleared up later in the play. It was an effigy, not the real Andrew Oliver 😉

If you would like more info on Finding Freedom, please contact me at: aTransParentMom@gmail.com

An Inconvenient Beauty

by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Catching you up: Duke Griffith Hawthorne is the last of the siblings (Loudly_Crying_Face_Emoji_grande.png), thus ending the Hawthorne series. (TRAGIC!!!!!) He has been taking care of his brother and sisters for so long that he hasn’t even had time to find love for himself. Now that he is able, he has done extensive research and he has his sights set on…the wrong girl…

Isabella Breckenridge has come to London under false pretenses. She is to help her uncle by attracting as many eligible men as possible so that they might pass a bill through the courts. Everything about her feels this is wrong, but she knows that she must help her family and has not yet learned to trust God to do that for her.

My Thoughts: So, first of all…how does she keep doing this? Kristi is one of the most talented writers because she has the perfect balance of light-heartedness, deep characters, and Godly principles. It’s such a beautiful thing to see!!!

I am exceptionally sad that this series is over. It has been one of my favorite. As Griffith and Isabella’s worlds come colliding together, you will laugh, maybe cry, and most certainly be pulled in from the first page to the last.

The characters just grab on and don’t let go. You can’t shake them even if you wanted to (believe me, you don’t!). If you haven’t read any of Kristi’s books, definitely pick one up. They can be read as a stand alone, but you will appreciate it much more if you are to read them in order for the characters that are introduced in each book carry through to the next.

Be sure to click the link above to grab your copy! Also, if you would like to check out my fabulous face-off with Kristi Ann Hunter, just CLICK HERE! It’s loads of fun!!! Lastly, thanks to Bethany house for this great book in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion!!! Here’s to many more!

Click below to find the other books in this series. Aren’t these covers a-ma-zing??? #truth

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Counter Culture

by David Platt

Wow. This man, his faith and obedience, always inspires me so much. I loved, LOVED this book. He is such an incredible disciple because he is willing to obey God in all things.

The subjects tackled in this book are brave, to say the least. I don’t know many people that would be willing to even comment on most of these topics, let alone write a book with their name on it.

David writes on topics ranging from abortion, sex, ethnicity, and even refugees. Have questions about what God says in these areas? I bet you don’t want to know! Ignorance is bliss…or is it? Do God really know what is best for us? Are we willing to fall in love with Him, trust Him and, most importantly, surrender to Him?

I hope so. I know the road is narrow, but let’s make it a little wider.

Be sure to pre-order Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age. It is a revised and updated version of the original with an extra chapter added based on the refugee crisis. Release date set for February 7, 2017.

Thanks for this read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

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A very personal story

I barely know where to begin. The last few years have been a whirlwind of events. Four years ago, God called us to bring a teenager into our home and pursue adoption. After disappointment after disappointment, we found our precious son. The was almost 2 years ago. As many of you know, he came to live with us and there were a series of ups and downs.

A few months back, our precious boy decided that he didn’t want a family, but wanted freedom to pursue harmful things. He chose to walk away.

You can imagine how that affected the family. He was son and brother.

We all fully trust that God is in control and is sovereign in all things.87273ccb5c71f4bad842039a160479c1 We will always be here for him and love him. We know that life moves in waves of change. It’s not always easy, but clinging to God is what we do. As I read story after story in the Bible of those God used and chose to highlight, I felt such a mix of emotions. Mostly, I felt Him holding me tightly and whispering His perfect love into my ear as I wept. We are not called to ease and comfort. We are called to obey, and we did. We do. We will.

As we worked through some really difficult things, my blog was put on hold. I thank you all for your words, emails, letters, boxes, etc… of encouragement. I am praying that in this new “wave” of my life, I will have a chance to return and do what I love so much. As always, your prayers are welcomed!!!

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Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption

by David Boudia with Tim Ellsworth

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Wow! Remember this guy?? You know, the awesome, American Olympic Diver that has won a bunch of medals??? Well, if you missed seeing him in the last few Olympics, you can get caught up with this great read.

David opens up and shares with us all about his past failures and the changes God has made in his life. He doesn’t beat around the bush, try to make himself look good, try to glorify the lifestyle he had, or even try to claim any of the credit for his complete 180. This book is simply to bring God glory with the huge changes in his life.

It’s a good one. Easy reading and perfect for your kids. He’s a trendy guy that has it all; yet he knows that those things won’t bring happiness. It’s an awesome message that you can share. I ABSOLUTELY recommend this book. Please pick up a copy. It’s so beautiful to see the changes in his life and what God is doing through him.

636060142715076602-001-boudiaOnce, he only cared about parties, instant gratification, and making himself happy at whatever cost. Now, he’s a family man that lives to bring God glory. Now that’s a great story! Make sure you grab this! Holidays are coming up and the Olympics are fresh on everyone’s mind.

–Thank you for this awesome read in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

 

Living a Mighty Faith

by Angus Buchan

One of my greatest “idols”(in the sense that, I completely look up to this man)! What a love for God he just exudes. It’s beautiful!!! Have you seen Faith Like Potatoes? It’s Angus Buchan’s story and boy is it powerful! Talk about getting you fired up for Jesus! It is one of my top 2 movies of all time…and that’s saying something!

Living a Mighty Faith is a daily devotional that is really beautifully made. It’s one of the nicest I have seen. There is a theme each day with a verse at the beginning and a prayer at the end. Each one is written for a specific day of the year too, which makes it easy. It also has a ribbon bookmark so you can open right up to your daily devotion!

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Honestly? I recommend anything and everything that Angus Buchan writes. So, definitely pick this one up! You won’t regret it. I love this quote I read in it: “Serious Christianity is getting back to the Word of God and doing what the Bible says, not what we think it says, or what tradition may interpret the Word of God to say.”

Thank you for this great book in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!

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The Reluctant Duchess

by Roseanna M. White

Another fabulous read from Roseanna M. White. In this book, she continues on with the characters from The Lost Heiress. The Duke of Nottingham is back and as brilliant as ever!! As he seeks God’s will at every turn, he is surprised by what God asks him to do next…

What a great book. It captures the good and the bad of the ton during the Edwardian era. It’s beautifully written and the characters have so much depth. God is so intertwined with this storyline that there wasn’t anywhere that had to stop to include Him. That’s so rare in a story and it’s VERY appreciated. No token prayer here and there in this one!

I love that Roseanna is not scared to talk about heavy issues either. Women were property that had the purpose of providing their spouse with money (by way of a dowry) and an heir. They were easily taken advantage of and ruined for life. Speaking out about rape and bullying is much needed even now.

If you have not read the first book, you will need to. The story will be confusing without. It’s definitely not a stand-alone novel. I do highly recommend! All of you coming off of 6 seasons of Downton, this is your chance to get an Edwardian fix!!! Just click on the links below to get your copy:

Thanks so much for this great book in exchange for my review. As always, this is my honest opinion! Here’s to many more!!

Be sure to check out my exciting face-off with Roseanna!

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Loved Back to Life

by Sheila Walsh

Depression is one of the deadliest diseases. Unfortunately, it has a horrible stigma attached to it and many people are not compassionate at all. To make matters worse, Christians are, often, the worst offenders. Judgement and cruel statements are made in the name of love. Awful.

Welcome to the dark world that Sheila Walsh found herself in. As a prominent Christian speaker and “celebrity”, she had a very dark secret that she could not keep hidden. When it did come out, the backlash was horrendous. She, bravely, opens up about the horrors she experienced and the changed life she has now. It’s a beautiful read and I highly recommend!!

Thanks for this wonderful book in exchange for my review! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Our Presidents & Their Prayers

by Rand Paul and James Randall Robinson

“…open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance…” — George Washington

As a HUGE history lover, this book spoke right to my heart. All of my heroes and their prayers in one gorgeous, hardcover book. It’s absolutely beautiful!! Each chapter highlights a president and the different prayers that they have publicly, or personally scripted. It also speaks about each one and their relationship with God. Amazingly enough, it has a chapter for every single president!

I loved reading over the prayers and seeing where our country has been and how God has protected us through many things. It is encouraging to have so much faith in the leaders of our great country. I highly recommend!

Thank you, so much, for this wonderful book in exchange for my review! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!