verses that play on repeat

*verses that've been on repeat for me lately*


Jared and I have recently discussed about how sometimes it seems as if God repeatedly puts certain scriptures before our very eyes, just when we need them the most. And this got me to thinking about what verses God has been laying down right in front of my very eyes lately. The verses He wants me to hear and see and take heed to.

The verses that have been "speaking" and popping up repeatedly for me, as if on instant replay, are pictured above ^^.

Now, granted, I don't always see the words that God has laid (sometimes clearly apparent) in front of me when they first appear. Nope. I surely don't and I'm pretty sure it's because I am truly a stubborn one. Too stubborn for my own good at times. Admittedly, I usually have to come across a verse through multiple happenstances and "mediums" (i.e.- sermons, reading through my Bible, devotional books, tweets, fb comments/messages, pinterest boards, convos with friends and family and etc.) before I really start to pay attention to them, but then there are also those times when I rarely think twice about seeing a verse, until after the fact, when I finally find myself going through an extremely rough patch in my life. It's then that I know those words, given to me only a few days earlier, in a various array of seen and heard mediums, that I know that they were meant to prepare me to stand strongto learn to carry my cross and to live on.

God obviously knows my needs. Which is why those repetitious verses are not just repetitive to me anymore. Those verses are the planned and the purposed by God for us. Those verses are directions, a living map, a living comfort of hope and joy and peace to come.

Those verses are there to repeat and replay over and over again until they speak and set us free. So we should stay opened to hearing and seeing those mapped life-filled words, those Rhema-filled words. Because they were a beautifully written love letter, from Father to Child, with a message full of grace and redemption and wisdom and love, just for you and me to discover once we've learned to open up our eyes and see.

/ / /

Are you listening? Are you keeping your eyes wide open? Do you think God places particular verses in your line of sight or hearing repeatedly? If so, what verse{s} has God spoken over you lately?

Pea Ess - 
Don't forget to enter the 200+ Follower Giveaway on the blog for the chance to win a Custom Blog Design valued at $45! 

Introducing Hannah Rose Beasley Art & Design // 200+ Follower Giveaway

Hi there ORB readers! Today I am really super excited about introducing you to my blogger/designer friend, Hannah! Hannah is the very talented and sweet young woman whom I have to thank for designing my beautiful new blog design. Didn't she do a fantastic job? *I can't thank you enough, Hannah!*

I've known Hannah for the last couple of years or so, and in that time frame I've had her work on a couple of different blog designs for me (*neo victorian photography* AND *this new one* AND *one yet to be revealed*). And I must say that she is a total sweetheart and the most amazing designer! Honestly, I was realllllllly nervous in the beginning about having my blog re-designed, but after chatting with Hannah about the possibility of re-designing my blog and what I was after design-wise I was comforted and stripped of all my worries, and somehow she figured out how to translate my heart and vision and unique tastes into the very blog design that you see before you right now. 

*this is the inspiration board that Hannah put together for my blog design. very me, no?*

That said, if you are in need of a new website or blog design for your personal or business use, Hannah Rose Beasley is the lady for your job! 

Here are some reasons why I absolutely love and respect Hannah as a designer:

  • She is extremely prompt about sending e-mails back and forth throughout the entire blog/website design process to ensure that you are a happy camper throughout the entire process. 
  • She will send you a questionnaire with a dozen or so *kinda hard* questions so that she can gauge your likes and dislikes and your own personal tastes and design aspirations. 
  • Her utmost goal is to try to get to know you, as the special individual that you are, so that she can take your unique personality, wants and desires, and inject it wholly into your design project.  
  • She uses Pinterest to her advantage. Check out my inspiration board. Through my board, the questionnaire and a few e-mails back and forth Hannah ultimately created ME, but in blog form.
  • Her main focus is branding. So rest assured that by the time she is done with your design it will be a brand that is completely Y-O-U!
  • She doesn't just treat her clients like clients. She makes it her mission to really listen to what you want and she genuinely gets to know each client as a friend.
  • With Hannah there is no design question or concern that is too small or too dumb. So there is absolutely no fear whatsoever over asking or voicing design concerns throughout the entire process. 
  •  Her prices are beyond reasonable, and they are worth every single cent too.

You can view two of Hannah's recent designs below:

Okay, enough of my rambling! Here's Hannah with a guest post for ya'll! And not only will she be guest posting on ORB today but she'll also be revealing what ORB's 200+ Follower Giveway is all about! *big grin* 

/ / /

*Meet my lovely fellow Carolina Designer-Girlfriend, Hannah Rose*

Hello all 200+ of Sarah’s readers! My name is Hannah Beasley, and I’m a graphic and web designer who loves coffee and design. I’ve known Sarah for a couple years and have been able to work with her on a couple blog designs and projects – she has been a great friend and so fun to get to know! So I’m happy to be donating a custom blog design to help celebrate her blog getting to over 200 followers! Woot woot! Congrats on reaching 200, Sarah. =)

So, just a little bit about me and my business. I’m a music loving/book reading/coffee drinking girl who is a little on the short side. I love color and design, and can’t get enough of all the inspiration on Pinterest! I started creating very simple free blog designs for my friends in 2010 – they weren’t much different from some of Blogger’s basic templates! But you live and you learn, right? I spent a good year learning all about HTML, CSS, and graphic design – Google and Gimp were my best friends. It took practice, trial and error, and a bunch of time, but I finally got to the point where I was making some business off my new-found skills.

It took a total of two years, but in June of this year I felt that I was ready to finish developing my brand and really focus what I was doing. That was the beginning of Hannah Rose Beasley Art & Design. What I love to do the most is to help creative people develop their brands – from their goals and personalities to their websites and Facebook pages. There’s nothing better to me than to take someone’s ideas, feelings, and thoughts; and to translate them into images and spaces. And though my focus is branding, I still love all other types of design! I love it when I get to work with a blogger on their blog – transforming that personal space into something that lets their personality shine through is something I’ll never tire of doing. So I can’t wait to help one of you do that with your blog design!

/ / /

Isn't that awesome!? Thank you so much for sharing with us about your love for design, your business, and the chance for one of ORB's readers to have the chance to win a lovely custom blog design package from you, Hannah! I can't wait to see the winner's blog design in the near future! *wink*

On to the giveaway...

To Enter Please Use The Rafflecopter Gadget Below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen

Age Range: 11 and up
Genre: Juvenile Fiction // Fantasy
Release Date: 7.24.12
Pages: 304
Publisher: ZonderKidz (Zondervan)

Tag Line: In the darkness of this theater, anything can happen. 

Summary: In the darkness of this theater, anything can happen. The family's broken-down theater has always been a safe place for Chloe. There, no one can see the scars that line her face---scars her inventor father accidentally caused, leaving even deeper wounds between them. In the darkness she meets Nick, a boy with his own hurts. While Nick isn't the most pleasant companion, a rocky friendship is formed over their love of films. Soon the two are working on a movie script about a fantastical world---one that suddenly comes alive on the screen. Chloe and Nick are transported into an adventure beyond what they ever imagined, filled with dragons, magical pools, and a sinister vapor that threatens to destroy everyone. But when tragedy strikes, Chloe must find the courage to step out of the shadows and find what she's always longed for.

"Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace -- where dreams come true, and nightmares too." {quote from chapter nine}

What I Loved: Okay, so I didn't absolutely loooove this book like I thought I would, but I did like it. I did love the fact that Friesen wrote about two young characters, Chloe (called "Scarface" by her peers at school) and Nick (the blind movie script-writer boy), who were flawed / had "handicaps" that took us on a journey through a magical screenplay into the fantastical World of Retinya. In Retinya both Chloe and Nick must face their fears and their flaws head on. They ultimately learn that imperfections aren't everything and that forgetting the past is not always wise. Sometimes remembering the past is not easy, but it will lead us down the road to healing and self discovery and peace.

Honestly, the story reminded me a little of Hugo Cabret at times with its freedom to just dream out loud onto the page. So, for that, I totally give props to Mr. Friesen! He definitely created a vivid, unique world full of flawed characters that needed to face their fears to find that they were both indeed more than their flaws. And the Fantasy elements of this book were great, I must say!

I loved the pilgrimage feel of the story as well (The Pilgrim's Progress, anyone?), as Chloe and Nick struggled to stay on the right paths that would lead them to find themselves and to ultimately make it to the City of Reckoning in hopes of defeating Vaepor. 

There were also moments where some of the more "side-lined" characters made me laugh immensely, like Chloe's Grandpa and brothers for instance. I really wish that the Grandpa had been a more prominently featured character throughout the entire novel. I really do. 

Also, from reading the back cover blurb I assumed that Chloe and Nick would be together throughout the entire adventure through Retinya, but this wasn't so. And at first this greatly bothered me. But in a way I thought this was a pretty smart idea on Mr. Friesen's part because it made me think of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Snow Queen and of how Kay and Gerda must go on an adventure too, though they are not together for the whole adventure either...they both come out changed and "found" on the other end.

What I Didn't Like So Much: 
I won't spoil anything for you all, but I will say that the beginning and ending both left me cringing and upset. Now, that said, I do want to read the rest of Jonathan Friesen's books after having finished reading this one, mainly because while this book left some things to be desired in some instances, overall I really did enjoy Chloe's character, the vividry of verbage, the Fantasy World of Retinya (cool name, huh? Kind of like retina, you know?) and Mr. Friesen's storytelling abilities. So, was AFMP an instant favorite book? No, not completely. But it was good enough to warrant me desiring to have another go at reading a Jonathan Friesen novel, and I'll admit that I would like to re-read this book in the near future. 

Other nit-picky notes... At times I did have trouble keeping up with who was who, as far as the newly introduced Retinyan characters were concerned, mainly because their introductions were almost too swift at times and lacked a thorough background or explanation as to who they were. 

There were a few grammatical errors, and some uses of the wrong tense/spelling of a word was used once or twice.

I’m recommending this book… If you are a fan of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Patterson, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis then you might just enjoy being swept away into the Fantasy World of Retinya with Chloe and Nick.

About The Author: Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he's not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.

*I received this book free through Charleen Famiglietti of DJC Communications/Zondervan for the sole purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views and opinions freely expressed in this post are my own.

Other books by Jonathan Friesen:

Check out these other links…

Book Trailer:

Author's Website:

Purchase this Book on Amazon

mocha machiattos and late night convos

*mocha machiatto from mallory*

Sometimes there are just those days, you know, those kind of days when nothing is right but nothing is really drastically wrong either. Yeah, well, I just made it through one of those days and it was a looooong one at work, stocking bookshelves, setting book endcaps and answering the phone 85,000,000 times.

You know, It's not like there were any extremely bothersome customers or anything that should have caused me to be in a somewhat withdrawn, grumpy mood, but I was still in one nonetheless. Honestly, there has been waaaaay too much on my mind lately. Things like whether or not I should go to College and get a degree in something, anything, and a lot of other somethings too.

Unfortunately, I think my super jam packed stressed out mind was over thinking a bit too much tonight. I really hope all of my customers who came into the store today didn't notice my withdrawn and overly pensive nature. I mean, I'm pretty sure I was pleasant and helpful and all, but you can always tell when a person's mind is elsewhere. Sigh.

In the midst of my silence and thinking too much I found myself busily rearranging the fiction section at the bookstore for the umpteenth time. Then I heard the door slam and my mind came back to the real world. Looking up from behind the fiction shelves, where I was working on alphabetizing the author's with G and H names, I saw an acquaintance of mine, Mallory, walk through the door with a coffee cup in her hand. She came up to me in the fiction section and handed me the cup of coffee, which she then revealed was a mocha machiatto "because who hates mocha machiatto's, right?"...and that she had read my post on facebook from earlier where I had mentioned that I was "so NOT in an up and at 'em mood today" and thought that I could use some cheering up and energy, in the form of one excellent cup of coffee. I immediately said thank you and threw my arms around her in a friendly embrace, and then she left just as quickly as she had come in.

I don't even think Mallory realized just how much that small mocha machiatto with philippians 4:4 scrawled around the edges meant to me tonight. That little cup of coffee brought me not only a dose of energy, but also of joy. After Mallory had left I continued helping customers, stocking books, and then found that the time flew and it was indeed time to close up shop. Then I got a chance to talk to Avery (my friend/co-worker) about his first day of College. I hadn't even really asked him about his first day of school because I guess I was just too busy being lost in my own muddied thoughts. I know, I'm horrible for doing so. Sorry, Avery!

When Avery and I had finished all the paperwork, counted the registers, turned off the lights and then locked up the door I turned to Avery before walking off toward my car and just stood there in the parking lot, talking and reflecting and asking him about his day. Turns out Avery was in a grumpy mood too. It was nice to laugh off the day and turn our perspectives and grumpy pants ways upside down on their heads and find that God had been speaking all along.

All it took was one kind young woman, a cup of coffee and a late night talk about stress and how God's got it with a dear friend and coworker. God had been speaking "letting go of stress" and joy over us all day today. Though neither one of us had realized it until the day was almost done.

 / / /

Thank you Lord for helping me find that spark, that energy and joy this evening...even if it did take me all day to find it. And thank you for Mallory and Mocha Machiatto's and late night talks with Avery.

Love, Me

our hearts are restless until they rest in him

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”

This past week was crazy. And I don't mean crazy in that I went to a zillion places and did a zillion things either. I mean crazy as in it has been a crazy-hard week emotionally. Every girl has one of those types of week once in a while, right? Please, tell me I'm not the only one!

I feel as if I've been scrambling frantically after my peace. It's like I forgot what peace was and where I could get it or something. Funny thing is I know who/what/when/where (minus the why) my peace is. And it's been so hard trying to get back in the groove of remembering where to find it and learning day by day how to constantly live the life of a peace-seeker.

Honestly, my peace never waned. My peace never left me. I simply forgot to look to God. To my own beloved peace-bringer. I'm pretty sure He's gotten used to patiently waiting on me to snap out of my muddled mind for ages now, so that I could continuously and constantly focus on Him. Goodness, my Jesus must have some kind of patience!

Why did I forget to look? Well, here are some lame human excuses...

There's been family drama and many tears and fretting over mine and J's uncertain future. And then there are those feeling's that I am not enough or that I do not have enough right now that have doggedly plagued me. I've also struggled with absent words and concentrating on writing in my WIP novel, which has lead to frustration so fierce that I just want to scream and give up. (I won't do either, so don't worry!) To answer the question that I'm sure has found it's way into your mind, NO, it has not been a total whine-fest, but it has been a really stressful week for me as far as restlessness and emotional breakdown's are concerned.

So there...yes, up there ^^...those are my excuses as to why I've been too busy to find peace lately. Pretty lame, I know. And I agree with you if you thought so. My personal prayer time and devotion time has waned within the last couple of weeks, and to be completely honest I feel empty, and so does my peace-tank (if I had one that is.) I'm frustrated and at a loss with what to study in my Bible and what to even pray about some days. I'd love to find another devotional, but I don't even know where to begin to look for one that will truly speak to me right now (yes, I know, this is coming from the young woman who recommends devotionals and books all day long at her job? Crazy, right?)

(( Do you have any devo book suggestions? If so PLEASE comment or e-mail me. I'd love to hear your suggestions!))

You know, these are the things I know to be true about myself, but tend to forget and bury deep down inside me until a near mental breakdown occurs, or a crazy week like this past one... I am impatient. I am easily wounded. I am a recovering worry-wart. I am afraid of being alone. I am fickle (or so says my boyfriend.) I am an introvert. I am a load of contradictions. I am easily stressed out. I am always restless.

But those things that add to my stress are only a tiny part of me. Those things do not define me completely. I am still the good kind of restless. I am still the peace-seeker. I am still trusting in God and His plan for me and my family and my J. I am still the strong one in the midst of feeling weakness because God is always on my side and who can stand against me!? Stress cannot bring me down unless I let it. Seeing all of this craziness as a bad thing is exactly what Satan would have me do. But I am choosing not to. I choose to be restless, in a good manner, instead of stressed beyond all measure. I choose to embrace my faults and crazy emotions and let them loose whenever I feel the need to. I choose to embrace peace and seek after it, because that is what I know I need right now.

(And I ramble a lot because it is freeing and therapeutic. Oh, me!)

Somewhere along the way, and over the last couple of weeks, I forgot to accept that it is okay for me to feel restless, because that is just who I am. I am the restless girl who cries and vents and then feels okay and super inspired and giddy with joy the next day. This is just one of those heightened restless seasons that I have to try and brave it through. I know I will be okay and stronger on the other side. I just have to remind myself to remain uncertain, to be more than and to become peace-seeker reborn every morning when my feet hit the floor.

A Book Hunter's Weekend // Rachelle + Me

* ahead lies a peek into our wonderful book hunter's weekend - enjoy! *

{ Friday - Day One }

  Up above ^^ is my stack of books to trade in.  

 Rachelle was so thoughtful and brought a few books for me to read from her own collection of books. How sweet a friend is she?

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (to keep) // Love In Disguise by Carol Cox (to borrow) // Curly Girl The Handbook by Lorraine Massey (to borrow)

In fact, Rachelle is so thoughtful and sweet that not only did she bring me a few books to read, but she also brought me a gift bag full of lots of lovely goodies! Thank you so much, Shell! <3

Pictured Above: Rachelle browses through the "Inspy" section at the double-decker B&N.

Rachelle and I had a blast looking through all of the rows upon rows of books at Mr. K's! We both took in fairly good sized stacks of items to trade in for store credit. And while I traded in mostly books, Rachelle turned in only DVD's. All in all we both did fairly well in the book trade credit department. ;-) 

Yes, we both still love to read YA books. In fact, I know for certain that I will never completely grow up, as I adore children and teen's literature more than adult fiction most times. It was a lot of fun discussing back and forth what book series we had both read as young children. It seems, overall, that are story tastes were, and still are, quite similar! 

 You see this bright yellow basket? Yes, that one up ^^ there. Well, I noticed after only a few minutes of looking through books in the Christian/Inspiration section at Mr. K's that Rachelle had a stack of books in her arms measuring nearly a foot. Rachelle proceeded to find her way to the YA section where she continued to balance the stack of books she was holding ever so precariously against her tiny gymnast's frame, while looking for even more books. 

Ahem, like any good bookish friend I dashed quickly to the front of the store and was back before she knew it carrying this lovely little yellow basket intended to relieve her now fully extended arms. I handed the basket over to Rachelle and then she proceeded to tell me that I was such a good friend because a) I had gone to get her a basket after seeing that her arms were in need of dire help and b) because I did not tell her that she had gotten too many books already and that she needed to stop finding more books anytime soon. 

My personal philosophy is "the more books, the merrier!" =)

 At the end of our book hunter's day these are the books that ended up finding their way home via me.

Pictured Above ^^ :

Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan // Witch & Wizard by James Patterson // Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle // His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

After having applied all my trade credit to my purchases I ended up spending a mere $9 on our venture to Mr. K's. 

 At the end of our book hunter's day these are the books that ended up finding their way home via Rachelle.

Pictured Above ^^ :
From A Distance by Tamera Alexander // Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander // The Outsider by Ann H. Gabhart // Songbird Under A German Moon by Tricia Goyer // The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble // Eragon by Christopher Paolini // The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine *new from B&N* // A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman // Divergent by Veronica Roth

{ Saturday - Day Two }

The Scent of Rain by Kristin Billerbeck the book I chose to buy for my half-off book for August. I do love the half-off book perk at my job!

On day two of our book hunter's weekend Rachelle wanted to go see where I worked at and do a little shopping for her family. Usually I wouldn't be all for going into work on my off day, but it was actually a lot of fun showing Rachelle around "my bookstore," and introducing her to a couple of my co-workers. Oh, and of course we both did a little shopping too, and om-nommed on some rather yumo cookies thanks to my generous and ever so kind coworker, Avery! ;-)

Before Rachelle had to head back home we wanted to make sure we'd never forget our awesome "book hunter's weekend" together, so naturally we broke out Lila Canon (my DSLR camera) and had my sister Mary capture a shot of us two. I had such a wonderful weekend with Rachelle, and I am already looking forward to the next time we can spend time together! ;-)

/// // ///

{ Saturday & Sunday - Day Two, Part Two + Day Three }

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
*bought new from B&N*


Mad Mary by Liz Curtis Higgs // The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs // Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
*these three were purchased used*

After Rachelle left Saturday afternoon I drove back out to A-ville to see Jared for the weekend. Needless to say I ended up stimulating the economy (only because it was tax-free-weekend *or at least that's what I told myself*) both Saturday and Sunday by buying a few clothing items from Eddie Bauer and Sears' clearance racks. And I also bought a couple more books in B&N and Mr. K's too. Yes, I know... I am Sarah Elizabeth and I am a book-a-holic.

// /// //

Okay, so now it's your turn... Have you ever had the chance to meet up with a dear blogger friend in real-life? Or maybe, like us, you bought some good reads this past weekend too? So... Who, What, When, Where & Why? Rachelle and I would love to know!