Please Help Improve Literature Approved!

Even if you’re just a part-time reader of Literature Approved, I would really appreciate your feedback!

Literature Approved

A new year means new beginnings for many, many people, so I would love to extend that onto Literature Approved by asking you, faithful readers, to take a few minutes of your time to answer the following polls. They are simple, multiple choice questions that I’ve made to help Literature Approved continue to be the site that you come to for reviews! I’m sure that you’re all very busy so I understand if you can’t answer all of them and I appreciate, in advance, each and every answer you may provide!

Thank you so much for your contributions to bettering this site!

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Find me at ElizabethNewsom.com!

A dear friend and fellow blogging buddy of mine, Elizabeth (Liz) Newsom, recently asked to interview me about my writing and blogging interests on her blog and I am here to pass along the information that that interview is live on the internet! Feel free to check out my answers to difficult questions such as “who are your favorite authors”, as well as some advice that I was asked to give to aspiring writers and bloggers, by following the link to ElizabethNewsom.com!

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Also please feel free to give Liz a follow as her blog is full of great tips regarding writing, book reviews, and fun polls! Thanks so much for reading!

Being a Receiver and Hearing God’s Voice; Guest Liz Newsom

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the life decisions we have to make as a teenager? Like who we’re supposed to date, what we’re supposed to major in, where we should go to college, or what career we’re going to have? The decisions we make now, as a teenager, can determine our life’s course for decades to come. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone who not only has to handle their future life, but their overwhelming current life too.

As a Christian, we’ve probably brought several of these issues up to God, or even given Him deadlines for when He should answer us. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this: “God, I need an answer by this date, preferably carved into the sky. With lightning.” Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten an answer through crashing thunder or roaring wind, but now I know why.

1 Kings 19:11-12 says, “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

To hear a whisper, we have to be quieter than the whisper. That’s definitely not rocket science, and I’m betting all of you already knew that, but it’s so much easier to pray to God, to rant, to plead, to beg, rather than listening to Him, which is why sometimes we don’t hear God’s answer. Because we aren’t listening. So how do we listen to God? The simple answer is: be quiet.

We just need to set aside a small amount of time—just five minutes— per day to listen. Please don’t try to do this while multi-tasking, and saying that we don’t have time isn’t an excuse either. Relationships are all about two-way communication, and a relationship with God is no exception. We don’t have time to not listen.

As silly as it sounds, I pretend I’m a receiver in a football game while I’m listening for God. What do receivers do? Well, first of all, their hands have to be empty. If they’re holding something already, they’re not going to catch the ball, which is why I try to just focus on the quiet. I empty my own thoughts, so I can be open to God’s.

Secondly, they’ve got their eye on the ball. They’re looking at it to see where it’s going to go, and their focus doesn’t waver from the ball. Stay focused. Our thoughts are going to clamor for our attention, but they have the rest of the day to be heard. Give these five minutes to God.

Last of all, the receiver is expecting the ball, mentally ready to catch it. This sounds ridiculously simplistic. And that’s because it is, yet it’s just as necessary as the first two steps. We have to believe that we’re going to hear what God wants to tell us. Now, by expectancy, I don’t mean expectations. I learned the difference between the two from the phenomenal book, The Story of With by Allan Arnold. Expectancy is remaining hopeful and faithful, knowing that God’s timing and His plans are perfect and being ready for whatever He brings to us, while expectations set us up for disappointment. Expectations are specific goals based on us and our plans. We can’t expect God to smite us with inspiration every time we’re quiet. If we don’t hear Him, that doesn’t mean we’ve failed or God has bailed out on us, just enjoy whatever time you have with God, even if it’s in silence. If God wants us to hear something, and we’re readily listening, we’ll hear it.

You have huge life decisions coming up and with them, amazing opportunities. Don’t stress about it! If you’ve given everything over to God, then that’s it. He’s got you covered. I know that sometimes it seems God has let you down, but He’s always got a back up plan. If a relationship doesn’t work out or a college doesn’t accept you, just remember: that means God’s got something bigger and better in store.

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Elizabeth (Liz) Newsom is a gifted, young author of clean, enticing romance and a blogger at ElizabethNewsom.com, where she writes creative book reviews, polls, writing tips, and pretty much anything else she can come up with that falls under her hobbies. She is a senior in high school of which she does through homeschool, and has already completed one fantasy romance novel. Please feel free to check out her little piece of the internet by clicking the following link:

ElizabethNewsom.com

{Please leave a comment with your thoughts or further questions!}

A Tree’s Revelation to the Meaning of Faith

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What once started as the tiny seed in the palm of a child’s hand, has now grown into the sturdy, dependable tree that now holds the grown child in it’s branches.

Trees have always fascinated me; all plants have really. I love studying the way that that tiny seed grows. The way the leaves unfold ever so gently and provide the food the tree needs to survive on; the way it produces fruit in some form or fashion to pass along its seeds for new trees to grow; and especially the way it uses water, soil, carbon dioxide, and sunlight as it’s primary needs for survival. But the most profound thing about trees that I have recently learned, is the way they revealed “faith” to me.

My family and I recently acquired two young Cedar Elms, by accident. The way we acquired them is really irrelevant to the story, however, we are unwilling to plant them just yet, as we are only in a rent house and plan to move soon, preferably taking the trees with us. When we ended up with the two young trees, at the beginning of summer, my dad jokingly commented that “these can be our faith trees; the first part of the house we want so badly” and though I considered it a joke as well at the time, I haven’t been able to forget about it. Every time I journey across the yard to water them, for the past few months, I find myself contemplating the meaning of faith and what these two trees have to do with it. I could feel a deeper meaning, a lesson that I knew could be learned, yet I couldn’t access it yet.

So, the mornings and afternoons in which I would spend 10 to 15 minutes in the hot Texas heat to water the baby trees, I would admire them and simply think, trying to learn the lesson that I knew they were going to offer. Well, a week passed with me being out of town and I had forgotten to arrange for someone to water the trees in my absence and therefore on my return, they were well on their way to dying. One of them, which is younger and seems to have the better soil in its pot, was simply beginning to yellow and therefore was a lot easier for me to save. However the older, taller tree, had brown crunchy leaves that fell rapidly with every gentle breeze. This tree was my favorite for some reason, even before the lesson I learned from it.

I watered it fervently, making sure to not over water, yet I knew its situation was dire. I watched its leaves carefully as the dead ones continued to fall, waiting and hoping to see some new green ones sprout. It was almost a full week before I saw the tree begin to improve, the dry ugly leaves had fallen completely and the tree was bare and naked in its pot. But one small branch by one small branch, the greenery began to replenish. Now its lush with leaves just as the other one is, yet this one looks even stronger than it had before.

But while it was still recovering, I finally found the revelation that I had felt was in the midst of these trees. The tree itself is a representation of the faith we have in God’s presence in our lives. Not the faith in God in general, but the particular faith that we have in the way He interacts in our lives.

You see, it wasn’t enough for me to just believe that the tree was still alive, just as it isn’t enough for us to just believe that God cares about our lives. It wasn’t enough for me to have just said “If God wants the tree to live then He’ll make it live” just like it isn’t enough for us to say similar phrases about the situations in our lives. Yes, the first step is to believe, if I hadn’t believed that the tree was alive, I wouldn’t have tried to save it, but action needs to follow that belief. I had to water that tree every single day, once in the morning and once at night, for 4 minutes at each interval. It took only 8 minutes out of my day for me to save that tree. Isn’t that how we need to nurture our faith? By taking the time and quietly studying the Word and contemplating the powerful and fascinating way of God’s nature, isn’t that the best possible way to build our faith in knowing that He will act in our lives? And by studying and inviting Him in, we are making it possible, “cultivating the soil” if you will, to make it more probable that He will act. And all it takes is that little bit of time in the morning, and that little bit of time in the evening.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalms 1:3 (ESV)

Fans of Goodreads and Instagram!

My two favorite social medias blending together?!?!?!?!?!?! YES PLEASE! Check it bookish fans 😉

Literature Approved

I have a bookish app recommendation for those of you who love Goodreads and Instagram! This app is called “Litsy” and I’ve only had it for a day and already I love it! It’s set up a lot like Instagram yet it has many of the same features as Goodreads does (shelves, opportunities to post quotes, reviews, and blurbs, all with some cool pictures of your favorite photogenic books). It is for a mobile device (you can’t access your account from a laptop) and only available on the Apple Appstore currently but I assume that they are working on making it available to Android users as well.

I made myself an account and a lot of the publishers that I review for are joining it so I imagine that it will get decently big very quickly and may become a lead competitor for Goodreads (which I still use). It’s super fun…

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Writing Opportunity for Writers

Hello lovely followers, how has everyone been doing? My life has gotten super busy with all of my college courses and soon work, so I’ve fallen behind in posting both on here and Literature Approved, and I do apologize for that, however because of this I have decided to open up Accelerate The Jesus Movement and Literature Approved for guest posts and book reviews. It took me a while to decide to actually follow through with this thought because these two places are incredibly special to me and I wasn’t sure I was ready to “share” my little bit of the internet, but with my constant busyness increasing, I’ve decided that instead of letting these two sites sit vacant of posts, that I would let some of the new writers I’ve had the opportunity to meet show their skills at writing; not “take over” but definitely keep the blogs going when I can’t. I know, I know, some of you just experienced an increase in heart rate at that statement, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not “leaving”, I’ll still be posting on here, I’m just going to be sharing the reins a bit.

How I plan on this working, is I’m going to leave open the application for anyone who is interested by having them email me (or leave a comment), but I’m also going to be going to some of the blogs I follow and asking the author’s of those, personally, if they are interested in guest posting because I’ve had the chance to meet some very talented writers, of all ages, and I’d be honored to have several of them guest post here or on Literature Approved. If you’re interested, even just in knowing a little bit more about what I’m asking, please read the following guidelines:

Being a guest on Accelerate The Jesus Movement:

What I require:  The posts that I publish are expected to be encouraging towards teens/young adults, boy or girl. I know that here recently, I’ve been publishing pretty much anything I want, from stories to series, but I really want to refocus back onto why I started this blog in the first place, to Accelerate Jesus into the lives of my peers. So the only posts I will be publishing from guests will be posts that encourage and inspire the readers. I may make exceptions depending on the idea pitched to me, but I am going to stick with this and will, myself, follow this when I post.

Benefits of being a guest: Though I will not give any of the guests access to self publish anything here, I will give them full rein to chose their own topics, pictures (if they see it suitable for a topic picture), and dates of publish. I also will post a short bio, bio picture (if desired), and links to personal websites.

My role when regarding a guest: I will be the editor for all of the posts, not meaning that I am going to rewrite everything to suit my taste, instead I will be checking for errors but more specifically ways to better the post and ensure that it makes sense to the audience. It will still solely be the author’s post, I will just be perfecting it. And before it is published, I will send the author the edited piece so they can approve of what I polished.

Being a guest on Literature Approved:

What I require: Literature Approved is a book (and sometimes movie) reviewing site for any and all ages who are seeking clean, entertaining books. Because I am very particular about which books I approve, only a few genres are available to have guest reviews; children’s booksmiddle grade, school classics and some YA fiction. Because it would be useless and unnecessary for me to read a book in order for me to approve of the review someone already wrote, I have to give a certain amount of trust in this area. I have a way to decide on which books can be reviewed but I will save that to explain to those who are interested in this role.

Benefits of being a guest: Once again, I will not be giving the guests access to post anything by themselves, however they will receive full credit for the review, a short bio, bio picture (if desired), and links to personal websites. The details of selecting the books to review will be saved for the explanation of whoever is interested in taking the role.

My role when regarding a guest: Just like with guests for Accelerate the Jesus Movement, I will be the editor of the reviews simply to polish them to perfection. Also, I will take the tedious task of adding all of the links and formatting of the reviews as well so all the guest will need to do is write the review and attach the cover image 🙂

I think that I already have a few writers lined out for guest posts so please don’t hesitate to drop a comment or email me at typewritersheart@gmail.com for more information. I don’t have a limit for how many people can guest post (nor do I have a limit for how many posts a single guest can submit) so please feel free to pass this around to anyone who may want to guest post.

Thanks so much for reading this post and I hope that you faithful followers still stick around in the midst of this transition! Thanks again guys and I hope you all have a blessed day!

Creat a Backstory #2

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Here is a link to the rules and an example post in case you missed them or need a quick recap:

CREAT A BACKSTORY

And here is the character who needs a backstory! (Please be aware that I am unfamiliar with this photographer so if you decide to look up more of her work, be cautious as I have no idea what will show up.)

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Photo credit: Natasha Rodionoya Photography

I have to say that I am extremely excited to see what some of you will come up with; I absolutely love this picture!