Monday, May 25, 2015

Your Divine Voice: A Healing Source of Inspiration

Have you ever heard of the phrase "divine voice" and truly wondered what it meant? I think at times I've struggled with this terminology myself. When I hear of someone "using their divine voice," I think of this supernatural bodily takeover where the Holy Spirit does a complete 100% takeover of your body, mind, and spirit -- takes over your tongue, says what the Lord wants you to say to the listener, and then goes back into hibernation. I know...slightly dramatic, but these are the visions I get in my head. I've always told myself that I'm not necessarily sure that I have a divine voice but once again, God proved me wrong.

Divine Voice

Several days ago, I ventured out to a low-key coffee shop here in town to conduct an interview for my online magazine. It started off as just another interview -- prepped a little before by reading the bio of the individual, other write-ups she's received, etc. I was ready...or was I?

Ascension Coffee Dallas

I get to the coffee shop, chat it up with my favorite server, and order my soy cappuccino. The time was just around 8PM. As she approaches, I'm still under the impression that this will be just another monotonous interview. She sits...a tad nervous...but after a "Hey girl!" here and a "What's up?" there by me, she slinks back in her chair knowing that I'm human just like her. She's now comfortable.

Ascension Coffee Dallas

We get through the first set of introductions and I turn my recorder on. It all starts off as super cliche and all of the basic journalist questions. It then begins to rain and we move inside the coffee shop. We started talking about her inspirations for her craft and she begins to reveal some basic insecurities. As a creative artist driven by her passion but financially tied to a job that will "provide," her inner struggle of passion and purpose begin to surface. As an entrepreneur who recently took a deep dive into "crazy-land" to fully pursue my passion, I immediately began to minister...unknowingly.

~Proverbs 18:21 - The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat of its fruit. ~

Out of nowhere, I began to speak to her situation by telling her my story, where I came from, how God wants her to use her gifts and how she will never really experience the fullness of what He has for her until she steps off of faith, dives off the cliff into "crazy-land," and has the utmost faith that He will provide. Seeing her eyes well with tears, I turn off the recorder and continued to fill her with all of the things God was telling me to tell her. It was probably one of the most powerful moments I've ever experienced.

I sat there for probably an hour with my interview subject ministering to her and she gratefully accepted. She went on to say that she knew our meeting was one bathed in divinity -- that everything I had to say spoke to her situation and was exactly what she needed at that moment. As if awoken from a dream, I re-emerge...only to remember bits of pieces of what was spoken, but alive enough to know that God was there, He spoke, and she was refreshed.

I don't know what the future will hold for this talented artist, but in that moment she was inspired and she felt hope. I now know what it means to speak in my "divine voice." Have you recognized yours? Your divine voice is never for you.  It's when God uses you to share his vision with others based on their need. You won't have to think long and hard about what to say, because it will flow like a river. In what ways has your divine voice healed others? Have you truly allowed God to use you? Just some things to think about as you move forward.

XOXO - Leah

Monday, May 11, 2015

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran Book Review

Our resident book and novel expert, Ashleigh Ray, received an advance copy of Jan Moran's latest book, Scent of Triumph, which was released on March 31. After reading the book from cover to cover, find out the scoop on whether Ashleigh thinks this book from Moran's collection is worth the read.

Overall Assessment: Overall, Scent of Triumph is an enjoyable book despite a few style preferences and choices made purposefully by the author. Moran created a story that captivates the reader. However underneath a more skeptical eye, the novel’s flaws will appear. 3 out of 5 stars to anyone who enjoys dramatic romance and historical fiction.  
The plot of Scent of Triumph is engaging within the first few pages, drawing the reader in with the hint of romance in the midst of war. The events of the story take place during World War II after the Nazis invaded Poland -- strategically placing this novel under the label of historical fiction. While not usually the one to read historical fiction -- as it usually buries the reader beneath facts and dates that they could care less about, this story made us reconsider our stance against the genre. Moran made us interested in the lives of her characters. She had us rooting for their safety and for their happiness. Within the first few pages, we were ready to commit ourselves to the romance and drama of Danielle Bretancourt’s life.  

Despite much praise, beware as the style of this book may catch you off guard. 

The first line alone gave such an air of pretension that we had to put it down -- only to pick it back up to re-engage in more pretentious tones given off by the narrator. For the reader, this pretension may be derived from the overly dramatized tone and longer-than-necessary descriptions. This tone evens out as the story goes on, but the author still tends to over-describe the settings in her stories. Sometimes brevity is best. Some readers appreciate a nice balance between what the writer tells them and what they are allowed to imagine for themselves. Unfortunately, Moran dissolves the fun, leaving little to the imagination. However, we understand that this is only a matter of personal taste.

Another slight but looming issue comes from the main character. Despite Danielle’s virtues and talents, she seemed almost too perfect. She is the ideal woman living a charmed life. This is reinforced by the fact that she never really has to deal with the difficult situations in her life; instead, something convenient occurs to draw her away from the difficulty.  This is a common theme with writers. 

Whenever the author finds his or herself in a difficult plot line, he/she writes themselves out of it, rather than riding out the tension and seeing what comes of it. I think that Danielle would have been a much stronger character had she been given the chance to grow in these situations.

Other than these minor flaws, this book comes just in time for the summer -- heading the warmer weather with an enjoyable romance laced with historical fiction. We rate this novel 3 out of 5.