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You are Mine

Renee Ann Smith —  April 16, 2014 — 12 Comments
Bible Graphics A Broken Kind of Beautiful Katie Ganshert
Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. ~Isaiah 43:1~

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This is the theme verse for a wonderful novel about what true beauty is to God. Follow this link to read my review for A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert.

Photo Backstory: I made this graphic by downloading an image from my account at RGB Stock Photos and tweaking it & adding words with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

This week I may be linking up with Miscellany Monday, WW Create with Joy, WW Catch My Words, WW That Suburban Mama, WW Ms Mystery Case, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Woman to Woman, WW Books & More, WW Mom’s Own Words, WW Stacy Uncorked, Jenny’s Wordless Wednesday, Mrs. Tee WW, Raising My Boys WW, Winsome Wednesday, Hope in Every Season, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, WW @PD Mama, WW Blogspot, Imperfect Prose, WW 5 Min for Mom, A Mama’s Corner WW, Mama to 5 WW, Whimsy Wednesday, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up, Three Word Wednesday, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, A Little R&R, Wake Up Wednesday, In Him We Live, Rurality Blog Hop, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving ThursdayLittle Things Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, House to Home Link Party, The Barn Princess, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thrive @Home Link Up, Thought provoking Thursday, Throwback Thursday, Grace at Home, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Saturday Sharefest, Recommendation Saturday, Still Saturday, Sunday Snapshot, Heart Reflected, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Stillness, and The Sunday Community.

“Ivy blinked at the card, then got to work opening it up. Inside, she found a short note written in a childlike scrawl. ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 God wrote these words for you, Ivy. Love, Sara.’” from A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

broken kind of beautiful cover

Katie Ganshert’s latest novel centers on the spiritual journey of cover girl Ivy Clark. Ivy belongs to “a world that took and took so subtly and connivingly that a person didn’t notice until there was nothing left to give.”

“Men dressed in Armani, women clad in the latest and greatest fashion trends, all standing in small cliques, holding drinks and hiding personal agendas behind pretense and gossip. She understood the rules and subtle nuances. She’d played the game since she was fourteen.”

But now at the age of twenty-five, Ivy finds herself washed up and scrambling for a job . . . any job. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her modeling career back on track—even if that means hurting the only people willing to show her kindness—her long-suffering stepmother Marilyn, her new friend Sara, and Davis Knight, the talented photographer who sees past her cold, beautiful shell to the vulnerable person inside.

Like the woman at the well, Ivy uses men to medicate her hurting spirit. Though Ivy acknowledges this in words, it’s quite another thing for her to finally see the ugliness in her own heart. As God rips away her facade, Ivy’s anguish is painful to read. But her epiphany is so satisfying that it’s well worth the journey.

I was surprised at how deeply this story hooked me. The more I read, the more I wanted the sweet girl to be pretty & resented the mean girl’s beauty. And I began to feel again that self-consciousness over my acne-scarred face that stunted my spiritual growth when I was young. That’s when I knew the author had done her job well!

In our youth and beauty obsessed culture, this is a story that resonates with the powerful truth that God “sees not as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)
I know that once I “release” A Broken Kind of Beautiful to my students, I won’t see the book again for a very long time! My high school girls are going to love it!
What I liked best . . .
  • Marilyn’s faithfulness & unconditional love in the face of repeated rejections
  • Davis Knight, the kindhearted hero with an eye for true beauty
  • His sweet sister Sara
  • The sea turtle story
  • Ivy’s friendship with Twila, a tiny cancer patient with a big heart
My favorite quotes . . .

“God’s not in the business of pampering His children. He’s in the business of perfecting them.”

“This world was never meant to be comfortable. It was never meant to feel like home. It took darkness to show me the truth. One day I’ll open my eyes and I’ll see Jesus.”

“God gave you a special eye for His beauty. You see things the rest of us don’t. You capture it, and then share it with the world.”

Broken 2

God gave you a special eye for His beauty.

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What you should do next . . .

zganshert party

Katie headshotAbout the author: Katie Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband, their young son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption. She is the author of the Carol Award winning and Christy nominated Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows.

You can connect with Katie . . .

Thanks for taking time to read my review! What have you been reading lately, friends?

This week I might be linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Sharing His Beauty, Mommmy Monday Blog Hop, Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Unite @Rich Faith Rising, Modest MondaysBook Notes, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Salt & Light, Manic Monday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Titus 2sday Link-up, Living Proverbs 31, Busy Monday, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Imperfect Prose, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Three Word Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, A Little R&R, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, The Barn Princess, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, Whimsy Wednesday, In Him We Live, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Throwback Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, Cozy Book Hop, Booknificent Thursday, Tell His Story, Thought Provoking Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, From House to Home Link Party, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Saturday Sharefest, Sunday Stillness, and Heart Reflected.


Evidence of Life

Renee Ann Smith —  April 9, 2014 — 10 Comments

Waterfront 4b

Discovering what makes you fully come alive is not the goal of life. It is the evidence of life.

~Author Unknown~
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Photo Backstory:  I snapped this iPhone pic at a camp my school visited in the fall. (I can’t believe how fast the time has flown since then!) I used PicMonkey to make it into a graphic. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

Did you ever notice how often the Lord begins His conversations with powerful, pointed questions?

  • “Simon, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15)
  • “Who has touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30)
  • “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
  • “Were you there when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4)
  • “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11)

His words aim to rip away pretense and reveal us to ourselves.

Because so often it’s easier to know what’s in God’s heart than to understand our own. (Click to Tweet)

God 039 s HeartWhat questions has He been asking you lately? Here are a few He’s been whispering to my heart.

Sometimes the questions are tough, but God is always tender.

He plumbs the depths of our treacherous hearts,
“Judges our thoughts and intentions,”
and cherishes us no matter what He uncovers.

Let our Father’s lovingkindness
Make us humble,
Make us thankful,
And amaze us anew.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day, friends! Continue Reading…

img 3518 2 My name’s Renee Ann Smith, and I’m so happy to be participating in 5 Minute for Mom’s Ultimate Bog Party 2014!

Who am I? The tagline bio I share on social media usually reads something like: I teach literature in a Christian high school by day & write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share book reviews, devotionals, and heart-touching stories on my blog Doorkeeper.

I start out with the label teacher because I’ve been teaching ever since I can remember. As a little girl, I would line up my dolls and instruct them in the ways of their pretend world. As a teen, I taught real kids at Vacation Bible Schools and backyard Bible clubs. So far, I’ve spent twenty-five years teaching literature and writing to Christian high school students. My students inspire and teach me daily. They bring excitement, wonder, and joy to my life! And some of my students love to read the same books I do—JOY!

I’m a writer. Right now I write this blog. But I’m in the midst of writing a 3-novella series for a small ebook-only publisher. I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a winner of the 2011 Genesis Award and Daphne du Maurier Award for unpublished writers. One of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my writing journey was joining author Susan May Warren’s awesome group for writers, My Book Therapy. A highlight of my year was attending the My Book Therapy Deep Thinker’s Retreat this past February in Florida. Here are some of my favorite photos from that week!at the beech 2

iPhone 2

I’m a book lover. I love inviting folks in to my favorite author’s worlds & sharing their wonderful stories. There’s no way I could write about all the great books I’ve read. So I share two to four book reviews a month of the novels I consider Must Reads.

I also love snapping pics with my iPhone and making graphics. I offer a new graphic for free download every Wednesday. Here’s one of my recent favorites! Feel free to pin, tweet, download & share!

Blessed 1b

Why is my blog called Doorkeeper? Though I’ve spent half my life in the classroom, that’s not where I encountered my greatest inspiration. It came from the men and women who muscled through some challenge or problem in life, and then beckoned me through the door they had opened, calling, “I found the way. Follow me.” 

I aspire to be a Doorkeeper. And maybe if I’m faithful in this life, I’ll be tenured into the position for the life to come!

Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a Doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

Here are a few of my favorite posts & pages:

Free Graphics

Embracing NEW

My most recent book review: It Had to Be You

Corrie ten Boom: Hero of the Hiding Place

Mom, Me & Heaven Is for Real

Thanks for stopping in for a visit, friends! If you’d like to connect, let me know that you’re following from UBP14 & I’ll follow back!
Here’s where you can find me:
Fool for Books
I’m so glad you came by to join in the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. She gathers some fun blogs, offering great prizes, into this hop every year—just so we can show you readers how happy we are that you come by.

MY GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away TWO $10 Amazon Email Gift Cards. Simply enter once using the Giveaway Tool Widget below for a chance to win. This giveaway ends on April 8, 2014 at 2 am.

Two winners have been chosen & emailed! Thanks for participating!

Continue Reading…

When God sings

Renee Ann Smith —  March 25, 2014 — 12 Comments
Free Bible Verse GraphicsIt Had to Be You Susan May Warren
I will take delight in her. I will rejoice over her with joyful songs. ~Zephaniah 3:17~ (Click to Tweet)
You don’t have to change the world to earn the applause of heaven. (Click to Tweet)

Photo Backstory: These graphics were inspired by a novel I just read & loved—It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren. The quote is from Susan herself & the Scripture is the “theme verse” of the main character. I downloaded free images from RGB Stock Photos & used PicMonkey to tweak the images (blur certain parts, crop them, etc.) & add the words. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

Read my review of It Had to Be You at this link.

So glad you stopped in today. Blessings, friends! Continue Reading…

It Had to Be You

Renee Ann Smith —  March 23, 2014 — 6 Comments
“My prayer is that you would believe God has a good story for you, too. Because only then will you truly hear the voice of God, telling you what He told me years ago when He put you in my arms: ‘I will take delight in her. I will rejoice over her with joyful songs‘ (Zephaniah 3:17).” ~Ingrid Christiansen to her daughter Eden, It Had to Be You~

susan may warren book 2Overshadowed by her talented siblings, Eden Christiansen is a born story-teller, who doesn’t quite believe that God has a good story for her life. Eden can help others see their potential but cannot see her own. As a child, she spent her free time hidden in a book. Now she’s still hiding from life—or maybe living it vicariously through her NHL star brother Owen. 

Enter playboy hockey star Jace ‘J-Hammer’ Jacobsen, who has everything his fans want in life, but longs for something more. His friend Sam, who finds himself in crisis when his adorable daughter Maddy needs a second heart transplant. The entire Christiansen family, who welcome all comers into their loving circle. And a teenage John Doe, who needs someone to watch over him.

These are the folks God uses to show Jace and Eden that His take on their stories is very different from their own.

This good-for-your-heart story ties together God’s wisdom, sweet romance, personal suffering, sacrifice, death, life, and God answering our wildest, most impossible dreams in His own special way.

I love how Susan May Warren novels touch on the most deeply felt needs and fears of our hearts—and often present heart-breaking situations with no easy answers—yet leave me feeling uplifted and hopeful.

What I liked best . . .
  • The under-confident heroine, Eden, penning beautiful memorials to ordinary folks in her obit column
  • The powerful yet endearing hero, Jace (High school girls will want to marry him. Grandmotherly types will want to bake him cookies.)
  • When Eden & her friend Russell are in the stands of his first Blue Ox hockey game
  • Jace’s best friend Sam singing to his little girl Maddy
  • The scenes describing a weekend with the Christiansen family (My students & I soooo want to visit Deep Haven!)
I limited myself to sharing two favorite quotes . . .

It Had to Be You Susan May Warren

It Had to Be You Susan May Warren

You don’t have to change the world to earn the applause of heaven. (Click to Tweet)

We expect God’s love to be all nice and neatly packaged. But He’ll do what He has to in order to draw us to that place where we need him. (Click to Tweet)

***I made these graphics with free images from rgbstock.com & tweaked them with picmonkey.com. Feel free to download, pin, tweet & share!

What you should do next . . .

***Thanks to LItfuse, Susan May Warren, and Tyndale House for providing a copy of It Had to Be You for me to review.

susie chairback new smAbout the Author:  Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists.

In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more.
***For any writers out there, joining My Book Therapy was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet in my writing journey. I recently attended the MBT Deep Thinkers Retreat and found that so many things connected for me during those five days. You should hop to the website and join the free level today!

You can connect with SMW