Fall Favorites – 2018!

A few of my favorite things from this Fall, the best of them all! Books, candles, and ALL of the things!!!

IMG_7344 There are so many things to love about this season and time of year. Now, hear me out, I know that this is completely insane. Fall is what really? A time where pretty much all plant life dies and decays by turning into various shades of red, orange, and brown until ultimately the leaves wither into nothingness in preparation for the coming harshness of winter. Still, there’s nothing more magical than the latter months of the year in my opinion. As crazy as it sounds, fall to me means rebirth and rejuvenation! Those darkening leaves and cool breezes? I find them beautiful.

Maybe it’s because of my allergies that I associate springtime with a general feeling of death, but we’ll save that for another post!

As you can see, I LOVE fall. Or have you not gotten that message yet? Here are a few of the things that have been making my fall-time even more beautiful!

  1. Karen Witemeyer Books – Every fall, I normally settle in with my blankets, a candle, and the entire When Calls the Heart collection (AKA, the Canadian West series). Something about Canada and historical fiction just screams fall to me. While I haven’t gotten around to my annual reread of When Calls the Heart, Karen Witemeyer’s books have been a great alternative for filling all of my historical fiction needs!
  2. Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette – One of my favorite things about this fall has been being apart of the launch team for this book, getting to read it and promote it! It’s a fantastic read and I’d recommend it to anyone! Conni is, and probably always will be, a Biblical fiction queen!
  3. CANDLES – Ok, we’re book nerds. We love reading. But you know what makes reading instantly better? Every. single. time.??? Reading near an open flame. A cozy candle, bonus points if it’s pumpkin or cinnamon scented, makes reading all the more enjoyable during these cold, rainy evenings. Just make sure you read a safe distance away from your candle. I shouldn’t have to say this, but JUST IN CASE, this is your friendly reminder that books are made of paper, and they can and WILL burn if they come into too close of contact with fire!!!
  4. WRITING – True. I write all of the time. But there’s something about falling back into a chair, staring pensively out the window watching the storms ensue, and tapping a pencil on the crisp, blank pages of a notebook. In those moments, we authors have ultimate power.

Of course, there’s more. Isn’t there always more? Be sure to watch my Fall Favorites YouTube video on my channel for even more wonderfully fall-ish recommendations! Tis the season to be… fall-y? Whatever. Just watch the video! And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a single update or bookish review/recommendation! Until then,

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“Live Fearless” by Sadie Robertson || Review

You have trouble breathing. Your heart is racing. Your mind? Consumed by the worst of thoughts. Your whole live is plagued by fear, by crippling anxiety. How can you live like that?
Answer: you don’t.
In Live Fearless: A Call to Power, Passion, and Purpose by Sadie Robertson, Robertson details her personal struggle with anxiety and how she went from letting it control her life, to giving control over to the only one who deserves it. God.
You might know Robertson from Duck Dynasty, or from her appearances on Dancing With the Stars. What you don’t know, are the true stories of the battles against fear she fought each night before a performance. Which, to be honest, if you can be absolutely terrified and yet STILL go out on stage, represents and incredible amount of bravery in my opinion. To ignore fear and carry on, is courage in and of itself!
But where did she get that courage from? From prayer, studying the Bible, receiving encouragement from her mentors, and being in constant communication with God
Throughout the book, Sadie Robertson sets apart paragraphs that example how to pray, encouragement for those still struggling, and questions to ponder as you continue your own battle against fear and anxiety.
As an anxious person myself, Sadie Robertson’s uplifting book and positive perspective on life has given me a lot to think about. The verses and life lessons she shared have helped me armor up with the Word of God, so that next time an attack comes, I’ll be prepared to fight it.
You can watch my FULL video review on YouTube and see exactly why I loved this book so much. It has had such a tremendous impact on how I view fear and anxiety.
As always, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read this post. I really hope that you enjoyed it, as I always enjoy writing these for you. Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list if you haven’t already, to ensure that you NEVER miss new content from me, and if you want to keep up with my life on a daily basis then don’t forget to follow me @jennavanmourik on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Welcome to my Blog!

WOW. I can’t believe that this is happening. This website is the result of months (maybe even years!) of hard work. Sometimes it was stressful, sometimes I didn’t believe in myself, and sometimes I was just plain scared of all the what-ifs.
  1. What-if everyone in the universe hates my writing?
  2. What-if my content isn’t good enough?
  3. What-if I’ve chosen the wrong career and in thirty years I’ll wind up going through the worst mid-life crisis known to mankind???
Okay, okay. I know. Much of that is abstract, unrealistic, and even a bit silly. But hey, I’m a real person with real, crazy thoughts! What can I say? I have to remind myself every day:
Breathe! Relax! Just be yourself! I know that it’s hard and scary and overwhelming and all that advice you’ve been getting feels artificial and fake – STOP! You just have to take a leap of faith and know that whatever happens, happens. In the end, you did the best that you could with what you were given and the time that you had. Find your joy and fulfillment in that, and everything else will fall into place around you. Learn contentment, learn peace, learn joy.
Maybe this is what you needed to hear. Maybe this is what you’re feeling right now. If it is, then this is the right blog for you. I’m a college girl with big dreams, pursuing a fulfilling creative lifestyle.
A little bit about me: I grew up in California, surrounded by Hollywood-sized dreams and visions of red carpets. They dazzled me. I knew that as an adult I would not be happy sitting behind a desk punching numbers unless they were the number of exciting projects that I would get to create each month, no, week!
Flash forward several years and I’d tried it all. Art? I dabbled in acrylics, soft pastels, pencil sketching, and even some digital art. Music? I can play piano pretty well (better if I had a bit more practice), the ukulele became an extension of my arm, I have a pretty basic grasp of the guitar, and I was involved in several choirs. Acting? Musial theatre, stage plays, monologues, improvisation, short films, and a billion others attempts at “making it big.” I was told that I “sparkled” whenever I did these things. That my eyes just lit up. I couldn’t see this sparkle for myself, but I knew what it felt like. It felt like joy. To create something, for me, was synonymous with joy.
Finally, I settled on writing. Because as a girl who wants to live a thousand lives, but only gets one, what do you do? You live them, through your words.
I believe that God creates us in His image and plants unique gifts in all of us, to be used for His glory. God himself is known as the Creator, and I think that He delights in planting a little bit of that creative gift inside each of His creations, you and me included.
I love to read and write stories, particularly historical fiction. I love a story with a good adventure and just hint of that chick-flick romance. Most importantly, I love a story that inspires me and motivates me. As a person of faith, that means seeking out all of the best in Christian fiction.
So I went to college with a suitcase full of ideas. I also became engaged and married to my high school sweetheart in the process. Is this a fairytale or what?!
What did I do when I realized that Christian Fiction industry was something that I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my life? I began an Instagram account @jennavanmourik that was dedicated to not only the great reads in my life, but the great moments. Still, that wasn’t enough. Hence, my brand new blog!
My niche is books and writing. What’s yours? I’d love to get to know you and be a part of your creative journey, whatever it is. If you’d like, leave a comment on this post and subscribe. This is just the beginning of my journey, but it could be the start of yours too.