Six Month Anniversary

Hello everyone! Last Thursday, October 23rd, marked the six-month anniversary of my blog.

In six months’ time I have published:

79 posts

Comprising 28 reviews (22 book reviews, 5 film reviews (two of these containing a second, contrasting film review), and 1 song review)

1 “Sons of Asaph” bio followed by 16 song introductions


2 Questionnaires

1 “Changes on the Blog” announcement

Living in Heaven’s Shadow has received:


3,059 total views

68 Blog followers

56 Facebook Followers

My Most Viewed Posts are as following:

Courageous vs. The Incredibles (149 views) <—-really?!

Loving the Unlovable (a closer look at Disney’s “Frozen”) (127 views)

The Profanity of Christian Films (that aren’t really Christian) (82 views)

Vote on the poll at the bottom of this post on which posts YOU think were the best!

In honor of the day I have compiled a list of blog posts from April 23rd until now for the benefit of those who started following my blog later and are curious about what they missed.

This list might also be helpful to those of you who are homeschool moms and dads evaluating the books, films, and music brought into your homes, especially with children who are becoming independent readers, viewers, and listeners. Maybe I’ve blogged about one of the titles you’re looking into! The list below is in chronological order. I hope this is useful to some of you.

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Trivial Pursuit

I was tagged by Heather Fitzgerald, a soon-to-be-published YA Fantasy author(!) to a game of “trivial pursuit.” The way it worked out with my already-scheduled posts, this post will fall two days after my 20th birthday which I thought was apropos.

Pen Name: when I was 11 or 12, I took to signing my name “Emily J. Shiflet” because I thought it sounded very author-like (the ‘J’ stands for ‘Jordan’) and if I ever published a book (as a single woman!) that’s the pen name I would use.

Age: 20 as of two days ago!

Gender: female



Food: I enjoy many different types of food and will try most anything that’s not (A.) Asian or (B.) spicy. I never grow tired of tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, beef roast, fried crawfish tails, mama’s spontaneous soups, my brother’s grilled hamburgers or pork chops with daddy’s homemade gravy. I could also easily make a meal on fried okra or fried and stuffed avocado.

I also enjoy making "fun food"

I also enjoy making “fun food” like meatloaf cupcakes

Drink: homemade or Starbucks Frappechinos! Southern-Sweet iced tea. Both hot and iced herbal teas. An occasional Coke or Root Beer (I’ve never been a fan of carbonation and didn’t finish my first soda until I was nearly 18 but I’m coming around–or “losing it”, depending on who you ask, haha.)




the Bible–the “greatest story ever told”.
the 2nd London Baptist Confession of 1689
The Hand of God by Alistair Begg, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield, Adopted For Life by Russell Moore, Prodigal God by Tim Keller, Reading Between the Lines by Gene Edward Veith, God at Work by Gene Edward Veith, Story Craft: Reflection on Faith, Culture and Writing by John R. Erickson, Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Comedy, Tragedy and Fairy Tale by Frederick Buechner, God the the Fairy Tale by Jim Ware, The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer, The God Who is There by Frances Schaeffer, Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, The Consequences of Ideas by R. C. Sproul etc. etc.

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The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, The Wingfeather Sagas by Andrew Peterson, The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, classic fairy tales in general, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days, and Journey to the Center of the earth by Jules Verne, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (and Mark Twain in General ❤ ), the Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, Macbeth and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, and a bunch of other classics. I could go on forever…this is a book review blog, after all. 😉

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Movies: The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, the Bourne Trilogy, October Baby, Secondhand Lions, Saving Mr. Banks, Monument Men, The Village, Babette’s Feast, the Toy Story Trilogy, Lion King, The Incredibles, Bug’s Life, Up, Monster Inc., the Dark Knight (Batman) trilogy, the Spiderman movies, almost all of the Marvel superhero movies…

Yes, I am fully aware that I am blending the Marvel and DC universes here but you'll survive ;)

Yes, I am fully aware that I am blending the Marvel and DC universes here but you’ll survive 😉

TV Shows: Sherlock, Sherlock, Sherlock, oh, did I mention Sherlock? I guess I did. 😛 Also Downton Abbey, The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, and Rifleman.

Hey my phone case matches this car!

Hey, my phone case matches this car!

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My lock screen…

Singers/Bands: Andrew Peterson, Peter Hollens, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, The Statler Brothers, The Church Sisters, Alabama, Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss, old country such as Hank Williams, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash etc, etc. I also have sampled and come to enjoy some Switchfoot, Mumford and Sons, and Shai Linne this last year. My favorite genres are country, Celtic, classical, and folk in general. I love to try out new music and expand my tastes.

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Place: Scotland, Ireland, England, Russia, Texas(!), Australia, “Middle Zealand”. Truth is, I’d travel anywhere (and everywhere) if given the chance despite the chronic map de pays I have anytime I leave home. I’m a Hobbit at heart who loves hearth and home but has a bothersome Took side that craves new places and adventure.

Subject: Writing, reading, mythology, and literature–obviously. I also love theology, philosophy, horticulture, and history, and dabble in science, especially genetics, taxonomy, and cryptozoology (the study of legendary creatures that may have actually existed and some that may even still exist–see the tie-in with literature and mythology yet?)

the Creation Museum 9-1-14

the Creation Museum 9-1-14

Sport: tennis, volleyball, badminton–anything involving a large net between teams. 😉 I used to play soccer too.

Actor/actress: Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Maggie Smith a.k.a. Lady Grantham (as a side note, I admire these individual’s acting abilities and adore the characters they bring to life, but am not necessarily impressed with them off-screen.)


School: went to government-school kindergarten in the small-town of Hillsboro. Then I was homeschooled the following year and never looked back. Graduated in ’13.

Political views: third-party-voting conservative (on the occasion when extraordinarily bad candidates require me to not align myself even with the Republican Party).

Religious view: Reformed Baptist

Tattoos: None.

Piercing: One per ear.

Languages: decidedly Texan y’all, though occasionally British English. I have (briefly) attempted to learn Spanish, Italian, Russian, ASL, and Koine Greek but didn’t stick with most of them for more than a couple months. I started learning Koine Greek when I was 16, pursuing it in short burst over the last four years, but I plan to begin serious study next Spring. I learned a good bit of Russian when my parents adopted my two middle siblings from Russia in ’08 and my brother and I traveled with them on the two trips (a total of three weeks in Russia). I can still read most of the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet and recognize and say several words in Russian which makes me happy.

this Russian sign at the Air Force Museum is pronounced "stoy!" which means "stop!"

this Russian sign at the Air Force Museum is pronounced “stoy!” which means “stop!”

Reason Behind Blog Name: the title is taken from my essay by the same name (see tabs above). The idea behind it is that we are living in the shadow of another world–a world that grows closer every day and will eventually be seamlessly combined with our own in the new creation–that is, Heaven, the dwelling place of God, residing among men once again. The shadow is looming larger whether the world recognizes it or not.

To live in Heaven’s Shadow is to be caught between what is and what is to come, it’s to live in the terrible birth pangs of the “not yet” but see the blessed hope on the horizon. Everything has to be interpreted by and understood in terms of the kingdom that is both here and coming. It’s the most important reality and it changes how we look at everything else.

Why I Blog: Stories are the air I breathe–it’s how I see the world. Analyzing literature and films is not something I have to think about doing, I just do it automatically–like adding sugar in tea. What other way would you drink it?

Over time I have found that many in my church family are interested in my analysises: young people puzzled by a book or film or wondering whether it’s worth their time and busy moms who’d like a source they could trust for the books they are unable to pre-read for their children.

That’s what prompted the idea for his blog. I write reviews because I love the dialogue, I love the feedback. I write reviews because I love stories, because I think they are the greatest reflections of our theology and worldview, because I believe they have the power to change us for good or ill and because I’m love with the Greatest Story Ever Told, the story behind all the stories, the story that makes our little stories worth telling.
If you have any other questions, let me know!

Okay, Ethan Beach, Ashleigh Bratton, and John Urback it’s your turn!

Two Weeping Kings

Awhile back, I was introduced to the talents of Eric Whitacre and his evocative song “When David Heard”, by my composer-friend, Zachary Horner (if you get the chance, be sure to check out his Sound Cloud account for samples of his own amazing work), and continue to be fascinated by the song’s depth and intensity conjured up by–most astounding!–the singing of just a single verse from 2nd Samuel.

“When David heard that Absalom was slain he went up into his chamber over the gate and wept, my son, my son, O Absalom my son, would God I had died for thee!” (2nd Sam. 18:23 KJV)

The song is brimming with emotion. It was nearly too much for me to bear the first time I heard it. When the voices got loud my eyes started to fill and I had the wild impulse to rip my earbuds out, cover my ears and run. I could picture it all–the gut-wrenching grief like voices screaming in my ears, chasing me down, hunting me like a wild animal then, as the voices quieted I could feel the loneliness creeping in like a quiet mist. I could see the memory of the long march back home, the uncertain glances from the soldiers as they watched their brave warrior-king retreat within himself, his eyes glazing over, unresponsive to those around him, uncaring of where he went next, his thoughts consumed by the one who was not with them, the son whom he loved and was dead. It was like a darkness had fallen over the whole company.

Later, it felt like a dream. It was easy for me to imagine King David waking up, panting, sweat glistening on his brow and sitting up in bed only for the silence to tear his soul more than his dream. I could feel the coldness, the unresponsiveness of the palace stone walls. I could feel the cry for answers, the despair, the emptiness.

In the final minute of the piece, it was as if the shepherd-king was standing on one of his many balconies, looking out over the business of the city, listening to the voices bubbling up from the market square and remembering all that once was. Time has passed and the gut-wrenching grief has passed, leaving behind only a dull ache.

He can never forget.
He can’t simply move on.
He can’t explain why.
It just is.

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