Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I’ve shared already that in 2013 I prayed a prayer over our family for God to use us in whatever He wanted. Spoken from the Heart: His Plan, His Purpose explains a little bit more about my journey of finding out what gifts and talents God wanted me to use to fulfill the purpose He has for my life.

 

It’s definitely not a book one and it’s done. Figuring out God’s plan and purpose for our life should take a lifetime because as we grow and mature and deepen our relationship with Him, each season will take us into different areas of service. And that’s exciting.

 

I know I am not walking in my calling yet. It’s been 7 ½ years since I prayed that prayer to God and He began this journey … and while I’m closer than I was, I’m not there yet. I’m still being trained, learning the lessons I will need for when I step fully into His purpose for my life.

However, even while I wait, I know that He is using me. And He’s doing the same for you, my friend, if you’ve asked Him too.

 

The picture we chose for this book cover is one of my favorites. This tree sits on the front of my in-laws property and every autumn it shows off its beauty. We were out for a walk one fall evening after school and the sun was coming through the leaves perfectly.

 

This picture reminds me of lazy walks, family togetherness, and the upcoming winter (time of rest) after the busyness and heat of summer.

 

Are you struggling with finding God’s purpose for your life? May this book offer you encouragement that this is a season of excitement while you ask God to show you what His plan is for your life.

 

What are some of your strengths? What gifts do you have that come naturally to you? I’m an encourager, for example. Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 

 

About the Book

Book:  Glimpses of God: A Summer Devotional for Women

Author: Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: April 29, 2020

Creator God made the world in which we live. He placed the moon and stars in the sky, the rivers and ocean on the earth. He also created seasons throughout the year. Each season is defined by specific features/attributes that are common although the degree varies depending on where a person lives. In winter we think of cold weather; in spring, blooming flowers; in summer, warm weather; and in the fall, beautifully colored leaves.

As Christ-followers we also experience spiritual seasons. These seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, which come regularly without fail. Each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also. In spiritual winter we think of the coldness of our relationship with God; in spring, new

This devotional is focused on summer—both calendar and spiritual. Our spiritual summer is a time of growth, hard work, and relaxation as we nurture and care for the new things that were planted in our spiritual spring and allow them to ripen or mature.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Authors

Shirley Crowder was born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. She and co-author Harriet E. Michael grew up together on the mission field and have been life-long friends. Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested in and through a myriad of ministry opportunities: biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing, and music.

She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. She is an award-winning writer who has had several of her articles appear in “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of The Gadsden Times, and in a David C. Cook publication. She also writes articles for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, The Addiction Connection and Inspired Prompt. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to eight books.

Shirley has spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the Lord in various ministry and secular positions throughout the world.

 

 

Harriet E. Michael was born in Joinkrama, Nigeria, deep in the African jungle in the Niger River delta, where her father served as the only missionary doctor at that station. A few years later, the mission moved the family to a larger hospital in Ogbomoso. Co-author Shirley Crowder and her family lived right across the dirt road. The two children became constant playmates. Today they continue to enjoy their lifelong friendship.

Harriet is a multi-published, award-winning writer and speaker. She has authored or co-authored seven books (six nonfiction and one novel) with several more under contract for future release. She is also a prolific freelance writer, having penned over 200 articles, devotions, and stories. Her work has appeared in publications by Focus on the Family, David C. Cook, Lifeway, Standard Publishing, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, Judson Press, Bethany House, and more. When not writing, she loves speaking to women’s groups and teaching workshops on freelance writing.

She and her husband of more than 40 years have four children and two grandchildren. When not writing, she enjoys substituting at a Christian school near her home, gardening, cooking, and traveling.

 

More from Shirley

In the same way that nature’s seasons serve a purpose on earth, so do the seasons in our spiritual lives. God provides, cares for, and sustains the earth, and in His faithfulness, He does the same for us. Our responsibility is to be obedient to God’s commands in the Bible and to cling to the truth that God is in control.

Our “Glimpses of God” series consist of:

  • Glimpses of God: a winter devotional for women
  • Glimpses of God: a summer devotional for women
  • Glimpses of God: a spring devotional for women (due out in early 2021)
  • Glimpses of God: an autumn devotional for women (due out in late summer 2021)

We pray that as readers meditate upon the Bible passages and truths in each devotional, they will catch glimpses of God in and through everything around them.

How has He provided for you? How is He protecting you? How is He teaching you?

 

My Review of Glimpses of God:

This was a nice, summer devotional. I felt as though I was invited into the lives of the two women who wrote them and could envision what their lives were like by what they shared. I like how they intermixed their devotions with each other as their styles complement each other, but are different too, giving a nice variety. Some of the devotionals have more Scriptural meat than others; I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that shared a more indepth explanation of the Scriptures than the others. I loved the prayer at the end of each devotional and the Thought for the Day. This is definitely a devotional I would share with my mother, my aunts, and other important women in my life, as well as I’m thinking about using it as a Bible study with another friend.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

 

Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 11

Spoken from the Heart, August 11

Inklings and notions, August 12

Get Cozy Book Nook, August 12

Artistic Nobody, August 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Older & Smarter?, August 14

Musings of Sassy Bookish Mama, August 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 17

deb’s Book Review, August 17

Texas Book-aholic, August 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 19

Mary Hake, August 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 20

Lighthouse Academy, August 21

CarpeDiem, August 21

For Him and My Family, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23

Splashes of Joy, August 24

Fiction Full of Faith, August 24

 

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Shirley and Harriet are giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of Glimpses of God: A Summer Devotional for Women and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fee5/glimpses-of-god-a-summer-devotional-for-women-celebration-tour-giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Healing Thru Service

Author: SGT Q

Genre:  Nonfiction

Release Date: April 22, 2020

In this new war, the battlefield of the mind, hope would become my new ammunition, and the mission field would be the centerpiece of my new battlefield.

A proud Marine since right out of high school, Aaron Quinonez (Sgt Q) was trained to fight the enemy and was prepared for war. When he volunteered for a combat tour in Iraq, little did he know his real battle would be fought in his mind. After eight years of military service, Sgt Q suffered from depression, anger, and panic attacks and was diagnosed with PTSD. He nearly ended his own life in the parking lot of a church, where later he was redeemed by Jesus Christ, who gave him a new life.

Sgt Q traded the battlefield for the mission field and found healing and purpose through building homes and churches, feeding children, and supplying precious hope to struggling communities worldwide. God then called him to form QMissions, a pathway for veterans—Sgt Q’s fellow warfighters—to replace the battle scars of their minds with the joy of serving. In Healing thru Service, you’ll find:

  • personal recons—Sgt Q’s anecdotes and adventures
  • scientific research on recovering from PTSD and using hope to create new, positive triggers
  • the award-winning step-by-step process of healing through mission service, leading to a life of gratitude, fulfillment, and purpose

Although originally aimed at struggling veterans, this book also offers help for anyone in crisis and may be your ticket to a more fulfilled life.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Aaron Quinonez (Sgt Q) gave eight honorable years to the US Marine Corps. After volunteering for a combat tour in Iraq in 2003, he was diagnosed with PTSD and contemplated suicide, until Jesus Christ rescued him and gave him a new life and a new purpose. Today he heads QMissions (Qmissions.org), restoring hope and purpose to struggling veterans through mission service. In 2017 Sgt Q was named Seattle’s Hometown Hero. He’s married to Holly, who cofounded QMissions and serves as its director of development.

 

More from Sgt Q

I am excited to release my first book, Healing thru Service, a Warrior’s guidebook to overcoming trauma. My sincere hope is that this book will lead you on a path of healing and restoration. That the lessons within will help you to to lead a more fulfilled life free from your past. God has been so gracious with me as He led me through this process as I am sure He will be with you as well. Each chapter is structured so that I mentor you through the process building one concept on top of another until we get to the final chapter where you will be challenged to put the things you have learned into practice.

 

Author Interview:

What role does God play in your writing career?

I had never pictured myself as an author. And I originally didn’t even want to write this book. I had done a lot of writing, journaling, mostly Bible studies, things like that. I was discovering the things that God wanted to teach me and through those writings and studies, I create a pathway for myself to overcome PTSD. It was a small little Survival Guide that was created over many years of working on the mission field. So, when God called me to write this book I was a bit overwhelmed and reluctant to do so. I had a huge stack of journals from my time on the mission field, a study I had done in different small groups. God showed me that I had already done the writing; I just needed to put it all in order and present it to the people. I would say God plays a huge part in my writing – this book and the life lessons He taught me. Now I get to teach others how to overcome trauma; it’s a process of healing through serving others.

 

 

What has been your favorite book that you’ve written? Why?

I don’t have a favorite book that I’ve written because this is my first book. When I was young, I used to write a lot of short stories, fantasy tales of far off distant planets and things like that. I grew up pretty poor, so I spent a lot of my time in the library reading National Geographic magazines. I wrote a lot of short stories as a kid but as far as books, this is my first one.

 

 

What is the hardest aspect of writing?

The hardest aspect of writing for me would be stopping once I get started on a project. I can just bang away for hours on the keyboard and/or write in my journal or my notebook. I put on my headphones and turn on contemporary classical music like Lindsey Stirling or the piano boys and just get lost in my own thoughts and storytelling.

The hardest part for me is when someone interrupts me and I have to stop, to shut down all of those creative engines and shift my attention to what somebody else wants. It’s so distracting and irritating to me, so the hardest part of writing for me would be stopping.

 

 

Do you have a team or do you manage all aspects of writing by yourself? How do you balance writing, marketing, social media, etc.?

I don’t really have a team. Redemption Press has been great helping me edit the book and get it all printed. They are doing some promotion, but with this being my first book, a lot of the social media and push for it has been my own. Luckily for me I have a ministry which supports what I do and I have access to a lot of people I can share the book with. Now I’m been using it every single time I take a team to Mexico. I’ve been teaching these principles and now when I take people on mission trips to Mexico through Operation Restore Hope, I’ll be able to give this book and they will be able to take it with them when they go home and share with others. It’s really a great outlet to get this in front of a lot of people. Before this I had just a small little guide book, maybe less than a 100 pages that I put together to give people when they came on mission trips, but now I can provide the in-depth classes they can take home with them.

 

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

For me what I enjoy most about writing is the storytelling. When I was a child, I grew up in a hippie commune. We didn’t have TV and internet had not been invented yet, so I grew up hearing stories, wild tales that the adults would tell about these fantasy realms. We would sit around a fire and tell stories as a kid. I can remember Mike Starkie. He was a mountain of a man. He and his brother had served in Vietnam together. His brother, Max, was a bit of a loner, but Mike was very social. He loved to have people over and he loved to tell stories. I can remember him sitting there with his long white beard on a tree stump in front of the fire spinning tales to all of us kids about dragons and wizards in the forest realms. He was actually the first person who introduced me to The Lord of the Rings series but back then it was the first one, The Hobbit. He would read this story to us as kids. It was far more terrifying than watching the cartoon version or even the movies that are out now. That was pretty much my earliest memory of storytelling. For me, my favorite part about writing is telling the story, being able to try and pull the reader into my own personal experience so they can have a glimpse inside and maybe feel those emotions, understand what a veteran is going through a little bit deeper.

 

Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 8

Texas Book-aholic, August 9

Spoken from the Heart, August 10 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, August 11

For Him and My Family, August 12

deb’s Book Review, August 13

Through the Fire Blogs, August 14 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 15

Artistic Nobody, August 16 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, August 17 (Author Interview)

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 19

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 20

 

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Sgt Q is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book. free access to the online curriculum, and an opportunity to join Q Missions on a mission in 2021!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe9e/healing-thru-service-celebration-tour-giveaway

Both Spoken from the Heart: Walking in Freedom and Spoken from the Heart: Living a Life of Obedience were published in April 2017. As I shared about in the last email, the lessons God taught me for both of these books took place in 2016 when He used that downtime to heal me of many fears I had lived with for years.

Spoken from the Heart: Living a Life of Obedience was significant because it was a lesson God taught about the value of obedience to Him.

Obedience means doing it God’s way.

Obedience means asking for God’s will instead of my way.

Obedience means following God’s directions exactly. An example of this would be if God asks me to serve two Sundays a month at church, then obedience is serving two Sundays a month. If I choose to serve one Sunday a month, I’m disobeying. If I choose to serve every Sunday, then I’m choosing disobedience. Obedience is staying within the boundaries God gives, because He gives the boundaries for a reason.

One of my favorite lessons that I learned and share in this book is how important praise and worship is, both when choosing to obey but also in our relationship with God. I share what God taught me about this on Days 18 & 19.

The picture that we used for the cover of this book was given to us by another close friend. Again, she posted this picture on Facebook and it spoke to me, so I reached out and asked if I could use it “someday for some book” and this was the book God said needed this beautiful picture.

Every time I see this picture I see the contrast between the beautiful sky and the harshness of winter. Obedience is kind of like that. Sometimes it’s hard to obey, those times when our fleshly desires get in the way and we just want to quit. However, there is beauty in every single act of obedience and if we focus on the beauty, it get easier and easier.

Maybe obedience is something you want to learn more about. Maybe you, like me, struggle with complete obedience, doing it God’s way and not letting your own desires get in the way. Maybe this book will offer you encouragement as you ask God what areas of your life He wants you to surrender full control to Him to help you walk in complete freedom.

Do you struggle with obedience in any area of your life? If so, what is holding you back from asking God to give you complete freedom in this area? Please share by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you.

About the Book

Book:  Tempting Tait

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: July 30, 2020

He chose to be a dad before he realized he’d need a wife, too.

When Tait took in an abandoned girl, he had no idea it would change his life.

Tait Stedtmann–accountant, fledgling do-it-yourselfer, and all-around nice guy. He’d been more than a little interested in Bentley Girard and had finally worked up the courage to ask her out. That was before that fateful day at the rest stop when he saw a girl shoved from a car and abandoned there.

She’s not like any girl he’s ever met, and now she’s given him an ultimatum.  Adopt her baby, or she’ll abort it.

Eden doesn’t think he’ll do it. She can have the abortion and move on with her life–far away from these creepy Christians in Fairbury.  But when Tait agrees, she finds herself keeping her word… and the pregnancy.

Nine months later, Tait is wracked by guilt as relief sets in when Eden leaves and terrified as he decides he can’t do this daddy thing alone. Bentley figured out how to make marriage happen for her.

Would she help him, find someone, too?

Tempting Tait is the second in the Marriages of Conviction series.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

How One Man Turns A Mess into a Miracle

It’s been ten… maybe fifteen years since Eden Pohl waltzed into my brain and settled in. Despite my focused attention on other books, her taunts never strayed far from my hearing.

If you really believed what you say about abortion, you’d tell my story.

You just don’t want to have to write the messy stuff.

Ouch. Worst of all, she was wrong.  And she wasn’t.

I don’t mind attacking the hard things when it’s the right time, but I only had half a story. I knew what would not happen but not what would.

So, she languished there in what is probably the longest pregnancy in fiction.

After my friend, Sandy, killed my dreams of combining Tait and Bentley’s stories and added Tait’s (and therefore Eden’s) into a series, things clicked.  Duh. Tait would need a wife. Being a single parent is hard. It isn’t how God designed things, you know? We’re supposed to have help.  A spouse, extended family, the church.

But sometimes things don’t work in this fallen world.  Sometimes we find ourselves parents—even by choice—without the daily support of another parent. Not only that, sometimes our own parents aren’t in a position to be able to help. Age, illness, or distance can remove us from the God-given networks we should have and don’t.

Finally, our decisions sometimes cause us to isolate ourselves even from God’s family, and the result can mean we don’t have that help that we otherwise would.

One verse came to mind over and over when I planned out the rest of Tait’s story. 

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Sometimes the words tried to transform themselves into, “It is not good for a father to be alone, so God will find him a helper parent suitable…”

And I had to silence that voice.

First, because we don’t just change Scripture to suit our purpose. Or rather, we shouldn’t.

Second, because that’s even more out of order than having a baby before marriage.  It happens sometimes—sometimes by choice, as in Tait’s situation. However, the healthiest marriage will usually put a strong emphasis on the marriage relationship first (after the Lord, of course) and then focus on the children.  Why? Because it is best for the children if their parents are in unity. Children find security and strength in knowing their parents love and are committed to each other.

So many times, I started to put that emphasis in the wrong place struggled to get it right. Then one day I realized that this was the very thing I needed to do.  Show that struggle.  I needed to show that Tait’s focus was wrong—that he created problems he could have avoided simply by being a good daddy… but also by being an even better husband.

I hope you’ll enjoy Tait’s story, and I pray that his heart for the unborn will touch your life in a real and tangible way.

 

My Review of Tempting Tait:

This book was wonderful. I love the writing style of this author and haven’t found a book by her yet that I don’t fall in love with the characters, the town, the message. She packs quite a message into all of her books and this one is no exception. I would highly encourage readers to read the whole series, beginning with Blessing Bentley. That’s when we’re first introduced to Tait, and then Tempting Tait gives us a more in-depth focus into this sometimes quirky but always entertaining character. I love this town … and I love the way the author weaves biblical truths into great storylines.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.

 

Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, July 29

Godly Book Reviews, July 29

Among the Reads, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 31

Book of Ruth Ann, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Cultivating Us, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 2

Read Review Rejoice, August 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 4

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, August 5

deb’s Book Review, August 5

Older & Smarter?, August 6

Back Porch Reads, August 6

Through the Fire blogs, August 7

Daysong Reflections, August 8

Pause for Tales, August 8

She Lives To Read, August 9

Spoken from the Heart, August 9

Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 10

Lots of Helpers, August 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 11

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of Tempting Tait and an original watercolor of “Tait’s Wedding”!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe37/tempting-tait-celebration-tour-giveaway

The next four books can definitely be grouped into a series all their own. They are particularly significant to me for a number of reasons. First, in 2016, after publishing Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace, God put me on a hiatus of sorts.

 

He told me to stop publishing books. I was allowed to continue writing my blog, but He wanted the focus of my time to be spent connecting with my family. I was working two jobs, basically full-time hours, and He wanted my downtime to be real downtime.

 

Did I say “Thank You, God?” No, I resisted His invitation from March until September. I didn’t publish anymore books and spent more time with my family, but I worried and couldn’t relax, fearing He was taking away the gift of writing He had given me five years’ prior.

For five years my family had patiently let me sit more at the computer than on the couch. I traded in leisurely hikes and family movie nights for publishing books. And God wanted us all to have time together before our next life transition began. Finally, in September, I said, “Thank You, God,” and stopped worrying. I decided if God didn’t want me to write anymore, He would supply a different purpose that I would enjoy just as much.

 

And, only with the love a Father has for His child, God used that downtime to help heal me of many things: fear of winter driving, depression and then holiday depression, false guilt, panic attacks, as well as fear in general.

He revealed to me that “Freedom is a choice. It means choosing to walk the path God’s way, trusting His way is best for my life and believing Him when He says He offers life and freedom.”

 

The cover for this particular book was gifted to me by a wonderful friend who lives in Australia. She posted these beautiful pictures on her Facebook page and when I asked if I could use a picture for “one of my books someday,” she graciously said yes without hesitation.

 

Every time I see this picture, I’m reminded of a fellow Sister in Christ who lives halfway around the world. Whether or not we will meet on earth is up to God; but I know we will see each other in person in Heaven someday.

 

The devotionals in this book were the beginning of some major healing God brought me through, and my prayer is that you will find encouragement to begin those hard conversations with our Heavenly Father that will bring you healing as well.

 

What does freedom mean to you? Freedom in Christ? Freedom from … (fill in the blank)? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 

Marriage Matters

Last time we were together I talked about how I was hoping to publish the marriage compilation book in 2019. Well, that desire became a reality, and in December 2019, Marriage Matters became available for sale.

It’s the story of 11 couples, each with different lifestyles (some are in the ministry, some are in the military, some are “ordinary” couples like my husband and I), some with more struggles than one couple should ever have to endure … all sharing about how they biblically define marriage.

It’s a great book to give as a gift for friends or family who are getting ready to walk down the aisle. It’s a great book to read if you’ve been married for a few years or many. The couples in the book aren’t perfect but they do all share a love for God and a commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

The cover for this book was my husband’s vision. It is still one of my all-time favorite memories. Last fall, on an exceptionally warm and sunny day, after a long day of work and school, we piled into the car and went to one of our favorite parks. It’s a park with multiple historical bridges scattered throughout the property. The bridge in the picture is one of our favorites.

Our daughter was willing to take the picture and captured the angles of the bridge and our body language perfectly. The focus of the cover isn’t to be about the couple standing there, but more about the way marriage is a bridge for a man and woman who choose to spend their lives together, a lifelong commitment usually spoken before God and in front of friends and family.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy for yourself and read the wonderful stories behind the amazing couple who were so willing to share parts of their lives with us.

Can you tell me two things you’re thankful for about your spouse? What about one piece of advice you’d give a newlywed couple? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 

We published Hope During Heartache in September 2014. I spent the remainder of 2014 asking God what He wanted to be my next project.

During 2014 and 2015, I was still learning how to hear His voice clearly, and I realized I wanted to do more compilation style books – helping others share their stories about how God helped them through a difficult circumstance in their lives.

 

Four topics came to mind: Cancer … Adoption … Chronic illness … and then I asked God for a “happier” topic and He allowed … Marriage.

 

I began praying for God to direct me to the right people to ask to contribute to these four books, and used the organizational skills He had been growing in me to keep track of the stories as they began to come in.

 

January 2015 was when I found out I was losing my job in 30 days … which resulted in being hired by another company in March. I now was working for two companies and writing on the side.

 

I tried to keep up, but the compilation books got delayed and then I needed to fix the legal side of the equation … and finally, in November 2018, Peace During the Pain was released.

 

This book tells the stories of 11 courageous men and women who either walked the journey of cancer themselves … or walked it with a family member. It’s told either from their personal perspective or from the perspective of family members if their loved one is now spending their days in eternity with Christ.

It is my honor and privilege to get to share the stories of others all in one place, and each of these testimonies reflects the presence of God’s peace throughout their journey.

 

As with the Hope During Heartache cover, God had a special cover picked out long before this book was released. In December 2017, a friend of mine from high school posted the picture on his Facebook page. I reached out to him admiring the picture and asked his permission to use it “someday” for one of my books. He graciously agreed and sent it to me, where I saved it in my files for future reference.

 

When we were picking out a picture for this book, we knew that this was the perfect picture to reflect God’s peace in the midst of the pain we experience in life. When I messaged my friend to let him know which book it was being used for, he shared with me that cancer hits close to home for him, another confirmation for me that this is the cover picture God intended for our use.

 

Maybe you or a loved one has gone through a cancer diagnosis or are currently receiving treatment for cancer … may this book encourage and support you during this scary time. Or pick one up for a friend who needs encouragement and support.

Has cancer effected your life personally? How did you, your family (or friend) respond to the diagnosis and treatment? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 

Even though this book wasn’t published until September 2014, it was the fulfillment of a promise I threw out to God in anger the summer of 2007, around the time our baby that had died was supposed to be born.

 

Hope During Heartache was the book that God used to show me the purpose He had for my life … and that was to be His secretary and write the words He gave me to say.

 

I had mentioned earlier that in December 2006 we had a miscarriage. Then, February 2007 my husband got very sick and I was dealing with not just navigating with him a diagnosis (he wasn’t diagnosed until May) but also trying to walk through the grief of losing our baby.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I haven’t experienced the death of a child. I don’t think this book would be one I need to read.”

 

In the words of a reader who posted a review, “I finally understand! I finally get it!!! I now am able to feel how very difficult it is to lose a child due to a miscarriage, stillbirth or death after birth.”

 

During the early months of my grieving, I wanted to find a book that would offer me hope … a promise of sorts that I would find joy in life again someday. I didn’t want a medical book or facts … I wanted to read someone else’s experience back to the land of the living.

 

I found one book that was a compilation of other women’s stories who had lost their babies … but it left me angry. The women were angry, they used angry language and I closed it feeling angry.

It was after reading that book I had a strong conversation with my Heavenly Father. I told Him what I wanted and since I couldn’t find it, I would write it myself!

 

Little did I know (I should have known better) God would take those angry words flung out in the midst of my hurt and use them to show me His purpose for my life.

 

A series of events occurred between the summer of 2007 when I spoke those words to God, including attending my first and only writer’s conference (so far) in October 2011, and in September 2014, Hope During Heartache was published.

 

This book is a compilation of 13 different men and women, some of whom were friends of mine I approached to share their stories of heartache, others I met after beginning the project, each sharing their heart about their own personal experience of losing a child and how God restored their hope.

 

The stories were written and I was in the midst of getting the finals edits done … but still hadn’t find the right picture for the cover. It was summer and I was starting to panic. I knew what I wanted, but couldn’t find the right look.

 

Only God. September 2014 I was working concessions at our kids’ football game when a huge storm rolled in. The next morning my husband was scrolling through Facebook and he found the picture. He showed it to me and I knew right then, that was the perfect picture for this book cover.

 

I didn’t know the person who had taken the picture, but reached out through Facebook and when I told her what I wanted to use it for, she immediately agreed. She shared with me her sister had experienced the loss of a child as well, so when the book was officially published, I sent her a copy hoping it would offer some “hope” to her sister as well.

 

God showed me a two things with the publishing of that book. First, this ministry that our family was participating in was based on His timing. He had the perfect picture for me and hand delivered it to me. I needed to be patient with His timing because the storm hadn’t even occurred during the months I was frantically searching for the right image.

 

Second, God used the kindness of a stranger to bless me with a cover for His book, the one I had promised Him I would write seven years before it became a reality, and I pray the book encouraged her and her family as they grieved the loss of their family member.

That’s the way God is – He chooses to bless more than just the person the blessing was originally intended for.

 

Have you, or anyone in your family, experienced the death of a child? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you.

Spoken from the Heart: Parenting 101 Vol. 7 continues with encouragement during the teen years.

This volume focused a lot on appreciating our kids for who they are and highlighting some of the celebrations of their stage in life (Days 11 through 13), introducing not one, but two reptiles to our family and what I learned from each of them (Days 15 through 18), as well as sharing some of the favorite memories we made with older kids in the house (Days 28 & 29).

The picture we used for this cover was once again taken close to our favorite getaway. We were actually driving home after a spontaneous fall getaway weekend and decided to stop impulsively for a hike. The weather was perfect, the trail was a new adventure and that memory still makes me smile today.

If you have kids at home, but they’re older, what are some ways you’ve changed up your activities to grow with your kids? Please share by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you.