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Archive for October, 2018

About the Book

Book Title: Miles from Where We Started

Author: Cynthia Ruchti

Genre: Christian Romance/Family life

Release date: October 16, 2018

These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip—and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off ramp.

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can’t even agree on how to end their marriage. But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition, and an at-risk, trouble-seeking missile of an eleven-year-old is unexpectedly launched into their travel plans. Close quarters get even tighter, and the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn’t been the arm-in-arm togetherness they expected. How can they find a new beginning when the road ends?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

About the Author

 

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and speaking events. She serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences across the country. She married her grade school sweetheart, and the two live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

 

 

 

Guest Post from Cynthia

I have a confession to make. I heart millennials.

My other novels have had a few millennial characters. Some even played starring roles. But I knew there was more to the heart of millennials than I could gain from listening to the often unfair sighing or comedy routines about that generation. As a person, I wanted to know them better—what are they really like? What challenges do they face with which previous generations saddled them? What strengths to they offer our culture?

Until now, I hadn’t written a story about a millennial couple whose marriage was in crisis. Like, serious crisis. I-don’t-want-to-be-married-to-you-anymore. That kind of crisis.

As any good novelist knows, part of what we do to our characters is make the situation worse. So, millennial couple, approaching their one-year anniversary, ready to call it quits because “This marriage thing is really hard. Is it supposed to be so much work?” But what if…? What if they were forced to be together for three weeks…in a micro-camper…on America’s backroads…with an 11-year-old foster boy troublemaker…and both the husband’s AND the wife’s jobs depended on the trip’s success?

Plot idea in hand, I set off to write Miles from Where We Started, not entirely sure when I began the journey where they would end up or how they’d get there. It was an education for me in so many ways. The impact of the turning point of the story? In the words of my millennial friends, “That’s lit!”

Side note: I’m a big fan of a young teen musician at our church. The boy has mad skills as a keyboard artist. He approaches life as if it’s an endless game of Ninja Warrior. Why walk when you can vault into the room? Why walk up a flight of stairs when you can hop four at a time? He also sports a perpetual smile and is famous for his kindness, but his eyes give away that a little mischief may be hiding behind that smile. I asked Judah’s permission to use his name (and a little bit of his personality) as the foster child character in Miles from Where We Started. I can’t wait for him to read the part he inspired.

Can’t wait for you to read it, too.

Hemmed in Hope,

Cynthia

My Review:

Miles from where we started was an amazing book. I got lost in it from the first page and am still thinking about it long after I closed it weeks ago. This book had so many different nuances to it – I could feel the emotions of Mallory and Connor so vividly and then add in the precocious 11-year-old as well as all the interesting people they met along the way and let’s just say – I wish I was on their adventure, micro camper and all.

This book was amazing – it was a funny, sweet story that kept me laughing and entertained; yet had such a depth to it that I can’t stop thinking about it, as I said, weeks after having read it. This is a book that will stay with me for years … and I can’t wait to read another Cynthia Ruchti book. She has become another favorite author for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and was under no obligation to post a positive review.

 

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, October 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25

The Power of Words, October 25

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 26

Lighthouse Academy, October 26

Real World Bible Study, October 26

Quiet Quilter, October 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, October 27

Christian Bookaholic, October 27

cherylbbookblog, October 28

Simple Harvest Reads, October 28 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, October 28

Godly Book Reviews, October 29

Captive Dreams Window, October 29

By The Book, October 29

Maureen’s Musings, October 30

Spoken from the Heart , October 30

SusanLovesBooks, October 30

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 31

Mary Hake, November 1

Book by Book, November 1

amandainpa , November 1

Pause for Tales, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 2

Just Commonly, November 2

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 3

Baker Kella, November 3

Two Points of Interest, November 3

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 4

Inklings and Notions, November 4

Bibliophile Reviews, November 4

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

Janice’s Book Reviews, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

A Baker’s Perspective, November 6

A Diva’s Heart, November 7

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away a grand prize of the Adventure begins” large tote bag, “This way to adventure” travel notebook, “Home is Where We Park It” metal wall hanging, a teardrop camper birdhouse, PLUS a $50 gift Visa gift card…to start your adventure fund!!

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/d4ea/miles-from-where-we-started-celebration-tour-giveaway

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“Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water …”

Exodus 23:25 (NIV)

 

Last time we were together I spoke about how God sometimes will even answer selfish prayers with a “yes,” just because He loves us. He provided a rebate check for us to use for trip trunk treats for our getaway to Ohio.

Today let me share about how God goes above and beyond at times for us as well. Two years ago we made this exact trip when our oldest turned 16. It was his turn to spend the day with his dad and I had the privilege of hanging with our other two children. I say that because this time around, I knew what to expect and could plan a little better.

We would be at the hotel all day long with plenty to keep us busy, but I like waking up with a cup of “joe” and the only option at this hotel was a Starbucks. We had received a rebate in mid-August for $12 and I was saving it for such a time as this. I was happy to think I had $12 to spend on coffee for myself (I was happy to share with my husband too) and had saved the money specifically for this trip.

The Thursday before we left, I was looking through our emails and came across a Groupon which I almost deleted before I realized what it was – Starbucks – spend $5 and get $10! Using the credit card that had the rebate money on it, I was able to get $17 instead of $12 to spend on coffee for the weekend!

Did I need the extra $5? No. I was happy with the $12 I had been saving. But God is the God of more than enough. God blesses us so that we can in turn bless others. And sometimes God just delights in blessing His children.

Not only did He provide money for us to buy snacks for the kids (something they enjoy on long car rides) but He provided an extra bonus for me for my coffee fund. And, on our trip, I didn’t spend the entire amount, so now I have extra that my husband and I can go on a coffee date (apple cider for him, pumpkin latte for me) that is totally paid for by Abba Himself.

Does God always answer “yes” to our prayers? No, sometimes He answers “no” and those are just as important as the “yeses.”

Come back tomorrow and I will share how rebates for trip trunk treats and Starbucks was about so much more than snacks and coffee. It prepared me to hear and actually be excited about a huge “no” I received that same week, about something so much more important.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

 

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“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity.” Philippians 4:20 (The Message)

 

We just came back recently from a family weekend away in Ohio. Two weeks before we left, I started to pray a selfish prayer. It was incredibly selfish and I even told God about my selfishness as I prayed it anyway.

We have a tradition where instead of just handing out food throughout long car rides, we have “trip trunk treats.” We borrowed the “game” from my sister approximately 6 years ago and it’s stuck ever since.

About two weeks before this trip, I started praying, asking God to provide the money to buy our “trip trunk treats” simply because I didn’t want to use the allotted money from the budget for our meals. It was a selfish prayer, pure and simple and I acknowledged it while I prayed it. I told God something like this,” Abba, I know that we can afford to pay for trip trunk treats. I just don’t want to use that part of our budget and would love it if You would provide for them in another way for us. I don’t care what way You choose, and if You don’t, then I’ll know this request is purely selfish and I will happily use that budget for this part of the trip. This request isn’t about trust –it’s selfish, pure and simple.”

I didn’t pray this prayer every day, but I prayed it occasionally throughout the two weeks leading up to the trip. The Monday before we were supposed to leave, I thought about it again and had another conversation with my Heavenly Father. “It’s almost time for us to leave. But I also know You are the God of last minute miracles, so You could still be waiting to provide. We probably should go buy the trip trunk treats either Wednesday night or Thursday night since we’re leaving early Friday morning. Again, this request is purely selfish, but I’m praying it anyway. If You want to provide the money through another means, that’d be awesome. If not, we have the money and I will use it without complaining.” During this conversation, I started thinking about how nice it would be to use a rebate check or something for the treats, but since I hadn’t mailed a rebate in lately, I didn’t see one magically appearing in the mailbox, so I dismissed that thought almost as soon as it entered.

Two hours later, our oldest went and got the mail for me. He handed me a bill and what I thought was another bill from a doctor’s office. I had a procedure in February that was supposed to be covered 100%, and yet I kept getting billed for it and kept having to talk to the office and the insurance company about this bill I wasn’t supposed to have to pay. I thought, “Oh boy, I guess I need to add talking to the doctor’s office to my schedule today.” But then I looked closer and I noticed it wasn’t a bill – it was a check. A refund check for $39! Plenty of money to pay for trip trunk treats! Money that wasn’t coming out of our budget and coming from a “rebate” instead!

Friends, He even hears and sometimes answers with a “yes” our selfish prayers because God cares about us – down to the tiniest details, even about trip trunk treats and which budget will pay for them.

Come back next time when I share about how God doesn’t do things halfway. He heard my selfish prayer and blessed our family not once, but twice.

 © Cheri Swalwell 2018

 

 

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“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:38 (NIV)

 

I was speaking with someone the other day and she was talking about the above verse. How the measure one uses to give to others will be used in one’s own life. She also described some African children who have nothing, absolutely nothing, including no food to eat, but if you want one of their two coins, they will give you both. Not just one and keep one, but both.

That conversation challenged me. There are things I have “dreamed” of doing but also thought I needed to wait until “we were more financially stable, had more than enough to give, etc.” And as a result of the recent conversation, I’ve started living a little more generously.

Instead of counting every penny and thinking “we can’t afford this, we can’t afford that,” giving generously to others in appropriate ways. God blesses a cheerful giver.

This week was “pay bills week.” The budget balanced easily (for which God got all the praise) and while we didn’t have a lot of extra left over, we had enough. Paying bills coincides with grocery shopping week so before we left, I thanked God ahead of time for allowing me to stay within budget and get good deals. Before we left, God nudged me to bless a friend with a small “care package” and a card. Nothing big, but something to show she was loved, cared for, and thought of. We got that together and took it with us to mail while we were out.

During the trip, God took our little offering of generosity and gave back to us tenfold. We didn’t do it so that God would bless us; we did it out of obedience and because we love to bless people. One of our favorite items was on sale for half price and we were able to buy in bulk, saving a significant amount of money. In addition, we didn’t have to pay a penny for the items – they were blessed to us by another, someone who listened to Abba telling her to bless our family in this way.

When I told the friend how her gift blessed us immensely, she pointed her finger back at God and said, “Give Him all the glory.”

We can never out give God. Let me repeat that. We. Can. Never. Out Give. God. When we give generously and cheerfully, it pleases our Father. When we trust Him by holding loosely to our earthly possessions, it pleases Him. When we put more emphasis on relationships and blessing others than we do on hoarding everything for ourselves, it pleases God.

I like pleasing God. What about you?

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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Mentors of All Ages

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-4 (NIV)

 

Today I have the privilege of sitting at my desk working, listening to my oldest babysit two adorable children from our church while her younger brother has fun playing with them for the day, too. It’s a win-win. She is earning money through a summer job and her brother gets to hang out with someone his age for the day.

Earlier today I spent time praying with my sister-in-Christ who is slightly older than I, yet much, much wiser. I ask for spiritual advice on a regular basis and she gladly gives it, being slightly ahead of me in experience and age. I also spent the morning walking with another group of friends of whom I’m slightly older than most and at times offer encouragement from the perspective of having already experienced some things since I’m older than they.

As I’m sitting here listening to the girl use the walkie-talkie with the boys, I can hear my daughter in the background “mentoring” her. The little girl’s conversation centers on emotionally connecting while the boys responses center on facts and actions. Conversations little girls have are practice sessions of conversations women end up having with their husbands. And while my daughter isn’t married yet, she has a decade more experience than the little girl she’s babysitting and is able to offer helpful hints with her attempts of connecting with her brother and friend to receive the most positive response.

Just like my mentor offered encouragement to me this morning, and I hope I was encouraging to my walking friends as well, our daughter is continuing the tradition and speaking encouragement into another female’s life. Being in the observer’s chair, I love listening how encouragement, when offered in love – not forced or demanded to be followed – helps model Biblical principles and love to the next generation.

Today that encouragement and mentorship has been shown through a variety of methods: prayer together, a suggestion here or there of a different way to say things, a pat on the shoulder, an encouraging word or showing love through braiding her hair.

That’s what we’re called to here on this earth: building relationships. Those relationships take on different forms with different people but they should have all the same underlying theme: love for another. More than anything, I want to always be teachable, to receive another’s encouragement, and ask for wisdom from someone I respect who has already been through the stage I’m now entering. And I want to be that for another – offering encouragement, not forcing my opinion, on stages I’ve successfully completed or am further down the path than others in order to help them avoid mistakes I made. And I learned through a simple summer day, mentors and encouragement can start at and is appreciated, at any age – whether 5, 15, 35, 46, or 60. We each have something to offer others of value.

© 2018 Cheri Swalwell

 

 

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About the Book

 

Book: Indivisible

Author: Travis Thrasher

Genre: General fiction, drama

Release Date: October 23, 2018

A novelization of the film Indivisible, this is a story of love and marriage and finding each other all over again.

When Darren deploys to Iraq during the surge of 2007, he leaves behind his loving and supportive wife, Heather, and their three small children. Their marriage is the envy of the base, both believing strongly in the calling to serve in the military. Darren knows he’s there to support the troops in their darkest moments as their chaplain, but what he doesn’t realize is that he will face his own dark moments, which will have lasting effects on his marriage.

Meanwhile, Heather is creating a community among the other wives and families left behind. She rallies support back home, realizing the dangers the men and women serving overseas are facing, but she also begins to notice a change in Darren during their brief conversations. When he returns, he is no longer the man who left-the man Heather married. His greatest fear is letting her down, but instead of opening up to her, he shuts her out. Their marriage was so strong before. But how can they get back to where they were . . . or find a new way forward?

Indivisible is a story of sacrifice, marriage, and faith that will leave audiences full of hope even amid their most challenging times.

Click here to purchase the book.

About the Author

 

 

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books and worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. He has written fiction in a variety of genres, from love stories and supernatural thrillers to young adult series. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes and pastors. He’s also co-written memoirs and self-help books. His novelizations include Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming releases in 2018 include The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the other 17 American black athletes who competed with Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

 

My Review

Indivisible by Travis Thrasher was an amazing book. I love all books I’ve read by Travis Thrasher and this one took my reading and love for the story to a whole new level. I laughed, I cried, I felt the emotions both of Darren and his wife, Heather. I could feel the emotions of the soldiers as well, imaging the horrors they were witnessing and then had to “go back to normal” to their wives and children, yet forever changed. The questions that they asked and the conversations that were had – so real to life. I loved even more that this was indeed a true story. It broke my heart – having read the prelude which shows us a glimpse of what their marriage had become before reading about what led to that point I think made it even more real to me. Great book. So glad it was written and definitely one I will be recommending to many. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the CelebrateLit tour and was under no obligation to post a positive review.

 

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

Carpe Diem, October 4

The Becca Files, October 4

A Baker’s Perspective, October 5

Robin is Bookish, October 5

The Power of Words, October 6

Christian Bookaholic, October 6

Splashes of Joy, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Inklings and notions, October 8

God’s Little Bookworm, October 9

Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

A Reader’s Brain, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

Book by Book, October 10

Just the Write Escape, October 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 11

Real World Bible Study, October 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 12

Bibliophile Reviews, October 13

Pause for Tales, October 13

For The Love of Books, October 14

Texas Book-aholic, October 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 15

Cafinated Reads, October 15

All 4 and About Books, October 15

Spoken from the Heart, October 16

Janices book reviews, October 16

Maureen’s Musings, October 17

A Diva’s Heart, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 17

Giveaway

 

To celebrate his tour, Travis is giving away a grand prize that includes the Indivisible novel along with a devotional!!

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/d627/indivisible-celebration-tour-giveaway

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:”

Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NIV)

 

I spoke last time about how God took my long list of ways to improve and condensed it into two simple commands: “Love the Lord with all my heart and soul and mind and strength and then love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, NIV)

God had another conversation with me at the beginning of the summer as well. Relationships. As I stated last time also, we’ve had three deaths in our family in three weeks. Three. Before that, this spring, our daughter lost a classmate suddenly and traumatically also. Death can get a person thinking about what really matters in life.

I started thinking about my own life. The only things I can take with me when I stand before God are those things that I did for Him. Money? I already knew I couldn’t take that, but I argue “We need money to pay bills and supply for our children and family.” Job? “I already knew I was replaceable with my job. There are others who can slip right in and do an even better job that I do.” Possessions? “I also already knew I wouldn’t be taking any of those with me.”

 

So what will matter when I die?

Relationships. How I invested in the lives God allowed me to interact with while I lived on this earth. Starting with immediate family and branching out to extended family, friends, co-workers, strangers on the street. How does God want me to reflect His love to others?

Time. How I invest in the time I’m given makes a difference as well. I can’t take “time” with me, but when I invest my time in ways which bring value to my life and those of others instead of wasting my time, it matters.

I’ve started weighing my priorities differently this week. Taking more time to connect with people. Accepting more invitations to do things so I can invest in others’ lives. Playing more games, pushing away from the computer and spending an hour talking with my husband and mother-in-law while the kids swam. Planning an “epic road trip” instead of just driving to pick up our son from his summer job five hours away, round trip.

I want to live my life with purpose and part of that purpose is choosing to focus on relationships because God is all about relationships. If they are that important to God, then they need to be that important to me.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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