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As with many others in the world, COVID hasn’t been the sole focus of our family. In the midst of dealing with that uncertainty, we have also had other issues vying for our attention: loss of electricity for four days, loss of the internet for two weeks (which wouldn’t be a big deal except I work from home), multiple health issues with multiple family members, and the biggest one – septic issues.

After the initial shock wore off from “what’s going to break next?” I started shifting my focus and looking for God’s good in the midst of the inconveniences. And when I looked up and started to take notice, I saw how much good really did come from seemingly bad situations.

What about you? I want to encourage you to look up from the inconveniences, or maybe truly awful situations you’re dealing with, and look to see God in them. He is ALWAYS there … ALWAYS.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a conversation with God, it’s never too late to start. Begin by inviting Him into whatever you’re facing today, this week, this month, this year and asking Him to show you the good He can (and will) bring into your life.

© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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Happy Friday!

How would you like to read some FREE books from some GREAT authors?

Head over to this link and check out which ones you’d like to download.

Then reply and let me know which one you’re going to read first!

 

Happy READING!

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About the Book

Book:  Wise Parenting: Creating the Joy of Family

Author: Drs. Gil and Dana Stieglitz

Genre:  Christian Living

Release Date: August 15, 2020

Let’s face it—parenting is hard!

In fact, many parents agree it’s the hardest job they’ve ever had to do. Did you know there are specific reasons why some families do well and others come unglued? Wise Parenting: Creating the Joy of Family offers parents in all stages of parenthood the six essential ingredients that successful and joy-filled families all seem to have. This is more than just another parenting book—this is a book of hope, as well as a practical guide for success in some of the most difficult parenting areas.

For over three decades, Dr. Gil Stieglitz has worked with countless parents and teens involving family issues. He began to see a pattern emerge between families who “did it right” and the absence of that pattern in families who came apart. He, along with his wife, Dana Stieglitz, put this pattern into practice while raising their three daughters. Today, they share an uncommon depth of relationship and joy with each of them. Now they are passing this pattern on to you, so you can create a truly enjoyable family.

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

About the Authors

 

Dana Stieglitz has a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Samuel Merritt University. She works as Nurse Practitioner in a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation practice located in Sacramento, CA. Together, they have raised three beautiful young women who exemplify the Six R’s in their own unique ways. For more information and to check out their other books, visit www.ptlb.com or Amazon.com.

 

More from Dana and Gil

I can remember thirty years ago, when my wife and I had our first child, we picked up a mentor couple who was there to guide us through the first few years of the parenting process. Their guidance and support made all the difference in our parenting, helping us to be more confident in loving, directing, and guiding our baby daughter.

As our other two girls were born, we went to more parenting workshops and gathered more mentor couples. We also read, studied, and devoured all that the Scriptures had to say about the parenting process, especially the book of Proverbs. Another time, when my sister thought I was being too strict with the girls, she recommended a wonderful book that was helpful to us. All the different advice these mentors gave us and the various resources they offered were invaluable. We would have been lost without their help, not knowing what to do in so many situations. It really does take a village to raise kids wisely.

I am confident that God will guide every parent if they are looking for His wisdom. I am hopeful that my collection of all the wisdom we received over the years, and the scriptural underpinnings, will help you in the stretching, delightful, marathon-process of parenting your children. We truly did have a great time. Our kids were not easy but they were wonderful. And just so you know, we actually did have a staff meeting every week to talk through the six key R’s to try and stay ahead of our kids. I hope that this book acts like a gentle encourager on your parenting journey.

 

My Review of Wise Parenting:

This book is one that I will keep and reread for many years to come, and get copies for each of my grown children as they get married and have children of their own. This book is wonderful for new parents, but also for parents of any age children. Our children – One is grown and learning how to do life as an adult, another is getting ready to fly out of the nest and the other is still rooted at this address for quite a few more years and yet, while our kids aren’t little, I still learned valuable lessons from this book that I plan to implement. I am someone who wants to stay teachable my whole life, so learning ways to tweak my relationship with my kids for the better is something I will always strive to do.

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

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 13 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 13

Texas Book-aholic, September 14

Inklings and notions, September 15

Stories By Gina, September 16 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, September 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 18

Artistic Nobody, September 19 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 20

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 21 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

Spoken from the Heart, September 25

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Dana and Gil are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a set of parenting books!! (including W!se Parenting)

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/10099/w-se-parenting-celebration-tour-giveaway

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I was reading a post a few months back and the truth of this phrase stood out to me. One thing we have been promised in this world is trouble. John 16 assures us of that truth. But it doesn’t end there. We are encouraged to “take heart, because God has overcome the world.”

For me, when I have that mindset, the proper mindset of knowing trouble will come, it doesn’t take me by surprise and I have greater success responding to it in a way that honors God. Then, if I take it a step further, and ask God what He wants me to learn from the situation, I’m better prepared for the next time.

What about you? How do you handle life when trouble comes? Are you brave enough to ask God what He wants you to learn from the situation? It takes bravery for me to ask that question … but it’s always worth it!

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2020

 

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For Christmas last year, my prayer partner gave my family and me a prayer jar. We started the new year putting prayer requests in there, and I took it a step further and started thanking God ahead of time for the answers I knew we would see.

In March, I put the prayer requests aside and decided I wanted to turn that jar into a blessings jar instead … I was determined that throughout the chaos we found ourselves in, which I believed would be short-lived, our family would focus on the blessings instead of focusing on all the things that were being taken away.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t acknowledge the things our children had to give up, or the things my husband and I were forced to let go. But instead of staying stuck in that mindset, it was important to me to focus on the blessings we were receiving, and they were many. This Christmas season, I want us to pull out the blessings jar and read through all the blessings God has given us, big and small, in 2020 as a reminder of how good He is and how He can turn messy situations into masterpieces, if we simply pay attention.

What’s one situation in your life that God has turned into a blessing?

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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I wrote this post back in August, when plans for the new school year were being decided. You’re reading this post after the new school year has begun and we’re living out those plans.

2020, more than any other year I think, has showed the above statement to be true. And I venture to say it’s true of you too. Every experience we face teaches us what we did right and what we need to tweak for next time.

If I were to ask you, “what life experience has prepared you for what you’re facing today, how would you answer?

For me, the answer would be trust. In October 2006, I asked God to help me learn how to trust Him. His answer to that heartfelt prayer? Fourteen years of situations where I had to trust Him…slowly, patiently, with many mistakes, but never giving up.

I started 2020 with a bigger trust muscle than I realized, and it was put to the test in mid-March when life as we knew it changed. Through the ups and downs, changing guidelines (sometimes weekly), sometimes moments of hopelessness or “when will we go back to normal?” or “will we ever go back to normal?” or “do I even want to go back to normal?” I realized I was on a new level of trust with my Heavenly Father. And it felt good.

 

Going into the unknowns of the last quarter of 2020, while I’m sure I’ll still have my moments of discouragement, I always come back to the truth that I serve a God I have learned how to trust … not to make life look the way I want, but One that wants the best not just for me, but for all of His children.

What’s one life experience you have had that has trained you for what you’re facing now?

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it? While my family has not had COVID, we have been sicker with out of the ordinary illnesses (noncontagious ones) than we have for the past five years. As a result, we haven’t been doing as much and have been resting more.

Even in the midst of resting, I find myself asking, “What part do You want me to play, Lord in all of this?” My biggest job has been to pray. God gave me a specific prayer in March and I have faithfully been praying it, and will continue to pray it over our nation and this situation, until God answers. I have shared that prayer with several people, as God leads, and they are praying along in agreement with me.

Taking care of my family. That is another job God has given me during this season. Spending time with them, taking care of them, and being there when they need me.

Putting my seat in my seat. God told me at the end of 2019 that I was entering into a season of heavy writing. And I have tried to be faithful to obey that calling and write. I finished a nonfiction book in March/April that has been shipped off for consideration with a traditional publishing company. I have edited three fiction books, and I am almost halfway through Book 4 of the six-book series. Then I will start another 3-book series for fiction when I finish the first series.

 

Those are some of the assignments God has given me this year. What part is He asking You to play as 2020 comes to a close?

 

© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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About the Book

Book:  Second Chance At Love: Navigating the Path to Remarriage

Author: Shirley Quiring Mozena

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: July 16, 2020

Whether your marriage was blissful or challenging, lengthy or short, it didn’t end the way you imagined. Regardless of how you found yourself without a life partner, you may be at a point where you’d like to experience the love of a spouse again. Authors Shirley and Jim Mozena experienced devastating losses and then struggles in their relationships before finding renewed love with each other, and in Second Chance at Love they offer their insights to these difficult questions:

  • Are you really ready?
  • Is now the time?
  • How do you know if you’ve found the right one?
  • Is the potential pain of losing another spouse worth it?

The authors approach their answers with practical reality and their own vulnerability. They share the experiences of their first marriages, their second marriages, their journeys through what seemed like devastating losses, and the gifts of finding love and another chance to share their lives with a spouse after death and divorce.

In addition to the down-to-earth guidance on the situations you face when considering marrying again, Shirley and Jim have created valuable questionnaires to identify issues and facilitate discussions with potential mates. The information contained in this book will give you confidence and peace as you navigate these hopeful waters.

 

Click here to get your copy of the book!

About the Authors

Shirley Quiring Mozena is a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries and publishes a weekly blog on encouragement and hope. She and her husband, Jim, facilitate GriefShare, where they work with those grieving the loss of a loved one in death. Shirley has also written Second Chances at Life and Love, with Hope and Beyond Second Chances: Heartbreak to Joy.

James (Jim) P. Mozena was owner and president of Mozena Consulting Group (MCG Inc.) for thirty years. He has taught university business classes and authored four books on improving organizational performance.

More from Shirley and Jim

Did you know remarriage is on the rise for Americans aged 55 years or older—widowed or divorced? Author Shirley Quiring Mozena, with her husband Jim, know the demands of remarriage, blending families from divorce and being widowed. They came from long and enduring marriages and found marriage to be fulfilling. They discovered that in spite of their love for each other, there were challenges before their wedding took place.

 

Together they wrote Second Chance at Love. Join them as they share their joys, sorrows, and even misfires in pursuing a marriage partner. This book will show you through their own experiences through divorce and widowhood what’s important in what a couple might face in second or third marriages.

 

Author Interview for A Second Chance at Love:

 

What role does God play in your writing career? Before I begin to write, I ask God to give me the words to convey my thoughts to those who would read them. Each Friday I write a blog. First I read a devotional, and Scripture where I ask God to reveal who I should write to and what to say.

 

What is the hardest aspect of writing? Doing it! Once I get words on the computer, I’m fine. But it’s a discipline just like eating the right foods, exercising, and practicing an instrument. I play the violin, but pick your discipline. It’s all the same—you have to set yourself up to write, practice, eat right, whatever.

 

How does your family support your writing career? My husband Jim is very supportive. He listens to my first writes, encourages me to keep on doing it. I am extremely blessed with his encouragement.

 

What projects are you working on currently? I’ve been compiling more than three years of my blogs and hope to write a one-year devotional. Also busy writing weekly blogs, and submitting articles to magazines and newspapers.

 

What’s your favorite time of day?  The morning. It’s my time to read Scripture and talk to God. Then my husband and I walk three miles most days. I enjoy seeing the changes of each season on our walks. Before we leave our house, I take a stroll around my yard (spring and summer mostly) and check what’s growing or blooming.

 

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

Artistic Nobody, September 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 8

Splashes of Joy, September 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, September 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 11

Spoken from the Heart, September 12 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 13

For Him and My Family, September 14

Beauty in the Binding, September 15 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 17

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 18 (Author Interview)

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Shirley is giving away the grand prize of a signed copy of the book!!

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/10092/second-chance-at-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

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About the Book

Book: A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: May 6, 2017

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

About the Author

Patricia writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance and Desert Willow (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017 and 2020). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Visit her at http://www.patriciabeal.com for more.

More from Patricia

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

God’s Plan—Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

God’s Plan—Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good.

 

Author Interview for A Season to Dance:

What role does God play in your writing career?

I didn’t see Him as playing a role initially, but oh boy, did that change!

 

This debut began in my mind as a single scene—a ballerina stuck at the top of a marquee, something that kind of happened to me once. From there it grew a chapter at a time, one per Saturday, during a six-month period.

 

I wasn’t a Christian when I wrote the first version of A Season to Dance, so the story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.

 

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important. But in the summer of 2012, that early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired and lonely, and I freaked out. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.

 

Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely.

 

Then Jesus passed by. I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I cancelled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a fourteen-month rewrite.

 

The novel wasn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

 

Jeff Gerke edited the new version of the novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. I was ready to do publishing right. The novel was ready. I was ready. It was time.

 

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me and in early 2016, I signed with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

 

This book, A Season to Dance, wrote me—not the other way around. I journeyed with Ana and pray that now others will journey with us, beyond expectations and suffering and to the very heart of Christ.

 

What is your favorite time of day?

Early morning. It’s like a mini New Years. Everything is new and everything is possible😊

 

Would you rather always be an hour early or be constantly twenty minutes late? 

An hour early and with a good book in my bag 😉

 

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

Giveaway

https://promosimple.com/ps/10068/a-season-to-dance-celebration-scavenger-hunt-giveaway

 

Link to Celebrate Lit page:

A Season to Dance Scavenger Hunt

 

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