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Is there a mother in your life that has everything, but could use the one thing money can’t buy …

Encouragement??????

Spoken from the Heart: Parenting 101 Vol. 6

is available for sale TODAY.

If you order in the next few days on Amazon, it will arrive in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday – time to bless a friend, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin.

There are six volumes to choose from … choose the one that speaks to your heart or buy them all today:

Parenting 101

 

When you envisioned being a parent, did it involve juggling a career, household duties, and extracurricular activities? Or, did you image being a stay-at-home parent who excels at growing a garden and keeping the budget balanced? Regardless of what type of parent you dreamed of being, I think we can all agree that when done right, parenthood is one of the most challenging, but rewarding jobs we’ll ever undertake. It takes skills to balance our time and finances alongside the needs of multiple children and household responsibilities. Our mission is to raise children who are self-sufficient and productive members of society – while at the same time making sure the most important goal is modeled daily – a personal relationship with God.

While some of your desires and passions may vary from mine, if you’re reading this book, we share the common thread of parenthood. With God’s wisdom and our choice to keep Him first in our lives, it will not only be successful but we will rekindle the joy we felt when our child was first placed in our arms. Please walk with me as I offer encouragement in what is hands down one of the biggest blessings in your life. I pray you’ll be challenged and inspired to continue to make a difference in the lives of those God lovingly entrusted to you.

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Parenting 101 Vol. 2

Do you have one child and have the opportunity to focus solely on his individual strengths and weaknesses? Or are you the parent of multiple children each at varying developmental stages, with individual interests, hobbies, and challenges unique to them?

No matter how many children make up your own family structure, I think we can all agree. Just when we think we have this thing called “parenting” mastered, our children change, again, and we’re left wondering what to do next. Instead of getting frustrated, we can turn to the ultimate training manual, God’s Word, to help us maneuver these crucial years. By studying God’s blueprints and applying His truths, parenting turns into a gift, a way to embrace the fleeting years we have with our children under our roof and a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Join me as we fill our homes with laughter, love, and the opportunity to model for our children a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. Without His wisdom, this parenting journey would be much more difficult. I pray you will find answers to some of your questions, hope in the midst of struggles you might be experiencing, and a chance to sit and rest. Maybe you will find a new or deeper relationship with God in the process or just a place to start discovering all He wants to give you. As I love saying, “The God I serve is personal. What He’s willing to do for me, He’s waiting to do (and much more) for you.” Let’s sit down, friend-to-friend, as we seek to find some wisdom, peace, and happiness in this high energy, fast-paced world.

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Parenting 101 Vol. 3

Do you remember the day your little one was placed in your arms? Does it sometimes feel as though the years are rushing by – not willing to slow down enough for you to savor these moments?

Parenting is a journey filled with opposites – laughter and tears, stolen moments and crowded days, sleepless nights and bleary-eyed mornings. However, I also pray that parenthood is something you look at with excitement, enthusiasm, and love.

Let this book offer encouragement, hope, humor, and an escape from your busyness to remember how special your children are and how much you love them. May the words remind you of Who blessed you with your family and while not perfect, perfectly handpicked for you!

Sit back, relax, and let’s journey together as we travel the road of parenthood.

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Parenting 101 Vol. 4

 

When you think of parenthood, do you envision camping, late night movie marathons, and pillow fights?

Does parenting leave you filled with dread or excitement?

Parenting can be an opportunity filled with laugher and chances to build positive memories – both for yourself and your children. It’s a time to cherish the ones that God loaned to you for a little while, to help guide them in the direction God has planned for them and to be their friend throughout adulthood as you hold them tightly in your hearts forever.

Please join me while I encourage, challenge (just a little), and help you remember all the fun that parenting can be while reminding you it’s not a solitary assignment. We’re in this together…so let’s have some fun!

 

***

 

Parenting 101 Vol. 5

 

Now a days it seems as though everyone has an opinion on how you parent… and isn’t afraid to share it!

If you choose to read the words between these pages, don’t expect lectures, how-to guides or magic formulas. Nope. No judgement here. Just one parent to another, sharing my own experiences and the truths that the best parent, the First Parent, our Heavenly Father, has shared with me. Please join me on this adventure of parenting… one of the most rewarding positions in life.

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

 

Toward the end of 2017, I felt as though God was telling me to take a break for the month of December.  I envisioned days of sitting on the couch reading with the Christmas lights on in the background, a nice relaxed wife and mother to greet her family when they returned home from school and work and yummy smells coming from the kitchen because I had time to actually cook something more than grilled cheese sandwiches or frozen pizza and watch to make sure it didn’t burn.  I even got all my Christmas presents wrapped by the beginning of the month and was ready to just … refresh.

While I didn’t write anything new in December, I still was working two of my other jobs and publishing the new Bible study book I had written earlier that year, Caring for the Caregiver. I think I had one afternoon where I took the time to sit and read by the Christmas tree, but most of my spare time was spent actually living life – volunteering at our child’s school, impromptu (surprise) lunch dates with a few of our kids, or just connecting with my family.

I assumed that entering into 2018 I would be refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to work hard on new goals for the new year. Instead, I found myself tired as I detoxed from all the extra sugar I consumed over the holidays and not motivated to jump at all.

God used that tiredness and lack of energy to teach me another lesson about grace. Sometimes, circumstances in life aren’t easy. Sometimes we’re just tired and it takes all our energy to put one foot in front of the other. And instead of beating oneself up over that lack of energy or lack of motivation, when we ask God for strength, sometimes we have to ask for Him to give it to us in one minute intervals.

 

God, I have this huge assignment in front of me and I don’t even know where to start.”

I’m battling the obstacle of quitting smoking, eating moderately or choosing to exercise more and I just can’t last another minute without that cigarette, donut or moving one more second on the treadmill.”

Abba, I can’t stop listening to the voices in my head replaying that conversation over and over again. I blew it. I’m stupid. I’ll never change.”

 

God doesn’t ask us to have all the answers.  And our Father certainly doesn’t ask us to fight in our strength, ever. He wants us to come to Him with all our burdens, all our concerns, all our struggles. He already knows what they are.  He also already has the answer.  But I’ve learned in the last few months He won’t step in to help until we invite Him in. He’s a gentleman like that.  If we want to handle life alone, He’ll step back and let us. He loves us too much to control us. But … when we ask, He’s ready to step in and show us the way to victory.

Sometimes we’re strong enough to ask God for the whole situation at once.  And, sometimes, the circumstances we’re facing require asking for help one minute at a time. God doesn’t care which way we ask – He just wants us to start the conversation.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.”

Psalm 119:30 (NIV)

 

Last time we were together I shared about how when going through a difficulty or trial in life, it’s good to maintain a positive attitude but after a while, when it seemed like it would never end, negativity can sometimes creep in.

Today I want to share about how wonderful a positive attitude truly is, but positive attitudes that aren’t grounded in truth will only get me so far.

God has brought me quite far over the last four years.  He has taught me how to fully trust Him.  Three years ago January I was suddenly terminated from my job of over a decade due to technology.  At first I chose to “trust” and I put that in quotes because my idea of trusting Him was more of a genie-in-a-bottle type attitude, a superficial positive attitude.  “Oh, this is just another test from God.  I can handle it.  If I do things His way, ask for His will, He will give me another job within the 30 days and life will get back to normal quickly.”  Well-meaning people tried to warn me, encouraged me that if it took a while they would be there to help, that our family wasn’t alone during this challenge, etc. and while I thanked them, I honestly didn’t think I would need it.  God had this.

And He did have it, but not in the way I expected, planned for or tried to control.  Looking back, I see how God started preparing me for the pink slip in 2015 a few years earlier.  But His plan wasn’t a quick fix.  It wasn’t a 30 day, now resume normal living type of plan.  It was a loving journey of learning how to fully rely on Him for everything … and because everyone is different, my journey to that outcome took longer than 30 days.  Longer than a few months.  Longer than … you get the picture.

However, I can honestly say I truly learned how to trust God for everything.  Provision? He will provide what is needed (not always wanted) in His perfect timing.  Healing? Again, He provides His way in His time.  Over the past three years God has not only provided for our family but He has gone above and beyond by healing areas of my life I didn’t even ask for healing from, still working with me on fully healing other areas I have asked for healing in, and so much more.

I realized if I only try to maintain a positive attitude, I’m missing out on so much more.  Our family is dealing with a continuation of a challenge we’ve been facing for quite a number of years and I know God is working and will give us a miracle in this area.  Why do I know? Because of a superficial positive attitude?  No.  Because I choose to focus on remembering all the ways God has provided and healed and come through for our family in the past. I’m choosing to lean in closer and listen harder to what my part is that He wants me to accomplish during this trial.  And the trust I have is genuine.  I’ve seen God deliver in the past and I know He will deliver again, in His way and His time.

Positive attitudes are great and I would encourage them over negativity any day.  However, positive attitudes only get a person so far.  Genuine trust in God and belief that He has you, your family, your unique situation and praising Him for how He’s going to work before you see what He’s going to do is so much better.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

 

“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’” John 11:40 (NIV)

 

This past winter a lot of the country went through a significant period of deep, bone-chilling temperatures.  At the time of this writing, I honestly have forgotten how many weeks it’s been since the thermometer has been above a single digit number and that doesn’t account for the wind chill factored in either.  Yesterday was the first day I started to acknowledge that I’m cold … really cold.  I’ve been trying to maintain a positive attitude about the cold snap.  “It can’t last that long … it should break soon … remember I’d rather be cold and try to warm up than be hot and not able to cool down.”  However, all that positive self-talk finally gave in this week to the simple truth that it’s freezing and I’m freezing no matter how many layers I put on.  And I allowed myself to acknowledge that fact.

This morning I listened to the seven-day weather report and saw two days next week of 36 degrees.  Those numbers seem almost spring like compared to what we’ve experienced. And I realized while it’s been probably over two weeks of frigid, arctic like temperatures, next week we’ll get relief.  And I’m hopeful again. Even though I’m still chilled to the bone despite how many cups of hot coffee and hot tea I’m drinking, by next week I’ll be peeling off at least one of the three layers and may even break out into a sweat.

The bitterly cold weather reminded me of my spiritual life.  When I would face challenges or difficulties in life, I tried to maintain a positive attitude, especially when they first began.  “Oh, this won’t last long.  It’s a good learning experience.  Soon this test/training/lesson will be over, I’ll have learned what I was supposed to and be ready to move on to some rest in between the storms life gives.”  But then days turned into weeks and there usually came a time when I finally acknowledged, “Okay, God, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  It’s not ending nearly as quickly as I thought it should.  There are more factors to this than I originally planned for,” and I began complaining, either out loud or inwardly.  But then God, in His mercy, would show me a few days of higher than normal temperatures and I would realize, “Oh, there is an end … it will get better” and all of a sudden the weeks, months and years that our family dealt with an issue didn’t seem as long or as hard as they were when we were walking through them.

I wrote this post while still experiencing the cold snap even though you’re reading it in the spring when all thoughts of snow are a distant memory.  Another great reminder to me to always praise God while I’m still going through the trial because it will get better, eventually.  Then, when the trial finally is over, I can look back and realize it wasn’t as bad as it felt when I was actually walking through it. Or, maybe it was seriously that bad … but God got me through.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

Available Now for Preorder for only 99 Cents:

Spoken from the Heart:
Choosing a Faith-Filled Adventure

 

On Amazon:

eBook: https://amzn.to/2vPKHD8

If you sign up to join the Spoken from the Heart READERS CLUB

Email me at (clSwalwell99@gmail.com) that you’ve signed up

and I will send you the first book in the Adventure Series FREE

For a limited time, get the whole Adventure Series for only 99 cents each

Spoken from the Heart: Journey from Fear to Faith

Spoken from the Heart: Embracing the Adventure

Spoken from the Heart: The Adventure Continues

Buy your copy today and one for a friend.

 

Please share with your friends and encourage them to join the READER’S CLUB for their free book

Available Now for Preorder for only 99 Cents:

Spoken from the Heart:
Choosing a Faith-Filled Adventure

 

On Amazon:

eBook: https://amzn.to/2vPKHD8

If you sign up to join the Spoken from the Heart READERS CLUB

Email me at (clSwalwell99@gmail.com) that you’ve signed up

and I will send you the first book in the Adventure Series FREE

For a limited time, get the whole Adventure Series for only 99 cents each

Spoken from the Heart: Journey from Fear to Faith

Spoken from the Heart: Embracing the Adventure

Spoken from the Heart: The Adventure Continues

Buy your copy today and one for a friend.

 

Please share with your friends and encourage them to join the READER’S CLUB for their free book

God’s Silence

“O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.”

Psalm 83:1 (NIV)

 

Have you ever asked God a question about your life, an important decision you have to make or for guidance and wisdom … and all you hear is silence?

I’ve experienced that multiple times throughout my life.  I’ve had many discussions about that with Christian friends and they have been quick to remind me God gave Abraham the promise of being the father of many nations … and then He was silent for 25 years before it was fulfilled.  Noah was 500 years old when God told him to build the ark … and he was 600 years old when God told him to enter the ark. Moses wandered the desert for 40 years learning how to survive in those conditions so that he could then lead the Israelites through the desert for 40 years.  And … did you know that God was completely silent for 400 years between the end of Malachi (the Old Testament) and when Gabriel spoke to Mary in the New Testament of Matthew?  Four hundred years of silence …

With the above examples, how can I be upset when I think God doesn’t answer me soon enough because I don’t get an immediate answer?  I can’t imagine the lifespan of four of our generations going through life without hearing from God.  I know God had a divine purpose for that silence … He has a divine purpose for everything He chooses to do and I’m not arguing or debating His choice.  I’m just saying I think we’re blessed we serve God who chooses to talk to us and wants to have a personal, living relationship with us.  I, for one, want to take advantage of that relationship and talk with Him as often as possible.

I was talking to a friend the other day and we were discussing the concept of praying without ceasing.  Praying throughout the day.  I was telling her I thank Him for being able to merge onto the highway without having cars all around, I ask Him to help me with the work I have to accomplish that day that feels overwhelming, I ask for His wisdom and advice about which books to write, which jobs to take and what to make for dinner.  I ask Him what books He wants me to read, thank Him for the time to read them or the work to keep me busy.  I talk to Him about the big things, little things and everything in between.  I ask for wisdom and blessings on our marriage, on any issues our kids are dealing with, thank Him for the many blessings He provides daily (whether it’s an unexpected gift or a hug from my husband).  I talk to God continuously and when I’m not talking to Him, I’m sitting in silence listening for Him to talk to me or worshipping Him through singing along with the radio or the song He has put on my heart.

Silence … I’ve always associated silence with something bad.  Silent treatment.  Someone is displeased with me. Pins and needles.  However, I’m learning in my relationship with God silence isn’t always bad.  Sometimes God allows silence between us so that I will pray harder, listen closer or wait … until He’s ready to speak.  Sometimes silence is a faith test.  Will I walk in the direction He asked me to walk before I see what He’s going to do?

Silence can be very difficult to break down and figure out what exactly it means.  But silence can also be the perfect place to find God and really hear His voice. Trust God in the silence in your own life.  Ask Him questions and then sit silently waiting for His answer.  Trust the promise He gave you ahead of time and keep walking in that direction until you see the promise fulfilled.  When we come to God with the right attitude of wanting His will, He will answer, in His time.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018