Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: God's care


Under His Wings
A devotional by Ginger Solomon

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.”~Psalm 91:4-8 (NLT)

This chapter in Psalms has long been one of my favorites. I fully understood these verses for the first time a few years ago. When we moved to Alabama, we bought land in order to raise chickens and maybe a few other things as the years progressed. And we did. We had chickens for probably ten years before I got tired of dealing with them.

In that time, we only had ONE hen who took it upon herself to lay eggs and brood (sit on the eggs so they’ll hatch) outside of our nesting boxes. I generally didn’t allow my hens to brood, because other hens would lay their eggs in the same box, and I couldn’t tell which were which. And as soon as you start messing with the eggs, the brooding hen would leave.


Anyway, she had three eggs, only one of which survived. She was a good momma, and whenever I would come around to check on her and the chick, she’d pull that baby under her wing and squawk at me.

Eventually, I ushered them back in with the other chickens. She was very protective of her baby, leading it around and teaching it things a baby chick needs to know. If another hen or the rooster came near, her feathers would plump, and she’d make warning noises. I think they were meant to scare off the offenders, but also to call her baby back to her side, because invariably the baby would hustle toward her.

This Psalm remains one of my favorites. Many times, I’ve been in a spot where I was scared or at the end of myself. I called out to God, sometimes on my face and sometimes just sitting in a chair because I couldn’t work up enough energy to even fall to my knees. He always responded. One time when my kids were still pretty small and needed a lot, I remember being in my room, listening to a Nichole Nordeman song (Holy) and crying out to God. I was on my knees with my face on the floor. It was naptime and I was tired. So very tired. And God met me there. I felt a PHYSICAL hug. Even now the experience brings tears to my eyes. It gave me the strength to get up off the floor and continue being the mom He had called me to be.

I truly think that at that moment in my life, God tucked me under His wing and provided a little protection from the fiery darts aimed at me. Because let’s be honest, having littles (I think at that time I was a homeschooling mom with seven kids, 13 and under) feels like someone is throwing fiery darts our direction. The house is never clean. The clothes are never all washed. Dinner is rarely on time. Someone always needs something. Life is busy. (Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t give up that time in my life for anything. I learned so much.)

But it is a season. And all too soon it’s over. My baby is 13 now, and several of my kids have moved away. My house is quieter. It no longer echoes with the pitter-patter of young feet. (Now I hear a few stomps from the size 10+ shoes.) The chorus of laughter from many young mouths is now a distant memory.

These days, God’s wings protect me from different things, but I hope to never “grow” so much that I think I’m too big to need his shelter. And if I do venture forth, I want to always listen to His warning of danger.

What’s your favorite verse and why?

~*~
Author Bio:
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). 

She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, books are on her mind.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: On Waiting


In the Waiting Room

A devotional by Dana McNeely

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. ~1 Kings 17:2-6 NLT

"Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!" ~James 5:17 NLT

Immediately after the prophet Elijah declared God’s judgment on Israel, God sent him into the wilderness. And there he waited … and waited. Perhaps God’s purpose was to keep the prophet safe from an angry king. After all, Elijah had rebuked Ahab quite publicly. A price was put on the prophet’s head.

But did God hide Elijah only to protect him?

Elijah was one of the most heroic characters in the Old Testament. He stood alone against wicked and powerful people to turn a nation back to God. But we’re also told he was subject to human frailty. The Bible tells of a time when the prophet became overcome by fear, weariness, and depression. He felt so discouraged he wanted to die.

But despite Elijah’s human weaknesses, God used him to accomplish great things. Scripture details how God prepared Elijah to turn Israel to the one true God.

One step at a time

God told Elijah to leave the mountains of Thisbe, go to Samaria, and proclaim the drought. God didn’t say anything about what would come next. He didn’t describe how the king and queen would receive the bad news, and he didn’t promise to protect Elijah in the aftermath. He just said "Go!"

Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God’s step-by-step leading. God told Abram, then 75 years old, to leave his home and relatives for a far-off country. He told Moses to ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites worship in the desert. He told Gideon, who was hiding in fear at the time, to rescue Israel from the Midianites. Each time, the command was met with astonishment. None felt capable of the task. But Abram, Moses, and Gideon chose to believe God and took their first step in obedience. God prepared them for great acts of service, one step at a time.

The waiting room

We learn from James 5:17 that Elijah “prayed earnestly” that no rain would fall. That speaks of spending time in close communication with the Lord. I imagine Elijah’s prayers began in the mountains of Thisbe, continued on the journey to Samaria, and deepened in the “waiting room” beside the Kerith Brook where God—and the ravens—were his only companions. Elijah used this time to draw close to the Lord.

God uses the “waiting room” throughout scripture. God spoke to Moses, alone, on Mount Sinai. Jesus often asked his disciples to come apart to a quiet place, where he would teach them. Paul wrote the Revelation during enforced seclusion on the island of Patmos.

During my father’s long decline, I spent hours in nursing homes and hospitals. Sometimes dad would be asleep when I arrived or nod off during my visit. Knowing he needed the rest, I used that time to pray—for him, for myself, for my mom, and other friends and family.

Trust God

God sent Elijah to wait near the brook Kerith. Each day, ravens would bring meat and bread. As he headed east into the desert, Elijah must have wondered about this promise. The drought would cause the brook to dry up—wouldn’t it? And how could ravens, carrion eaters, find food fit for humans? Or if they found it, wouldn’t they eat it themselves? And how long could he stay hidden from the king’s soldiers, anywhere in Israel?

But as the days passed, and he rested by the brook, Elijah’s trust grew. He was where God wanted him to be. The brook sparkled and the water was cool. The ravens became friends. Though enemies might search, God kept him safe in a hidden ravine. Later, when Elijah needed to trust God’s power before a king and a nation, he was prepared.

Think about it

· Did you ever feel God call you to take some action—but you hesitated to take that first step?

· Have you ever been in God’s Waiting Room? How did that time change you?

· Have you ever needed God’s provision? Did you pray for help? To strengthen your trust, write down your prayer and how God answered. Keep it in a journal or a slip of paper to use as a bookmark.

~*~
Author Bio: Inspired by the Bible story of Elijah and the widow’s son, Dana McNeely wondered why the prophet had come to stay with these two. Who were they? What was their life, before? And how did the boy change after dying, seeing the other world … and coming back? Dana began research for her novel, “Rain,” which tells the story of the three-and-a-half-year drought from the boy’s perspective. 


No stranger to drought, Dana lives in an Arizona oasis with her hubby the constant gardener, two good dogs, an antisocial cat, and migrating butterflies. She writes biblical fiction, cozy mysteries, and has written for magazines and newspapers. Her short story “Death in the Butterfly Garden” appears in SoWest: Killer Nights (2017).

Connect with Dana on Facebook, Twitter, or DanaMcNeely.com

Friday, February 23, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Gail's thoughts about forgiveness


Forgiveness
A devotional written by Gail Kittleson


I have yet to read a verse in the Bible that instructs believers to be nice. And the older I get, the more certain characteristics of our role model, Jesus, stand out. Luke chapter seven even reveals how he ignored certain people at times.

But that’s not nice, we may remark. Maybe not, but Jesus did it, and pointedly. Luke tells the story of the town harlot who washed Jesus feet with her tears and anointed them with expensive perfume. Jesus certainly focused on the woman but ignored someone else.

The Pharisee who invited Jesus to his home had a real problem with this woman. First off, we note that Simon recognized her ... now, why should a religious zealot know who she was?

Immediately, he conjectured: Jesus must not be a prophet like I thought—otherwise “...he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” (Luke 7:39)

But with far more awareness than Simon could have imagined, Jesus addressed his host right in front of everyone. The story he told Simon compares two forgiven men—one forgiven a little, the other with much in his life requiring mercy. We imagine him setting up the parable and then, in a very meaningful moment, asking Simon, “Which of the two would be more grateful?” (Luke 7:42)

Perhaps Simon shrugged as he replied, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” (Luke 7:43)

Bingo! Jesus launched into teaching about forgiveness and gratitude. He then told the woman he forgave her sins, which shocked the dinner guests. “Who does he think he is ...?” (Luke 7:49)

Now comes the clincher. Jesus ignored them. Instead, he focused on the fallen woman, showering her with promise and peace. We might try to imagine how the others in the room felt, witnessing his extraordinary behavior.

Our Lord was such an intuitive fellow. His spiritual and emotional astuteness saw far beyond the surface, and led him to meet the deepest needs of the human heart. We all need His mercy, his love, and his forgiveness. Some of the dinner guests might not have agreed, but Jesus taught them a lesson by being what might not fit our conceptions of a nice Christian.

Help us, Lord to move beyond our childhood teachings into an obedience that delves deeper into the mystery of your unending love and forgiveness. Teach us to concentrate on your priorities and see people through Your eyes of unconditional love.


~*~
Author Bio: 

When Gail Kittleson's not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit of her 1940’s novels, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. 

She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Favorites: spending time with grandchildren, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Interview with Erin R. Dooley, director of Broken & Beautiful (movie)

Let's welcome Erin R. Dooley to the blog again! This is her final visit to promote her movie "Broken & Beautiful."


Today, Erin is talking about what went into making her movie. She's sharing stories from behind the scenes, the most memorable moments of the movie-making process and other insightful details about her journey of becoming a movie director.

She's also offered to host a giveaway contest that will allow the winner to view her movie for free! Details are toward the end of this blog post.

Enjoy your time with Erin!


~*~
Interview with Erin R. Dooley director of “Broken & Beautiful”:

Alexis: Tell us about the story behind the making of your movie.


Erin: Making “Broken & Beautiful” was a leap of faith for me. I had always wanted to write a musical using Christian music. When I finished the script I went for a run to clear my head. I was praying and asked God who was going to direct. I heard “You are.” I stopped running, looked up and down the road, only to find it empty. I looked up and said, “If that was you, God, you've got the wrong girl. I'm a writer, I don't know how to direct.” Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and a whisper, “you can do this.”

I went home, talked to my sister about discerning God’s voice and the following day at work I met a professor I had never met. It turns out he had lived in Los Angeles for 20 years directing. We talked for a few hours and he gave me the high-level explanation on how to produce and direct.

So, I was in. What followed was 9 months of moments like that. Me taking everything to God in prayer and God providing for me.


Alexis: Why did you title it “Broken & Beautiful”? Explain the significance.

Erin: There is a song by that title, which isn’t in the movie, but I liked the idea that even though we are all flawed and broken, God still sees us as his beautiful creation. I had a few other title ideas, but this one seemed to match the theme of the movie the best.

Alexis: Why did you feel that it was necessary to write a book about the making of the movie? A book that you titled with a question, which was “You Want Me To Do What, God?!”

Erin: The more I told people the story, the more I realized that the story about how the film came to be was just as intriguing to people as the film itself. I wrote the book first as a journal just so I’d remember all that happened. In between making “Broken & Beautiful” and releasing it, I released a documentary that is my personal story and I realize how much people like to connect to real, honest stories. Once I was going into distribution with “Broken & Beautiful", I still felt that it was an important part of this journey.

Alexis: Tell us about the dream your sister had that a man walked up to her in Subway (food restaurant) telling her that God told him to finance your movie. What were your first thoughts when your sister said this to you? Did it happen in real-life? If not, how did you finance the movie?

Erin: Well, when my sister told me about her dream, I told her that she better stop at every Subway restaurant that she passes. Nothing ever came of that dream, mostly because she never did go to any Subways. “Broken & Beautiful” was funded through the support of family and friends. I did hold a few fundraisers, but mostly family and friends who I told about the film contributed.

Alexis: How was your first experience as a movie director? Describe the pitfalls and memorable moments.

Erin: This was a big film to start with as a first-time director. There are 12 leads and we filmed in 20-something locations over 28 days. The best part of directing a film you’ve written is certainly seeing it all come together and watching the actors bring your characters to life. One thing that sticks out was after we shot the very last scene, the Assistant Cameraman turned and said, “Congratulations. You made a movie.” I know that sounds simple, but I had been carrying a lot of stress during filming and hearing that lifted a lot of stress from me.

As far as pitfalls, mostly it was concessions I had to make once I knew the budget I was working with. When I wrote it a scene was set on the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago (now called Willis Tower). I couldn’t afford that, so we ended up on a rooftop of an apartment. We had a pretty tight schedule in general, so we only could do a few takes of each scene.


Alexis: Would you do this again (direct a movie)? Why or why not?

Erin: I prefer writing and producing. I do really enjoy working with actors but I think I’m stronger in writing and producing.

Alexis: What message do you want your audience to take home after they see this movie? Explain.

Erin: The tagline of the film is “We’re all sinners, but we’re all called to be saints.” I hope that people can see that it is never too late to return to God, no matter what you’ve done. I also hope that people can extend each other grace. Every one of the characters is carrying some weight around with them, and they can pass judgment on each other. It’s helpful for us to remember that as we deal with other, that we’re all hiding some imperfections but we can help each other instead of just passing judgment. I’d also like to add that despite this being a Christian film, I don’t think the only audience is Christians. An atheist saw the film and came up to me afterward. He said, “I disagree with you on probably everything but this film is well done and will start conversations.” So I hope that people will invite their friends, whether or not they have strong faith convictions, to see the film.

Alexis: Why did you make this movie a musical? Describe the role of music in your visual storyline.

Erin: The simple answer is that I love Christian music. I’ve written many other scripts, but always wanted to write a musical. Not being a songwriter, I needed to find the music. The film was definitely born out of the songs. I came up with characters and then spent quite a long time listening to and reading lyrics of countless songs. It’s funny to me when people comment how perfectly the songs fit the storyline because I know that I specifically wrote it that way.

Alexis: What is your mission statement in life and how does your approach to life affect your approach to making movies?

Erin: My mission in life is to love and serve God. I feel like he has called me into entertainment to do just that. So, my films, even if they aren’t overtly Christian like “Broken & Beautiful” is, they do have my worldview. I want to be life-affirming and life-giving in the stories I tell.

Alexis: How does your faith in God affect your storytelling?

Erin: My faith isn’t compartmentalized; it is infused in everything I do. So, all the stories I tell are going to reflect the way I see the world. I believe in redemption and the goodness of people, so that is reflected in my projects.

Alexis: Who is your inspiration in the movie industry? Why?

Erin: I always answer this question a little differently than people may expect. I usually look at people just a few rungs higher than me on the ladder of success and look at what they are doing. The longer I am in Los Angeles, these people are becoming friends and colleagues, which is a nice place to be. There are a lot of Christians in the industry doing wonderful things, so I take inspiration from them.

Alexis: What Bible verse keeps you going when faced with difficulty?

Erin: Psalm 23 is always one that seems to pop up in my life. For this particular film, songs got me through. The song “Stronger” by Mandisa was my anthem.

Alexis: If you could encourage your audience with just one word, what would it be and why?

Erin: I think I’d say “listen.” God is still speaking to us. He is calling you to be the beautiful person he created. Listen to others when they speak so you can really understand them and relate better to them, without rushing to judgment.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Erin! God bless you.

~*~
Author Bio:

Erin R. Dooley is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, speaker, and author.

Erin has produced two feature films, numerous short films, two comedy web series, a docu-series, and one feature documentary.

Erin and her projects have been featured in 20 different media outlets, including Newsweek's "Guide Of What To Watch." "You Want Me to Do What, God?!" is her first book. 

She lives in Los Angeles County.

~*~
Connect with Erin:
Movie Page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/brokenandbeautifulmovie/
Business Page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DASHEntertainment/
Movie Feed on Twitter - https://twitter.com/Brokn_Beautiful
Production Company Feed on Twitter - https://twitter.com/DASH_Entertain
Personal Feed on Twitter - https://twitter.com/erindooley34

~*~
Giveaway Contest Details: Erin would like to give YOU a chance to WIN a FREE online viewing of her movie "Broken & Beautiful"! Enter the contest by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Holy Kisses


Holy Kisses
A devotional by 
Paula Moldenhauer

"Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine. How fragrant your cologne, and how pleasing your name! No wonder all the young women love you! Take me with you. Come, let’s run! Bring me into your bedroom, O my king."
~ Song of Solomon 1:2-4 (NLT)

“Burdens are lifted at Calvary. Calvary. Calvary. Burdens are lifted at Calvary. Jesus is very near.” A strong sense of the Lord’s care for me accompanied the old hymn* which played in my heart as I awoke.

The day before had held one minor disaster after the next, and I’d been discouraged, but now Jesus felt close. His presence gave me the confidence to face another day.

According to pastor and speaker Mike Bickle*, I experienced a divine kiss. He writes that the divine kiss is a metaphor for intimacy with Christ, and that those special moments we share are like kisses from the Groom to His bride—a divine blessing that is better than anything else life has to offer.

Bickle gets this idea from the Song of Solomon 1:2 which says, “Kiss me again and again, for your love is sweeter than wine” (NIV).

There are a lot of things in life I enjoy: Flowers, children’s laughter, a new dress, a long walk with my man, pretty things, and happy moments. But it really is true that the very deepest and best things in life are the kisses of the Bridegroom.

Infact some of the worst, most painful times have also been the best because my Bridegroom’s love was tangible. Attention from the Divine is better than anything mortal.

I love how the bride in the Song of Solomon begs her groom to kiss her “again and again.” She knows she needs His repeated attention. She craves intimacy. She longs to be held so close to her King that she can taste His sweetness and feel His breath upon her neck.

We all experience divine kisses. Sometimes they come as a song in the night. Other times they are a Bible verse that leaps off the page and into our soul. Perhaps the kiss comes in the form of a phone call at just the right moment. Or as a brush of the Savior’s lips as we gaze at a beautiful painting or the splendor of nature.

Jesus’ kisses are the expression of His love, His reassurance He is with us.

When have you experienced a divine kiss?

I’ve been guilty of brushing divine kisses off as coincidence, or I feel their tingle but rush on without slowing to savor and acknowledge them. It’s hard to believe the Creator of the Universe offers that kind of personal attention, so we reason away the very kisses He offers to awaken our hearts to Him.

Even as we start to believe He offers personal attention, we’re sometimes afraid. If you’re like me you can find it scary to enter into intimate human relationships, much less one with the Divine. Who knows what deeper relationship with God will bring or require?

Even though I know God is love and has only my best in mind, I’ve resisted intimacy. Thankfully the Bridegroom is patient and wise and gentle. When I pull back, the Lord slows down the progression of our relationship to give me time to learn to trust Him. He’s good like that. He knows my heart and never ravages it.

He knows yours too.

Our sweet Jesus waits until His tender bride realizes her longing for more of Him. “Kiss me again and again!” She cries then. “Your kisses are better than anything else!”

When we cry for intimacy, the Groom can’t resist our devotion. He comes running and showers us with kisses. Our hearts open to Him in joy.

Prayer: Jesus, please help me to know and trust Your love more every day.

*"Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary” by John Moore

**Song of Songs, The Ravished Heart of God: A verse-by-verse study guide by Mike Bickle

~*~
Author Bio:
Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents

Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Her most recent release is included in A Bouquet of Brides. Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. They treasure time with their growing family of adult children, spouses, and spouses-to-be. 

Paula loves peppermint ice cream, going barefoot, and adventuring with friends. Today’s devotion was adapted from her devotional book, Soul Scents: Rooted. Visit her at www.paulamoldenhauer.com.

*Paula is offering a free five-week devotion for the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christ's resurrection. Visit www.paulamoldenhauer.com/gifts to download your copy of Soul Scents: Selections for Easter.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Celebrate Lit blog tour featuring "What Dreams May Come" (book)


Welcome to my blog's stop on Alana Terry's book tour with Celebrate Lit!

Alana is a pastor's wife with the heart of a missionary. This book "What Dreams May Come" is special to her because it's the fictional version of her real-life love story.

Read my review of Alana's book below and enjoy your time with Alana today! Remember to enter the fun giveaway contest toward the end of this blog post.

~*~
About the book:


She’s got her heart set on becoming a missionary. He’s determined to recruit her for the job.

But is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Susannah’s convinced that God has called her to the mission field. That’s why she’s serving him with single-minded focus in Orchard Grove, waiting for the day when she can leave her small town to take the gospel to the nations.

Is falling in love with her missionary recruiter part of God’s plan for her life or a distraction from the real goal?

Scott loves his life. Traveling the globe, offering spiritual support to missionaries around the world offers enough excitement that the loneliness hardly ever gets to him …

Until he receives an application from a young girl with a heart for the mission field as large as his own, a young girl he finds himself falling for even before they get the chance to meet face-to-face.

Unfortunately, a promise Susannah made to her family may tear her and Scott even farther apart than the miles that separate them.

Book one in an inspirational sweet romance series by award-winning Christian author Alana Terry, who has won awards from Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, Grace Awards, and several others, 
What Dreams May Come is based on the author’s own experiences falling in love with (and eventually marrying) her missionary recruiter.

~*~
About the Author:

Alana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. 

Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching.

She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second. 

~*~
My Review of What Dreams May Come:

This is a book that will make you believe in God-ordained destiny.

I love how the author wore her heart on her sleeve in this story as she detailed the fictionalized version of how she and her husband fell in love.

The author included as many memorable scenes with conflict that enhanced the story as she did sweet moments that can melt the heart of the reader. She made me as a reader smile, laugh and cry as I connected with her characters. 

There weren't many cliffhangers in this story but the author made the character arc captivating enough to keep me as the reader turning the pages.

"What Dreams May Come" touches on sensitive topics like a baby born with disabilities, a mission-minded single person torn between following her mind for mission work and her listening to her heart when it comes to the man she wants to marry. 

I thought that the letters between the heroine and the hero that filled the pages throughout the story were a nice touch, adding a personal element to the story.

Overall, this was a great book! I think it's well deserving of a four-star rating.

*Celebrate Lit provided me (Alexis A. Goring) with a complimentary copy of "What Dreams May Come". My opinions in this book review are my own.

~*~
Guest Post from Alana Terry:

The cat’s out of the bag! Back in 2016, I wrote What Dreams May Come, a novel that was based on the way my husband and I fell in love … fourteen months before we ever met! It wasn’t until just before Christmas that I told Scott the romance novel I’d been writing was actually our true-to-life love story, and he was even more surprised than I hoped he’d be! Watch the video to see his reaction.




~*~
Giveaway details:

To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a $50 CBD gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c600


~*~
Blog Stops

Bigreadersite, February 9
Blogging With Carol, February 10
Bibliophile Reviews, February 11
Purposeful Learning, February 11
C Jane Read, February 12
Maureen’s Musings, February 13
Mommynificent, February 14
Texas Book-aholic, February 14
Mary Hake, February 15
Remembrancy, February 15
A Greater Yes, February 17
Janices book reviews, February 18
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 18
Carpe Diem, February 19
margaret kazmierczak, February 19 (Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, February 20 (Guest post from Mindy)
Pursuing Stacie, February 20
God is Love, February 21
Joy of Reading, February 21

Monday, February 19, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: On Praise


Praise: An Untapped Power

A devotional by Nanci Rubin

“I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” 
~Psalm 34:1 (KJV) 

I wish we understood more about the power of praise. Do you know someone in the Bible who praised their way out of a bad situation? I’m reminded of Paul and Silas locked and shackled in a dark, dank prison cell for the crime of preaching, Jesus. Paul didn’t complain about his situation or the tribulations he’d endured preaching the gospel. No, he said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). He and Silas began to praise and worship God. They knew how to release the untapped power of praise, and the prison doors opened!

One of the quickest ways to release God’s blessings in our lives is to give Him praise. He inhabits the praises of His people. You ask, how can I praise Him when all of these horrible things are happening? Anyone can praise God when everything is going well, but it takes faith to praise God in the hard places. It takes faith to praise him when you’re surrounded by impossibilities. We need to thank Him for the victory. Thank Him for who He is. Praise encourages faith. Hope rises and you focus on His ability to succeed in your life, not on yours to fail. God is for you.

There was a season in my life when I felt all was lost. My daughter at nine months of age was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. The doctors told us she would probably never live to age two. Hearing those words produced a malignant fear that gripped me by my throat and chocked out my hope. After hearing that diagnosis and prognosis, I roamed the hospital campus moving like a sleepwalker, numbed and afraid.

I wish I could confess to you that I stood in faith for her healing. I didn’t at least not right away. I allowed fear to control my life for an entire year marking off the days until she turned two. Thinking that on her second birthday, she would be ‘taken’ from me. I believed the lies from the enemy. Yes, when you’re down he’ll kick you a little more. I began to speak God’s truth over my situation and finally, the enemy’s efforts no longer had a negative effect. As I praised God, I learned I could draw a line in the sand. You can too.

Her second birthday came and went. My prayer life began to change. I started thanking God continually for her. I took my eyes off our circumstances. Praise became a powerful tool that dispelled the fear I’d lived with for too long. My child’s courage and strength kept me moving forward. I praised God for the privilege of being her mom. We didn’t allow her sickness to kill our joy. Praise extended her life. She passed away a few months shy of her sixth birthday. She'd lived beyond anyone’s expectations.

You might think, well God didn’t heal her. In the natural, no, He didn’t. However, in the spirit realm, yes, He did. She’s healed and in her forever home. And I am promised I’ll see her again.

Victory is always assured when you stand in faith on God’s Word. And when you praise Him before you actually see your victory, it’s then that you’re giving him a sacrifice of praise. He’ll be faithful to intervene in your affairs and to give you the desires of your heart. Praise Him and see your mountains move out of the way!

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Author Bio:

Nanci writes Amish Love Inspired and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two fur kids, Romeo and Juliet, rescue cats. She is working on her debut novel, Plain Justice.

She’s a retired nurse who does volunteer work two days a week and is active in an intercessory prayer ministry at her church.

Currently, she's enrolled in Rhema Bible College’s correspondence Bible studies. She belongs to ACFW and RWA. 


When she’s not working, reading or writing she’s spending time with family. Follow her on Facebook.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Book Boyfriends: Susan's hero


Interview with Lord Russell, hero of "A Match for Melissa" 
by Susan Karsten:

Susan: Dear Lord Russell, what events lead up to the moment you first appear in our story?

Lord Russell (LR): I’d been living a carousing life in London, up to no good. Then, disaster—my brother was killed, and I inherited the family title. On my way home, I was waylaid, robbed, and left for dead.


Susan: Oh my! On a happier note, what was it like when you first laid eyes on our fair heroine?

LR: She’s had to fill me in on our first moments together, because I was in and out of consciousness, and mistook her for an angel.

Susan: How romantic! When did you realize that Miss Melissa Southwood was a flesh and blood woman?

LR: Hours later when the lovely lady was nursing my injuries in a country parsonage guest room—door ajar, of course. Still angelic, but her soft, gentle hands on my brow were very real.

Susan: Has knowing Melissa changed your life?

LR: Yes, but first, God changed me. After the accident, I reached a moral rock-bottom. He used that to make me receptive to the Gospel. When I finally won Melissa, my world became all the richer because of her love.

Susan: Did the course of your love story run smooth?

LR: Not at all. By the time I recovered, and realized I was in want of a wife, Melissa was but a pleasant memory. When I returned to London, however, she was brought to my attention by a scrap of gossip.

Susan: Were you able to court her there in London?

LR: Unfortunately, by the time I threw my hat in the ring, my darling was practically promised to another man.

Susan: How then did you manage to secure her love and devotion?

LR: Through God’s providence, I was in the right place to assist Melissa at a crucial moment. My Aunt Lucy also aided my pursuit of true love. Melissa and I were meant to be.

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Author Bio: 

Susan Karsten lives in a small Wisconsin town, is the wife of a real estate broker, mother of three, and grandmother of two. Her hobbies include fitness, quilting, and reading. 

Her love for writing developed while in college where she earned a BS degree in Home Economics (Apparel Design & Manufacturing), with a minor in Speech.

With child-rearing days at an end, Susan now invests time in fiction writing. With three contracted Regency historical romances, a humorous chapter book, and a cozy mystery complete, she is working on a Regency novella.

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Blurb for Susan's book "A Match for Melissa": Soon after meeting Lord Russell under intriguing circumstances, while visiting in the country, Miss Melissa Southwood is ordered back to London by her father, a wealthy social-climbing merchant. 


Melissa must obey his wishes and begin a courtship with the suitor of his choosing. The chosen suitor, Lord Peter Winstead, is an impoverished aristocrat, and needs the Southwood fortune to restore his estate, but he is not an ogre. In fact, Winstead is good-looking and pleasant.

Melissa agrees to the plan, but extracts a promise from her father that she can have the final say whether to accept. As the courtship progresses, she begins to doubt the sincerity of Winstead’s faith. When she hints that she is leaning toward a refusal, Peter takes desperate measures.

Melissa must navigate these troubled waters alone … will she find her way to true love?

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Buy Susan's book on Amazon

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Connect with Susan:
Amazon Author Page ~ Facebook Author Page

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Book Boyfriends: Carrie's hero

Interview with Ben Steffans from My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Carrie: Ben, what got you interested in journalism as a career?


Ben: Growing up in Deutschland, in Germany, and then moving on to Chicago, I was interested in truth—in the truth being told.

Carrie: That’s interesting because you’re not exactly being honest with Maude, are you?

Ben: Nein, I wish I could tell her the whole truth. But, trust me, I will when my undercover assignment is over.

Carrie: What has been surprising to you about Mackinac Island?

Ben: The beauty of this place has amazed me. And the Friedlichkeit – the peacefulness.

Carrie: You’re a journalist, but anyone who has heard you play piano has described you as a virtuoso. Do you care to comment on this?

Ben: Nein. No comment. Music has caused much harm in my family. It is not my profession. Nein.

Carrie: Hmm, I don’t think I asked if music was your profession, but since you don’t care to discuss your talent, let’s move on. What did you think when you first met Maude Welling?

Ben: Ja, let’s talk about her. When I met Miss Welling, I thought she’d been hurt badly. And when I saw who she was with, I understood. I wanted to protect her. I still do.

Carrie: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Ben: (Ben laughs.) Who can say? I want to be editor of the paper, but something tells me I’d have to give up much to hold that title. I turn to God and trust Him in His plans for me.

Carrie: You’re investigating a story about young men posing as coming from wealth and influence. But some are saying you, yourself, are pursuing an heiress. Is there any truth in this?

Ben: Who would say such a thing? Is it one of the journalists coming to the island for Mark Twain’s speech? It must be one of my competitors.

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Author Bio: 
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. 

Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” 

Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! 

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Blurb for Carrie's book:

Journey now to Mackinac Island where...A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds.

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.


Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

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Buy Carrie's book:

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Connect with Carrie:
Website - www.carriefancettpagels.com
Blogs - Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills
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