Thursday, December 31, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: New Year 2021 edition with new writers!

Dear Reader Friends,

Tomorrow (Jan. 1, 2021) marks the start of a New Year!

And it also begins another part of our devotional journey!

I am excited to announce that this year, we have nine NEW regularly scheduled writers, six original writers from 2020 who are continuing to write devotionals this new year, and six backup writers contributing to my blog's tri-weekly series, “Devotionals for the Heart!”

This is the introduction post. Scroll down to see pictures of ALL of my writers (new and old) then read their author bios and starting tomorrow, read the first NEW devotional for this year!

Note: My backup writers will only contribute their original devotionals in emergency cases when my regularly scheduled writers for this year cannot meet their deadline. God-willing, a new devotional will be published every Monday/Wednesday/Friday of every week for all of this New Year 2021.

I hope and pray that God blesses you this New Year with His Peace, Hope, Joy and Love!

May this devotional series bless your heart too.


Alexis A. Goring, MFA
Founder of "God is Love" blog

Read on for the author bios and photos of my NEW and OLD regularly scheduled devotional writers for this year...

NEW Author Bio:

Angela Anderson was born in Brooklyn, New York. She was raised in a Christian home in New Jersey. Angela dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized at the age of 12.

As a child in elementary school, she developed a penchant for writing book reports and entering writing contests. By high school, she was taking advanced placement courses in English and Speech & Creative Writing. Angela’s love for journaling also had its beginnings in high school and it evolved into prayers journals and detailed notes for prospective book ideas. As a result, Angela is the author of a published 40-day devotional book titled Just When I Thought I Knew God. She also wrote a children’s book that is not yet published.

Although Angela wanted to somehow incorporate writing in her life, she is currently a Certified Human Resources Professional. Angela graduated from Rutgers University in NJ with a double bachelor’s degree in Labor/Employment Relations & Sociology. She also has an MBA from Strayer University.

Angela founded a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization called Head to the Sky, Inc. It was formed in order to assist those in prison with their transition into society and to reduce the rate of recidivism in the community. During this venture, Angela received a certification in grant writing from The Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College. Angela was very passionate about teaching, training, and sharing the love of Christ in this ministry; but she had to refocus her passion when she and her husband decided to start their family.

Angela has been married to the love of her life, Duane Anderson for 16 years. Together they have two sons: Thomas (age 8) and Ryan (age 3). Angela’s favorite pastime is journaling and she also enjoys spending quality time with her family. Her personal mission is to empower others to achieve their goals and dreams.

OLD Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps. 

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Columbia Union College (WAU) in Takoma Park, Maryland.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees–a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

OLD Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction. She began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. 

After publishing a few short pieces in her college's literary magazine she took a long hiatus during which she embarked on a few different careers, got married, had three kids, and renovated an old barn masquerading as a house.

Sweet River Redemption is her three-book Contemporary Christian Romance series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty. She and her family live along the coast of New England.

NEW Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him. 

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

NEW Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world. 

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education. Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

NEW Author Bio:

Gena Anderson is a Jesus-lover, writer, nurse practitioner, and blogger who loves to share wellness information and inspiration with the world around her.

She is the author of The Well Woman: A Journey to Wellness Through Loving Jesus, which is available on

Gena proudly holds the title of wife, mom, and the world’s most average CrossFitter. She loves writing, reading, traveling, and brownies. She's working on that last one.

Gena lives in Hutto, Texas with her husband and two children.

OLD Author Bio:

Glynis Becker enjoys writing devotions, inspirational short fiction, novel-length fiction, and screenplays. Her film Sinking Sand is available for streaming at Amazon and TubiTv and on DVD and she’s always working on a manuscript, hoping to publish a book someday.

Glynis spent her childhood traveling the country as an Air Force brat, until she attended college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Once she got her mechanical engineering degree, she decided she couldn’t leave, so she has made her home for the last thirty years in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota with her photographer husband, their two college-age children, and one very cat-like poodle.

She has worked as a software engineer for a defense contractor, an adult ministries director at a church, and currently does paperwork and intake for an adoption agency.

When she’s not writing, working or volunteering, you’ll find her reading everything from Christian fiction to epic fantasy novels, watching TV or cheering for her favorite sports team, the Minnesota Vikings.

NEW Author Bio:

Hello, my name is Heidy (Reynoso) De La Cruz. 

I am Dominican-American and I’m passionate about writing! I write poetry, encouraging blog posts about personal experiences and any message that God has stored in my heart. I am working on publishing my first poetry book.

First and foremost, I am a daughter of Jesus Christ. I am also a wife and a mother. I have my master’s degree in Healthcare Administration through Belhaven University’s online course. I have my bachelor’s degree in Science with the concentration of Psychology and Healthcare Administration.

I currently work in the medical field as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist, and I’ve been in the medical field for the last six years. I love my career!

My hobbies include writing, reading, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, traveling, and spending time with my family.

OLD Author Bio:

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian journalist, author, blogger, editor, and devotional writer. For the last decade, she’s been the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won 118 journalism awards during her tenure.

She is the author of Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Develop a Heart for Hunger Ministry (2019) and More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and editor of Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists (2018), all from her newspaper’s Advocate Press.

She is a seasoned speaker and contributor to Crosswalk,, and the United Methodist News Service, among many others. She has a weekly faith blog at and is part of the team at Wholly Loved Ministries.

Represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency, she is seeking a publishing contract for her two contemporary women’s fiction novels, The Memory Garden and Tangled Roots. The Memory Garden won the 2018 Genesis Award for Contemporary Fiction from American Christian Fiction Writers, and Tangled Roots placed in Contemporary Romance at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2019.

Married, Brodie has four children and stepchildren and lives in Lexington, South Carolina.

NEW Author Bio:

Jessica Collazo is a Chicago native with a heart that beats for Jesus. Her passion is to challenge women to think differently, gain a new perspective and live confidently. Because she knows it’s possible.

Using God’s Word, a little bit of humor, along with a strategic way of thinking and sharing personal stories, Jessica offers a fresh take on where to go when women feel stuck, overlooked or overwhelmed.

Jessica’s greatest passion is to help women take off the identities they have been given by the world and realize who they are in Christ: known, dearly loved, set apart, and chosen.

Jessica is the customer experience manager at Proverbs 31 Ministries who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Jerry, two sons and dog, Sawyer. Prior to working at Proverbs 31 Ministries, Jessica has over 10 years of experience working in women’s ministry, marriage ministry and outreach.

NEW Author Bio:

Learning to read as a young child opened a world of adventure for Kay Pflueger. She came to realize that words can have a unique power and beauty. 

Choosing to share those words in her devotional writings has become a joyful and rewarding experience for her. As a widow, she feels a special affinity towards those who are grieving or experiencing loss.

When she is not spending time with her married son and three grandchildren, she is either reading, cooking, writing, or working on pursuing her Copyediting Certification.

Kay is an avid baseball fan who looks forward every summer to following her favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. Kay is an active member of Victory Lutheran Church in her hometown of San Diego California.

She enjoys writing devotions to be shared on her church’s website and personal social media.

OLD Author Bio:

Mirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director/producer from Northern Virginia, where she teaches television production at her high school alma mater.

She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Script & Screenwriting from Regent University and is an alumnus of Act One: Hollywood Film & Television Writing Program.

Mirachelle is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, American Fiction Writers Virginia Chapter, The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and Your Novel Blueprint.

She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel set during WWII.

NEW Author Bio:

Monique M. Anderson is a writer, wife, and bonus mom to a 14 year old. 

She just recently unleashed her always present yet hidden talent of writing to the masses. 

She was born and raised in Mount Vernon, NY where she still resides, and serves on the prayer team of her church The Gathering Harlem.

Monique always felt like God was chasing after her, but never felt the need to surrender. Until that is when life started veering left, and she no longer wanted to steer so she finally gave Jesus the wheel. After forming her relationship with God she always felt compelled to share the revelations that the Word gave to her. She always felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to write, but was afraid of what people might think. So her writing started in her journal. The journal turned into a book, and the book into a blog.

Slowly but surely God’s love started to cast out all fear. She started to consistently update her bi- weekly blog called “Yours Truly, Moe.” Her obedience led to further revelation. God revealed to her that He would use her to help others along their walk the same way God helped her along hers. Since Monique did not grow up in church she always felt intimidated by the Christian life. She thought that she would be losing so much of herself, not realizing that she would actually find her TRUE self.

Since God has shown her who He really created her to be, she now feels it is her life’s work to help those that are taking their first baby steps in this walk with Christ. She is doing so through her blog, and soon to be published book. Monique is excited to extend her reach to podcasts and speaking engagements in the near future.

Her blog is the stepping stone to fulfilling the vision God gave to her – “Sharing God’s revelations so we can all reflect his image and fulfill his purpose.”

NEW Author Bio:

Patricia Russell is a speaker, worship leader, author, certified life coach and songwriter.

Her gifts have been shared internationally with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through words and songs. She has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers. Over her 30 years in ministry, she has been a featured artist in musical cantatas locally and the United States of America.

Patricia had the honor of leading worship at the kick-off event for the 2006 the “Just Give Me Jesus” Toronto Revival with Anne Graham Lotz who is the eldest daughter of Billy Graham, a well-known American evangelist.

Patricia serves in ministry along with her husband Rev. Wayne Russell. Together, they have served as guest hosts on a local early morning call in program called “Nite Lite Live” that formerly aired on the CTS Television Network. They have two adult children Raquel and Benjamin.

Patricia has recorded two CD’s: “Lord I Trust You” and a live recording “Draw Me Nearer.” She is also an author. Her first book is titled Lord I Trust You: Words of Encouragement is meant to further encourage and share life lessons as a result of her cancer journey. She is a co-author of a #1 bestseller book titled Crushed Diamonds Still Sparkle, and she has compiled the recent #1 bestseller book titled Stronger Resilience.

OLD Author Bio:

Temeka Borden, better known by her pen name “Positivity Inspires,” is an author, speaker, minister, PharmD, multi-state licensed pharmacist, founder and owner of Positivity Inspires, LLC, and most importantly, a servant of the Lord.

She was introduced to Christ at a very early age and was raised in the church. Her ministry focuses on encouraging Christians to love God first, to love all people, to continually strengthen their bond with Christ, and to study His Word, and live His Word daily.

Dr. Borden has been blessed with a variety of gifts, and she has gained much professional experience in a variety of settings. She also has served in administrative roles in the professional and church settings. In addition to obtaining her PharmD, she also obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology (minor in English), and she is working on her third degree. What’s more, as stated in her words, “I completed a specialty pharmacy residency that prepared me for the workforce and made me a force to be reckoned with.”

Temeka is a long-distance runner, a drummer, a singer, and she has a strong “fashion sense.” She also can read and type at almost supersonic speed in some instances.

Dr. Borden loves to learn and is constantly looking for new ways to challenge herself.

She loves God and she loves people. She is “crazy about her family,” and she adores her friends. She strongly encourages others to show kindness, respect, and love to everyone.

Temeka loves and welcomes diversity and flourishes in culturally diverse environments.

Dr. Borden loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh. She also is passionate about giving back to the community. Her favorite sayings are “Speak Up!” and “Watch God Work!”

Read on for the author bios and photos of my backup devotional writers for this year...

OLD Author Bio:

Karen Marstaller is a retired high school teacher who spent most of her career challenging creative students to write. Her heart is for her readers.

She writes to encourage them, to make them laugh, to show them that life is a beautiful journey, and regardless of their past, to show them that there is joy ahead if they will just keep looking.

Karen and her husband live in central Texas in a sweet little home that they completely remodeled. They enjoy spending time with their family, which includes seven precious grandchildren.

Most of all, Karen writes in obedience to the command to love your neighbor, to offer a cup of water to those who are dying of thirst, and to comfort others with the comfort she has received.

OLD Author Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan. She is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary Christian romance.

Kathleen is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers and a current member of Novel Academy. She has loved making up stories since she was a little girl. She was so enthralled with the books her mom read to her she wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She’s in the grip of God’s grace and is a fan of the three Cs—cats, coffee, and chocolate.

Kathleen is proud to be the mother of three adult children and mother-in-law to one. She is a former homeschool instructor, a mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher.

Kathleen lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.

Her writing is represented by Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency.

OLD Author Bio:

Malinda Fugate writes from the heart. 

Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books. Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays.

Malinda invites you to explore the various 3:16s in the Bible with her new book, The Other Three Sixteens (published by Ambassador International in May 2020).

She also invites you to read her previously published books: Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal.

Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, and then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.

When she’s not writing or working at church, Malinda might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area. She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

NEW Author Bio:

Shirley A. Denson is a native of Statesboro, GA. 

She found out at a young age that she had a creative mind and a way with words. Later on in life, she learned to cultivate her passion for writing as a budding author.

Shirley is very passionate about writing. Each book that she releases will be a product of God stirring and cultivating the gift He’s entrusted her with. She has won numerous writing awards/certificates, and is a published poet and blogger.

For the past six years, Shirley has worked as a professional ghostwriter, editor, and author. It is her joy and goal that through print, she might impact lives and leave the imprint of the King.

Visit her website to stay in the loop about her new book releases, current projects, and to read her blog posts.

OLD Author Bio:

Writing stories that take the reader on a journey to parts unknown has been a lifelong love for Tema Banner. She enjoys all history and continues daily to hone both her knowledge of history and her writing skills.

God is her guiding light and the reason for every endeavor in her life. She is a member of the South Carolina ACFW chapter as well as an active member of her local RWA chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Tema has served as past President and Secretary as well as holding various chair positions. She is the honored recipient of the Harold Lowery Service Award, presented by the Carolina Romance Writers.

God has gifted her with a loving husband, two children and three grandchildren who are the delight of her life.

In her spare time, she gardens and digs into genealogy for nuggets to use in her stories.

OLD Author Bio:

Wendy Wilson Spooner, Lic. G., LCoT, is a professional Genetic Genealogist by day, a writer by night, and an artist in between. 

Her love of what we can learn from history compels her to write the true stories she unearths during research, and she’s found that truth is indeed, much more exciting and inspiring than fiction.

Wendy writes about family, faith, grief, art, and overcoming obstacles in life by coming to know who we really are—children of God, and, the descendants of remarkable people who paved the way for us—even if they really struggled. She believes in learning from ancestors, honoring them, and then standing on their shoulders to become someone even better. 

As an award-winning author of professional articles and poems, Wendy Wilson Spooner turned to novel writing to share what she knows with a greater audience. When she is not writing or researching, she currently serves as National Vice Chair for Daughters of the American Revolution over Art & Sculpture in the annual American Heritage contest. She also serves as Chairman of the Advisory board for Century Vital Records in Bengaluru, India.

Wendy loves to read, hike, paint, travel, binge on Bollywood movies, and spend time with her greatest loves—her family.

Her debut novel, Once Upon an Irish Summer, released April 3, 2020. It has been a best-seller in the several different genres. She’s looking forward to releasing book two in the series!

~ The End ~

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Plan

But God…
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your Name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” –Isaiah 25:1 (ESV)

As the great ball of lights in Times Square (New York) falls tomorrow night, we look forward to another new year in 2021. But first, let’s take a quick look at the old year.

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel were often reminded of stories of their patriarchs, and how God led them through all sorts of trials in the days gone by. It’s a good place for us to start today.

Here we are, standing on the threshold of another year—a new year that many of us are glad to see approaching. This year (2020) started with such excitement. For me, it was the year of perfect vision with many expectations of going here, doing this or that, but suddenly our world came to the proverbial screeching halt in March. We held on grimly for a few months as we hoped that an end was in sight, and then our hopes dimmed.

But God!

The Lord knows all the plans He has for us, and as hard as it is to imagine, He planned 2020 intentionally. We saw fear and disease, but God saw faith and compassion. We knew loneliness and isolation, but God drew us close to His loving heart. We grieved the deaths of our loved ones, but God gave us hope that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven.

We say we to “trust God” and that means we must trust His plans, too. So, in this year of working from home, interfacing with others electronically, cancelling vacations, limiting face-to-face encounters, ordering everything online, and wasting precious time worrying about where we might find toilet paper, did we ever stop to look for God’s “faithful and sure” plan?

Some of us did just that. A friend of mine who has young students shared her gratefulness for the extra time her family is enjoying. They are living more of life together. Between lessons, chores, long walks, and hilarious science experiments in the backyard, she and her family bask in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to savor every moment with each other.

Allow me time to share a few more stories about how God planned this year for us:

Another friend of mine celebrated her 95th birthday in July. Although she was looking forward to a quiet dinner with her family, instead she was coaxed outside just before they sat down to eat. There she saw a long cavalcade of cars stretching for three blocks. Her well-wishers waited for the signal to begin, and then horns honked, happy birthday wishes were sung, and her admirers spent a few brief moments with our much-loved queen of the neighborhood. For an hour, her friends gladdened her heart, but it meant so much more than a momentary drive-by could ever accomplish. Six months later, we still share our memories of that wonderful day, and our eyes glow with delight as we speak of the unexpected blessing it was to all of us.

A nephew’s employer was devastated by a hurricane, but he managed to keep his business running, even at a loss for a time, and kept many of his employees working.

One of our sons lost his job but was hired shortly after by a company that weathered the storm and has stayed open for business.

Quarantine has a different meaning for many of us now, and so when our other son was sent home at the same time as his children, they worked hard all day on lessons and business assignments, and then used our son’s ordinary commute time to play baseball. When his wife arrived home from her job, all of them were blessed by a few extra moments of rest and relaxation.

But God!

His plans are sometimes difficult to understand, but at the end of this year of perfect vision, a few vital truths stand out: God has given us memorable moments with our friends and families. He has engaged our hearts in prayer for those who have lost jobs, businesses, and health. He has encouraged us to reach for our Bibles as we try to comfort those who are hurting. He opened our hearts to worship as we drew closer to Him. And as we explored the possibilities of this new and different life, He taught us to gaze at the stars, at the sunrises and sunsets, and into the faces of those we love, so that we would worship the One Who made them all.

Let’s Pray: Thank You, precious Father, our Lord God Almighty, for this year 2020. Thank You for the perfect vision You had for this year, this world, and for each one of us. We ask that You show us how we have grown this year, how we have stumbled through our lessons and need to repent, how to find the courage to turn another page of a calendar in order to begin a fresh new year, and how to follow You wherever You choose to lead us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

During this time of quarantine, Karen enjoys reading, writing, and connecting with friends and family via phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, live-streams, and video conferencing.

She is grateful that the Lord has provided so many ways for humankind to stay in community, even when we are all hunkering down in our homes.

Karen says, “In this unprecedented time, we know that He has prepared us for such a time as this! To God be all the glory!”

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Romantic Reads: Off the Ground

The Story Behind Off the Ground by Cathy Richmond:

As a Virginia history librarian, my mother was active in oral history. One of her favorite interviews was of my grandfather. He had a beautiful Scottish brogue, a humble view of his own accomplishments, and he had a delightful sense of humor.

Grandpa started a jewelry store in Michigan during the Great Depression. Repairs kept him busy, but occasionally he made a sale. Cash was in short supply, so customers resorted to trading. The local Montgomery Ward’s manager traded a gas stove for a black diamond. Why such an unusual stone? Grandpa asked. The manager’s wife had seen a black diamond in her father’s jewelry store in Omaha. Omaha? That’s where I live! How could I build a story around that black diamond?

The 1920s to ‘30s was also the Golden Age of Aviation. Charles Lindbergh, then Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic, becoming America’s favorite celebrities. Barnstormers performed aerobatics and gave rides. Pilots flew faster, farther, and higher, breaking records nearly every week. And designers built the prettiest airplanes ever. As part of my research, I rode in a 1929 Ford Trimotor – great fun! My fictional story’s heroine, Corrie, had to be a pilot.

Those pretty airplanes weren’t easy to fly. Open cockpits meant pilots sat out in the elements, battered by wind, rain, and the noise of the engine. Pilots used railroad tracks, town names on water towers, and Rand McNally road maps to navigate. Steering the plane meant wrestling a stick connected to cables. Frequent breakdowns required mechanical skills. Corrie had to be strong and independent, so I gave her three older brothers who taught her to drive and play basketball.

My hero, Mac, went to work for Montgomery Ward soon after they expanded into retail by opening five hundred stores. Their Chicago headquarters was the largest concrete building in the world. A 1929 Ward’s catalog showed the variety of items they sold, including live rabbits – you’d better believe I got a scene out of that!

The 1920s was a time of change from courting to dating. Radio played jazz, and movies showed how to dance to it. Speakeasies run by organized crime opened in every town, including Omaha. Women’s hair styles and skirts were shorter.

This era was a time of transition at home too. Early in the 20th century, the woman of house or a hired cook kept the fire burning all day to prepare food. Single women lived at home until they married. Single men lived in boarding houses where meals were provided. In the late 1920s, urban homes were connected to utilities and fitted with modern cooking appliances. Corrie hadn’t been expected to do any cooking in her upper-middle class home, so she had a few kitchen mishaps as a newlywed. Fortunately, Mac was patient, and she had access to cookbooks and radio shows to help her.

The most fun about writing this story was the 1920s slang. In fact, you could say it was the cat’s meow, the bee’s knees, and the elephant’s eyebrows!

I look forward to sharing Off the Ground with you! I’d love to know what you think about Corrie and Mac’s adventures, so connect with me at my website,

Thank you, Alexis for letting me visit your blog!



Author Bio:

Cathy was working as an occupational therapist and raising her family, when a folk song inspired a story about a mail-order bride. 

Spring for Susannah was published in 2011, followed by four other novels of ordinary people experiencing God’s extraordinary love. 

Learn more about Cathy and her life via her author website,

Blurb for Cathy’s book:

She wants to race Amelia Earhart. He's afraid of flying. Will their relationship ever get off the ground?

As the Roaring Twenties come to a close, Mac McFarland falls head over heels for live-wire Corrie Tinley. Now that she’s graduated, they’re allowed to date. But before he can sweep her off the dance floor and into his life, her father gives her a winged death trap—a biplane. Refusing to stick around to see her crash, Mac leaves without saying goodbye.

Corrie’s family treats her like a dumb Dora, but her former basketball coach is respectful and attentive. Mac has a noble air like Lindbergh and dark hair waving over his forehead like Gary Cooper. She can’t wait to take him flying in her new biplane, but he’s disappeared. If she can’t find him, is she destined to fly solo the rest of her life?

Buy Cathy’s book on Amazon

Connect with Cathy:

Monday, December 28, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Jesus Christ can meet your every need!

What Do You Need for Christmas?
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 
–Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

I’m not a gambler, but I think it’s a safe bet that everyone feels like a different person than they were at this time last year. The year 2020 has seen most of our worlds shaken in one way or another. Every new experience, every new circumstance, every loss, every hurt, every joy changes us and stretches us into someone we weren’t before. This year has collectively stretched us in ways we didn’t see coming when we put up our Christmas decorations just one short year ago.

But as the sun rises every morning, even on a cloudy day when we can’t see it, the celebration of that amazing Christmas story has come, just like it always does. We will read the familiar story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 and the prophecies foretold in Isaiah. We will sing the songs and light the candles and say the prayers, even if we have to do it at home or online because the world is different this time. Even so, the story remains unchanged, because God is unchanged.

Jesus Christ’s characteristics and purpose, as laid out in Isaiah 9, are exactly the same today as they were all those years ago in Bethlehem. So my question to all of us is this: Which of Christ’s characteristics and names that we know Him by do you need most this Christmas?

“Wonderful Counselor”:
This phrase talks about Christ’s wisdom and judgement. Do you need divine advice? Do you have questions that can’t be answered outside of God and His wisdom? Pray to the Wonderful Counselor. Ask Him to give you whatever you need. He knows everything about you and your situation. Rest in the fact that this year’s chaos never once took Him by surprise, nor is your life too messy for Him to want to be part of.

“Mighty God”: This name shows Jesus’ strength. Maybe you are feeling weak this season. That’s okay because Jesus is more than willing to let you lean on Him. You don’t need to be brave because He already is. Take courage, friend. Jesus has already won whatever battle you are facing. He is with you now as you fight it, and will be at the finish line when it is over.

“Everlasting Father”: Jesus is God. He created the world from nothing and He will remain unchanged forever. He is our Good Father, who wants to guide us and love us. Maybe you need a reminder today that God is good even when the world looks dark. Ask Him to show you His goodness in the moments when you need it most.

“Prince of Peace”: Jesus is the Ultimate Healer of broken things. “Peace” is not just the opposite of war, but it also implies being whole or complete. Maybe you are feeling broken today by circumstances beyond your control. Maybe your relationships feel disconnected or the state of the world has you feeling anxious. Give those hurts to Jesus. Let Him hold them for you because that baggage was never meant for you to carry alone.

I’ll admit that this year I need to remember Jesus is here for me in all these ways and more. Let’s pray that we never lose the joy, wonder, and gratitude for the miracle of Christmas. I hope that each year we are more awed by the story of God becoming one of us in order to bring us to Himself. Praise Jesus!

Let's Pray: Gracious and precious Lord, we praise You for how You love us and how you showed that love so beautifully in a humble stable so many years ago. We want to know You in a deeper way. Please show us Who You are in whatever manner we need today. We love You and thank You for the miracle of Christmas. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Glynis Becker writes devotions and inspirational fiction, hoping someday to have a published novel on her resume.

She has co-written several screenplays, including the film Sinking Sand, available on DVD and digital streaming.

Glynis, whose childhood was spent all over the country as an Air Force brat, has called South Dakota home for many years, along with her husband and two teenage children.

When she’s not writing or reading, she is watching more television than she should and crocheting. You can find her at

Friday, December 25, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Examining the Heart of Christmas

The Heart of Christmas
A devotional by Amy Odland

“I came from the Father and entered the world; 
now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 
– John 16:28 (NIV)

It’s here! The big day—December 25th! It’s Christmas Day!

The day of celebration and gifts and peace on earth. The day of hope and love. The day of believing in humanity and gathering together.

This year is different though, isn’t it? Budgets are tighter. Lockdowns are in place. Relationships are bruised or broken. People who were lost this year are maybe missing from our tables or Zoom chats or family gatherings are smaller or not happening at all. Church services have an air of sadness about them, maybe because they’re online or just not the usual intimate candlelight service we’re used to. Days seem darker this year, Winter Solstice aside, due to the unrest and hurt we’ve experienced, either due to loss (of life, of jobs, of trust, of hope) or just because of how we’ve all responded or reacted to living and trying to survive pandemic chaos and national political and social unrest these past ten months.

A few of my friends and I were joking at the beginning of the month that it would be nice to extend Christmas into January (aka leave our decorations up, continue listening to the music, make more cookies, etc.). We realized then that 28 days of “Christmas” wasn’t going to be enough for 2020 and the hardship we’ve seen so far. I was just kidding at the time, but quickly realized that whether the decorations stay up or come down, whether or not the music continues to play, and whether or not the family can gather to exchange gifts, the heart of Christmas does live past today.

One may first ask, what even IS “Christmas” really?

Encyclopedia defines the Christmas holiday as the “Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus.” While it is widely accepted that Jesus Christ’s birth likely didn’t happen exactly on December 25, the date was probably chosen because it was close to other Roman/pagan celebrations, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, other festivals, and the calculation/assumption of when Mary received the visit from the angel announcing Jesus’s conception.

The earliest Christmas celebrated dates back to A.D. 336. However, centuries later, this holiday was reconceived in the early 19th century by authors like Charles Dickens and Clement Clarke Moore to be a holiday emphasizing family, children, kind-heartedness, gift-giving, and Santa Claus. It was declared a national holiday in the United States in 1870 and thanks to capitalism and consumerism, Christmastime is a mixed-up mess of never-ending Black Friday sales and songs like Christmas Shoes that hits us every year between Thanksgiving and today. 

In the midst of all the tinsel and wrapping paper, let’s not miss that Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Its very name reflects this. This holiday, also known as “The Christ’s Mass”, celebrates the one who was born of a virgin, who came to earth to live as a human, who grew up and said he was “from the Father” (John 16:28) and used God’s name, “I AM,” to identify himself (John 18:5-6). The one who said He was the bread of life (John 6:35), the door through which to enter heaven (John 10:9-11), the light in the darkness (John 8:12), the good shepherd (John 10:11-18), the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26). Jesus said that He is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6).

We celebrate His birth because He said He was the hope and light of the world, the Son of God, and we can believe Him because He also said He’d die and be raised to life three days later and that happened as well. Jesus Christ is the only one who has ever claimed to be God and been raised from the dead; all other spiritual leaders/teachers of His caliber are still in their graves.

With all this in mind, how you view December 25 determines if the heart of Christmas can live on in your heart after today is done.

Is today a celebration of the changing seasons and of the days getting longer again, that focuses on feasts and gifts and decorations? Is Dec. 25 a time for human traditions or a “going through the motions” celebration? Or is today a day of giving thanks and praise to God for sending His one and only Son as a baby in a manger as a human representation of God’s love for you and a sign of His faithfulness to the world? Are you celebrating the gift of Jesus by sharing His love with those around you?

If the last one is truly the heart of Christmas for you, then the “why” behind all you do during this busiest season of the year—behind all the gift-giving, stringing of bright lights, baking of special Christmas cookies and other human traditions—takes on new meaning. The “heart of Christmas” to you holds the beauty of Jesus’s love for you and the promise of spending eternity with Him after you die and He returns to take you home to Heaven. It’s not about the gifts, the decorated tree, the festive lights, the delicious holiday food or the special gatherings with your family and friends. It’s all about Jesus and His love for you!

In John 13:15 (NLT) Jesus said “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” His last words to His disciples before He was arrested, beaten, and hung on a cross were filled with repeated commands of “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34 NIV)

As Christians, we’re supposed to be modeling Christ’s love for us to those around us. Sure, we unfortunately tend to fail miserably quite a bit of the time, but we also do pretty good despite our shortcomings. Jesus said He had to leave so the Helper would come to be with us (John 16:7).

This spirit of help—the Holy Spirit—is the only way we are able to do things with a spirit of love, hope, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness when we don’t really want to. This a mystery too large to tackle in this devotional, but know that you can have the “heart of Christmas”—that feeling of joy and peace this day brings—whenever you want if Jesus is in your heart. It can happen long after the decorations are packed up, after the gifts are exchanged or broken or have grown wearisome, or even after the sadness has faded of the family gathering being cancelled because of a global pandemic.

Let’s review ways in which we can keep the heart of Christmas alive year-round:

When you give without expecting to receive in return, you keep the heart of Christmas alive.

When you forgive without receiving forgiveness first, you keep the heart of Christmas alive.

When you put someone else’s needs before yours, you keep the heart of Christmas alive.

When you react in a way that is better than what was deserved, you keep the heart of Christmas alive.

When you “love one another as I have loved you,” (my paraphrase of John 13:35 NIV), you keep the heart of Christmas alive.

When you “do as I have done for you,” you keep the heart of CHRIST alive.

The heart of Christmas is not in decorations or gifts or family. It’s not in remembering the poor just once a year or in donating to your favorite charity on #GivingTuesday.

The heart of Christmas lives on past today because the love and spirit of Christ lives on in those who believe in Him throughout the year. You can help keep it alive by asking Jesus to live in your heart, by continuing to learn about Him and what He said during His time on earth, and by living out His commands to the best of your ability with His Holy Spirit guiding you.

Merry Christmas, friend. May you truly find the heart of Christmas today and in the days ahead.

(Please enjoy this song by Steven Curtis Chapman, called “Christmas is All in the Heart,” as a musical reflection of my thoughts.)

Author Bio:

Amy Odland has been serving in church ministry as a volunteer leader for over 16 years, in various worship, prayer and women’s ministry roles. 

Her passion for helping women stems from her own struggles and lessons learned in her journey as a Christian since first deciding to follow the Lord in 1994.

Amy’s priorities after her faith include her family — husband Rick, and their four kids — as well as extended family who all live close in proximity and the many friends she’s made over the years.

In addition to a love of teaching and helping her husband with the bookkeeping for their many businesses, Amy has recently expanded her stay-at-home work to include leading author’s book launch teams for publishing companies like Baker, Revell, Barbour, and Lifeway.

She also enjoys teaching new authors about platform building, self-launching, and online marketing.

Connect with Amy:

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: The Creator of the Universe (God) loves you!

For The Love of Mankind
A devotional by Julia Wilson

“They nailed his hands and feet to the cross.”
— Mark 15:24 (TPT)

It may seem strange to focus on Jesus Christ being crucified when we have just celebrated Jesus coming as a baby at Christmas. Christmas and Easter are forever united. We celebrate Christ’s coming at Christmas and we mourn His passing on Good Friday before celebrating the risen Jesus on Easter Sunday.

I want to focus on Jesus the man, the man who loved the whole world so much that He died for us all. (John 3:16) He died for me. My name was on His lips as He hung on that cross. He died for you. Your name was on His lips as He hung on that cross. Don’t you just find that mind-blowing? Two thousand years ago, way before we were born, Jesus died for every sin you and I will ever commit. Wow. That is love in action!

“For when the time was right, the Anointed One came and died to demonstrate His love for sinners who were entirely helpless, weak and powerless to save themselves” (Romans 5:6 TPT). Christ’s love for us is huge! I love the words from Sheila Walsh’s worship song, “Here is Love Vast As the Ocean.” No one will ever love us as much as Jesus loves us. I have an overwhelming love for my children but His love for me is far greater.

A few years ago my husband and I visited Coughton Court in Worcestershire. There is a family church on the grounds and we went in. I am not normally one for statues but there is a statue of Jesus holding out His nail-pierced hands and it had a profound effect on me. I took several photos but even so the image of His hands in tattooed in my mind. I cannot begin to imagine how much those poor hands must have hurt (and his feet too).

I have always noticed hands, they are fascinating. As I stood looking at the statue of Jesus I thought of Mary, His mother. As a baby Jesus had tiny perfect hands. Mary watched those hands grow into a man. And then she had to see those beautiful hands pierced with nails. As a mother, I just feel for her pain. Can you imagine the hurt as a soldier mutilates your son’s body?

When I looked at Christ’s nail-pierced hands, something just pierced my heart to the core. I felt desperately sad. I realized just some of the pain that Jesus endured for me. He died a sinless man for the sins of all mankind. His love for me and for you is vast, far greater than we will ever comprehend.

As you consider and sing songs about Jesus the baby during this Christmas season, please do not forget Jesus the man who died for me, for you and for all mankind.

May I lead you in a prayer?

Let’s Pray:
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming in the form of a tiny baby who would grow into a man who would sacrifice Your life to save my soul. Your love for us all is so vast! We all owe a debt we cannot repay. I love You Lord. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

My name is Julia Wilson but I also go by Christian Bookaholic.

I live with my husband and five cats in a small town in Worcestershire on the banks of the River Severn (England). We have four grown up children and three granddaughters.

I have always loved reading and have always been surrounded by books. I used to work as a teaching assistant for special needs in the local high school. Ill health forced me to stop working in December 2015. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (known as M.E.) and fibromyalgia. I now have plenty of time to read and review books!

Our eldest son set up my Christian Bookaholic blog. I review every book I read. I read over 300 books a year. I read Christian and mass market. I prefer stories set from 1850 onwards. My favorite type of books to read is stories set in WWI and WWII, and Russia under Czar Nicholas II.

I am a historian, having a Combined Humanities degree where I majored in History and minored in English. I also love swimming. I only learned how to swim in 2017 and go swimming four mornings a week for 90 minutes before breakfast, it keeps my joints going.

I am also a crazy cat lady. I absolutely love my cats. I have grown up with cats and cannot imagine life without them. My dream is to own an old fashioned seal point Siamese … but not while we have our young rescue cat as she hates other cats!

I love God and love going to a large lively church called Lifecentral. I cannot imagine life without God. He gives a peace even when life does not. He guides my life. He is my Rock.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Romantic Reads: The story behind "Love, Laughter, and Luminarias"

Welcome Jaycee Weaver to the blog!

 She's here today to share the story behind her Christmas holiday story: 
Love, Laughter, and Luminarias.

The Story Behind Jaycee Weaver’s Christmas story,
 "Love, Laughter, and Luminarias"

A huge fan of Christmas books (especially novellas), I’d wanted to write one since beginning my first novel. Unfortunately, every time I sat down to write or even just brainstorm, nothing worthwhile came out.

I remember running errands in August of 2018, asking the Lord for an idea while also grousing about how hard to was to feel Christmassy in the triple digit summer heat. Less than a minute later, still driving, I had to pull out my phone and dictate the ideas that came before I’d even finished praying!

What if my hero was an author attempting to write a summer book in December? What if his main character is based off his real-life love interest and he doesn’t even know it?

On the way home, I swung into the nearest Starbucks and sipped a vanilla iced coffee while scribbling into my ever-present notebook as fast as my hand could move across the page. I left an hour later with the whole first chapter completed and a character sketch of my heroine, Nina, to go with Garrett, my author hero.

I thought, what if his best friend preferred movies and comics to books?

Friends-to-more is my favorite romance trope, but I knew I didn’t want it to be the same old unrequited love angle I’d read hundreds of times. What if neither of them ever had feelings for the other… until suddenly, they do? All these what-if questions helped the characters and plot start coming together.

Staring down the face of a deadline if I wanted to release it in time for holiday sales, I again went to my knees for direction. Before opening my eyes, I felt a distinct promise in my spirit—if I would fast from reading anything but the Word for the rest of the month, He would give me the story faster than anything I’d ever written before.

Not read for a few weeks?
I could give up chocolate more easily than books. When it comes to reading, I’m voracious, so you can imagine my distress. But I did it. I used the time I normally spent buried between the pages working at my computer or notebook. Two and a half weeks later, the first draft was done. Two and a half weeks after that, it’d been through multiple edits and I was moving on to cover design and then sending it to advance readers.

When those readers came back with wonderful things to say, I knew this little book was completely and utterly the result of God’s faithfulness to keep His promise when I’d responded in obedience. It’s a lesson I pray I never forget.

Before I ever published a single book, I knew I wanted to showcase my hometown, Albuquerque, New Mexico, in every book. Since then, I’ve branched out a little into fictional towns in NM and Oklahoma, but primarily all of my books are set where I live. It’s good we have a lot to offer all year through, because after twelve books I still haven’t run out of things to highlight about life here.

My favorite Christmas tradition in the whole state is that of luminarias. Throughout the holiday season, buildings all over the state display electric luminarias in lieu of regular Christmas lights, but the most beautiful are only lit Christmas Eve. Paper lunch sacks are rolled down at the top, and inside a simple votive candle is nestled atop a few inches of sand. These bags line the tops of walls, sidewalks, and basically every horizontal surface available. As soon as the sun goes down, people light the candles (which can take hours!) and hold vigil to keep them lit. We drive through participating neighborhoods with the lights off and admire the simple, peaceful beauty.

In Love, Laughter, and Luminarias, I explain the tradition and some of the cultural beliefs surrounding it, but I also use it to illustrate our place in the family of God. Nina particularly finds this message meaningful in a whole new way that transforms her life and sets her on the path to Christ… and maybe love where she least expected it.

I hope you will, too!

Author Bio:

Lover of Jesus, family, books, coffee, music, and crafting (in that order), Jaycee Weaver is perpetually pursuing at least one of her passions. 

She writes contemporary Christian romance stories featuring realistic characters in everyday situations where God is at work in big ways. 

She appreciates books where the characters face shortcomings, temptations, and adversity but always get their happy ending, so that’s what she writes.

Book Blurb for "Love, Laughter, and Luminarias"

He has his books. She has her fandoms. They've always had their friendship. Could Christmas projects, snowball fights, and local traditions spark feelings neither knew were there? 

Surprisingly successful action-suspense author Garrett Wilson is struggling to write a summer novel in December. That is, until he witnesses his best friend, Nina, chase down a shoplifter and realizes that maybe his tough, attractive heroine might not be based solely in fiction.

Geeky-chic Nina Trujillo finds herself contemplating a God she’s never believed in after her brush with danger taking down a thief. That one decision could change the whole course of her life, and quite possibly, her feelings for the one guy she’s never considered more than a friend.

When Nina dives head-first into a series of Christmas projects and ideas for new traditions, she drags Garrett along for the ride. Will her newfound courage and all the extra time together bring their feelings out into the open, or will Nina escape back into the comfort of her fandoms and lose him forever?

Connect with Jaycee:
Amazon Author Central:
Honored to be an InspyRomance author/blogger on the web and Facebook.

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Emmanuel

Emmanuel, God With Us
A devotional by Malinda Fugate 

Key Scripture:
Matthew 1-2, Deuteronomy 31:8, Zechariah 3:17, Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)

The holidays are celebrated with family. That’s how it goes, right?

We gather for meals, gifts, and togetherness. Each family has a unique way of spending their Christmas time, but connecting with loved ones is part of the festivities. But what if we’re alone for the holidays? What if we find ourselves without family, not wanting to intrude on friends, or separated by pandemic conditions? Or perhaps we are surrounded by people, yet still feel isolated. And the holiday traditions might highlight our loneliness, but on December 26, we will continue the day-to-day routine by ourselves, as usual. The ache of being alone knows no season.

Mary and Joseph could relate. Their story begins with family as the first chapter of Matthew in The Holy Bible, lists the rich genealogy of the newborn Messiah. But while Mary and Joseph were surrounded by a community of family and friends, they faced a daunting task alone. A pregnancy before marriage was isolating in its shame, and it was doubtful that many believed Mary when she explained that this child was of the Holy Spirit. Even Joseph intended to divorce her until the angel of the Lord confirmed that Mary was carrying their Savior.

Every new parent relies on support from their family and friends as they face the new adventure of childbirth and the arrival of an infant. But this young couple was separated from their support system, relying on God to get them through the new challenges and difficulties (not to mention the enormous responsibility of parenting the Messiah).

Their isolation increased when they traveled a great distance to Bethlehem. Though the City of David was the place of Joseph’s heritage, they most likely didn’t know anyone there. That’s how they found themselves in a stable when Jesus was born. Far from home, teenage Mary labored and delivered her baby boy. Their visitors were strangers—no friends brought diapers and onesies. Her mother wasn’t there to provide advice or give the baby a bottle while Mary showered. We don’t know the reason, but Joseph and Mary remained in Bethlehem instead of returning to their hometown of Nazareth.

Scholars and theologians estimate that Jesus was a toddler, perhaps around two years old, when the magi visited them in their house. The young family barely had time to settle into their new community when the threat of Herod’s murderous anger drove them to follow angelic instruction and flee to Egypt. Once again, the three were isolated in a foreign land, frightened for their lives. It would be years before they returned to the familiar town of Nazareth.

Yet, in their isolation, Mary and Joseph had a gift. Their precious baby Messiah, whose name, Emmanuel, means “God with us.” Though separated from a human support system, the couple was never for a moment far from the presence of Almighty God. He provided for their needs and directed them every step of the way. The Savior was in their arms, providing hope for the days and years ahead. But when the angel declared before the baby’s birth that His name would be “God with us,” that “us” meant more than only Mary and Joseph. This baby was for all people. This baby was for you.

Just as God was faithfully with the holy family thousands of years ago, so faithfully He remains with you. Every day, every moment is spent in the presence of Almighty God, a Heavenly Father full of nurture and love. His provision and guidance were not exhausted in Nazareth, Bethlehem, or Egypt. He gives you the same care that He gave Mary and Joseph. He loves you with the same intensity He loved them. He gave His Son just as much for you as He did for them.

As He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” God gave His word to Israel through Zephaniah the prophet, and this care continues for us today. “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). The psalmist described the steadfast presence of God when he wrote, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10).

As we face Christmas celebrations seemingly alone, let us take the opportunity to draw closer to the Lord. We can spend one-on-one time with our Heavenly Father, recognizing His continual presence in our lives, worshipping Him on the holiday commemorating the birth of Christ, His Son. Emmanuel, God With Us—today, tomorrow, and forever.

Author Bio:

Malinda Fugate writes from the heart. 

Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books.

Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays.

Malinda invites you to explore the various 3:16s in the Bible with her new book, The Other Three Sixteens (published by Ambassador International in May 2020).

She also invites you to read her previously published books: Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal.

Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, and then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.

When she's not writing or working at church, Malinda might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area.

She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

Visit Malinda online via

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Little Lamb Books Spotlight: C is for Christmas by Michelle Medlock Adams

Interview with Michelle Medlock Adams about her book, 
C is for Christmas:

Congratulations on the publication of your holiday story! Let’s talk about it …

Alexis: Why do you believe that Jesus is the reason for the season?

Michelle: I believe Jesus is the reason for the season because He is the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. God gave us the greatest gift when He sent His Son to earth on that first Christmas Day.

Alexis: How do you go about showing your readers the reason for this belief?

Michelle: I have written five Christmas-themed children’s books including “C is for Christmas”, and in all of them, I try my best to point readers back to Jesus. In “C is for Christmas”, I intentionally meshed traditional family themes and biblically significant images. For instance, A is for Angels who announced the birth of Jesus, while O is for Ornaments that we hang on the tree each year.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this Christmas holiday book? Why?

Michelle: My hope is that families will use “C is for Christmas” as one of their 12 books of Christmas, and incorporate the reading of “C is for Christmas” into their family’s holiday traditions year after year. I want all of my children’s books to be infused with hope and heart, and I also desire that my books be fun to read aloud. I think we hit the mark with “C is for Christmas” on all three of those goals. I’m very proud of this little picture book that Little Lamb Books published. Of all of my books, this one has won the most awards—8 in all!

Alexis: Did you listen to Christmas music while writing this story? If so, share your favorite song.

Michelle: I am obsessed with Christmas, so I begin listening to Christmas music even before Halloween. My children always tease me about that. But, no, I didn’t listen to Christmas music while writing “C is for Christmas” but I did watch a lot of Christmas Hallmark movies. I wrote while they played in the background.

Alexis: In what ways do you hope this book will bring parents and children together while reading it?

Michelle: I love a book that encourages that special cuddle-up time—kids on parents’ laps, reading together, and making precious memories. I would love “C is for Christmas” to bring families together in that way.

Alexis: What makes the Christmas holiday season so delightful and how did you capture and show these celebratory elements in your book?

Michelle: Christmas and family traditions go hand-in-hand, and I think “C is for Christmas” features many of those favorite family celebratory holiday moments, such as: baking cookies together, hanging ornaments on the tree, visiting family and friends, wrapping presents and tying ribbons on each package, etc. Though I only wrote the words for this special Christmas picture book, the artwork really brings it to life. I am so grateful for Louis Hargreaves, the talented illustrator, who partnered with me on this project.

Alexis: In what ways do you think that Jesus being the reason for this season brings hope to the world?

Michelle: If the world ever needed hope, it’s now. Sure, Christmas has become somewhat commercialized over the years, but this year, many people have slowed down and focused on what is really important in life—faith and family. With Jesus at the center of our lives and all of our family get-togethers and celebrations, faith and love and hope will also dwell. As we keep Jesus the center of our lives, that hope will live big in us and radiate to all we encounter.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Michelle! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

In all of my books, whether I’m writing for women or children, the message of hope and encouragement is a common thread. But, during the Christmas season, I also want to share about the real meaning of Christmas—that Jesus is the best present of all. Merry Christmas!

Author Bio:

Michelle Medlock Adams is a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. 

Author of over 100 books with more than 4 million books sold, Michelle is also a New York Times Bestselling ghostwriter and has won more than 70 industry awards for her journalistic endeavors, including the prestigious Golden Scroll for Best Children’s Book in 2020, 2019 and 2018 for How Much Does God Love You?, Dinosaur Devotions, and My First Day of School. And, over the past three years, she has added several first place honors from the Christian Market Book Awards, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and the Illumination Book Awards in multiple categories.

Since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University, Michelle has written more than 1,500 articles for newspapers, magazines and websites; acted as a stringer for the Associated Press; written for a worldwide ministry; hosted “Joy In Our Town” for the Trinity Broadcasting Network; blogged twice weekly for Guideposts from 2013 to 2015; written a weekly column for a Midwest newspaper; and served as an adjunct professor at Taylor University three different years.

Today, Michelle is President of Platinum Literary Services, a premier full-service literary firm; Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Serious Writer, Inc.; an online instructor for the Serious Writer Academy; and a much sought-after speaker at writers conferences and women’s retreats all over the United States.

When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites articles, blog posts, and books for celebrities, politicians, and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.

Michelle is celebrating the recent release of her books, What Is America?; How Much Does God Love You?; Platinum Faith (co-authored with Bethany Jett); They Call Me Mom (co-authored with Bethany Jett); Cuddle-Up Prayers; The Perfect Persimmon; and I Love You Bigger Than the Sky.

Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two daughters, Abby and Allyson, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters and two grandsons.

She and Jeff share their home in Southern Indiana with a miniature dachshund, a rescue Greyhound/Lab mix, and two cats.

When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys bass fishing, cheering on Indiana University sports teams and the Chicago Cubbies, and all things leopard print.

Today, Michelle is also President of Platinum Literary Services—a premier full-service literary firm.

Buy Michelle’s book:
Little Lamb Books:

C is for Christmas book blurb:

Jesus is the reason for the season! It’s as easy as A-B-C! 

Pairing scenes from the first Christmas with the traditions of today, this book brings together all the very best elements of the season into a delightful read-aloud that families will turn to year after year.

The gang’s all here—Mary and Joseph, the three kings, the shepherds, and the big man in red—but the focus is clearly on Jesus. On every page, this beautiful book witnesses to the great love that came into the world on the night a precious baby was born.

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