Sunday, December 31, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: New Year 2024 edition with new writers!

Dear Reader Friends,

Tomorrow (Jan. 1, 2024) marks the start of a New Year! It also begins another part of our devotional journey! I am excited to announce that this year, we have a total of 27 writers who have agreed to write devotionals for my blog's tri-weekly series, “Devotionals for the Heart”!

This is the introduction post. 

As always, we have writers who will contribute original devotionals on a monthly basis and a quarterly basis. We also have a team of backup writers who will fill in when one of my regularly scheduled writers cannot meet their deadline on time. Scroll down to see pictures of ALL of my writers (new and old) then read their author bios and starting on the first Monday of January 2024, read the first NEW devotional for this year!

God-willing, a new devotional will be published every Monday/Wednesday/Friday of every week for all of this New Year 2024. 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 monthly devotional writers for this year...

Author Bio:

Dr. Gladys Childs is an author, speaker, religion professor, pastor's wife, and mom who helps others be F.R.E.E. to Thrive© for the abundant life God has for them. She serves as Chaplain at Texas Wesleyan University and the Women’s Director at LifePoint Fellowship. She brings 25 years of experience and knowledge to her ministry. 

Gladys is frequently called authentic, witty, and candid as she shares her journey through life’s ups and downs. Her passion is meeting people at the intersection of faith and life’s difficulties. No stranger to heartache herself, she grew up in a non-church-going family with an alcoholic mother and is a trauma survivor.

Gladys holds a Ph.D. in Foundations of Education, a Master’s in Religious Education, a Master of Divinity, and a B.A. with a double major in Counseling and Psychology. Also, she is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.

Author Bio:

Joy Beless is a worshipper of God and lover of people.

A practicing Spiritual Director, she is a speaker for retreats and conferences and facilitates guided solitude retreats at the family ranch in North Texas.

A seasoned worship leader and songwriter, she frequently weaves worship, God’s Word and spiritual practices together. She is a chapel provider for a shelter for the houseless and a certified Grief and Trauma Healing Facilitator. Serving at global retreats for Kingdom-minded women delights her soul.

She has written for Global Trellis and Missio Nexus. She connects God’s Word with the reality of our daily in all the ups and downs.

Joy is married to Roger. They live in Coppell (Texas). Joy is called "JoJo" by her nine adorable grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors and encourages flowers to grow in the Texas heat.

Author Bio:

Lavonda McCullough is a Christian Life Coach, Author, Speaker and Pastor who specializes in women empowerment with Christian-based approach.

Since 2012, LaVonda has coached countless women into compete freedom, teaching them to enhance their spiritual practice. Through one-on-one Coaching, Bible Study, Prayer Walks and retreats (Joyful Journey RefresHER retreat) she teaches women how to reach the divine power within and discover their purpose.

With the foundation of her personal practice the discipline of a Daily Quiet Time, she works closely with those she coaches to develop their own intimate relationship with God. Always using a spirit-led approach, she focusing on the whole person: mind, body, and soul. LaVonda values providing a safe, loving and nurturing environment that allows those she works with to tap into the divine and commune with God themselves.

LaVonda has a deep understanding of healing through intimate relationship with God due to her personal experiences with shame, trauma, loss, and depression.

She is passionate about helping people find freedom and joy in their journey through the cultivation of spiritual practice.

Originally from North Carolina, LaVonda has traveled throughout Europe and Africa speaking about healing through the power of prayer. She has lived in Germany since 2012, where shares her life with her husband of 33 years.

LaVonda and her husband have three children.

Author Bio:

Peg Arnold is a Speaker/Author/Teacher and a Drama Queen for Jesus.

Her vibrant, interactive, and soul-stirring messages encourage all to embrace their God-given value. As a mom, wife, nana, and mentor with a master’s in counseling, Peg connects on a personal basis by sharing her joys and challenges of many life experiences through her dramas, messages, and witness. Whether talking with a friend over coffee or addressing hundreds of people at a conference, her passion for equipping women is contagious.

She has published devotions on YouVersion and in the Upper Room. In addition, she has contributed to two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, three anthologies, numerous articles, and blogs. Her devotional, Devotions for the Distracted Heart, received a 2022 OASIS Award. 

Peg desires all to know that their story is important and has a purpose. Growing up in Michigan and raising her family in Maryland, Peg and her husband relocated to Colorado to live close to their family.

Read on for the author bios and photos of my returning (old) monthly devotional writers for this year...

Author Bio:

The only child of a single parent, Aubrey Taylor filled her younger years by creating characters and writing stories. This ended around age sixteen when music, friends and part-time jobs began to fill her time. After that came college, work, marriage, and children.

It wasn’t until the world was beginning to come out of the COVID pandemic that God led Aubrey back to her love for writing, coupled with a passion she’d always had for history. It was time to start a new adventure!

Along with writing devotionals, Aubrey is the author of the German-perspective 20th Century Fiction series, Gott Mit Uns. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing or taking care of her home and family, she enjoys singing and dancing with friends from a German choir and a Bavarian folk dancing group.

Aubrey is also a lover of Jesus Christ, The Holy Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats!

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson is the Director Emeritus of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries for the North American Division. In this role, he was the friend, advocate and gatekeeper for the profession of chaplaincy among Adventist pastors.

Chaplain Anderson’s new mission is to specialize in personal and personnel development coaching. He journeys with and guides clients—personal and corporate—as they define their goals and grow into their full potential.

His pastoral career began in the Allegheny East Conference where he was ordained. Subsequently, he served in the Potomac Conference at the Sligo and Seabrook churches. His professional dream was to be a chaplain in the United States Navy. He got to live that dream and achieved the rank of Commander before retiring from Naval service in 2015 with 26 years of service.

He has earned four graduate degrees: Master of Divinity Degree was earned at the seminary at Andrews University. He earned a Master’s of Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s degree in Sacred Theology from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.

Chaplain Anderson and his wife Debra have been married for 41 years. They have two healthy, saved and well-adjusted, adult children who picked good spouses and delivered four grandchildren.

Adventures through traveling, reading, praying, preaching, teaching and writing are the avenues of ministry and self-care that define his now and his destiny.

Author Bio:

Cherie Mendez is a New York-based actress.

Her passion is to help women understand their true worth and walk in their God-given purpose. After many years working as a Christian in the entertainment industry, she is thankful to be able to share all her learning experiences in her blog posts and on Instagram.

Some of the topics Cherie loves to write about are: “Coping with rejection”, “Finding your purpose and using your talent for God’s glory”, “How God always looks at the heart and the meaning of inner beauty” and “Understanding that we are all a work in progress and God is not done with us yet”.

Cherie’s TV credits include The Equalizer, Bull, and Blue Bloods (CBS). She also appeared in the Pure Flix film Revelation Road 3: The Black Rider.

Cherie and her husband Jimmy live in New York City. They are thankful to have been married for 30 years. In their free time, they enjoy traveling, photography, and movie night.

Author Bio:

Essie Faye Taylor is a woman of faith. She’s a bilingual author, educator, speaker, psalmist, and interpreter.

Essie is the author of the “Finding the Love You Deserve” series for women and teens. She is deeply committed to motivating minorities, women, and youth to heal themselves, love and accept themselves, and pursue God while chasing their dreams and carving out their life’s path.

Essie is a Chicago native. She lives there with her husband Donald Taylor II.

Author Bio:

Hannah Benson is a Jesus-follower who’s passionate about sharing the love of Christ with others. 

From the time she could hold a pen, she was writing. But it wasn’t until she was sixteen that she began to follow God’s calling to pursue writing seriously. Hannah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In addition to fiction, she also writes devotionals and has been published on websites including The Rebelution. Her prayer is that her readers leave deeply encouraged and more in love with Jesus.

When not writing, Hannah also enjoys being involved with local theater companies, with a primary focus on Biblical theater. She wants to show the love of Jesus through the creative arts.

You can read more of Hannah’s writings on her blog or on her Instagram where she strives to write content that leaves others feeling encouraged.

Author Bio:

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist, author, blogger, editor, writing coach, and devotional writer with thousands of articles to her name.

Since 2010, she has served as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won 123 journalism awards during her tenure. Her latest book is Preparing Our Hearts: An Advent Devotional to Draw Closer to God at Christmas.

She has won more than 100 writing awards. Jessica is a seasoned speaker and frequent contributor to,, and, among many others. She has a weekly faith blog at and is part of the team at Wholly Loved Ministries, with her work included in many of their devotionals and Bible studies. Jessica also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

Jessica holds a Master of Arts in English. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in communications/print journalism from Florida International University. Born and raised in Miami, Jessica now lives in Lexington, South Carolina, just outside Columbia. She has also lived in Ohio and in the mountains of western North Carolina. She and her husband, Matt Brodie, have a blended family of four teenage children and stepchildren.

Jessica has written several novels and is actively seeking publication through her agent Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the 2018 Genesis contest for Contemporary Fiction from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and her novel Tangled Roots won a third place Foundation Award in Contemporary Romance at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2019. She is finishing the third in the series, Hidden Seeds, now.

Author Bio:

Mirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director/producer currently residing in Northern Virginia.

She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Script & Screenwriting from Regent University and is a member of Act One: Hollywood Film & Television Writing Program, ACFW, ACFW Virginia Chapter, The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and Your Novel Blueprint.

Mirachelle is passionate about awakening creativity and the gifts of God in everyone. Her first historical fiction novel is set during WWII, inspired by her time studying theatre education in London, England.

She loves horses, cats, dogs, and all things peppermint!

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their ‘best of’ spread. 
Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal. 

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about her cocker spaniel Gigi was published in Mysterious Ways (a publication by Guideposts). 

Sarah believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her. Her hobbies include dog sitting, watching cooking shows and taking day trips.

Her devotionals have been published in David C. Cook’s The Quiet Hour and Devotions, The Secret Place by Judson Press and Pray a Word a Day by 
Guideposts. Her short story will be featured in Too Amazing For Coincidence by Guideposts. 

To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

Read on for author bios and photos of my quarterly writers (new and old) this year…

Author Bio:

Hi! I’m Kayla de Jong! I’ve lived in Indiana my whole life and was blessed to have been raised in a Christian household. I have an associate degree in library science and have worked in various libraries for over six years. I love reading and writing!

I have mostly written poems, some of which were published in the compiled works of a local writers guild. I am in the middle of seeking a new career. I would love to be an author, artist, or journalist. But most of all, I would love to be a stay- at-home mother someday.

Author Bio:

Heidy De La Cruz is a published writer/author and podcaster.

She writes the weekly newsletter “Into My Thoughts” on Substack where she shares personal development content, life experiences with life lessons, and faith-based encouragement posts.

Heidy is the host of “The American Dream in The Eyes of Immigrants Podcast” where immigrants share their stories about moving to the United States. She is also a podcast coach and helps those who desire to host their own show launch.

Heidy holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration and a bachelor's degree in Psychology. She works as a Medical Coding Analyst.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, watching movies, and spending time with her husband and their two kids.

Author Bio:

Tessa Huckstep grew up in rural Illinois. She was born to Christian parents and has known Jesus Christ personally since the age of five. 

Currently, Tessa is attending community college and majoring in elementary education. In the future, she plans to teach in the public school system, hoping to bring the love of God with her.

Tessa enjoys being active in her local church. She serves as a co-teacher for the two-to-five year old class where there is never a dull moment.

It is Tessa’s passion to be a girl after God’s own heart and through her studying of God’s Word, Tessa longs to draw closer to her Savior. Through her writing, she longs to take others with her on this journey of faith.

Tessa loves all things Regency, needlework, and dainty teacups of every size.

When she isn’t writing or studying for exams, she can be found in the kitchen with more flour in her hair and on the floor than in the bowl, though the mess is always half the fun!

Read on for author bios and photos of my backup writers (new and old) for this year…

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt, founder of Walking the Walk Ministries, is a Kingdom-focused writer, speaker, and coach, passionate about helping women worldwide awaken their hearts to see their God-given purpose and thrive in their walk with Christ. 

With a desire to cultivate a craving for God's Word, her writing is saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing, speaking, and coaching she hopes to ignite your eagerness to pursue God passionately, invite your heart to experience God’s love personally, and inspire you to live your life “souled” out to the One whose love has no limits.

Cyndi lives in Central Florida with her two kitties. She is a Jesus-loving, adventure enthusiast devoted to living her life for Jesus until the day she is living with Him.

Author Bio:

Janis Van Keuren is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years of experience.

Her feature stories appeared monthly in company journals, newspapers, an airline magazine, and Christian publications. With her expertise as a journalist, Janis has crafted inspirational articles and devotionals for various Christian media. Recently, her feature story, “A Doctor-Approved Miracle,” was published in the Guideposts compilation, Divine Interventions: Heartwarming Answers to Prayer.

Janis and her husband, Tom, make their home in the majestic Saguaro-lined desert of Southern Arizona. They enjoy hiking in the springtime along paths through the Catalina Mountains. These same mountains provide the splendor of Autumn foliage and winter snow to play in. Janis and Tom have two adult sons and a daughter-in-law nearby.

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.

Author Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and a multi-published author of historical Christian romance. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). 

Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and 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 C’s: cats, coffee, and chocolate.

Kathy is mother of three children. She is also a former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and new Community Bible Study Children and Youth Director. Kathy lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of many years, and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.

As an author, Kathy is represented by Linda S. Glaz of the Linda S. Glaz Literary Agency.

Author Bio:

As a wife and Marmee to three adult children and one brand new daughter-in-love, Kerry Sue’s life is very full. She met her husband in college and served in the mission field with him for a few years before settling down back in the United States of America to raise their family.

Kerry Sue’s family was a homeschooling family for 20 years and they enjoyed it immensely. For the last 23 years they have lived on a small farm in Northern California where they have raised many farm animals, along with growing and preserving their food. Kerry Sue’s family farm has been a great source of enjoyment and a place to host many family gatherings. She maintains an open-door policy for dear friends—old and new.

Following and serving Jesus Christ is an integral part of Kerry Sue’s life as well as her family’s.

Whether it’s singing in our church choir, teaching children or leading and lecturing at a women’s Bible study, Kerry Sue loves to demonstrate her love for Jesus by giving to Him in service. She’s been a blogger for more than eight years, a Bible study writer for two years, and a devotional writer for about one year.

Kerry Sue writes about finding God’s Sovereignty in our pain and suffering.

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove has a diverse background in business, fitness, and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community. 

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She was privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she’s served, Sharon sees the great need for encouragement and connection. Within ministries served, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and building cross-cultural communities has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys nature, deep conversations, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, writing devotionals for other websites, and is working on a nonfiction book titled The Whole-Of-Us: Putting Church Back Together.

Author Bio:

Annawin Barrios is a dedicated public elementary school teacher with nine years of experience, currently pursuing her master's thesis in guidance and counseling.

As a loving mom of one, she brings her nurturing spirit to both her family and students. In addition to her teaching role, Annawin has been discipling people in her church for fourteen years, providing guidance and encouragement for those on spiritual journeys.

Beyond these roles, Annawin extends her reach through the digital realm, managing two impactful Facebook pages: "Letters of Annawin," where she writes letters of hope to those who are weary, and "Momma Win," where she shares insights and encouragements on motherhood and parenting.

Annawin's journey is a testament to the power of connection, nurturing, and expression, leaving a positive imprint on the hearts of her son, her students, the members of her church, and the virtual community she cultivates.

Author Bio:

Leslie Bake grew up Lutheran in Des Moines, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with an undergraduate degree in English, and with a new understanding of what a relationship with the Lord could look like.  

She spent a few years reporting and editing in small town journalism and then began a master’s degree at Iowa State University in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Then marriage. Then a divorce, which deepened her relationship with God and transformed her life.

She taught ELL for three years at Kansas State University, then returned to writing and earned a master’s degree in creative non-fiction in Pittsburgh. Her memoir that details the process of how the Lord created beauty from the ashes of divorce, will eventually be published.

Pittsburgh is also where she met and married her second husband. They are now the parents of two wonderful children, one in fourth grade and one in kindergarten, and they make their home in West Des Moines.

Leslie now maintains a monthly blog and is working toward expanding her writing ministry. The deepest desire of her heart is to help others connect with God through writing.

Author Bio:

Patricia is a worship leader, songwriter, speaker and compiler of her 2020 bestseller anthology Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body and Spirit, as well as Lord I Trust You: Words of Encouragement to encourage readers and share life lessons during her cancer journey. 

Patricia writes, speaks, and teaches on the power of God’s Word to heal and empower you to become all that you are purposed for. She has traveled internationally and shared her gifts with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through word and song. Patricia has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers including Anne Graham Lotz and Pastor E.V. Hill.

Her greatest joy is being married to her husband, Wayne, for 34 years. Together they serve the community through their local congregation as well as providing premarital and marriage coaching. They have two adult children: Raquel and Benjamin. As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, Patricia coaches others to develop resilience and live life to their fullest.

Patricia has released two gospel music recordings: “Draw Me Nearer” and “Lord, I Trust You”. In March 2022, she launched her podcast, “Becoming Resilient”, which can be downloaded wherever you get your podcasts and also seen on YouTube.

When not reading or studying, Patricia loves to eat Thai food and spend time with Lucy—her daughter’s Yorkie-poo that has taken up room in her heart.

Author Bio:

Jamie De Silvia is an author and speaker from Southern California with a passion for helping women connect with the heart of God.

She hosts the “Pressing In” podcast and has authored two devotional books: Come Hear the Song of the Shepherd (a 30-day devotional journey through Psalm 23) and You Shall Be Praised (a 40-day devotional offering a fresh perspective on Proverbs 31). You can find Jamie on Instagram and Facebook daily, offering encouragement to help you draw closer to Jesus Christ.

Jamie is married with two adult daughters and a teenage son. She is also a homeschooling mom who enjoys oil painting, playing games with her family, and savoring a good chai latte.

Author Bio:

Angela Anderson was born in Brooklyn (New York) and raised in New Jersey.

She started writing at an early age and realized in elementary school that it was both a strength and a passion. She continued writing through high school, college, and into adulthood. Angela is the author of a devotional book titled Just When I Thought I Knew God and she is currently working on another devotional book.

This is Angela’s fourth year as a devotional writer for Alexis A. Goring’s “God is Love” blog. In 2021, Angela was a winner of a devotional writing contest where her words were featured in a book, Hope When Your Heart is Heavy, that was published by Proverbs 31 Ministries. The following year, another one of Angela’s devotionals was featured in Living Unbroken, which is another publication produced by Proverbs 31. Angela has a passion for inspiring and impacting others through her writing as well as speaking.

Angela is a life coach for mothers. She empowers mothers who want to identify their God-given purpose and live it fully while taking care of their family. Angela develops mothers into mompreneurs by providing them with the necessary tools to be successful and fulfilled in life. She works to help them to see their value, understand their importance, and reclaim their identity.

Angela is also the host of “The Angela Anderson Show”, a virtual talk show that launched in April of 2023 on YouTube and Facebook. The show is designed for mothers who want to pursue their dream while managing family life. The audio version of the show is also available as a podcast on Spotify.

Angela has been married to the love of her life, Duane Anderson, for 19 years. Together they have two sons: Thomas (age 11) and Ryan (age 6). Angela’s favorite pastime is journaling, and she also enjoys spending quality time with her family.

~ The End ~

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