Food for the SoulTweet
Posted 1/29/15 at 8:58 AM | Audra Jennings
Set against the backdrop of the birth of the Christian faith, fear and loss are pitted against the strength of a fledgling faith in Return to Exile (Howard Books/ January 6, 2015/ISBN: 978-1476746364/$14.99) by Lynne Gentry. Readers who were left on the edge of their seats after closing the covers of Healer of Carthage will devour this second installment in The Carthage Chronicles and be challenged to examine their own courage in the face of adversity. FULL POST
Posted 1/27/15 at 11:12 AM | Audra Jennings
Some studies report as many as one out of every four families in the U.S. has a child with a special need. Parenting is stressful even when a child doesn’t have a physical, mental or emotional difficulty. One can imagine the stress on special needs families. Laurie Wallin meets these parents right where they are in her new book, Get Your Joy Back: Banishing Resentment and Reclaiming Confidence in Your Special Needs Family (Kregel Publications/January 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0825443398/$13.99).
Wallin strives every day to live out her message for families: that no matter the challenge, in Jesus they can have joy and confidence. Get Your Joy Back is full of biblical insights and practical strategies to help parents recognize and shed the resentments that leave them spiritually, emotionally and socially drained. Wallin sugar-coats nothing but addresses issues with honesty, humor and — above all — hope.
As special needs parents fight tooth-and-nail for the best life for their child, their mental, emotional and spiritual reserves quickly deplete. Wallin offers replenishment in her book from her own journey. “I've been married for 16 years to a man with a wicked sense of humor and an Asperger’s diagnosis,” she reveals. “Two of our four daughters have half a dozen medical, developmental and mental health special needs. Daily we try to balance their care with ‘normal’ family stuff like sports, homework and my desire to lock myself in a closet and watch entire seasons of Downton Abbey in a single night.”
Wallin reminds us while we might think the exhaustion felt by special needs parents is from the mountains of research they conduct or the long days spent monitoring their child's precarious physical or mental health, what truly weighs them down is the eternal wish things were different—for their child and as they relate with care professionals, their communities, and extended family These tentacles of resentment can choke the heart and are the parents’ greatest stressor and source of pain. Wallin makes a bold, audacious claim within the pages of Get Your Joy Back: In the midst of this intense task, having an abundant life, full of joy, is still possible. The key to restoring joy is forgiveness. In her book, Wallin helps parents find that restoration, offering them a lifeline to pull them back to shore even as they feel like they're drowning.
While bookshelves are crammed with parenting books — including some titles for caring for special needs children — Get Your Joy Back is unique in that it is written specifically to teach parents how to care for themselves so they can truly care for their children. “Get Your Joy Back is not about the kids. It’s about the parents — the primary caregivers, specifically,” Wallin says. “There just isn’t much out there for the people who are raising these unique kids. Our lives become about getting our children the best possible care, and we can nearly become invisible. This effects our health, life expectancy, quality of life, relationships, careers . . . and we often feel like that’s just how it is and there’s nothing we can do about it. From one fellow parent in the trenches: ‘You’re still there. I see you. You matter, beyond just your role as Mom or Dad.’”
About the Author
Laurie Wallin is a speaker and the author of the book Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful: Embrace Your Quirks & Live Your Strengths. A certified life coach, she has helped people for over ten years to get unstuck and live powerfully by discovering and developing their strengths, identifying and releasing resentment and pursuing their God-inspired hopes and dreams.
She blogs at LaurieWallin.com, and contributes to others. At Not Alone, she shares thoughts on thriving in families with special needs, while on God-Sized Dreams she writes on the ups and downs of pursuing our passions. A wife and mother of four, including two foster-adopted children with special needs, Wallin and her family make their home in San Diego.
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FD_m1nVyQpQ?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Posted 1/9/15 at 2:15 PM | Audra Jennings
Fans of Adventures in Odyssey are wishing the Odyssey Adventure Club a happy birthday as the team commemorates their first year delivering this beloved radio drama digitally to subscribers. Offering 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey episodes, the club is a safe, fun environment where children can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth.
“For more than 25 years, Adventures in Odyssey has been fostering spiritual and character growth in listeners. Many parents have come to trust us for solid lessons brought to life by fun characters,” says Focus on the Family Resource Marketing Director Christi Lynn. FOTF regularly receives stories of families impacted by the Club: FULL POST
Posted 1/8/15 at 3:43 PM | Audra Jennings
NLB Horton, author of The Brothers’ Keepers, has found herself in situations that would make great material for any writer’s next novel. She has surveyed Israeli and Jordanian archaeological digs, tossed a tarantula from her skiff into the Amazon after training with an Incan shaman, driven uneventfully through Rome and consumed gallons of afternoon tea while traveling across five continents.
The inspiration for Horton’s protagonist, Grace Madison (a mother who would do anything to protect her family) was born from an experience the author had while on an archaeological dig she embarked upon as a part of her master’s degree program with Dallas Theological Seminary in 2007. As she stood at the edge of a dig pit in the tel Dan of northern Israel with her husband and their teenage children nearby, heavy artillery fire began booming from Syria as staccato machine-gun reports peppered near the Lebanese border. An Israeli Defense Force camouflage-painted plane broke through an unseasonal cloud cover, circling the site. It was a harrowing experience sure to stick with anyone! FULL POST
Posted 1/7/15 at 9:29 AM | Audra Jennings
Set against the backdrop of the birth of the Christian faith, fear and loss are pitted against the strength of a fledgling faith in Return to Exile (Howard Books/ January 6, 2015/ISBN: 978-1476746364/$14.99). Readers who were left on the edge of their seats after closing the covers of Healer of Carthage will devour this second installment in The Carthage Chronicles and be challenged to examine their own courage in the face of adversity. FULL POST
Posted 1/1/15 at 1:20 PM | Audra Jennings
No one who starts a family plans on falling into patterns of dysfunction, but between the baggage of the past and the pressures of the world today, developing destructive parenting patterns is all too easy. Family ministry leader Dr. Michelle Anthony has now brought hope and practical help to parents in her new book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (David C Cook/January 1, 2015/ISBN: 978-0781411394/$15.99).
Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family was made for that “freak-out” moment nearly all parents have when they realize their child’s view of God largely comes from what he or she learns at home. While the task is intimidating, parents can avoid the temptation to ignore, outsource or overcompensate and find balance in letting the Lord become the Director of their family’s story.
Anthony points out that while some dysfunction is simply the reality of living in an imperfect world, truly painful dysfunction comes when we choose to sit in the Director’s chair of our life — pursuing abundant life instead of pursuing Christ. By surrendering the pen and allowing God to write the script as He sees fit, parents can guide their children into the abundant life Jesus offers, even in the midst of day-to-day living. This inspiring guide offers practical ideas to get parents unstuck in their family journey of faith.
Outlining the six most common dysfunctional parenting styles, such as the “I-Can’t-Say-No Parent,” the “Criticizing Parent” and the “Double-Minded Parent”, Anthony offers grace to parents who fall short, while providing practical tips, advice, activities and reflective questions at the end of each chapter that will help parents envision what it looks like for a family to follow Jesus and not the seductive alternatives the world offers.
Many Christian families are pursuing the “abundant life” by trying to achieve more and better. But when families pursue the abundant life in their own strength, their spiritual health suffers. Whether it’s creating rites-of-passage events for your children or writing a family mission statement, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family will help families pursue Christ, the only way they will find the truly abundant life — as a family.
If you long to show your children Jesus but don’t know how to do it, you’ll find hope in this practical guide to creating a relentlessly grace-filled home that is focused on God as first in charge.
David C Cook also has a monthly magazine available addressing spiritually healthy parenting. HomeFront is the perfect resource to help equip parents to be the spiritual leaders of their children. Complete with family tradition ideas, recipes, articles for everyone in the family, and more, the magazine can be sent to the subscriber’s inbox or home each month. HomeFront highlights one of the ten environments from the book Spiritual Parenting (also written by Anthony) each month as a practical way to make those truths come alive in each family member’s lives.
About the author
Dr. Michelle Anthony is the vice president of Learning Resources at David C Cook and the author of Spiritual Parenting, Dreaming of More for the Next Generation, A Theology of Family Ministry and The Big God Story. Anthony has graduate degrees in Christian education, theology and leadership and more than 25 years of church ministry experience as a children’s and family pastor. She has written more than a dozen Christian education and family/youth ministry resources, including David C Cook’s TRU Curriculum.
She leads The Gathering events each year and dozens of TRU events each year, sharing David C Cook’s Family Ministry philosophy around the world.
Anthony and her husband, Michael, have two children and currently live in Colorado Springs, where she loves a good book and a cup of coffee.
Posted 12/9/14 at 4:16 PM | Audra Jennings
It could be argued there is no stronger instinct on earth than that of a mother to protect her family. The lengths she will go to do so are explored in The Brothers’ Keepers (RidgeRoute Press/November 17, 2014/ISBN: 9780991401734/ $14.99), written by award-winning journalist and world traveler NLB Horton.
In The Brothers’ Keepers, we meet archaeologist Grace Madison who is in Brussels cataloging looted antiquities when her son’s bride is attacked in Switzerland. Her day careens from bad to catastrophic when daughter Maggie disappears in France.
Coincidence is a luxury Grace cannot afford as history — saturated in espionage — is repeating itself.
Q: The title of the book, The Brothers’ Keepers, refers to heroine Grace Madison’s determination to protect someone important to her. To what lengths would you go to protect someone you cared about?
I would do whatever it took — and I remember the exact moment I decided that! I stood at the edge of the tel Dan (northern Israel) archaeological dig pit in 2007 with my husband and two then-teenage children. They had accompanied me on an archaeological survey as part of my master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Heavy artillery fire began booming from Syria as staccato machine-gun reports peppered near the Lebanese border. An Israeli Defense Force camouflage-painted plane broke through an unseasonal cloud cover, circling the site. I hoped they could see we were unarmed! Grace Madison was born from this harrowing experience.
Q: The Brothers’ Keepers largely focuses on doing the right thing. Tell us about a situation in which you chose to do the right thing despite personal cost. Was it worth it?
My business was thriving, my children were young, and I had to choose between a smaller role in their lives or limiting my company’s growth. My husband was trying to transition from one career to another, and I was the family’s wage-earner.
This was a particularly difficult time because money was tight, and the decision tore at who I was as a businesswoman and mother. I chose to limit my accounts, and eventually put small school desks into my office to home school for a time. (The kids are now an attorney and an engineer, so they survived my teaching!) I’ve never regretted the choice to put family first, but it was not an easy one.
Q: Grace is in the midst of rebuilding her marriage and struggles with the commitment she made vs. still being in love. How hard do you think it is to try to fall in love again when things become difficult?
Love is a choice, not an accident. A covenant, not a commitment. Choosing to love again can be extremely difficult in a society of immediate gratification, and requires a willingness to risk transparency by trusting someone who has failed you. And the process requires an equal commitment from both partners; it can’t be one-sided.
I know that God loves me despite my failings and throughout my spiritual deserts and rebellion. He exhibits grace to me, and I’m called to act in His image. (Note that I am, at times, an “epic failure,” to use a favorite phrase from one of my characters.) Being mindful of this model of love and forgiveness is the only path I know to reconciliation.
Q: What is the difference between a commitment and a covenant?
A covenant is a binding agreement, sealed with an act of some kind. A commitment is dedication, without the binding element, and unsealed. A covenant is much stronger than a commitment. To develop a healthy respect for the strength of a covenant, mosey through the Old Testament!
Q: Independence is important, even within a marriage. Does independence ever cause problems between spouses? How can you maintain a sense of self without living completely separate lives?
Independence AND dependence can cause trouble between spouses. There’s a balance . . . somewhere. The answer lies in both partners working to identify with the Imago Dei, or Image of God. Being Christ-like can create a healthy sense of self and appropriate selflessness as a daily act of worship. (I confess that “epic failure” comes to mind again.)
Around the world, there is a shortage of water for drinking, irrigating crops, and supporting livestock. That is true even within US borders, especially in the West where I live. Historical issues aside, a huge factor in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is unequal distribution of water.
The world needs new sources of potable and economical drinking water, and we need to manage this most precious resource wisely. As a Christian and environmentalist, I believe humans are stewards of God’s creation. Parched addresses stewardship of the highest order, and I hope the series raises awareness of this literally life-threatening issue. We can live without oil, but we can’t survive without water.
Q: Many books feature youthful heroes and heroines, but The Brothers’ Keepers highlights the life of a more mature protagonist. What are some of the factors that led to your decision to write characters a little older than the norm? What kind of feedback have you had?
Readers ADORE Grace Madison. The response has been overwhelming.
Regarding the decision to write about a more mature protagonist, what’s not to love? Our decades should make us more nuanced, more self-confident, and less afraid to broaden our horizons. Middle age can be a season of richness and vitality that I hope to depict with joy and vigor - exactly the way I try to LIVE!
By developing the character of Grace’s daughter, Maggie, I have the chance to contrast their generations while ignoring neither. From the octogenarians, to Grace and her husband, to Maggie and the “twenty-somethings” (her brother and sister-in-law), each group in The Brothers’ Keepers responds to challenges in its own uniquely age-appropriate way.
Q: In The Brothers’ Keepers, we see two different women – one who raised a family and chose career later in life. The other sacrificed family life for career. Can a woman “have it all?”
Of course we can. But “having it all” can come at an almost sacrificial price and creates repercussions that can last for decades. If you’re going to “have it all,” you’ll have little of yourself left at the end of a difficult road that will probably be littered with shrapnel.
Q: Is there a right or wrong answer to choosing a family or a career as your primary life goal?
I think there are absolutes in life, but don't believe the family-versus-career talking point is one of them. Each woman has to make her choice by responding to her own situation and environment. And she has to be flexible because situations change, and marriages evolve over time. Spouses can grow in different directions, make untenable choices and act outside the boundaries established by the marriage vows.
I’d like to see less emphasis on this divisive dialogue, and more focus on women’s education and empowerment — which lead to freedom of choice and self-determination.
Q: Which of the characters in The Brothers’ Keepers can you relate to the most, and why?
That’s a tough question. I can understand all of them — their motivations and desires — and enjoy them all, except when their conversations keep me awake at night by forcing me to take dictation at my computer! But like readers my age, I especially relate to Grace: her faith, skepticism, flaws, and humor. I agree with the reader who wrote, “I want to be Grace!”
I also identify with Grace because I am a Christian who is “in the world, but not of it.” My career, my education, my travel: each of these elements formed me, but they occurred in the midst of people whose beliefs did not always ally with mine. I am invigorated by God’s creation, as is Grace. I want to experience it! And I hope her character portrays a demographic of Christianity that is intelligent, fair, and fearless because of its belief in God’s empowerment, one attractive to non-believers because these Christians live their faith with realism and love.
Q: Every good story has an antagonist, and your Parched series is no exception. We learn some things about your villain in The Brothers’ Keepers, however, that might make readers look at her in a new light. What does Laura McAlex’s story teach us about having compassion for difficult people?
MaAlex’s past doesn’t excuse her actions and choices, but reveals motivating aspects of her psyche. Discovering her life journey makes her behavior easier to understand, but no less evil. I hope her character is a warning to guard vigilantly against becoming hardened against the greater good. God’s standards never change, regardless of our trials.
I love working with her character. It’s not that she’s sexually corrupt, as is so often the case with “the bad girls of literature.” She’s just bad to the bone in the ways most male antagonists are. How refreshing! When she and Grace lock up in book three, it’s a humorous pitting of two very different Alpha Females.
I was so surprised to be nominated! Two letters of recommendation and months later, my membership was approved. The research in Israel and Jordan, an Amazon cruise (with a tarantula in the skiff), the graduate degree, and my unusual interests were important considerations for the vetting committee.
The Explorers Club was founded in 1904 and admitted its first female members in 1981. The goal was to create a place where the adventurous could gather, and the organization funds expeditions, research, seminars, and other scholarly endeavors. Explorer Club members were first to the North and South Poles, to the deepest point of the oceans, to the summit of Mt. Everest, and to the moon! I am honored.
Q: You have traversed the globe – seeing five continents and surveying archaeological digs in the Middle East and beyond – which provided research and background for your books. Tell us about your most recent trip.
I’m answering this question on a train between Vienna and Budapest, having crossed the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 a month ago. I studied the Rosetta Stone and Cyrus Cylinder in London, then survived nicotine-infused St. Vitus’s Cathedral in Prague. I tried not to yodel in Lucerne, and loudly hummed “The Lonely Goatherd” in Salzburg.
I’ll be on the road for another six weeks, confirming research for book three in the series by revisiting digs and sites in Italy, Greece, and Turkey (unless ISIS invades, or the border with Turkey and Syria collapses). Grace Madison is on the move, although she’s left her beloved camels in Jerusalem.
I could not write these manuscripts without knowing their settings well, and in some instances, intimately. I can picture the Temple Mount of Jerusalem at sunrise. I know what the Istanbul spice market smells like on a drizzly day. I catch my breath at the memory of height vertigo atop Machu Picchu. I remember the taste of wild blueberries after surprising a 1200-pound grizzly bear on the Kenai Peninsula. As useful as the Internet is for the copious research behind each book in the Parched series, nothing replaces living in Grace’s tattered hiking boots.
Q: You had incredibly successful careers in journalism and marketing. What brought you to writing fiction?
Journalism, marketing, and advertising were enjoyable means to an end, but after the afternoon at tel Dan, I could not ignore the storyline that grew around Grace. No one was writing anything like the Parched series, so I decided to try to fill the void.
I have written all my life. My undergraduate degree is in journalism and my previous career prepared me to share Grace (and her friends and family) professionally, and provided daily practice with the written word.
Q: How has your degree at Dallas Theological Seminary influenced your writing?
I am VERY careful with the theology in my manuscripts! DTS is a premier institution with a longstanding reputation for excellence. My professors were peerless examples of aging joyfully and vigorously.
I returned to seminary seeking answers to questions created when what I was taught as a young woman didn’t support the life I had lived. Along with a greater understanding, I left seminary with a vast library in fascinating subjects like Israeli Religion in the Ancient Near Eastern context, Ugaritic poetry, and the Intertestamental period. My office bookshelves are a geeky wonderland!
Q: What plans do you have next for your Parched series?
I’m writing book three now, which I hope to release in the fall of 2015. Then there are two, possibly three, more adventures for Grace.
Q: What do you hope readers walk away with after they’ve finished reading The Brothers’ Keepers?
I hope they are invigorated! I pray they are encouraged. I trust they’ll want to “camel up” with Grace as she continues to love God and praise Him in her own quirky, intelligent way.
Posted 12/1/14 at 2:39 PM | Audra Jennings
Nothing beats a Christmas party you don’t have to get dressed up for! Readers are invited to grab their quilts and a mug of their favorite warm holiday beverage and settle down for a night in with the authors of the latest releases in Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. The Quilts of Love Merry Quilted Christmas Facebook party on December 9 at 8:00 PM EST will be hosted by the authors of the two latest releases, Jodie Bailey (Quilted by Christmas/October 21, 2014) and Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven (Swept Away/November 18, 2014). They will be joined by Gina Welborn (Masterpiece Marriage/December 16, 2014) and Cathy Elliott (A Stitch in Crime/January 20, 2015), who will be giving readers a preview of their upcoming books.
The live Quilts of Love quarterly event will center on an interactive chat between the authors and readers, allowing participants from around the country (and the world) to participate in one large book club. The authors will share the inspiration behind their stories and ask discussion questions surrounding the themes of each book. Chat participants will be eligible for prizes to be given away at the end of the hour, including books, Christmas ornaments, sweet treats and other special selections chosen by the authors. The winner of a Kindle Fire giveaway, held in conjunction with the latest Quilts of Love blog tour, will also be announced. The chat has been promoted online with the help of bloggers participating in the blog tours coordinated by Litfuse Publicity Group.
It isn’t just the readers who are excited to take part in these chats. “I’m looking forward to teaming up with Laura, Cindy, Cathy and Gina to chat with everyone and to give away some fun prizes. Who doesn’t love a party, especially when there are presents?” asks Bailey.
The authors are also fans of the series and its authors. “I’m in stitches over being a Quilts of Love author!” Welborn notes. Loven feels the same way. “The word ‘excitement’ doesn’t begin to cover the range of emotions I am experiencing being included in this great group of authors. I wouldn’t be here without my great co-author Laura, talent of this story, and Jodie’s book was so sweet. I look forward with great anticipation to reading Gina and Cathy’s books.”
“I’m excited to be a part of the Quilts of Love series with so many talented authors. I wanted to be a part of this line and was honored to write for them,” explains Hilton. She adds, “Any opportunity to chat with readers and hear their stories is a blessing, and I hope to see many there!”
The Quilts of Love series centers on the idea that quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. Each release focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family history. Featuring contemporary and historical romances, as well as Amish fiction, women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery, readers are drawn into the endearing characters and touched by their stories. January 2015 will mark the last monthly release for the current series of 25 stand-alone titles.
"The best reward for a Quilts of Love author has to be meeting the loyal readers,” says Elliott. “As the author of the final book in the series, I look forward to meeting many long-time readers and some new ones! It’s a great way to hear about their creative interests and get a glimpse into their own stories."
Keep up with the Quilts of Love series online at:
About the authors and their books:
A grandmother’s last wish is to communicate God’s love through an Irish chain quilt.
Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle‑schoolers she teaches.
When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?
Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After 15 years as a military spouse, she settled with her family back in North Carolina. She is the author of the military suspense novel Freefall and is a contributor to Edie Melson’s devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home. While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle‑schoolers to love writing as much as she does.
Sara doesn’t think she wants love. But her grandmother has other plans.
Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.
Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter.
Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning author and a professional book reviewer. A stay-at-home mom and home school teacher, Laura lives with her family in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
Cindy Loven is active in the church and writes from her home in Conway, Arkansas, where she lives with her husband and their son.
He wants to save his business. She wants to be a professor. But are they asking for more than they can really have?
After a flood damages the looms at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble is . . . his aunt has already been hired by the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs.
Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus attends the summer Quilting Bee, a social event his aunt has uniquely designed with the secret purpose of finding Zenus a wife. However Zenus only has eyes for Mary, but Mary has no such desire for him.
Though his aunt is determined to design a masterpiece marriage, both Zenus and Mary will have to overcome their stubborn ways. Can he realize that love requires stepping out of his routine? And will she recognize that following her heart doesn’t mean sacrificing her ambition?
Gina Welborn is the author of several novels and novellas, including The Heiress’s Courtship. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers; the former president of Faith, Hope and Love; and one of the founding members of InkwellInspirations.com. She lives in Cache, Oklahoma, with her pastor husband and their five children.
Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel.
Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respect quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of the missing diamonds or their mugged mother?
When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist have is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the Quilt Show before Mary-Alice gets another brain bump… or something worse.
Author and speaker Cathy Elliott nourishes her night-owl habit by creating cozy mysteries and more on her trusty laptop in Anderson, California. Like the protagonist in her new mystery, Cathy is an avid quilter. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antique treasures.
Posted 11/19/14 at 3:17 PM | Audra Jennings
Imagine being medically trained at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world — Harvard and Yale — and turning your back on a lucrative medical career in private practice to care for the poor. As Klaus-Dieter John writes in his book, I Have Seen God (Monarch Books/November 27, 2014/ISBN: 978-0857215741/$16.99), it was a dream he and his wife, Martina, shared since before they met. FULL POST
1) What made you choose Hezekiah for a bible study?
Years ago, I was invited to be a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, an international women’s ministry organization. As I was preparing my first presentation for them, I was reading through the book of Isaiah in my personal bible study time. When I got to chapter 36, the Lord stopped me in my tracks. After reading through it a couple of times, I began writing the outline for my speech in the margins of my bible. The story was about Hezekiah. I spent a couple of years sharing the chapter 36 account at Christian women’s clubs and eventually expanded the 20 minute speech into a 10 week study for the Sunday school class I teach, simply out of passion for Hezekiah’s story and what I was learning. One day, a woman at an event asked me, “Do you have a Bible study about this?” The Holy Spirit used that conversation to convict my heart to write it. I fought the Lord for quite some time before surrendering to the idea. I wasn’t convinced another bible study was necessary. FULL POST