Food for the Soul
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Audra Jennings

Audra Jennings is a publicist with Litfuse Publicity Group.

Posted 10/2/17 at 5:24 PM | Audra Jennings

Choose Wisely, Live Fully points to Proverbs 1–9 for wisdom and truth

Part 1 of an interview with Donna Gaines,
Author of Choose Wisely, Live Fully

Abingdon Press
Choose Wisely, Live Fully by Donna Gaines

Fortune, fame and power mean nothing without godly wisdom. King Solomon learned this in his day, and it is a truth that stands today. Author Donna Gaines’ new book, Choose Wisely, Live Fully: Lessons from Wisdom & Folly, the Two Women of Proverbs (Abingdon Press), draws from the timeless wisdom of Proverbs 1–9 to help women apply the same principles in practical ways to the issues they face today.

Q: Women are often referred to Proverbs 31 when it comes to an example of being godly wives and mothers. Why did you decide to focus instead on the first nine chapters of Proverbs and the women described as Wisdom and Folly? FULL POST

Posted 9/29/17 at 11:18 AM | Audra Jennings

The beautiful sacredness in the life you are already living

Part 1 of an interview with Kari Patterson,
Author of Sacred Mundane

Kregel Publications
Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson

When life seems ordinary and unexciting, it is easy to slip into the mindset of being stuck and in need of a change. In Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy (Kregel Publications), Kari Patterson shows the reader the key to change is already in her hand once she realizes what is holding her back. “In 2 Kings, we read, ‘Naaman was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.’ He had so much going for him, but his leprosy threatened to steal it all,” explains Patterson. “I ask readers to consider their own lives and prayerfully simmer down their own life into a sentence. So often we’re vaguely aware of the areas we want to change, but we don’t take the time to narrow down and identify the one thing hindering us most. Identifying the one thing helps us see more clearly how God wants to use our mundane to make us more like Him.” FULL POST

Posted 9/29/17 at 10:59 AM | Audra Jennings

Lessons in how to live and how to die

Becky Baudouin shares priceless lessons her mother revealed during her battle with cancer

“I’ve taught you how to live; now I want to teach you how to die. You don’t have to be afraid.” When Becky Baudouin’s mother spoke those words to her, they weren't said lightly. Her mother had an inoperable tumor — and after months of treatment, there was no hope for a longer life. There was, however, assurance of everlasting life. In Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy: What My Mother Taught Me About How to Live and How to Die (Kregel Publications/September 26, 2017/ISBN: 9780825444746/$14.99), Baudouin shares the invaluable wisdom imparted by her mother during her final days.

Upon learning of her mother’s diagnosis, Baudouin made a decision she knew she would not regret. “I decided to rearrange my priorities so I could show up and be fully present with my mom during her illness. I knew I needed to pull back from some of the groups and activities I was in so I would have the energy and time to take care of myself and my family and to take frequent trips to be with my mom. I realized I had limited time and resources and knew it was a season that wouldn’t last forever.” FULL POST

Posted 9/28/17 at 11:20 AM | Audra Jennings

Where does your anchor lie?

Micah Maddox helps readers experience a power-full life in a problem-filled world

The world is rife with global and personal crises. News outlets report one troubling development after another. Within the home, studies reveal half of Americans feel financially insecure, more than half are unhappy in their jobs and divorce rates escalate with each subsequent marriage. When problems abound, it can feel as if God is far away. However, as Micah Maddox explains in Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World (Abingdon Press/September 5, 2017/ISBN 978-1501848674/$16.99), these same trials can bring us closer to God if we change our way of thinking and focus on Him.

“Every day, we all anchor our lives in something. Sometimes we anchor our lives in our work, mothering, goals, desires and sometimes even our problems. I’ve learned I often allow my problems to take the center stage of my thinking and my life,” Maddox confesses. “Anytime we allow anything other than God to take the focus of our hearts and minds, we are not living in the power God has provided for us to live in. God is teaching me that living anchored in His presence is the only way to experience His power. Living anchored in means we willingly set aside every circumstance and problem of our lives and fully focus our hearts, minds and souls on the Savior, the Anchor.” FULL POST

Posted 9/28/17 at 11:14 AM | Audra Jennings

Are the leaders of our country undercutting the Rule of Law?

Randy Singer’s latest release is equal parts legal, political and military thriller

In a world of political accusations and threats of war, what does the public need to know, and what is better left unsaid for our own protection? Are our leaders following the Rule of Law or acting outside it? In his latest legal thriller, Rule of Law (Tyndale House Publishers/September 5, 2017/HC ISBN 978-1-4964-1815-9 $24.99/SC ISBN 978-1-4964-1816-6 $15.99), award-winning author and attorney Randy Singer weaves a gripping page-turner that explores the inner workings of the White House, the CIA and the State Department in dealings with foreign governments. Drawing from one of his own recent cases, Singer gives readers a glimpse of what is really going on behind the headlines of today’s international events.

Equal parts legal, political and military thriller, the story begins with a SEAL raid on a Yemen prison. For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare presidential mission, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday, but the SEAL team would break them out. FULL POST

Posted 9/27/17 at 11:33 AM | Audra Jennings

It is never too late to restore broken relationships

Sawyer tells the story of three generations of women shaped by an unsolved mystery

Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated. When secrets from the past are involved, the best of intentions can be entirely misunderstood. Bringing Maggie Home (WaterBrook/September 5, 2017/ISBN 978-0735290037/$14.99) by award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer explores the hearts of three generations of women whose lives have been shaped by the 70-year-old unsolved mystery of 3-year-old Maggie Blackwell.

Hazel DeFord was just 10 years old when her younger sister Maggie vanished while they were picking blackberries one afternoon. However, her guilt over the incident has shaped her entire life, particularly in her relationship with her daughter Diane. Hazel’s inexplicable eccentricities, unexplained overprotectiveness and constant paranoia drove a wedge between the two women.

When Diane became a parent, she was determined not to imitate the close hold her mother held on her. In fact, she gave her daughter, Meghan, such free rein that Meghan sometimes questioned whether her mother really loved her. Though neither woman had a good relationship with their own mother, Meghan has built a cherished relationship with her aging grandmother who lavishes her with attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a leave of absence from her job as a cold case investigator, the three women find themselves living under the same roof for the first time. In these close quarters, the painful secrets and hidden traumas of their past are exposed. Will Meghan be able to use her investigative prowess to solve what happened to Maggie, the family mystery that has been haunting Hazel for 70 years? Will finding the answers help all the women recover what’s been lost? Each woman must contend with the healing presence only God can offer to restore deeply wounded relationships.

“I hope readers will come away with a fresh realization it is never too late to restore broken relationships,” Sawyer explains. “God is in the mending business! He’s the Great Healer. Whether the scars are emotional or spiritual, He wants us to be whole so we can trust Him to bring us to healing when we place ourselves in His hands and let Him lead.”

Sawyer, in her characteristically heartfelt and gentle style, deftly handles the complexity of how past actions influence present circumstances. “Our past does affect our present,” says Sawyer. “[But] God can make beauty out of the ashes of our past when we fully give ourselves to Him.”

For more on Bringing Maggie Home, including the first chapter excerpt, visit www.waterbrookmultnomah.com.

Learn more about Sawyer and her books at www.kimvogelsawyer.com, on Facebook (KimVogelSawyer.Author.Speaker) or by following her on Twitter (KimVogelSawyer).

Advance Praise

Bringing Maggie Home is beautiful, deep and engaging! Don’t miss out on this powerful and emotive story.”
~ Cindy Woodsmall, New York Times best-selling author

“In Bringing Maggie Home, Kim Vogel Sawyer has once again woven a story so rich and unforgettable that it leaves her readers both satisfied and hungering for more. Her storytelling ability invites her readers into each
scene. We laugh and cry, squirm and ache with the characters as if they were family members . . . even the absent ones.”
~ Cynthia Ruchti, author of more than 20 books, including A Fragile Hope and As My Parents Age

About the Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in several different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades, including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher someday people would check out her books in libraries. That little girl’s dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Since then, Sawyer has watched God expand her dream beyond her childhood imaginings.

Sawyer lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope and redemption. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

For more information about Sawyer and her books, visit her online home at www.kimvogelsawyer.com. She is also active on Facebook (KimVogelSawyer.Author.Speaker) and Twitter (KimVogelSawyer).

Posted 9/27/17 at 11:27 AM | Audra Jennings

In God’s eyes, we are of equal and priceless

Lori Benton's Many Sparrows reminds readers of God’s power and perfect timing

Understanding why some things happen the way they do is impossible, but as Christians, we must remember God is in control and His timing is perfect. His purposes are deeper and broader than we can imagine. These are lessons Clare Inglesby must learn in award-winning author Lori Benton’s latest historical novel, Many Sparrows (WaterBrook/August 29, 2017/ISBN 978-1601429940/$15.99).

Set in 1774 and based on historical facts, Many Sparrows depicts the harrowing account of a young mother who will stop at nothing to find and reclaim her son after he is taken by a native tribe. Clare Inglesby, a settler of the Ohio-Kentucky frontier, finds herself in a perilous situation when an accident forces her husband to leave her alone on a remote mountain trail with their four-year-old son, Jacob. Her precarious circumstances only intensify when Jacob is taken by the Shawnee under the cover of darkness. Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone and in labor.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. However, with the battle lines sharply drawn following a conflict between the Shawnee and new settlers, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake.

Frontiersman and adopted Shawnee Jeremiah Ring comes to Clare’s aid and promises to help her recover her son. However, his deep familial connection to the Shawnee makes his promise more complicated and the consequences more painful than either party could anticipate. Can Jeremiah convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do — be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

Benton deftly handles the moral complexity of the two ways of life that clashed against each other as colonists encroached upon Native American territories on the Ohio-Kentucky border. “I was inspired to write it by my research into the 18th century and also by what God’s been doing in my own heart in recent years,” Benton shares. “I hope to convey [in Many Sparrows] a picture of what it means not to rely on our own understanding and strength, but wait on the Lord to work on our behalf.”

According to Benton, the title of Many Sparrows has several meanings. “It’s taken from Matthew 10:29–31, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. . . . Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows,’” she explains. “The title speaks to the theme of God’s vigilance in our lives and His constant care for us, as well as the fact we are linked to one another. In God’s eyes we are of equal and priceless value — far more than many sparrows, each and every one.”

For more on Many Sparrows, visit www.waterbrookmultnomah.com.

Advance Praise

“Stunning. Many Sparrows is everything I want in a book: settings that spring to life, characters I love, rich historical context, heart-wrenching drama, timeless spiritual insights and prose that reads like poetry. Lori Benton handles the conflicted 18th century with sensitivity in this tender tale of hope and fear, faith and doubt, loss and new life. Truly, this is an inspired masterpiece sure to stir the soul.”
~ Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of The Mark of the King

“Intense. Enlightening. Lustrous. Many Sparrows is a lesson in early American history wrapped up in a beautiful romance, one not only of the human heart but of God’s heart for His creation. I cherished Clare and Jeremiah’s quietly blossoming love and deeply felt their struggle to trust and reach that painful yet unburdening place of surrender. Many sighs. And many thanks to the author.”
~ Tamara Leigh, USA Today best-selling author of The Vexing and Lady Betrayed

About the Author

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back 300 years. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history to life.

She is the author of Burning Sky (recipient of three Christy Awards), The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, The Wood’s Edge (a Christy nominee) and A Flight of Arrows. Her latest release is Many Sparrows.

When Benton isn’t writing, reading or researching, she enjoys exploring the Oregon wilderness with her husband.

Learn more about Benton and her books at http://loribenton.blogspot.com. She is also active on Facebook (@AuthorLoriBenton), Twitter (@LLB26) and Instagram (@lorilbenton).

Posted 9/13/17 at 2:19 PM | Audra Jennings

What makes us who we are?

Cindy Woodsmall releases the powerful conclusion to the Amish of Summer Grove series

WaterBrook
Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

How different would your belief system be if you grew up in a different culture? Would your faith in God be the same if you were raised in a different family? New York Times best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall poses these questions in the powerful conclusion to the CBA and ECPA bestselling Amish of Summer Grove series in Gathering the Threads (WaterBrook/August 15, 2017/ISBN 978-1601427038/$14.99).

Woodsmall’s latest series introduces readers to two young women, one Englisch and one Amish, who were switched at birth and follows them as they discover what their lives would have been like had the switch never taken place. In Gathering the Threads, Woodsmall deftly weaves complex issues of identity into the story. What makes us who we are? Are we simply a result of our genetic ancestry? Does our family determine our future . . . or is there something more to identity? The book also deals with the prejudice many Christians feel toward other denominations and belief systems.

The series began with Ties That Bind (September 8, 2015) when Woodsmall introduced readers to Ariana Brenneman, a young Amish woman deeply invested in the beliefs of her family and Amish community, and Skylar Nash, an Englisch college student struggling with a life of addiction, neglect and failure to meet expectations. Their worlds are turned upside down when they learn the families they have been a part of for 20 years are not biologically theirs.

Fraying at the Edge (August 16, 2016) found both women introduced to communities very different from the ones they grew up knowing. They both reeled with the nature of their true identities as Ariana fought to hold on to her convictions in a secular world and Skylar adjusted to life without modern technology.

In the third and final book of the series, Woodsmall brings the story full circle as each woman must decide where her future will be. Ariana’s initial excitement to return home is mixed with doubts about the Amish way of life. Her time with her analytical, atheist father has opened her perspective and makes communicating with her Amish family a struggle. Her arrival also challenges Skylar’s hard-won sobriety as Skylar struggles to see her place in a family restored. Both women find themselves doubting what love, relationships and family will look like in their futures.

Woodsmall hopes readers will glean the importance of reading, studying and thinking for themselves. “Don’t let anyone in authority or any authoritative group, church or otherwise trick you into following them,” Woodsmall warns. “Faith needs to go deeper than our understanding of the Word, just like love goes deeper than our understanding of the Word. I’m hoping readers feel encouraged that it is good for grace to outweigh their personal convictions that may or may not line up with God’s Word as well as they thought.”

Gathering the Threads is a perfect book for fans of Amish fiction that doesn’t shy away from discussing difficult issues.

For more on Gathering the Threads and the Amish of Summer Grove series, visit www.waterbrookmultnomah.com.

About the Author

Cindy Woodsmall, author of "Gathering the Threads"

Cindy Woodsmall is an award-winning New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written 20 works of fiction, including her most recent series, Amish of Summer Grove. Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets, including ABC’s Nightline. The Wall Street Journal listed Woodsmall as one of the top three most popular authors of Amish fiction.

RT Book Reviews recently presented her with a Career Achievement Award and gave her latest release, Gathering the Threads, a Top Pick review.

Woodsmall and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

Learn more about Woodsmall and her books at www.cindywoodsmall.com. She is also active on Facebook (@authorcindywoodsmall).

Posted 9/13/17 at 2:11 PM | Audra Jennings

From overwhelmed by life to overwhelmed by God

Hayley DiMarco helps women trade in stress and worry for grace and love

Abingdon Press
A Woman Overwhelmed by Hayley DiMarco

The phrase “a woman overwhelmed” is one many women can relate to. Research reveals women are more likely to admit to being stressed and suffer from depression than men — yet there is hope. In A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life (Abingdon Press/August 15, 2017/ISBN: 9781501840708/$16.99), best-selling author Hayley DiMarco shows readers what would happen if they could see the insanity in their pace and turn to embrace an overwhelming God.

Women are often overwhelmed by the demands and circumstances of life, resulting in stress, fear, worry, impatience, fatigue, frustration and even depression. The emotional tolls are great but often result in physical symptoms, such as weight gain, insomnia, headaches, anxiety attacks and digestive problems. “Women have a list of things to be overwhelmed with, but most of the time it comes down to their to-do list, which includes working, nurturing, loving, exercising, cleaning, cooking and more,” DiMarco explains. “We also tend to use comparison as a way of determining our value and our success. With all that has to be done, it would be much easier if everyone would do what we want them to do, but alas, our lack of being able to control others ends up overwhelming us as well.”

In A Woman Overwhelmed, DiMarco shares biblical insights and personal stories to show we were created to be overwhelmed, not by life, but by God. She offers a glimpse at the comedy of an overwhelmed life while encouraging readers to discover the depths and heights of God’s love and power. When we learn to be overwhelmed by God, the fruit in our lives goes from rotten (exhibiting selfishness, thanklessness, impatience, harshness, immorality, unfaithfulness or a lack of self-control) by focusing on the wrong things to fragrant (living with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) by living focused on God.

“We were made to be overwhelmed by the goodness and grace of God. For that reason, our hearts search for something bigger than us. When our mission in life is to accomplish our own plans, dreams, hopes and desires, we are fertile ground for too much to do and not enough time or resources to do it. We naturally become overwhelmed with them,” writes DiMarco. “The Mission of Me is not a road to emotional or spiritual success because there will be difficult times and devastating failures. However, the Mission of God, though fraught with difficulty, sees success because God will not be frustrated. When we align our will and mission in life with His, we see life through different lenses, and suddenly everything that would have overwhelmed us is now a tool for our good.”

DiMarco hopes women will be empowered to find freedom in becoming overwhelmed with who God is. In addition to the book, she has written a companion six-week Bible study—A Woman Overwhelmed: A Bible Study on the Life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus—that walks through the story of Mary and digs into the Old and New Testaments to offer biblical and practical application related to aspects of life that can make us feel overwhelmed. Available components include a workbook, DVD, and leader guide, or a kit option.

Learn more about A Woman Overwhelmed and Hayley DiMarco at www.HayleyDiMarco.com. Readers can also follow her Facebook (hayley.dimarco) and Twitter (@hayleydimarco).

About the Author

Hayley DiMarco, author of A Woman Overwhelmed

Hayley DiMarco is the best-selling author of more than 40 books, including multiple books in the God Girl line, The Fruitful Wife, Obsessed, Die Young and Own It. Her latest release is A Woman Overwhelmed and its companion Bible study.

As the founder of Hungry Planet, a company intensely focused on feeding the world's appetite for truth, DiMarco speaks regularly for women’s groups and events, including Women of Faith, dotMOM, Precept National Women’s Convention and MOPS International.

Hayley and her pastor husband, Michael, live outside Nashville with their daughter and four dogs.

To learn more about DiMarco and her books, visit her online home www.HayleyDiMarco.com. She can also be found on Facebook (hayley.dimarco) and Twitter (@hayleydimarco).

Posted 9/12/17 at 11:45 AM | Audra Jennings

Author challenges women to pursue Biblical literacy

Choose Wisely, Live Fully points to Proverbs 1–9 for wisdom and truth

Abingdon Press
Choose Wisely, Live Fully by Donna Gaines

Fortune, fame and power mean nothing without Godly wisdom. King Solomon learned this in his day, and it is a truth that stands today. Author Donna Gaines’ new book, Choose Wisely, Live Fully: Lessons from Wisdom & Folly, the Two Women of Proverbs (Abingdon Press/August 15, 2017/ISBN: 9781501834240/$16.99), draws from the timeless wisdom of Proverbs 1–9 to help women apply the same principles in practical ways to the issues they face today.

Gaines harnesses her two passions, discipleship and literacy, to challenge women of all ages to become biblically literate. “God has not changed,” Gaines writes. “So why do we keep repeating the same behaviors even though we can see no one has been able to sidestep God’s laws or the consequences of breaking them? I am convinced the answer to that question is this: Most of us honestly don’t know what God has said in the first place. . . . Biblical illiteracy is rampant.”

The statistics support Gaines’ position. According to Lifeway Research findings, 20% of churchgoers reveal they never read the Bible (and the same percentage claim to read it daily), which leaves 80% who have, at best, a marginal understanding of its teachings. That deficiency makes us vulnerable to propaganda, political slant and other influences that do not represent biblical truth.

Choose Wisely, Live Fully responds to this need for biblical literacy by looking intently at the lives of Wisdom and Folly, the two women described in Proverbs 1–9, and their contrasting worldviews. By unpacking the topics covered in these early chapters of Proverbs — truth, wisdom, folly, courage and beauty, to name a few — Gaines seeks to awaken a perpetual hunger for firsthand biblical truth instead of relying on someone else’s interpretation of it.

Most importantly, Choose Wisely, Live Fully helps readers quickly identify that only God’s Word is the food that satisfies this hunger for truth and reminds us a daily portion is required to be nourished and equipped with a biblical worldview. Written with a built-in study guide, the book includes thought-provoking questions and exercises that may be used for personal study, small-group study or mentoring study.

Gaines examines the blessings and curses associated with the choices made by the two women in Proverbs and equips readers to:

  • discern the voice of God and follow His clear path between Wisdom and Folly.
  • experience the joy of wholehearted obedience.
  • let God help them mentor the lives of those around them in remarkable ways.
  • understand what it means to be a godly woman, wife and mother.
  • view mistakes as opportunities for growth.

A free downloadable resource on how to offer a mentoring program to help other women in their walk of faith is available at www.abingdonpress.com/donnagaines.

Donna Gaines, author of Choose Wisely, Live Fully

About the Author

Donna Gaines is a speaker and author of Choose Wisely, Live Fully, Seated: Living from Our Position in Christ and Leaving Ordinary: Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer.

Gaines is the founder of Arise2Read, a nonprofit organization that recruits churches to adopt and provide tutors for inner-city elementary schools. She also teaches Bible study at her home church, Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church, in which her husband, Steve Gaines, Southern Baptist Convention President, pastors.

She is the mother of four and “Nonna” to ten grandchildren.

Learn more at www.donnagaines.org and follow her on Twitter (@donnadgaines).

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