Audra Jennings is a publicist with Litfuse Publicity Group.
Posted 10/3/13 at 4:58 PM | Audra Jennings
Author to host a live web event on October 8 in celebration of her latest release
Best-selling author Mary Connealy will be hosting a webcast on October 8 at 8:00 PM EDT, where she will be introducing readers to her latest release, Fired Up (Bethany House Publishers / September 15, 2013 / ISBN 978-07642-0915-4 / $14.99). Described as a rollicking Wild West adventure and romance, Fired Up is the second book in Connealy’s Trouble in Texas series.
During the live online event, Connealy will be discussing the series, previewing her upcoming releases and answering reader questions. Throughout the hour, readers will have an opportunity to chat with other fans, answer trivia about the book and submit their own questions for Connealy to answer during the evening. A number of prizes will be given away to those participating in the discussion, including copies of Connealy’s books and gift cards. At the end of the webcast, the winner of a Kindle Fire HD will be announced. The Kindle giveaway is being held in conjunction with the Fired Up blog tour being coordinated by Litfuse Publicity Group.
“A webcast like this is a great chance to connect with readers in a new and fun way. I'm really looking forward to it,” Connealy states. “Just remember that whatever nonsense comes out of my mouth at a live event . . . that doesn't change the fact that I think I write a pretty good book!”
The webcast will be hosted on Connealy’s Facebook page, as well as the Litfuse Publicity Group website for readers without a Facebook account. Leading up to the webcast, readers can RSVP for the event and sign up to receive an email reminder. From September 17-October 8, fans can also enter the contest for the Kindle Fire HD via the author’s Facebook page.
“We are pleased to partner with Mary Connealy and Litfuse for this exciting webcast event,” says Debra Larsen, marketing manager at Bethany House. “To meet Mary in person is to instantly want to be counted as one of her friends, so our desire for this event is that as many people as possible will be able to meet her, too, and will be blessed by her fun spirit, her wonderful sense of humor and her ability to tell a really good tale!”
Posted 10/3/13 at 12:19 PM | Audra Jennings
Lisa T. Bergren’s popular Grand Tour Series Concludes with Glittering Promises.
Each of us must set upon a spiritual journey to find out who we really are. For Cora Kensington, the greatest discovery about herself occurred during an epic Grand Tour across Europe. In Glittering Promises (David C Cook/October 1, 2013/ISBN 978-1434764287/ $14.99), the final installment of the Grand Tour Series by Lisa T. Bergren, Cora comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her while wrestling with increased demands on her life and heart.
Glittering Promises picks up where the second installment, Grave Consequences, left off. Cora’s tour across Europe has opened her eyes to a family she never knew, a love she’d always longed for with their tour guide, Will, and a world she never thought she’d experience. However, as her travels come to an end and she considers her future, Cora wonders if everything she’s gained will be left behind in Rome. A complex web of manipulation and circumstance sends her reeling, and she must find the strength, wisdom and faith to find her way home.
As the tour continues, Cora is faced with a barrage of journalists who are tracking the news story of the decade — “Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl — and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, Will is also struggling with Cora’s newfound wealth, and she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart. Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention.
America’s newest heiress must decide what direction her life will take once their tour is over. Is her potential fortune reason enough to give up her freedom and all the life God is leading her toward? When the siblings she has just met are faced with a crisis, her quandary deepens. While Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present and still embrace her future, there is one thing she has become sure of: Wealth cannot buy peace or direction. Once they arrive in Rome, Cora knows it’s time to decide who and what defines her and who and what does not.
Throughout the series, readers have joined Cora and her travel companions not only on a Grand Tour of the major sites of Europe, but on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awareness and self-discovery. Cora’s quest to find her place within her new family parallels her realization that her true identity rests not with her earthly family, but with her Heavenly Father. “The Grand Tour is not only Cora’s journey toward understanding true identity in Christ, but I hope it will help every reader understand it better too,” explains Bergren.
Not only does Bergren vividly paint the landscapes of Europe, she serves up savory bites of 1913 history happening around the events within the story. The Grand Tour series is a captivating trilogy sparkling with real-life edge, rich characters and a deeper message for the series that has received critical acclaim. The first installment, Glamorous Illusions, was a RT Book Reviews Top Pick and one of their 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominees for Inspirational Romance.
About the Author
Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of more than forty books, with over 2.5 million copies sold. She has written fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages—children, teens and adults. A former publishing executive, Bergren now divides her time between writing, freelance editing and ministry. Bergren loves to travel, especially for writing research, and dreams of her next trip to Italy. Lisa and her husband, Tim, are the parents of three and live in Colorado Springs.
Posted 9/30/13 at 12:30 PM | Audra Jennings
When the world around you falls apart, could it be that God is giving you a second chance? This is just one of the questions on Charlotte Stevenson’s mind as she brings her three grandchildren to live on the family farm in Guidepost Books’ Home to Heather Creek series. Following the death of their daughter in a tragic accident, Charlotte and her husband, Bob, become guardians of the three grandchildren they hardly know. Not only is it a major adjustment for the couple nearing retirement, but also a huge shock for the orphaned children to go from life as they know it in San Diego to a small farming community in Nebraska. Readers will meet the Stevensons in Before the Dawn (ISBN: 978-0824934248/$14.99) and follow their journeys in Sweet September (ISBN: 978-0824934255/$14.99) when the first two books of the series hit stores this fall.
The Home to Heather Creek series is written by a talented team of authors writing under the name Kathleen Bauer. Throughout the series, readers will grow to feel as though they are part of the Stevenson family and the Bedford community as relationships are forged, faith is grown and the challenges and changes of life are faced as a family. FULL POST
Posted 9/21/13 at 11:56 AM | Audra Jennings
The Home to Heather Creek series shows that God gives grace freely, even in trying times.
When the world around you falls apart, could it be that God is giving you a second chance? This is just one of the questions on Charlotte Stevenson’s mind as she brings her three grandchildren to live on the family farm in Guidepost Books’ Home to Heather Creek series. Following the death of their daughter in a tragic accident, Charlotte and her husband, Bob, become guardians of the three grandchildren they hardly know. Not only is it a major adjustment for the couple nearing retirement, but also a huge shock for the orphaned children to go from life as they know it in San Diego to a small farming community in Nebraska. Readers will meet the Stevensons in Before the Dawn (ISBN: 978-0824934248/$14.99) and follow their journeys in Sweet September (ISBN: 978-0824934255/$14.99) when the first two books of the series become available in stores on September 1, 2013.
The Home to Heather Creek series is written by a talented team of authors writing under the name Kathleen Bauer. Throughout the series, readers will grow to feel as though they are part of the Stevenson family and the Bedford community as relationships are forged, faith is grown and the challenges and changes of life are faced as a family.
Before the Dawn begins just one week after the funeral of Charlotte’s daughter, Denise. Denise’s three children barely have time to process the death of their mother before they must move to the Heather Creek Farm they have never visited with grandparents they barely know. At age 16, Sam is fiercely protective of his younger siblings. Emily is 14 and desperately misses her friends. Young Christopher is only 8 and just wants to fit in. While Charlotte tries to help her grandchildren adjust to their new life, she also wrestles with her own grief and the enormous task of bringing her family together. Bob believes the fastest path to adjustment is a firm routine, with structure and chores, the same way they raised their own kids. However, that route led to Denise running away from home as a teenager and an estranged relationship with her family. Charlotte is worried about making the same mistakes she made with Denise. Is this her chance to make things right?
It is spring when the children arrive, and as Charlotte looks around the farm, she hopes the new life around them will signify hope and healing. The miracle of new life, along with God’s healing touch, reminds all of them that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.
Sweet September picks up at harvest time, as the children are settling into a new school year. While the harvest should be an exciting time, the children don’t seem to be getting into the spirit. Emily is struggling with farm life, Christopher spends most of his time alone, and Sam is failing school. Trying to learn from what did and didn’t work with her own kids, Charlotte is determined to get her grandchildren back on track.
As tenuous family bonds threaten to break apart, a mystery on the farm might be the one thing that can bond the family together. Charlotte sets out to uncover the truth, and as the kids unite to find answers, this cobbled-together family learns more about one another and the love that binds them together.
The lives of the Stevensons and their grandchildren unfold in this captivating story of the remarkable change that comes from the love of family, the kindness of others, sheer persistence and unshakable faith. As readers follow the Stevensons’ inspiring stories, it’s almost impossible not feel a part of this friendly, loving community, where God’s grace can be seen in every circumstance.
About the Authors
Kathleen Bauer is the pen name for a team of writers who have come together to create the Home to Heather Creek series.
Before the Dawn was written by Carolyne Aarsen. Originally a city girl, Aarsen moved to the countryside near Neerlandia, Alberta, when she married her husband, Richard. While raising four children, foster children and various animals, she learned how to drive tractors, front-end loaders and ATVs. She grew a garden and learned to can and preserve its produce. Somewhere in all this Aarsen learned to write. Since 1997 she has written more than 40 books. Learn more at www.carolyneaarsen.com.
Tricia Goyer is the author of Sweet September. A best-selling author of more than 35 books (both fiction and non-fiction) as well as 500+ magazine articles, she is a two-time Carol Award winner, and a Christy award and ECPA Award Finalist. Tricia is on the blogging team at www.MomLifeToday.com and www.TheBetterMom.com. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently heads up a Teen Mops Group in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tricia is the creator of www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com and hosts a weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Find out more about Goyer at www.TriciaGoyer.com.
Posted 8/26/13 at 2:23 PM | Audra Jennings
Through the good and the bad, God wants us to rely on Him in every situation. Never was there a time so tenuous and uncertain as the battlefields of WWII, the setting for Sarah Sundin’s newest release in the Wings of the Nightingale series, On Distant Shores (Revell/August 15, 2013/ISBN: 978-0-8007-2082-7/$14.99). Sundin explores the uncertainty we face when life doesn’t go as planned, emphasizing the need to turn to God always. Sundin fittingly chose James 1:5-6 as the theme for the story: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” With her eye for detail and flair for romance, Sundin weaves a captivating tale of two souls looking for peace in a time of conflict.
Q: The Wings of the Nightingale series is your second series set during World War II. What is it about this time in history that holds your fascination? Do you plan on writing about any other time periods in the future? FULL POST
Posted 8/23/13 at 8:53 AM | Audra Jennings
What if you could send your spirit inside other people’s soul to fight for their freedom? James L. Rubart answers this question in Soul’s Gate, the first book in the Well Spring series. Now that the Warriors Riding have learned how to battle for others, new obstacles get in the way of freedom — will their biggest regrets destroy them? Rubart delves deeper into the fictional world to give us a new look at the struggle of freedom in second book of the Well Spring series, Memory’s Door (Thomas Nelson/August 6, 2013/ISBN: 978-1-4016-8607-9/$15.99).
Q: Along with the overarching theme of finding freedom, what are other messages you hope readers take away in Memory’s Door?
The three key themes in Memory’s Door:
• We can get free of regrets. There is a way out. We can live without our past mistakes keeping us from living free in the present and the future.
• There is so much more to living the Christian life than we typically experience. We can hear God’s voice. We can! And we can live in the same power the people in the Bible lived in and find great healing from even our greatest wounds
• There is an enemy Satan has created and infiltrated the church with that is the greatest enemy of our souls. It’s so insidious we often don’t see it, even though it’s all around us. But if we are aware of it, we can have great victory over it. FULL POST
Posted 8/7/13 at 10:21 AM | Audra Jennings
James L. Rubart continues the gripping supernatural battle for freedom in Memory’s Door
James L. Rubart takes readers deeper into the world he began with Soul’s Gate in Memory’s Door (Thomas Nelson/August 6, 2013/ISBN: 978-1-4016-8607-9/$15.99), the second book in the Well Spring series. It’s a world where the supernatural is as common today as it was in New Testament times, a world of good and evil, supernatural battles and supernatural freedom. Although Rubart’s characters are fictional, the kinds of battles they face are not. “When we can finally admit we’re not living this life in the garden, and that instead, we’re caught in a world in the midst of an epic battle, our lives will start to make a whole lot more sense,” Rubart explains.
“We might not face as epic a battle as the Warriors in my novels face, but there is an evil in this world out to destroy us, our families and our friends. We have to face that every day and it affects us whether we want to admit it exists or not,” Rubart continues “And if we realize we have been given the power to fight against that evil well and help others battle well, our lives will change — we will hope, we will believe, we will live in more freedom than we thought possible.”
In the first book of the series, Rubart poses the question, What if you could travel inside another person’s soul to fight for their healing and freedom? In Soul’s Gate, a 2013 Christy Award winner, Reece, Brandon, Marcus and Dana are brought together by a prophecy telling of four warriors with the potential to change the world. The group gathers at a secluded ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado where they learn to see the spiritual world around them and are trained in how to step into the supernatural realm. But Warriors Riding have an enemy set on keeping them from their quest who will stop at nothing to destroy them.
Memory’s Door continues these warriors’ epic and deadly journey. An insidious enemy has infiltrated their ranks. A mysterious street performer could be an incredible ally, or one of the greatest threats against them. Reece struggles with the loss of his sight; Brandon is being stalked by a man in the shadows. Dana’s career threatens to smother her, and Marcus questions his sanity as he slips between alternate realities trying to escape his deepest regret. And the Wolf of the prophecy is coming for them.
The countless reader letters Rubart receives confirms his greatest hope for his novels: readers’ eyes are opened to the realization that true freedom comes only from God. One of the themes of Memory’s Door is finding freedom from the immobilizing power of regret. Much is at stake for his characters, and if they don’t overcome the grip of the past, they will lose the battle. “If we’re constantly looking back, we won’t be able to see or have the strength to step into the destiny God has for us in the present and future,” Rubart says. “That’s why I think the theme of this book is critical, and will be life-changing for many, many people.”
For more information on James L. Rubart and his books, visit jameslrubart.com.
About the Author
James L. Rubart uses masterful storytelling to craft novels that make a serious impact on readers. Entertaining? Absolutely. Life changing? Even more so. His skills haven’t gone unnoticed. The first book in the Well Spring series, Soul’s Gate (2012) won the Christy Award for Visionary Novel (his second nomination). His previous releases have received critical acclaim and have climbed to the top of best-seller lists. His first novel, Rooms (2010), won a Best Books 2011 award from USA Book News, as well as a RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award for Inspirational Novel of the Year. Rubart has also been nominated for two INSPY Awards, the Clive Staples Award, and three Carol awards.
During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much.
He lives with his incredible wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman.
Posted 8/6/13 at 9:23 AM | Audra Jennings
A Family Torn Apart by Investment Fraud Scandal Picks Up the Pieces in First Novel
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for a story of refreshment in the midst of the life’s complexities in The Inn at Eagle Hill series. Both a fiction and nonfiction author, Fisher traces her roots back to her grandfather who was raised Plain. She has great respect for the Anabaptists and tries to portray their values through storytelling. “In every book,” Fisher said, “I try to show how to live our lives a little differently. A little better.”
In The Letters, Fisher writes a touching story of a woman who tries to hold pieces together in the midst of a family business gone sour, missing money and a nosy government investigator, all the while juggling a new business, a budding romance and new family dynamics.
The Letters was inspired by actual events within the Amish-Mennonite community. An investment company, run by a Mennonite with many Plain investors, defrauded investors of more than $65 million in a Bernie Madoff-esque scandal. Fisher followed the story through the media and noted how the Plain communities cared for those who had been defrauded: rather than file claims with the Securities Exchange Commission to recover lost investments, a donation was taken to reimburse their families.
“It was a striking example,” Fisher said, “of how the Amish care for each other in times of crisis or hardship.” They view money as a tool, she said, not a value. In The Letters, readers step into the family’s point of view in the aftermath of the investment company gone bad—with a few of Fisher’s trademark twists and turns and unexpected events along the way.
Publisher's Weekly says, "Fans will cheer at this latest offering," and the New York Book of Journal calls The Letters a "moving faith-driven story." Leslie Gould, Christy-award winning author, says "I devoured The Letters in one sitting. Suzanne Woods Fisher weaves a cast of authentic characters, real-life problems, and a beautiful setting into a sweet and satisfying story.”
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, The Keeper and The Haven, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award winner. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives in California.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life. For more information, visit RevellBooks.com.
Posted 8/5/13 at 9:36 AM | Audra Jennings
Sarah Sundin continues the action and romance of WWII in On Distant Shores.
Through the good and the bad, God wants us to rely on Him in every situation. Never was there a time so tenuous and uncertain as the battlefields of WWII, the setting for Sarah Sundin’s newest release in the Wings of the Nightingale series, On Distant Shores (Revell/August 1, 2013/ISBN: 978-0-8007-2082-7/$14.99). Sundin explores the uncertainty we face when life doesn’t go as planned, emphasizing the need to turn to God always. Sundin fittingly chose James 1:5-6 as the theme for the story: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God... and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
With her eye for detail and flair for romance, Sundin weaves a captivating tale of two souls looking for peace in a time of conflict. Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she ever wanted: a close-knit family, a boyfriend back home and a challenging job as a flight nurse. A social butterfly, Georgie has always relied on others to make decisions, but with the war taking her thousands of miles from her loved ones, she must learn to turn to God for wisdom. And her life becomes even more complicated when she meets Army pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson in Sicily in July of 1943.
Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates being away from his fiancée. Brought together by the perils of war, Hutch and Georgie grow closer as their lives back home fall apart. The lives they pictured for themselves crumble as life takes them down an unexpected route. Will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection Hutch and George share?
Although set in a different era and place, Sundin’s characters wrestle with issues that continue to be prevalent in the twenty-first century. Georgie, as a nurse, outranks enlisted Hutch despite his bachelor’s in pharmacy. Like many couples today, Georgie and Hutch must work through the potential tensions of gender role-reversal in the workplace. Sundin hopes her characters’ struggles show readers how all relationships must be handled with the utmost care, respect, and humility.
Another underlying verse is Colossians 3:23, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Hutch battles with bitterness as his goals are continuously thwarted and the friction that comes with the chain of command. Like many of us when we face discord in the workplace, Hutch must learn to be content and work for God’s glory, not man’s.
Sundin has spent countless hours scouring WWII history books to give her stories an accurate picture of what life looked like for the characters in her books. She even had the chance to travel to Italy and southern France to visit various areas connected to WWII. “So much about the World War II era appeals to me — the music and fashions, the adventure and drama, and the inherent romance of living in uncertain times,” Sundin explains. “Also, the vast scope of the war inspires countless story ideas to explore.” Following With Every Letter (book 1, released last fall) and On Distant Shores, look for the final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, In Perfect Time (August 2014).
Readers can connect with Sarah Sundin at her On Distant Shores Facebook party on September 3 at 8:00 PM EDT where she will chat with readers, answer questions, and give away books. Watch for more details on her Facebook page (SarahSundinAuthor). For more information on Sarah Sundin and her books, visit sarahsundin.com.
About the Author
Sarah Sundin is the author of On Distant Shores and With Every Letter in the Wings of the Nightingale series from Revell, and also the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sundin received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Sundin plans to continue to focus on WWII for her upcoming series about three naval officers based in Boston during the early years of the war.
A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, Sundin works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England.
Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.
Posted 7/25/13 at 11:24 AM | Audra Jennings
It’s one thing to live with the consequences of your own actions. It’s quite another to live with the outcome of someone else’s choices. Regardless of what has happened in your life, there is hope. In Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices (Abingdon Press/July 1, 2013/ISBN: 978-1426751172/$15.99), Cynthia Ruchti offers an inspirational look into the lives of those who were dramatically affected by wrong or misguided choices, sins, offenses and crimes others committed.
Where is God when you are doing everything right yet, because of someone else’s actions, everything is wrong? Where do we find hope when it’s clouded by the ashes of other people’s choices? Ragged Hope is an insightful and hope-giving guide offering readers comfort and support, as well as encouraging them through whatever situation they may face, including the aftereffects of divorce, disease, drugs, drunk drivers, death, downsizing, disasters and bad decisions.
Join Cynthia Ruchti for a Facebook chat on August 1 at 8:00 PM EDT. Readers will be able to discuss the book, answer and ask questions, and win prizes. Watch the Cynthia Ruchti Reader Page on Facebook for more details.
An interview with Cynthia Ruchti, Author of Ragged Hope
Q: What inspired you to write Ragged Hope?
Short answer? A broken heart. Longer answer? My heart, broken over others’ pain. Everywhere I turned were people with a story to tell of how someone else’s decision, mistake, or sin created fallout of consequences for the people around them. Most of the attention, listening ears, and help focused on the fallen one—the alcoholic, the person in rehab, the gambling addict, the unfaithful…. Where were the books acknowledging the pain of the innocent survivors living in the fallout? I wanted to give those survivors voice, to applaud their tenacity and resilience.
Q: You write this book from personal experience. Can you tell us about a time when your life was greatly affected by a decision someone else made?
A recent incident underscores the reality that fallout isn’t always the result of intentionally evil decisions or vile moral failures. Sometimes they’re just Life. Ragged Hope is for those survivors, too.
My husband fell from his hunting stand, breaking his back and his femur. Rather than the solitary writing space my heart craved and my deadlines demanded, our world careened around a pain-wracked corner that included his hospitalization, surgery and a long recuperation during which he needed my around-the-clock care. The combined injuries made him unable to do the simplest self-care tasks.
While he lay on the couch, immobile, bearing his consequences in pain and emotional distress over recovery and concerns about medical bills, I bore the weight of my own work responsibilities compounded with his normal household duties, insurance wrangling, and the challenges of a full-time caregiver. Nothing was simple anymore. Everything took longer, was harder, and taxed my ability to stay upright.
I share this story as a comfort for those who think their heart need isn’t dramatic enough to make the pages of a book like Ragged Hope. A split second accident can change the course of our lives for a season or forever. My husband has recovered enough to return to work. Some things may never be the same. But we survived by hope, and we cling to it even now.
Q: Are there any Scriptures that were particularly meaningful to you during a difficult time?
I can trace a path of tears through my Bible, places where my heart landed at difficult moments or seasons. One night when my kids were turning into adults, I sat in bed, hugging my pillow to my middle, rocking back and forth with a pain deeper than any physical pain could register. I reached for my Bible on the nightstand, opened to where I’d finished reading the night before. II Chronicles, chapter six. I remember thinking, “Sure. There’s plenty of comfort in II Chronicles!” I began reading where I’d stopped the previous night: II Chronicles 6:1, “Solomon said, ‘Oh, Lord, You have said that You would live in thick darkness.’” What our family was living through was certainly thick and unquestionably dark. God said He would be there anyway.
Q: How did you collect the stories you share in Ragged Hope?
In the course of 33 years of writing and producing an inspirational radio broadcast, interacting with listeners and readers, speaking at women’s events and retreats, I couldn’t help but be moved by the stories of those with whom I came in contact. I observed dramatic stories playing out in the lives of people around me—people I cared about, people I’d see on Sunday morning, or people I’d engaged in conversation in waiting rooms and airports. Some might ask, “How’s your job?” or “What do you do for a living?” I ask, “What’s your story?”
Q: In the first chapter of your book, Lila, whose story you tell, says, “remind your readers to look for the glory moments when life gets ugly.” What is a glory moment?
Glory moments are when God reveals Himself in spite of the pain or in the midst of the distress with a flash of joy or a clearer sense that He is right there. For me, one of the glory moments in caregiving was an evening when I washed my husband’s feet. As I laid the towel across my lap and squeezed the warm, soapy water from the washcloth in the basin, it transformed from a common, not altogether pleasant task to a holy and tender “let me serve you because I love you” experience. For me, that was a glory moment. The circumstance remained the same. But my heart vibrated with the deeper meaning of what was happening.
Q: You write, “how ragged is the hope you’re clutching? It’s no less valuable or essential than it was when it was new.” Those are powerful words—how can we remind ourselves of that when we’re in our lowest moments?
The mind—like water—flows to the path of least resistance. If a path of hope is carved into our lives, then when the flood comes, the mind and heart will flow into that pattern of hope. The other day I played a peg game with my young grandsons. Mentally challenging, the game required them to figure out what pattern of colored pegs I’d chosen. As I encouraged them toward success on each attempt without giving them the answer, I often said, “Start with what you know for sure.” That concept is a holding on place for us when our circumstances seem hopeless. When panic threatens or despair breathes its sickening breath in our faces, expressing those truths we know for sure can link us back to a thread of hope.
Q: What are some of the first necessary steps to overcoming a bad situation you find yourself in?
Stop. Drop. And Roll. Stop: Step back for a moment and acknowledge you’ve been run over by a freight train. Give the pain room to breathe or it’ll suffocate you. Drop: Figuratively or literally, drop to your knees in prayer. Pressing forward without reconnecting with the only One who can make a significant difference in your ability to cope with the crisis will make the limp more prominent and do further damage. Roll: Let your mind picture rolling the bulk of the concern onto the God who not only offers to carry it for you, but who doesn’t feel the gravitational pull we do.
Run to the Embrace: When a child is hurting, mom opens her arms and invites the little one to run into her embrace. First, she hugs. Then, she tends to the scraped knee or sadness. The hug begins the healing. Too often we skip that part when we’re crushed by circumstances. We run away from the open arms. What would happen if we ran into God’s embrace as the first step in our healing?
Q: If you are the cause of someone’s mess, even if you meant no harm, what responsibility do you have to the other person?
Some of us may not realize the kind of fallout we cause. From God’s perspective, it’s clear that if our actions hurt another, we are obligated to do what we can to make that situation right, if possible. Sometimes that means a heartfelt apology is in order. Sometimes it means restitution. Sometimes it requires assisting in the fallout cleanup process.