Encouragement for Today: Images for You

Nov22

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Encouragement for Today: Images for You

I love creating images that point us to Jesus. In a world that so often distracts and creates division, my goal is to be a person who reminds you of our hope in Jesus. That in a world gone mad, He is our source and where we find our identities. So this week, I wanted to share a few more with you. Please feel free to share these with others if they encourage you. What’s in Your Heart? Remember why you love? @cara_putman encourages us today. Click To...

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Fiction Friday: Two New Favorites

Nov18

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Fiction Friday: Two New Favorites

Today I get to bring you two new books from two of my go-to authors: Susan May Warren and Sandra Orchard. Trust me when I say you will love one, if not both, of these books and authors. And if you’ve never tried these talented writers, here’s your chance! Be sure to read to the end for a giveaway! Love a good #novel? @Cara_Putman shares two new favs, 1 from @susanmaywarren #amreading Click To Tweet Starting in no particular order, Another Day Another Dali by Sandra Orchard. This book is a delightful first person romp through the cases of a art crimes FBI agent. Serena Jones has two men she’s not really interested in —  or is she? She also has a delightful Greek chorus of supporting characters from her sleuthy great-aunt, to her mother and father, and don’t forget her disapproving grandma who actually asks her to help solve what happened with a missing piece of Salvador Dali. There are two art cases and enough mysteries to keep Serena stumped and in trouble. Don’t forget a good amount of danger, and the slowly building possibility of romance with either Tanner, her FBI trainer, or Nate, the super for her apartment building. While this is the second in the series I highly recommend you avail yourself of this plucky, first person mystery. I really enjoy quirky Serena and her forays into the world of art crimes. The layers and red herrings are numerous enough to keep the most discerning mystery reader satisfied. Now on to the amazing Susan May Warren’s latest release Wild Montana Skies. This is the first in a brand new series for her. Just take a moment to enjoy the cover and you have an idea of the role the hero plays. Ben King’s a small town Montana boy who went to Nashville and made a name for himself, except now his career may be falling apart. Kacey Fairing is home from a tour as a military helicopter pilot. A crash haunts her, and the last thing she wants is to pick up where she left off 13 years earlier with Ben. However they’re thrown together on a search and rescue team and have to confront the mistakes and misunderstandings of their past. Their story is the larger story with other characters introduced with subplots that will launch them into their own books. The masterful way the author made me care about all of the characters and threads is proof of why her books have won so many prestigious awards. If you’ve never tried her books, this is a great one to start with. If you have read Susie’s books before, then Wild Montana Skies is one you need to read today! It is perfect for romance readers and those who enjoy more meat to a story. Go forth and buy it. Thanksgiving is a week away, and I’m feeling very grateful for the way God blessed this crazy dream of mine. Accordingly, I’m giving away a copy of the series that started it all: Cornhusker Dreams, the 3 WWII novels set in Nebraska. Entering is easy. Just use the form below. a Rafflecopter...

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Some Reminders of Our Hope: Images for You

Nov15

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Some Reminders of Our Hope: Images for You

Some days I need more reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Some weeks are just hard. We’ve certainly been put through the ringer as a country. So today I wanted to give you some of my favorite verses in a form you can put in front of you in case you need the reminders, too. Need hope? Some reminders of the hope we have from @cara_putman. Click To...

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The day after…There is peace

Nov09

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The day after…There is peace

As I write this I am exhausted from watching election night returns into the wee hours of the morning Tuesday/Wednesday. My jaw was on the ground most of the night as the election returns rolled in from across the country. Our hope isn’t restrained by who won or lost the election. @Cara_Putman encourages #hope. Click To Tweet This morning there are people who are devastated, there are those who are optimistic, there are those who are angry, those who are shell-shocked. This entire election cycle has been crazy with a capital C. But in that there have been great lessons for me. Where do I place my hope? Is my hope in individuals? In politicians? In a political system? Or is my hope built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and my faith in Him. Do I truly believe He is King of all, or do I believe is sovereignty is dictated by an initial or a color? Those have been excellent questions for me to ask myself. It’s been a good season of checking where my heart is and where my faith is. What have I done to contribute to divisiveness that is running amok in our country? I want to say nothing, but God has been reminding me over and over that my primary call is to love. Therefore, I have started asking Him to show me how to love all of those around me, especially the ones not like me. If I’m truly loving Him, then it should overflow to those He places around me. I have a long way to go to walk this out as He loves,but I want to. My prayer for us moving forward is that we would come together. One thing this election showed is how divided our country is. Listening to the newscasters slice and dice us made me sad. One thing I have been asking God to do in my life this year is show me how to love well the people in my life that are nothing like me. Regardless of who is president, I know who is king. And as his daughter I am his representative here on earth. My prayer moving forward is that I would be every day a better representative for him. Anyone want to join me in that prayer? We could turn the world upside down if we loved like Jesus. Praying God will be all you need...

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Fiction Friday: A Huge Thank You Giveaway

Nov04

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Fiction Friday: A Huge Thank You Giveaway

It’s November. A month that encourages me to stop and think of all the reasons I’m thankful. In a world that can focus on the negative, it’s a reminder that I need early and often. So I’m absolutely delighted to stop and say thank you to you my readers. Today @cara_putman is #thankful for you, her readers. Join her for a #giveawy. Click To Tweet Today I’m so thankful for you. This writing journey can be lonely. But with readers who interact with me and share the fun of the stories, this journey is so enjoyable. I’m thankful for the amazing friendships I’ve made along the way. It’s unbelievable to me the amazing people I get to call friend, including the amazing women in the graphic above. The Grove Girls have helped make this journey so meaningful over the last few years. I wish I could bring all of you together in one place to get to know them, their stories, and their hearts for God. If you’ve never popped by the Grove, please do. It’s a place where we share what God’s teaching us once a week, plus a beautiful graphic and prayer on Fridays. Here’s an example of a recent graphic. Isn’t it perfect for this month? A reminder that no matter what we are blessed by God with all that we need. I want to share my thanks with you. In addition to entering the we’re Thankful for Our Readers contest, you can also enter a giveaway of my book of your choice. Just enter below. What is one thing you are thankful for this month? a Rafflecopter...

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Finding Community in Family Craziness

Nov01

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Finding Community in Family Craziness

Last weekend, my family and I did one of those crazy road trips. We left Indiana at 10:30 in the morning and drove all day to Lincoln, Nebraska. There we spent time with family all with the excuse of a football game pulling us to town. Then Sunday morning the kids and I drove back while Eric stayed for work. Crazy. You can call us that. Surely at some point in time you’ve done something as crazy? Sometimes it’s in the crazy that we find community @cara_putman. #family #Community Click To Tweet You might say it was insane, but it was worth every moment. Why? Because we got to connect with family. I’m blessed with kids who adore their cousins. Family that will make time when we come to town — I didn’t get photos at the gathering at Grandma’s farm after the game. But we like each other. Enough to do crazy things like congregate for a football game. It got me thinking about the community God places us in. And the community I have to place my characters in when I’m writing a book. Community is a lot of my identity. I had some split loyalties going Saturday — I’ve got degrees from Nebraska and Purdue, but when Purdue led into the second half, my true loyalties erupted. I’m a Husker through and through. But I’m many other things as well. I’m an author, a mother, a wife, a university lecturer, an attorney, a Christian, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and so many more. All of these titles represent a different community I am part of, a different part of who I am. Remove any one of these and you remove part of my identity. Part of what makes me…me. You’re the same. You belong to a host of communities. Which  communities make you who you are? What are the communities that leaving you longing for more connection? All of them are part of your...

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Non-Fiction Reads for Your Family

Oct28

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Non-Fiction Reads for Your Family

Today it’s Friday, so that means I’m talking about books I think  you’ll enjoy. Most weeks, I call this Fiction Friday. Today it’s Non-Fiction Friday because I’ve got two books that are great for the pre-teens and teens in your life. It’s non-fiction Friday at @cara_putman blog. Great books for the YA in your life. Click To Tweet I am always looking for books that can be a great addition to our homeschool library. I want books that will help me as I teach my kids how to defend their faith or as we navigate into new areas of parenting territory. Both of these books can be a great help to parents and their kids. Cold Case Christianity is written as an adventure for tweens. The youngsters are going to be part of a police academy and through the program learn whether Christianity makes sense. Cold Case Christianity has great illustrations that support the story, and the story does a great job of making apologetics approachable for younger kids. I’ve read it to all four of mine (6 to 16) and they’ve enjoyed it. There is also a great website that supports the book with downloadable activity sheets for each chapter as well as short videos. The videos are fantastic and should be watched before reading the chapter. This book would be great for homeschoolers, Sunday school classes, and other settings where young people will gather to learn about their faith. The other book is for older young women — think 15 years old and up. The 10 Myths of Teen Dating is a book designed to hep you expose your daughter to some of the lies our world feeds women. For example, If I have a Boyfriend, I’ll be Happy. Or how about this one: Sex Comes without Consequences. If we live together, we’ll stay married, and many, many more. This book is written from the perspective of help your daughter understand why these myths are not the road she wants to walk. It’s written in a very conversational tone and filled with research without reading like an academic paper. It could be a great tool to help open conversations with your teen about what dating can be and what it shouldn’t be. This book is perfect for families that need a little help addressing these critical topics in a non-threatening way. Here’s more about both books: At the crucial age between 8 and 12, many kids begin to wonder if Christianity and the Bible are true. Help your kids become truth-seeking detectives with the help of J. Warner and Susie Wallace’s Cold Case Christianity for Kids. Detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. The book includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit. One grand prize winner will receive: A copy of Cold-Case Christianity for Kids A Kindle Fire so your kids can visit the Cold-Case Christianity for Kids website and explore its many activities A shock-proof, kid-friendly, convertible Kindle Fire case (your kids’ choice of color) Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 4. The winner will be announced November 7 on the Litfuse blog.   Cold-Case Christianity for Kids (David C. Cook, October 2016) In Cold-Case...

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Fiction Friday: Tangled Web

Oct21

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Fiction Friday: Tangled Web

It’s Friday and that means time to introduce you to another book I’ve enjoyed recently. I’m also really curious about what you’re reading right now as the evenings turn to fall with a chill that makes me reach for a blanket and a good book. Be sure to read to the end to learn about a giveaway I’m running for one of my books. The more entries, the more copies I’m giving away. Looking for a great romantic suspense and a #giveaway? check out @cara_putman’s #FictionFriday pick. Click To Tweet Tangled Web is the last in the Men of Valor series. It’s the story of younger brother Finn McGregor, an Army vet who’s back home and trying to decide what’s next. He retreats to a cabin in Missouri for a month to finish recuperating and plan what’s next…until he’s awakened by a woman’s screams. Turns out his neighbor has some trauma of her own she’s dealing with. The last thing Dana wants is a relationship, but when things start happening at her remote cabin, she’s glad to have the handy Finn around. Together they try to figure out who’s causing the vandalism. This book has some great scenes with characters from the earlier books, but reading those is not a prerequisite to enjoying this one. The villain isn’t hidden, so this is a book of wondering if Finn and Dana will figure out who is behind the escalating attacks…and whether they’ll decide where their relationship is headed. This book is perfect for those who love psychological suspense with a strong dose of romance. I enjoyed every page. Here’s more about Tangled Web: After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action–ready or not. Bestselling author Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners . . . and keeps them captive until the very last page. In honor of miscarriage awareness I’m giving away two of my books that include miscarriage as a theme. For each 100 entries, I’ll add another book. Feel free to spread the word! a Rafflecopter...

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God’s Great Gentleness

Oct17

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God’s Great Gentleness

October 15th is miscarriage loss day. It always brings pain to the surface, a pain that isn’t too far removed from my days. I’ve had two miscarriages, two precious children I don’t know this side of heaven. Last year God gave me another slice of peace about the process, so today I wanted to share this so that it can encourage your hearts if you’ve walked a similar journey. Recently, the Grove girls and I have been talking about the meanings in names. Our names aren’t an accident. They have deep meaning and speak destiny to our hearts and lives. Through that discussion, God reminded me in a very gentle way that He was very present in my time of deepest pain. After my miscarriages, I begged God to show me how He would use this intense pain for His glory and for good this side of heaven. I couldn’t wait for the other side of heaven to see the fulfillment of the promise. I had to see Him. One way He showed Himself was that my parents’ ministry of healing has expanded to women who had miscarriages. As they pray for these women, Jesus often gives the women the name for their babies. There is a healing in that act and knowing that Jesus knows their children. In His #gentleness, God will meet us in our deepest pain. Click To Tweet Yet I didn’t think I’d received names. Here I’d lived through the pain not once, but twice, and even in that, I never felt that moment when Jesus gave me a name for those children. This week He revealed to me He gave those names to my kids. Abigail and Jonathan were young (6 & 3) with the first miscarriage and so very excited to have a baby brother or sister. Because my first two pregnancies had been so routine we let the kids know before the first trimester ended. Abigail had just made and handed out adorable diaper announcements when we had an ultrasound that revealed no heartbeat. We were all devastated, but the kids named our first loss baby Mickey (Michael). The second loss baby we call Gabbie. All this time, I’ve thought those names were relatively random, yet beautiful names for our angel babies. Then this week for the first time I looked up the meanings of those names.  The fact I waited so long to look them up is still stunning to me. The meanings revealed God’s immense gentleness and the way He sees and knows and nothing is a mistake when He is in it. Michael means Who is like God? This was the question I had to wrestle to the ground after the first miscarriage. Gabriel means God is my strong man… That second miscarriage about shattered me. God had to be my strength because I didn’t have it in me. I’ve got tears in my eyes as I type this, because those names are so appropriate to the journey God walked and wrestled with me after each loss.  God is gentle. He isn’t intimidated by our questions, our emotions, our brokenness. How has He revealed His great gentle love in your life? And to end on a joyful note, I’m holding a giveaway of two of my books that include the issue of miscarriage. I’d love to have you...

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Fiction Friday: Ebook Deal Smorgasborg

Oct07

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Fiction Friday: Ebook Deal Smorgasborg

It’s Fiction Friday and today I wanted to tell you about several of my friends’ books that are on great ebook sales this month. I know I love picking up books from authors I love when they’re on sale. So here are a few I thought you would enjoy. Happy reading! Need to fill your ereader? @cara_putman shares #ebook #deals. #amreading. Click To Tweet Each of these is $1.99 right now. Snag them while you can! The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become. In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling. A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling. When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.   The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left. Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself. Zac was just beginning to get his life back on track after Lucy left him with no explanation. And now she’s back—vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. Has he been given a second chance with the only woman who stirs his passion and haunts his dreams? Lucy knows she must unlock those missing months and discover why she threw everything away. And Zac knows that if he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life—but if Lucy’s memory returns, his would-be bride might say goodbye forever. The Bone will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter. When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic. Yet what unsettles Gwen most is that...

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