All this week I’ve been sharing my posts from the recent Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. My prayer is I encourage you with a realistic look at marriage. That you can choose oneness and isolation and beat the odds. I believe in you!
LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, Day 5
This picture is from a cruise we took to Mexico to celebrate our 15th anniversary. From infertility to nearly losing a child to death of a parent and lots of transition, we had overcome so much that should have divided us. Anything we learned came from the FamilyLife Marriage Conference, something we attended as an engaged couple. The biggest principle we still work to apply is to choose oneness. Any relationship has two choices—isolation or oneness. Marriage has to operate in oneness. This was a celebration trip for sure.
Don’t Miss out! Click below to learn more about my Goodreads Giveaway.
NOTE: If you receive this blog via email, the sale might already have started.
Although Ohio has seen 90+ temps already (and snow in May,) it is now summer. One of my favorite things to do is watch our daughter swim and have a book on the deck.
And now, I want to put a couple books in YOUR hands.
If you enjoy the feel of a “real” book, I priced ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED so you could buy both and spend less than $20. Typically, you would see a full length novel sell for $15 each. I believe that much in these stories getting to people and changing lives.
If you have a Kindle, or a tablet, laptop, desktop or phone that you use for reading, I am having a sale on the ebook versions of ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21. Remember, if you don’t have a Kindle, download the FREE Kindle app to your device and start reading!
ENTRUSTED will be FREE. Yep, no cost at all.
ENTANGLED will be .99. You can purchase both books in the Surrendering Time Series (book 3, ENGAGED, due later this year) for .99 ebooks. That’s how to say hello to summer!
Purchase Link: http://ow.ly/RGOs301mVag (Please check to make sure you’ve selected preferred format, and that the ebook sale started. It is slated to begin Monday, June 20, approximately 12am Pacific.)
“You need to go home, city-girl. You don’t belong.”
Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS and a determination to fit in as the newest resident. She wants to live a life without regret and make a difference. Moving to become the senior center director is the biggest risk she’s ever taken, and she believes her ideas are worth investing in. The senior citizens have been hurt by the last director, so Jenna has to work hard to earn their trust. When they embrace her, she thinks it’s time to show the seniors she intends to stay and make the center beautiful for them.
Town councilman and grocer Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving from the double loss of his grandfather’s passing and his former girlfriend leaving town without saying goodbye. His grief is so strong he wants to shut down the senior center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. Re opening the senior center and hiring a new director was never his plan. Jenna isn’t a Speculator Falls local and she has too many plans that will cost money the village doesn’t have. She’s too excited about his dream to expand the store his grandfather built. The harder he tries to keep Jenna at a distance, the more they are thrown together to work on community projects. They build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?
Purchase Link: http://ow.ly/1ryi301mVyX (Please check to make sure you’ve selected preferred format, and that the ebook sale started. It is slated to begin Monday, June 20, approximately 12am Pacific.)
“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”
Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.
Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.
Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?
Most everyone knows I’m from Upstate NY. Although my hometown is Corning, I received my BA from the State University of New York at Geneseo. It was 1990-92 when I was there.
The school for the most part was divided into two categories: Upstate NY and NYC/Long Island. Now remember the time frame. Come Superbowl time, it was the Buffalo Bills and NY Giants. Talk about a battle. No, not the football teams. My friends.
When it came down to that one kick that unfortunately didn’t give the Bills a win, my dorm shook. No lie. The uproar between upstate and downstate probably scored on the Reichter scale.
Those were the Jim Kelly years and Geneseo was close enough to Buffalo somehow as an Upstate-er I felt a connection. There were times we heard the players used our track or were on their way to party at the exact places we were at. We had friends of friends of friends who had been to parties. He was part of my college scene by association and again, with that Superbowl moment, embedded into my college memories for life.
It seemed fitting as I graduated and moved on, the Bills kind of faded as well, at least as far Superbowl invitations and national fanfare. I’d hear Jim Kelly news here and there but I was busy carving out my place in Upstate NY.
The next phase where I felt a connection was after college, after marriage, after children. I was evolving as a woman of faith—not as tied to approval as I once was, but still not where I am today. It was the darkest time of my life. My dad was dying. My husband was on the precipice of moving to Ohio for a new job. Our baby was still sick with multiple breathing issues that often had her hospitalized. I wasn’t healed from her near death and how it came at a doctor’s hand. I heard about a women’s luncheon at our local radio station where Jill Kelly would be sharing. I knew Jill was married to Jim and that they had the little boy, Hunter. I thought it would be a nice break to see what she had to say.
Jill’s testimony remains a spiritual marker in my life. As she shared life with Hunter she talked about how each ER visit to them could mean his last. Our situations were different yet I knew that fear she spoke of. How many ER trips we’d endured. Our pede even gave me his personal cell in case I needed it. He had to convince me she was going to live to see her first birthday. When Jill spoke, the grief imploded and I sobbed as she spoke. She was so honest about her past and where her faith was at that moment. Where Jim was at spiritually. Then she shared a verse that was helping her through it all—the therapies, the ER visits, caring for her daughters, encouraging Jim.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
I grabbed that verse and held on for dear life as we navigated more grief, sickness and change. I followed the headlines as Hunter left this world. I never forgot that verse. As our daughter stabilized I prayed for the Kelly family. I couldn’t even fathom the depth of their grief.
Fast forward and I then read about Jim’s cancer. I lifted up prayers and continued to follow headlines. When I read the cancer came back, I felt my gut drop. I wanted to do something for them, still remembering how Jill’s talk gave me the courage to move forward in faith. How so many great college memories were intertwined with Jim and the Bills. The only thing I could think of was to pray. I wrote one out on the Facebook page, returning that same verse to them in their great time of need.
During this time I saw Erin’s posts on social media. As difficult as her situation was, a young woman already fluent in grief, sharing their journey to encourage others. I saw such a gift in her writing and a maturity in her faith.
And here we are. Kelly Tough is Erin’s account of her life and faith and I want to say more than that, but I’ll wait for my review tomorrow. But for a family I’ve never met, somehow when I read the Kelly name, I always perked up.
And I think I always will.
BONUS: Love Inspired is giving $1 off. Click here to Save $1.00
A Hero for Her Son
When the baby he rescued seven years ago returns—with his widowed adoptive mom—Deputy Fire Chief Matt Bailey can’t turn them away. Desperate to escape the reminders of his failure in the line of duty, Matt is close to leaving town. But one look at Rachel Carter and her son, Christopher, has him second-guessing his plans. Rachel is a mom in need of a hero for her son. But as much as she wants the two to bond, she’s determined to keep her distance from Matt. After losing her husband on the job, she promised never to love another fireman. Yet somehow she finds herself drawn to the one man she should avoid.
I devoured this book. The chemistry between Rachel and Matt flew off the page right from the start and
. Matt met Christopher years ago when the baby was dropped off at the fire house. Fast forward and Christopher is an adoptive child who lost his dad. He’s lost and angry and Rachel, his adoptive mom, is desperate for solutions. Maybe, just maybe, the first one to meet him holds some answers.
But Matt has a wound he’s unable to have heal and the closer he gets to Rachel, the more he has to think about his grief. I loved the way it all connected together.
I highly recommend you read The Firefighter’s Promise by Patricia Johns.
I received The Firefighter’s Promise from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
April is a month set aside to make people a little more informed when it comes to infertility. On April 28th our book, A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for your Journey Through Infertility releases. Our heart is make sure everyone who is walking or has walked in these shoes will have a copy so they can read our transparent stories and find hope and healing.
I thought I’d take some time to share aspects that are fresh in my mind as if they were yesterday. The book contains my full story but here is a topic that hurts to this day:
When people tried to say something about my infertility or miscarriage.
Our wedding song is Allison Krauss’ When You Say Nothing at All. As a title, it’s what I wish 99% of the people would have done. I know they meant well but the pain was excruciating. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Oh, how true.
Again, you need to read the book to learn specifics but the Bible verses, pat answers and the replies I call the “Job’s friends comments” cut through me like a knife. People with no loss of their own suddenly had a ministry degree to measure my sins and level of faith against my menstrual cycle. Some gave advice for the next time. Others tried to make me understand in my pain it was the same as their one bad hair day or something that was definitely apples and oranges.
Then there was timing. When the first round of people did a great job spreading the happy news, but failed to mention the subsequent loss. So when an acquaintance asked about the baby, I had to give the update. It was awful. Or the glowing new mom sharing details regarding life post delivery. I wanted to sink in a hole.
The grief is that deep and that’s why most answers hurt so much. Years have passed but infertility hasn’t changed. It is a deep ache and sense of loss. If that’s not your story not even my own favorite Bible verse is going to help at that moment. Trust that in time, it will. But spouting it out as a “this covers all” statement makes things worse.
So what do you say to someone who is hurting from infertility and/or miscarriage?
If you haven’t walked that out, say nothing. Okay, nearly nothing. Admit you have no idea what to say but that you care, deeply. Open your arms and allow her the freedom to enter that hug and literally snot all over you. Give the opportunity for her to speak with transparency, which will include raw hurt. Don’t judge her. It is healthy to get those toxic thoughts out. When she is done, ask if you could pray. If she doesn’t want to at that time, promise you will, and do it. If you pray at that moment, be simple. Don’t wax eloquent, this isn’t about you. Be that gap that takes her hurt to the Lord.
If you have walked this out, I believe you can, with discernment, be bolder. I fell in a deep pit and my dear friend had the experience to call me out because she’d been there. She showed up when I said I wasn’t ready for company. She gave a deadline (after prayer) where I was able to share everything for one hour, no matter how vile. After that hour, she led me in a healing prayer. That. Changed. Everything.
I hope this helps and I hope you can read my heart here. I’m not about pushing a product. I am about women finding freedom through surrender in Christ. The toughest surrender for me was giving the Lord my infertility and then again the anger I had when I miscarried. I searched for a book that would help me feel less alone and I couldn’t find any. I believe A Walk in the Valley is a source of hope and a feeling of “they get it. They get ME.”
God bless you all.