Archive for April, 2019

I read an interesting article the other day about introverts and extroverts. I have read other similar articles in the past, but for whatever reason this one struck me this particular day. Maybe because I was having an introverted moment and it spoke directly to my heart, helping me realize I wasn’t being antisocial but truly needed space to fill back up again since I was beyond emotionally depleted.


One tidbit I learned from the article answered a question for me that had frustrated me for years. Being introverted, I crave deep conversation. Being a female adds to that deep-seated need inside me as well as being a writer.


Superficial conversation is very hard for me. Some people are great at walking into a room full of people and “working it,” engaging people in different superficial topics and each person walking away from the exchange filled. Sadly, that’s not me. Those types of encounters deplete my emotional reserves and leave me feeling … empty. (That’s not to say I can’t ever engage in superficial conversations because there is definitely a time and a place for both.)

However, the article spoke about how extroverts are filled up with superficial conversations and introverts are filled up with deeper conversations. It’s more about personality types than about people not wanting to go deep or people wanting to go too deep.


That one point of the whole article gave me an “ah ha” moment. I used to feel frustrated when certain people wouldn’t “go deep” with me and I took it personally, that they didn’t want that close relationship with me. Now, I realize it might have less to do with our relationship and more to do with our personality types. That realization opened my eyes and freed up our relationship to be what it was, without expecting anything else.


That doesn’t mean we don’t ever go deep; it just means on the days we stay superficial, I realize I’m filling up the other person and the days we go deep, it’s filling up me.


Isn’t that what relationships are all about – when two people are very different, both won’t usually be able to be filled up at the same time always. So sometimes one person will be filled and the other not as much. The next time? The other will be filled and the one not so much. Give and take.


I feel badly it took an article about introverts and extroverts to teach me that, but I’m glad I read it and God revealed that truth.


What about you? Are you more extroverted or introverted? What types of conversations fill you up – more superficial topics or going deep?


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Our family watches the TV show Hoarders sometimes. One reoccurring theme I’ve noticed is that many times the adults who have lived with the disease of hoarding have grown children who love them so much and want to help their parents live in a safe, healthy environment. They will beg and plead for their parents to get the help they need.


Yesterday’s episode showed an adult daughter offering to pay the monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment so her parents could move out of their almost-condemned house into a place where she could rest at night knowing her parents’ health and safety wasn’t in jeopardy. However, her parents continued to refuse the free gift of life, choosing to remain in a house that would eventually kill them. The daughter was in tears, knowing she couldn’t force them to move, but hating to watch them destroy their lives.

It got me thinking. I wonder if it’s similar to how God must feel about us. We’re His children (not His parents) but He wants nothing more than for us to accept the free gift of salvation that He offered up His Only Son, Jesus Christ on the cross to give us. Yet so many of us flatly refuse His help – preferring to do things our way even though they are leading us on a path of death and eternal separation from Him and His love.

Maybe you’re already a Christian and so the above example doesn’t apply to you. Maybe instead God is offering you the gift of freedom from an addiction, a lifestyle of anger, fear, anxiety, or illness. Are you surrendering to His way, His free gift for you? Or, are you telling God, “No, thanks. I’d rather live in this condemned house that isn’t safe and will eventually kill me.”


God is too much of a gentleman. He won’t force His choices on us. He wants us to come to Him freely. The adult daughter legally could not force her choices on her parents. It was killing the daughter emotionally to walk away and leave her parents in their unsafe environment when she was offering them a safer alternative that they weren’t willing to accept.


What is God inviting you to lay down today in order to give you the blessing of something better? I’d love to continue this conversation in the comments below.

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About the Book:

Book Title: The Memory House

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release date: April 2, 2019

Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that either.

Decades earlier, Widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.


About the Author:

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.

She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club. She is also the recipient of RT’s Career Achievement Award.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.


Excerpt from The Memory House:

When Mama Applegate spoke as if Everleigh were a guest rather than a family member, she embraced it with grace. Because at the end of the day, she was Rhett’s wife. She alone shared his dreams, his heart, his life.

And at night, when she couldn’t sleep, his soft breathing was her lullaby.

“Listen, mister, I have to get back to work or I won’t make it home in time for our dinner.” She tugged at his shirt collar. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here?”

“I was going to wait until tonight, but I got so excited . . .” Rhett stepped over to the desk in front of Everleigh’s and retrieved a long white canister. “Here. Open it. I feel like a kid at Christmas.”

“Rhett, what have you done?” She pried away the cap and slipped out a set of drawings.

“Here, let me.” Rhett unrolled a rendering of a cozy house with a wraparound porch nestled between two cottonwoods. “Our house, Ev. I took those sketches you made after we were married and gave

them to the architect. What do you think?”

“Th-this is our house?” She wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning against his thick arm as she studied the drawing.

“It’s our house, darling.”

Everleigh studied the drawing. It was just like she imagined. “Are you sure?” She gazed up at her husband. “I didn’t think we’d saved enough money.”

“We’ve saved every penny of your salary, and I finally sold the stud bull to Jacob Marshall. He’s been after me for a year . . .” Rhett held her with one hand while flipping through the drawing with the other. “I bought the ten acres by the stream. You know, the one with the trees we loved. Dad wanted to give it to us, but I said no strings.

I wanted to buy it so he can’t hold it over me. Not that he would, but family business can get tricky.” Everleigh leaned to see the name of the road. Memory Lane.

“Darling, the section right off Memory Lane? The spot I wanted?”

Rhett’s grandmother had named the dirt road years ago, when she imagined a large family with lots of grandkids running around.

She envisioned an Applegate community.

But her sons, Melvin and Earl, went to war. Only Earl—nicknamed Spike—returned home the fall of 1918. He inherited the ranch, married Mama Applegate, and fathered Rhett, an only child. Grandma’s two daughters married and moved away.

“Your granny would be proud, darling,” Everleigh said. “We’re beginning her dream.”

“Sh-she would.” Rhett cleared his throat, pressing his fist over his cough. “So, w-what do you think?”

Tell him! The timing could not have been more perfect.

“Rhett, sweetheart—”

He jerked his wrist up, checking his watch. “Oh, Ev, sorry, darling, but I promised Dad I’d pick him up from the hardware store thirty minutes ago.” He gave her a quick, passing kiss. “I’d planned to show you these tonight, but I just couldn’t wait.” He rolled up the drawings and tucked them into the canister. “What is it you wanted to say?” On reflex, he checked his watch again.

“Nothing,” she said, smiling. “I’ll see you later. We can talk then. I have work to do anyway.”

“You sure?”

Everleigh fell into him and pressed her cheek against his chest.

“You make my dreams come true, Rhett Applegate.”

He kissed her one more time, then held her at arm’s length.

“Distraction, girl, you are one beautiful distraction.”

My Review of The Memory House:

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck was an amazing book. I loved how it traveled back and forth between time periods and characters, intersecting them all in a way that made me fall in love with each of them – fallacies, imperfections and all. I loved how even the “villains” (term used loosely) were shown in such a way as to make my heart bleed for the choices they made and the mistakes they had to live with. I loved the depth of the characters – I truly fell in love with all of them, and I think Beetle Boo was my ultimate favorite. So many people lost so much in this book; yet they all seemed to find what was important in the end … or were working toward that future by the close of the book. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye when I closed the final page. This book was like a great cup of coffee – meant to be savored long after taking the final sip.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions were strictly my own.


Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.


Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads , April 22

The Avid Reader, April 22

Wishful Endings, April 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 23

The Power of Words, April 23

Andrea Christenson, April 23

Worthy2Read, April 23

Carla Loves to Read, April 24

Blogging With Carol, April 24

Spoken from the Heart, April 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 24

C Jane Read, April 25

Reader’s Cozy Corner, April 25

Lis Loves Reading, April 25

For Him and My Family, April 25


Literary Reflections Book Blog, April 26

Jeanette’s thoughts, April 26

Carpe Diem, April 26

Mary Hake, April 27

EmpowerMoms, April 27

My Devotional Thoughts, April 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 27

Bigreadersite, April 28

Inklings and notions, April 28

Pause for Tales, April 28

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, April 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29

Rachel’s Back Talk, April 29

For The Love of Books, April 29

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, April 30

Quiet Quilter, April 30

Just the Write Escape, April 30

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 1

Godly Book Reviews, May 1

Lights in a Dark World, May 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 1

Stories By Gina, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

janicesbookreviews, May 3

Living Life Free in christ, May 3

The Becca Files, May 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 4

A Reader’s Brain, May 4

Inspired by fiction, May 5

Moments, May 5

To Everything A Season, May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)



To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of a copy of The Memory House!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e2aa/the-memory-house-celebration-tour-giveaway

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“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” Isaiah 22:22 (NIV)


Have you heard the phrase when God opens doors, no one else can shut them … and when God shuts doors, no one else can open them? I was sitting here thinking this morning about the different ways God has opened doors for me in my life, from big things to little things that may seem inconsequential to others but are huge blessings to me.


For instance, I belong to a review group and mainly am eligible for eBooks, not paperbacks. One of the books that was available to be requested, I felt God nudging me that I was supposed to read it. It’s a nonfiction book and I digest nonfiction content better in paperback form. I applied for the book, trusting as I usually do that God would allow me to get it if He wanted me to read it and if I wasn’t chosen, He was saying, “Not this time.” I was fine with either answer.


Last night I received an email that I was one of the ones chosen for the book and when I looked to see whether I was getting an eBook or a paperback, I saw I’ll be receiving a paperback. That may seem inconsequential to you, but it’s very significant to me.

For the month of February God invited me to “do spiritual battle, to intercede” on behalf of someone. I wasn’t sure if I heard God right, but wanted to obey so stepped forward with the little information I had and slowly but surely God’s been affirming and confirming that I’m being obedient with the assignment He invited me too. The major way He wanted me to fight this battle was through worship and praise. So I have been worshipping and praising more than praying.

Then the opportunity came to read and review a specific book that appeared to be the next layer of the assignment. I felt nudged by God to apply for it and then waited, knowing I was probably getting an eBook and being willing to read it that way even though I prefer paperbacks when it comes to lessons He wants to teach me. Getting picked for the team, and then finding out I will be receiving a paperback was further confirmation to me that “What God invites us to an assignment and we step out in obedience, He opens doors no one can shut.”

A lot of times in life I scramble around, afraid I’m missing assignments God wants me to experience, walking through doors that I’m not sure He invited me to because I “just don’t want to miss out on His blessings” or maybe I just don’t want to be left behind. I’m realizing living that way is really living in fear. Fear of being left behind. Fear of missing the mark.

I have experience in what God’s nudges feel like. I have heard Him invite me to areas of life before … and I trust Him enough that He will continue to invite and nudge me as long as I surrender my will to His each and every day.

My desire is to live tuned to His frequency. Not scrambling around requesting five books to review “because He might want to use me,” but instead pausing and taking a few minutes to ask Him if He wants me to read and review a particular book before requesting it.

Reading and reviewing books is a little thing compared to all the opportunities presented to us on a daily basis and that is just one small example I’m using. But when I choose to invite God into every situation in my life – my job choices, my friend choices, my lifestyle choices, my recreational choices – then I will start to live my best and not always be scrambling to catch up.

My goal is to remember that truth on a daily basis and not just every once in a while.


Do you struggle in that area too? If so, what is one change you can make in your daily life that will help you focus on hearing God’s invitations and tuning out the rest of the noise?


© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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Last time we were together I spoke about how our family has been praying about a situation for the past six years. My prayers went from selfish, “get me out now” prayers to surrendering to God’s will, timing, and plan prayers. Since I wrote that, God has brought another perspective into my prayers. I want to share that perspective with you today.


While I completely believe in changing my focus from “me first, selfish” prayers to “fully surrendered to God’s plan” prayers, sometimes, I believe God calls us to pray “speak directly to the mountain” prayers.

I believe God wants us to come to Him honestly when we pray, telling Him our desires, pain, hopes, and dreams. However, after pouring out our feelings, then He wants us to surrender our will to His and watch Him work.


However, there is another piece to this that I was missing. God has been showing me in many different ways lately how much He loves me.


When we are God’s children, His plans are always for our good. Always. There are multiple verses in the Bible that talk about God’s good plans for us, one being Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)


Now what He considers good and what we want to be good might not always line up (think about a child asking for pop and we offer water because we know it’s healthier and won’t cause cavities), but ultimately, God’s plans for us as His children are always good.


God has been showing me lately that if that statement above is true (and it is), I don’t need to beg Him for the desires of my heart. He planted those desires in there to begin with. He wants good things for my life as much as I do, and if what I’m praying for to happen lines up with biblical truths, then no begging is required. He and I are already synched – we both want the desire to be fulfilled and for the prayer I’ve been praying to be answered.

So, what then is holding it back from being answered? It could be many things. God could want to see growth in my life first (I may have to be tested) so that when the desire is fulfilled, I have the maturity to handle the desire; or the enemy who truly does not want me walking in God’s purpose for my life could be trying to prevent it from happening, or delaying it from being answered.


Sometimes, I think God leads us to “speak to our mountain” prayers – boldly declaring out loud, using Jesus’ authority to remind our enemy that while he comes to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus came so that we “may have life, and have it to the full,” paraphrased from John 10:10 (NIV).


When we speak Scripture back to the enemy, it weakens his power and strengthens our faith. When we believe what we’re saying, that God does love us unconditionally and desire good for our lives, desire His dreams that He planted in our hearts to come to pass, His way, it also strengthens our faith.


My question for you today is this: have you ever considered this element of prayer? Believing you don’t have to beg God for the desires of your heart, when they line up with His desires for your life but instead speaking to the mountain and reminding our enemy just how big and powerful and loving our God is.


Does that perspective strengthen your faith and encourage you while you wait for your prayers to be answered?


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About the Book:

Book Title: Beauty in Hiding

Author: Robin Patchen

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 12, 2019

Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series:

Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her. 

Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are.

Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.

Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.

Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.

Don’t miss Beauty in Hiding, Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series. Download it today. 



About the Author:

Robin Patchen writes contemporary Christian suspense, romance, and romantic suspense. Her books are often set in New England, where she grew up. She creates strong, protective heroes and intelligent, courageous heroines.

For a free book, join her newsletter at https://robinpatchen.com/AmazonFree.

Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves–writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world–twice, if possible–and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.


More from Robin:

I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time.

Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out.

But God… two of my favorite words in the English language.

God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity.

Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of.

Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison.

Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ.

Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.


My Review of Beauty in Hiding:

Beauty in Hiding by Robin Patchen is the second in the Beauty in Flight trilogy. I’ve read other books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this series as the blurb didn’t capture my attention as much as her previous books. However, I have to say I LOVE this series. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to Harper because of her beauty, her past, her lifestyle but she was so relatable. I kept forgetting how beautiful she was until the male characters in the book would remind me. She’s so humble and endearing. I was drawn in on the first page and wanted to read all three books one after the other, that’s how good they were. I love the elements of Christianity throughout without it being too preachy. I absolutely love the way the author wrote Derrick, Jack, and more importantly, Redd.

I loved the cliff hanger from Book 1 and I love the cliff hanger into Book 3. I would highly recommend buying all three books at the same time so that you don’t have to wait in between to finish Harper’s story. I am currently finishing Book 3 because I have to see how it’s all going to end, and I don’t want to put it down, it’s that good!

I truly loved this book. It’s a great story for all readers – it will capture the attention of the younger readers while older, more conservative readers will find the storyline, adventure, and suspense intriguing and page turning. This is a series I would gladly read and discuss with my teenage daughter.



To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire Beauty in Flight Series!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de7a/beauty-in-hiding-celebration-tour-giveaway


Thanks for stopping and connecting here at Spoken from the Heart: If you want to subscribe to my email to receive the latest updated information or to just be encouraged, sign up here: www.cheriswalwell.com

As my way of saying thanks, you will receive a free eBook – Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace

Just sign up at: www.cheriswalwell.com

Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 13

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 13

amandainpa , April 13

Through the Fire Blogs, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 14

Genesis 5020, April 15

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Lights in a Dark World, April 15

Through the Lens of Scripture, April 16

Among the Reads, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Carla Loves To Read, April 17

Godly Book Reviews, April 17

Living Life Free In christ, April 17

Remembrancy, April 18

Just One More, April 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

Emily Yager, April 19

Reader’s Cozy Corner, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

Daysong Reflections, April 20

Carla Loves To Read, April 20

janicesbookreviews, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

EmpowerMoms, April 22

Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Maureen’s Musings, April 23

Bigreadersite, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Real World Bible Study, April 24

The Lit Addict, April 24

Older & Smarter?, April 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 26

Pause for Tales, April 26

The Becca Files, April 26

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I was reading in my devotions today about how there are many times in the Bible God waits to take action until first we bring the need to Him in prayer. One such example is when He waited for Elijah’s prayer before sending rain to the people. (I Kings 18:41-46). This reminded me that while God doesn’t need our prayers in order to act; He wants our prayers and those are the prayers from which miracles come.

I love that truth because it brings me peace. Our family has been praying specifically for a situation for approximately six years now. When we first started praying, my prayers were selfish in nature and reflected fear, “God, please give us this and that and oh, yeah, this other thing too.”

In six years, my prayers have transitioned from selfish prayers to more surrendered prayers. “While I would love You to do ____, what I really want, God, is Your will in this situation. Teach me the lessons You want me to learn and use this situation to bring You glory, however that ends up looking. Don’t let us stay in this situation one day longer than You want and don’t let us leave this situation one day sooner than Your perfect timing.”

Once I started praying according to His will, the situation began to change. First with my attitude, then I started slowly to see physical changes. Next, God started speaking directly about how He wanted me to pray … and I obeyed. I’m excited to see how God is going to continue to move. I am not making demands … simply waiting to see how He’s going to show up and demonstrate His glory through this situation.


Is there something you’ve been wanting to change in your life? Have you prayed about it? Maybe God’s waiting for you to make the first move – approach Him and start a dialogue. Then sit back and watch to see how He moves in your life too.


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Last time we were together I spoke about the gift of the women in my life who show their love through cooking. Today I want to admit that I do not have the gift of cooking like they do, which is probably one of the reasons why their gift of cooking for me and my family means so much.

I do cook on a regular basis. My family does not starve. And my children have learned their way around a kitchen from me so their future families won’t starve either. One of my attempts ended with raw chicken (not undercooked, but completely raw), and another attempt resulted in lasagna soup (I still don’t know to this day what I did wrong). I share tons of recipes I find on Facebook so I can try them at home and yet time after time, they flop. I have realized cooking is not my gift … and I’m just thankful I have an amazing husband (and children) who are happy to eat edible, not fancy.

However, one thing I can do well (and enjoy doing) is bake. For someone like me, baking and cooking are VERY different. One of our favorite family things to make is our secret-recipe brownies. If you hang out with us often enough, we might even share the recipe with you. If someone in our life is having a bad day, more often than not you will get some brownies delivered in an attempt to cheer you up.

I also love to share my banana bread with the teachers at our son’s school who have become my friends. There are a few other things I bake fairly well, and I’m always more than happy to share. And, if you come to our house to visit, you will be offered homemade chocolate chip cookies that are always readily available.


Do you like to cook, bake, both, or neither? What’s your favorite thing to make and why?

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I am blessed to have many women in my life who are amazing cooks. Today I want to focus on two of them. I grew up with a mom who loves to cook and share what she’s making with us anytime we ask, or even if we don’t ask. Some of my favorite recipes of hers include sweet and sour chicken, stuffed cabbage, and her famous sticky buns.

Then I married into my husband’s family and because we live next door, my mother-in-law cooks us amazing meals on a regular basis. When we were first married, I was truly spoiled because she cooked for us Monday through Friday every single week! Her rationale was since I worked outside the home and we both had to eat, why should we both cook and have leftovers? Why not let her cook and we enjoy fellowship instead? Like I said, truly a blessing! Some of my favorites of hers include her homemade meatloaf, her homemade macaroni and cheese, and deviled eggs.

My sister is another amazing cook and I get to eat her food on special holidays. Most of the time I don’t have to bring anything except myself and enjoy the bounty of her hard work.

All of these amazing women understand it’s not about the food eaten to sustain one’s body, it’s about the fellowship around the table and the love put into the making and serving of the food.

Do you have someone special in your life who serves you love along with a favorite dish? Maybe you’re that person for someone special in your life.


What is one meal, or one dish which speaks love to you – whether you’re the cook sharing it with your family or someone special in your life makes it and shares it with you?

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About the Book

Book Title: The Baggage Handler

Author: David Rawlings

Genre: Religious Fiction

Release date: March 5, 2019

In a similar vein to The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews or Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory, The Baggage Handler is a contemporary story that explores one question: What baggage are you carrying?

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings is an extraordinary novel that lingered in my heart long after I finished it.”—Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author of The House at Saltwater Point and the Lavender Tide series

When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever.

A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.

A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding.

And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.

When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.

In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.


About the Author

David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

Website: www.davidrawlings.com.au

Facebook: David Rawlings – Author; Instagram: davidrawlingsauthor.


More from David

Watch the trailer: https://vimeo.com/250255594

Check out David’s Padlet page to follow The Baggage Handler: https://padlet.com/david_rawlings/TheBaggageHandler

My Review of The Baggage Handler:

The Baggage Handler was a book by a new author for me. It was wonderful. I was intrigued by the back cover and the book itself did not disappoint. I loved the character development, the particular phrases the author used to get his point across, and how it mirrored real life. It definitely was a book that made me think long after I turned the last page … so much so I’m still thinking about the message and its implications and I read the book over two weeks ago. This was a wonderful book I would definitely recommend others read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are exclusively mine.


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Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 30

Fiction Aficionado, March 30

Carpe Diem, March 31

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 31

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, April 1

Christian Bookaholic, April 1

Godly Book Reviews, April 2

Remembrancy, April 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 3

Spoken from the Heart, April 4

Connect in Fiction, April 4

2014 and Beyond!, April 5

The Becca Files, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Inklings and notions, April 6

Texas Book-aholic, April 7

janicesbookreviews, April 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 8

All 4 and About Books, April 8

Creating Romance, April 9

Josephine’s Bookshelf, April 9

Aryn The Libraryan, April 10

Reader’s Cozy Corner, April 10

Bigreadersite, April 11

Just the Write Escape, April 11

Artistic Nobody, April 12

A Reader’s Brain, April 12




To celebrate his tour, David is giving away a finished copy of the book to three winners!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dd7a/the-baggage-handler-celebration-tour-giveaway

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