Archive for June, 2019

About the Book

Book: The Medallion

Author: Cathy Gohlke

Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)

Release date: June 4, 2019

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.


Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Author 

Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.




My Review of The Medallion:

This was a hard book to read. It was a wonderful, thought provoking, incredibly sad yet tinged with hope book. I have never read a book that painted such a vivid picture of the starvation, torture, and resilience of the human spirit as this book. This is a book that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

I wanted to read this book because I wanted to know more about this time in history and the author did not disappoint. I felt as though I was living the war with the various characters, and then the aftermath of it also. I loved how she took us through the lives of several different people and how they all interconnected; the things people had to do in order to survive the war and then to consider – while physically they were still alive, would they ever truly be the same again?

If you have any questions about the history and brutality of the Nazi invasion, I encourage you to pick up this book. It’s one that you will never forget – I know I won’t.


I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.


More from Cathy

Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.

The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.

The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?

Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.


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

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 22

Christian Bookaholic, June 22

Carla Loves To Read, June 22

The Power of Words, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 24

By The Book, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Retrospective Spines, June 25

Inklings and notions, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

Lis Loves Reading , June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Connect in Fiction, June 27

Bigreadersite, June 28

Maureen’s Musings, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Spoken from the Heart, June 29

Inspired by fiction, June 30

Have A Wonderful Day, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Inspiration Clothesline, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Seasons of Opportunities, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

As He Leads is Joy, July 3

To Everything A Season, July 3

Hallie Reads, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 4

For The Love of Books, July 4

Emily Yager, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 5



To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e50c/the-medallion-celebration-tour-giveaway

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I love each one for the uniqueness they offer, and I love that some spill over from our children’s school to our church. We get to walk together and worship together!


Growing up, I had the privilege of living in Pittsburgh for ten years and belonging to a church where everyone was transplanted so we were our own little family. We celebrated every holiday together and were one big family.


Then we moved to New Jersey, a small town, where we were given a sense of belonging with one family in particular and to this day, they are still my Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop!


After leaving that family and moving to yet another new state, I had selective mutism for almost a month. I think it was my way of coping; although it would be more accurate (in my case) to call it avoidance.


Eventually I made friends there too and grew to love each state, each experience, each group of people as much as the others.

I have now lived in the same place the LONGEST in my whole life. I tease my husband (we live in the same community he grew up in and some of our children went to the same school he did) that when I married him, not only did I marry an amazing guy, but he gave me roots.


There was something to be said about moving around, experiencing different parts of the United States and being introduced to a variety of cultures, ways of life, and the differing lifestyles depending upon which part of the country where you live. The East Coast tends to be a more fast-paced culture; “out west” tends to be a little more laid back, and the mid-west is a little in between.


However, there is also something wonderful about putting down roots and doing life, day in and day out, with others, having that security that we have time to develop deep friendships through living life together.


While my husband and I are willing to move if God tells us “time’s up,” I’m not feeling as though that’s His plan anytime soon. I feel settled, I feel happy, and I have some of the best friends ever – both older ones from all over the country as well as those I get to do life with year after year right here.


What has been your experience? Have you moved around a lot (like I did in childhood) or are your roots firmly planted?


© Cheri Swalwell 2019




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About the Book

Book: This Healing Journey

Author: Misty M Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: July 18, 2019

The mountain wilderness of her family’s home in the Canadian Rockies is all Hannah Grant has ever known. Now at the age of twenty-four, she’s on a journey to help her father to find the son he gave up for adoption three decades before. This is Hannah’s chance to discover the life she’s missed out on so far—and hopefully find a husband along the way. But she certainly doesn’t plan to fall for the first man she meets.

Years in the Calvary provided Nathaniel Peak with more than his share of violence and adventure. That life behind him, he wants nothing more than to settle down in the beautiful Montana mountains and raise his own stock—in peace. The last thing he expects is the savagely wounded child who shows up in his barn. Nor the woman he comes to rely on for the girl’s care.

Hannah can’t help but fall in love with the brave Indian child who so desperately needs her, but no matter what, she can’t let herself fall for the man whose past choices go against everything she believes in. As the situation grows worse, Hannah and Nathaniel are forced to make a heart-rending decision to save the girl’s life. Little do they imagine, the choice they make could spell disaster for them all.


Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Author

Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.


My Review of This Healing Journey:

This was a really cute, romantic, easy read. I enjoyed it; however, I think I would have liked it more if I had read the others in the series first. While it was a stand alone book, I would have liked more background on the characters which I would get if I had read all of the books in the series.

I liked the spiritual elements that were in this book and I liked the different times of adventure and the characters as well. While it wasn’t that suspenseful or overly intense, it was a great read and I’m glad I had a chance to read it.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit but was not under any obligation to write a review. All opinions are strictly mine.


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.


More from Misty

Occasionally I hear readers debate about whether they prefer to read a series of books from an author, or only standalone novels. Personally, I love series—both reading and writing them. There’s something about seeing characters I know and love from past books that makes me warm and happy inside. Can you relate?

One of the first series I wrote, the Mountain Dreams Series, included five books that told the stories of several families intertwined through marriage and God’s connections. Those characters are still so dear to my heart! When book 5 ended, I had so many readers ask for more in the series, I began dreaming of a spin-off series with a very special connection to the hero in book 5. Enter: the Heart of the Mountains Series.

I’ve LOVED every story in this 7-book collection, taking each journey with the characters as I laughed and cried and uncovered their secrets. For the final 7th book, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m reuniting many of the characters from BOTH series! Simeon Grant (from Heart of the Mountains, book 1) goes on a journey to find the son he gave up for adoption as an infant (the hero in Mountain Dreams, book 5).

This Healing Journey has its own leading lady, Hannah Grant (the baby born at the end of This Treacherous Journey, all grown up and as tough as any lady raised in the Canadian mountain wilderness). And a new character, Nathaniel Peak, who stars as the hero (and who I fell in love with IMMEDIATELY!).

Even if you’ve never read any of my stories, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Especially if you love adventurous mountain stories as much as I do!


Blog Stops

Inspiration clothesline, June 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 18

Among the Reads, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Simple Harvest Reads, June 20

Wishful Endings, June 20

Blessed & Bookish, June 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Blossoms and Blessings, June 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 22

janicesbookreviews, June 22

CarpeDiem, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 24

Through the Fire Blogs, June 24

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 25

Bigreadersite, June 26

Spoken from the Heart, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 26

A Baker’s Perspective, June 27

Splashes of Joy, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 28

Mary Hake, June 28

Real World Bible Study, June 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 29

Inklings and notions, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 30

For the Love of Books, June 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1

Texas Book-aholic, July 1



To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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/e50e/this-healing-journey-celebration-tour-giveaway


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Our family of five is so blessed to have the extended family that we do. We have the privilege of living close to both sets of parents, and at one time we lived close to our sisters and their families as well.


Even though miles separate us with some of our family now, we make an effort to connect on a regular basis – between weekly phone calls or regular visits.


Some of my favorite memories are family dinners, leisurely afternoons at the lake, sitting and putting puzzles together, or just catching up.

We have been blessed with trips to visit those who are out of state to enjoy some quality, unrushed time together and time to celebrate special occasions all together.


Our kids have the privilege of growing up with both sets of grandparents involved in their lives. During my childhood, my grandparents lived miles away and I only got to see them once, maybe twice a year. I love that our kids get to spend time knowing not just one set, but both sets of grandparents and sharing life with them on a regular basis.


What are some special memories you have with your extended family? Are there special traditions you participate in every year, special food one relative is especially known for, or something else even more special?


© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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About the Book:

Book Title: The Pink Bonnet

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense

Release date: June 2019

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Author:

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.


More from Liz:

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book two, The Pink Bonnet, Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child? Find out in The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma.

The True Crime Behind the Story

Georgia Tann was a woman who ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. It is estimated that, in that time, she kidnapped over five thousand children and sold them to the highest bidder. She even advertised the children in the newspaper, especially around the holidays. Some of the nation’s biggest celebrities adopted through Miss Tann, including Joan Crawford, Dick Powell, and June Allyson. Learn more about Georgia Tann HERE and visit www.TrueColorsCrime.com for more exclusive content.


My Review of The Pink Bonnet:

I had read a book earlier this year about this same topic, this same woman, Ms. Georgia Tann, and it was wonderful. This book added more layers onto the book I originally read and was the “icing on the cake.” What a sad book; yet there was hope throughout as well. I love the characters; I loved the scenery and setting; I loved the story lines throughout and I loved how it made me feel as though I was right there. I highly recommend this book; although be prepared to have your heart ripped out throughout the pages as you feel what the characters are feeling as though you’re living it yourself.

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

Just the Write Escape, June 20

The Becca Files, June 20

Livin’ Lit, June 20

The Power of Words, June 21

Christian Bookaholic, June 21

Godly Book Reviews, June 21

Spoken from the Heart, June 22


For HIm and my Family, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 23

Inspired by fiction, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom, June 24

Moments, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24

Daysong Reflections, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

For the Love of Literature, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

As He Leads is Joy, June 26

Emily Yager, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Carla Loves to Read, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Changed by Him, June 28

Bigreadersite, June 28

Through the Fire Blogs, June 28

Inspiration Clothesline, June 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 29

Hallie Reads, June 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, June 30

For the Love of Books, June 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

janicesbookreviews, July 2

Older & Smarter?, July 2

By The Book, July 2

A Reader’s Brain, July 3

amandainpa, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3



To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Pink Bonnet!!

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/e331/the-pink-bonnet-celebration-tour-giveaway

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I have the best kids ever.


I am writing this during the last week of school before summer break. For us, this year, it’s an insane week with tons of extra work for me (with my jobs), extra activities and running around (with the kids), paying bills and grocery shopping, extra chores around the house, and getting everyone ready to leave for camp.


Normally this type of a schedule would have me scrambling, stressed, and crabby. It would have everyone scrambling, stressed, and crabby. Not this time.


Instead, I have been marveling at how amazing our kids are. And while they are terrific at the big things, it’s the little things that are catching my attention this week.

Our oldest being willing to mow the whole lawn (which takes a whole day because its three yards total); our youngest being willing to bake brownies for his sister because she isn’t home to do it, and when she comes home she has to study for finals; our middle child helping me figure out technology for an interview I have scheduled for Thursday; pitching in to clean up the kitchen; helping out with the laundry when it isn’t their assigned job; and then helping with the big project our family took on over the weekend that has carried over into the week. All without complaining and choosing to have fun.


Our kids are kind. Our kids are helpful. Our kids are funny. Our kids are fun. I would love them regardless, but today I want to take a few minutes and just let others know how much I appreciate being their mom.


How about your kids? I would love to hear how fantastic they are in the comments – big or little, I bet your kids are as amazing as ours.


© Cheri Swalwell 2019



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Marrying Up

You know how people talk about when they got married, they married “up?” I definitely married up!


I have a husband who is a true spiritual leader in our home, and he demonstrates that each and every day. He never asks us to do more than he’s willing to do himself, and most of the time, he just quietly does it for us so that we don’t have to.


I know that he prays for us every day. He and I pray together every morning as well, but I love that he covers me and our kids in prayer (as well as extended family and friends) on his own.


He may be considered “quiet” by many, but he’s so much more than that. He is observant, intelligent, and slow to speak, but when he does, wisdom comes out of his mouth as well as gentleness, fairness, and kindness to all involved. He weighs all angles before considering a response and I can be confident that the decision he made is one I can trust (and back him up).

He has a great sense of humor and leads our family with an attitude of fun. He knows how to not take himself (or the situation) too seriously and helps me (his wife who can be way too intense at times) to loosen up and remember to laugh.


He has a great shoulder to lean on when I need to cry and lets me share my feelings without judgment. He’s a great balance of objectivity to my (at times) overly emotional self.

He’s an amazing father to our sons and also to our daughter. I think it takes a special personality to be able to parent both sons and daughters well – and he has that skill mastered. He’s protective but fair; wants the best for all of us, and is willing to explain the “why” behind the rules.


We are team when it comes to life – whether parenting, serving, life goals, or just living. He has my back and I have his. He has been my biggest supporter in this crazy adventure of writing … and I can never express adequately my gratitude for that support.


What about you? If you’re married, what are some things about your spouse that make him/her so special? I’d love to hear you brag about your spouse in the comments below.

© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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I am blessed to have two amazing dads. One was given to me at birth; the other was given to me when I married my husband. Both are amazing men that I want to honor today.


Thank you, Dad, for your support, encouragement, and love throughout the years. You taught me how to fix things around the house, gave me a love for learning, showed us how important making memories and having fun was, and most of all, taught me how to love God. I will always treasure our mornings coloring and watching TV before school, watching thunderstorms together on the porch, and serving together at church and in the community.

Thank you, Dad, for raising my husband to be the man he is. Thank you for loving me as a daughter, not a daughter-in-law, and all the “little” things you have done (and still do) throughout the years. It may not seem important to you, but running to the store when our kids were sick for crackers and Gatorade, the beautiful Christmas mug you bought me one year “just because it looked like something I would like,” and the many family dinners we have had over the years have meant to much to me.


Today I want to honor and thank the dads in my life for their legacy of love. We are blessed to have them be such important men in our lives. Looking forward to many more years of making memories together.


© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)


I have shared the last two times we’ve been together about how God began working on our family’s schedule first, my schedule second, and then addressed my health which needs to be in optimal form in order to finish strong the life and opportunities I believe God is blessing me with now and the opportunities He wants to bless us with in the future.


First, He got my attention with our family’s schedule. Then He got my attention with my schedule. Then He changed my mindset about living out of a suitcase for the past two years, and finally He’s gotten my attention with my health.


Our conversation was just getting started, though. God didn’t only invite me to work on cutting things out of my schedule. I’m still talking to Him about that – willing to cut more until my schedule is where He wants it. I’m choosing full surrender in this area. He also isn’t just talking to me about how He wants me to prepare for the ministry He is reawakening in our family’s heart. That takes energy in and of itself, but we’re slowly working on accomplishing those goals as well.


Nope, only our loving God would show me the bigger picture of what He has planned for me in the realm of writing. In 2011, I had a conversation with God about how I thought my career would look. I was willing to work multiple jobs for up to two years, but by then my fiction writing career would have taken off and I would be able to bring in a decent income while volunteering, serving, baking chocolate chip cookies, and being available for family and friends at the drop of a hat. God instead gave me nonfiction writing assignments, self-publishing instead of traditional publishing and now I’m working three jobs in addition to my own writing.

However, one night this week as I was falling asleep and feeling guilty this time not about serving (or not serving) in the church, but about all the courses I should be taking to advance my writing career, the missed opportunities with webinars, not focusing on marketing, etc. I was stressing myself out about all the things I needed to do but wasn’t doing.


God took all that worry and stress and simplified it for me. When I chose to surrender my career (and the timeframe of it) to Him, right there in bed, He gave me back peace and an outline of what He wants me to do as well as the correct order.


The peace I experienced in that moment coupled with the excitement of the assignments He has given me brought freedom. When we choose to surrender every area of our lives – health, family, ministry opportunities, career, dreams – everything, we are given in exchange freedom and God’s peace.


Complete surrender truly does equal freedom and Jesus’ peace. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to make the changes God might require of me as He makes my schedule the way He wants it to look; but I know if I continue to surrender every area of my life (including making room for more bathroom breaks), the blessings I get in return will be worth any sacrifice I’ve made.


What about you? Are you willing to make the changes God’s inviting you to make? It may be scary to take that first step, but I know I’m glad I am.


© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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“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.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


Last time we were together I spoke about how God has reawakened a dream my husband and I have had since we got married. We have discussed it with our kids and they are on board too … now comes the preparation time as we wait and see if God continues to open the door as we think He will, or if He has a different door He’s waiting to open, both requiring us to spend time getting ready.


I also spoke about how we have stepped out of serving as a family at church during this season out of obedience to God, and the guilt I have been feeling about it, even though I know it’s what He said to do. I have the personality type that will participate in all activities because I want to serve, be a blessing to others, or have fun, even at the detriment of myself. Too busy? That’s okay. Who needs bathroom breaks or sleep?


It turns out, I do. I had a medical issue I’d been self-diagnosing at home for the past month and finally it was bothering me enough to get it addressed with my primary doctor. You know your schedule is out of whack when trying to find time to go to the doctor for an issue that should be checked out stresses you out. Seriously. My doctor is literally 5 minutes from my house and yet to find the time to go was stressful.


The results of the appointment were not what I expected. The issue I went for? Probably nothing (which is basically what I thought) but I still have to see a specialist for confirmation (another doctor’s appointment to schedule!), but my blood pressure, for the past four times I’ve been at the doctor in the past two years was alarmingly high.

Now, before you get upset at my doctor for not addressing this issue with me, or worse, get upset with me for ignoring my health, I own a blood pressure cuff and 95% of the time, my blood pressure is in the normal, healthy range. I have spikes in blood pressure that occur when I feel stressed. Even my doctor thinks the degree to which my blood pressure spikes is slightly weird. Regardless, though, of why my blood pressure spikes, it does and damage is being done unless I can work on ways to lessen those spikes or the amount of times I experience them.


God used my appointment for a relatively minor issue to get me to address a bigger issue that I’ve known about, thought I was dealing with but really wasn’t, but needs to be addressed. My schedule has to change. It’s becoming non-negotiable.


Part of the preparation our family has been doing in order to step into this new ministry opportunity has been addressing my health. Now I realize I need to take the necessary steps in order to be healthy to minister well.  And I believe God called us out of the ministries (temporarily) at our church in order to help take things off my plate to have the time to relax and get my blood pressure (and body) in a more relaxed state the majority of the time. Time to take bathroom breaks. Time to relax for an hour at night. Time to stop running full speed ahead the majority of the days of the week. Time to realize I might need to make an adjustment to my personality type … and that’s okay.


I love that God started taking things out of my schedule first … to get me used to the idea, and then addressed my health so that I would continue to make the changes necessary in order to be the healthiest I can be for the ministry opportunities He has planned for us. However, none of that would have happened, I don’t think, if God hadn’t changed my mindset of unpacking my suitcase and embracing where He has planted me for this season. Because it’s easy to ignore problems if you think where you are is only temporary. However, six years? Not so temporary.


Come back one more time and I will show you how God took this invitation to clear my schedule one step further.


© Cheri Swalwell 2019

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