Archive for April, 2020

About the Book

Book:  The Joy of Falling

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Genre:  Contemporary

Release Date: April 14, 2020

It has been fifteen months since Eva and Angela lost their thrill-seeking husbands in a scuba diving accident. Both women are trying to navigate their way through the grief, but neither one is making much progress. Angela is barely making ends meet, angry at her husband for leaving her to raise three children on her own. Meanwhile, Eva is stuck, unable to move forward after losing the love of her life and her source of inspiration.

But then Eva gets a life-changing phone call. Before Brent and Wes died, they had signed up for a race of a lifetime—an ultra-marathon in beautiful New Zealand. Eva begs Angela to run the race with her in their husbands’ place, and Angela finally agrees, hoping to finally understand her husband’s choices.

Training is exhausting, and the race is even more demanding. Their journey grows more complicated by the presence of two men—Marc is Brent’s best friend who is running the race with Eva and Angela, and Simon King is a writer who is covering their inspiring story. With every step, Eva and Angela must ask themselves questions that they haven’t had the courage to ask before. As the women literally put one foot in front of the other, they wonder: Is it possible to find their way forward in hope?


About the Author

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and–of course–writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at http://www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.


My Review of The Joy of Falling:

This book captured my attention by the back cover … and kept my attention from the first page until the last. Actually, even past the last because I’m still thinking about Angela, Eva, Marc, and Simon.

I didn’t like Angela at first, and I felt badly that I didn’t because it seemed as though, while she was kindhearted and sweet, she was so busy juggling all the balls in her life she didn’t have time to sit and savor relationships. And she was dealing with some pretty heavy emotions to boot.

I liked Eva almost too much … she seemed childlike and innocent, yet mature and sophisticated. I give a lot of credit to the men in the book because they were patient, tender, kind, and very understanding as the women grappled with emotions and thoughts that went far beyond the deaths of their spouses.

I absolutely adored Sherry … she had to deal with so much grief, more than any one person should have to deal with in a lifetime. The book had so many characters and they were all in depth with multifaceted feelings and issues to work through. It was my kind of book! I can’t wait to read more from this author and am so glad I had the chance to do so with this book.

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.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, April 17

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 17

My Devotional Thoughts, April 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

Through the Fire Blogs, April 19

Remembrancy, April 19

Genesis 5020, April 20

Splashes of Joy, April 20

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 20

Read Review Rejoice, April 21

Hebrews 12 Endurance, April 21

Older & Smarter?, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 22

Texas Book-aholic, April 23

janicesbookreviews, April 23

Inklings and notions, April 24

Hookmeinabook, April 24

For Him and My Family, April 25

Just a Your Average reviews, April 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 26

Hallie Reads, April 26

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 27

CarpeDiem, April 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 28

Stories By Gina, April 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 29

The Becca Files, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30

Bookishly Beverly, April 30

Spoken from the Heart, April 30

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About the Book

Book: God’s Words to Dream On

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre:  Children’s devotional

Release Date: March 26, 2019

Hearing Bible stories read out loud at bedtime is often a child’s first introduction to spending time with God’s Word—and the effects can last a lifetime. In God’s Words to Dream On, bestselling author Diane Stortz (The Sweetest Story Bible) and incredible illustrator Diane Le Feyer offer a vibrant combination of story and picture with a “once upon a time” voice that stays true to God’s powerful Word.

Fifty-two stories take children ages 4–8 through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in a way that helps young readers see God’s plan from before Creation to send Jesus to make the world right again. These carefully chosen stories teach children about God’s provision, love, and strength—the perfect truths to be in their hearts as they drift off to sleep.

Ideal for birthday, baptism, and “I love you” gifts from parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, and godparents, God’s Words to Dream On helps children understand the value of reading God’s Word every day. Each engaging Bible story includes:

  • A brief Bible verse called God’s Words to Dream On
  • A good-night prayer related to the story called Sleepy-Time Prayer
  • A short summary thought called Bedtime Blessing

God’s Words to Dream On also includes ideas for establishing a good bedtime routine with your kids, tips for reading aloud, and inspiration for introducing children to the greatest Book of all.


About the Author

Born in Detroit and raised in Southern California, Diane Stortz has lived in Cincinnati, OH, since graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in journalism. She writes for children and adults with one goal: Making God’s wonders known to the next generation.

In January 2000 Diane joined a group of women who planned to read through the Bible in a year and meet weekly to discuss what they had read. The experience taught her that reading the Word to get to know God changes lives because God changes lives. Her heart’s desire now is for children (and their moms and dads) to know God’s Word so they can know God.

Through her blog at DianeStortz.com, Diane helps parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers find the best in Christian children’s books. She also offers encouragement and tips for engaging the Bible, sharing God’s Word with children, and the importance of reading good books aloud.

Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five young grandchildren–all boys! When she’s not writing, Diane enjoys walking, gardening, and planning her next trip to visit her grandkids.

My Review of God’s Words to Dream On:

What a beautiful devotional for children. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and realistic, the stories are written in a way that captures and hold children’s attention, the ones chosen are significant and teach wonderful biblical truths that will guide children in their lives, and the cover itself, with its glitter, captures attention and holds it. The book itself is sturdy, hardcover, and will withstand the wear and tear children naturally exhibit. Beautiful book – highly recommend from cover to cover.

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.

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, April 25

Texas Book-aholic, April 26

Mary Hake, April 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

deb’s Book Review, April 29

Spoken from the Heart, April 30

Holly Jo Morris, April 30

Remembrancy, May 1

Older & Smarter?, May 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 3

Splashes of Joy , May 4

Artistic Nobody, May 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Aryn The Libraryan, May 6

Becka Jiménez’s FB, May 6

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 7

Vicky Sluiter, May 8

Bookishly Beverly, May 8


To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away the grand prize package of a Scripture Lullabies CD, a bottle of Honest Company Truly Calming Bubble Bath, and a bath poof!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.



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Last time we were together we talked about how to know if something we think, dream, or envision is a God nudge or just something we thought up. And I discovered it’s easier for me to share some of the ways God has nudged me over the years, and my response, instead of trying to explain how I know they are invitations from God.


My earliest memory of a God nudge was when I was in elementary school. The doorbell rang and my parents had always told us “never open the door because it could be a stranger.” However, it was a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, my friends had been in and out all day long and when the doorbell rang, I ran to open it. I heard this voice inside me say, “Don’t open the door. It’s not safe,” yet, I ignored the voice, not realizing at the time it was the Holy Spirit warning me, and I opened it anyway. It was indeed a stranger and there as a presence of evil. Thankfully, I think God nudged my parents at the same time to go check on me because I was doing something stupid, and it all worked out well. It wasn’t until years later I realized God had started speaking to me way back in elementary school … and if only I had listened as well back then as I’ve learned to listen now.


God nudged me last year to read the entire Bible in one year. I didn’t think I could do it, but strongly felt that was the invitation He was giving. Since there was nothing unbiblical about reading His Word, I didn’t ask for confirmation, but jumped right in. I chose to read it chronologically and I have to admit, at times throughout the 365 days it was an act of obedience only, and at times I didn’t understand what I was reading. But throughout the year God showed me “why” (even though He didn’t have to). I gained a broader understanding of God Himself (from beginning to end), He allowed me to read parts of the Bible that He then backed up with Biblical teaching from the pulpit to explain parts that were unclear, and I proved to Him I will faithfully obey, even the tough assignments. And, next time I read the Bible completely through (and I will at some point), I’m excited about it instead of saying, ‘Oh, I could never do that.’

A few years ago I wrote a Bible study titled, Caring for the Caregiver. I approached my church and asked if I could lead a life group. There is a whole testimony to how God confirmed to me He wanted to me to lead a group during that spring session. The next time life groups were offered, I prayed again and asked God if He wanted me to lead another. All I heard was silence. Since I didn’t hear “yes,” or “no” clearly, I walked forward, took the training and signed up. Not one single person, not one, signed up for the class that semester. God chose to answer “no” after I obeyed what I thought might be a nudge. The following time life groups were offered again, I prayed and this time I heard a distinct “no.” I am excited for when God says “yes” to lead another group and I know that He’ll let me know when it’s time.


Our church hosts a women’s breakfast six times a year. Last November a friend of mine asked me, “Hey, do you wanna go? We could invite our group of friends and see if anyone wants to come with us.” I said, sure, knowing if God wanted us to go, it would work out, and if not, then it wouldn’t. We ended up having a full table, seven people total in our group, and we met another new friend we welcomed into our circle. Two months later, the breakfast came up again … and I had felt God was nudging me in a different direction this month. However, because fellowshipping with friends isn’t unbiblical, I figured out a way to honor what God was asking of me and hang out with my friends. We asked everyone again and this time some, but not all were able to go. Two days before the breakfast, it was cancelled because our area was predicted to have a huge snowstorm and the church wanted everyone to be safe. I knew then God wanted me to stick to the new direction He was nudging me … and He confirmed that when He gave me an extra bonus in my email.


Those are just a few examples of how God has nudged me and I’m glad I obeyed.


Come back next time and we’ll talk about why it matters whether or not we listen to God nudges.


© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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Many times in conversation, with many different people, I sprinkle in “God nudged me to …,” or “God invited me to …,” “I think God wants me to ….”   During one conversation in particular I was asked, “How do you know it’s a God nudge? Because I don’t think God nudges me.”


I was so glad for that question because it gave me the opportunity to try and put into words an aspect of my relationship with God that has been happening naturally; yet, I had never really tried to explain.


And I realized I couldn’t really put it into words. Instead, I spent some time explaining to my friend what some of my nudges looked like over the years.

So, today I’m going to ask you, “What does a God nudge look like for you?” I think God nudges differently for different people (according to our own personalities) and I know from my own experiences, all nudges don’t look the same. Maybe, by reading (and hopefully being encouraged from some of my examples below), you’ll realize God’s been nudging you for years too!


First and foremost, this is the most important question to ask yourself when a thought or idea pops into your head. Ask yourself: Is what I’m being nudged to do biblical? If it doesn’t line up with Scripture, then it’s probably not a God nudge and I personally wouldn’t follow through.


If what you’re being invited/nudged/challenged to do lines up with Scripture, then (for me) I will do one of two things: 1) Pray for further confirmation, especially if it’s something that would be especially challenging and could be me wanting to “do works to get God to do what I want” (not biblical but pretends to be) or 2) Start doing it and see if “fruit” comes from it. “What do you mean by fruit, Cheri?” Don’t worry – you’ll understand what I mean when I start giving you examples.


Come back next time and I’ll share with you some examples of God nudges (or what I thought were God nudges) and how I responded. Then, I hope you will share with me some of your own God nudges and the results of those too!


© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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Last fall I had a chance to obey God and submit to my husband in an area where I used to panic … All. The. Time! About a month previous, I had taken a leap of faith and begun working on this area, knowing it was a trigger for me, but wanting to do it God’s way. And, God in His loving way, after giving me a few weeks to practice with little resistance, put this area to the test and let me decide … would I trust Him and in the process submit to my husband too? (Two lessons for the price of one!)


I’ve learned over the last decade that I can trust God in all areas, so I said, “Sure,” and jumped right in. I told my husband I was 100% in agreement with him, but that God was going to have to show up in a big way because naturally speaking, I didn’t see how we would accomplish what needed to be done.

Then I sat back, relaxed, and waited for God to work. He showed up in a big way first … then continued to show up exactly when we needed it, how we needed it, and in the way we needed it.


Four months later, God opened my eyes to what He had done. Not only had He provided exactly what was needed for the time period it was needed, but He blessed our obedience and trust by blessing us above and beyond what we had sacrificed during the “test!”


Only God would ask for obedience … then bless during the obedience and bless even more after the obedience! His economy is always much, much more than we deserve!


© Cheri Swalwell 2020



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My husband and I took a life group last fall which studied the book by Randy Alcorn on Heaven. We had some great conversations surrounding the book and what Heaven will be like … and it made me all the more determined to gain victory in certain areas in my life before I die.


I want to stand before God, facing eternity with Him, with the satisfaction of accomplishing some goals here in earth before getting there. I’ve struggled with food addiction for years … like four decades, years. And this year God has been giving me victory. That’s an area that I want to walk in complete freedom in before I’m called home.

There are several other areas in my life which I would love to overcome and I want to be able to say to God when I finally see Him face to face, “I stewarded well what You blessed me with – relationships, ministries ….”


I also know victory won’t happen without God’s help … His intervention, His strength. He is the One who helps me overcome and find victory in every area of my life … and I want to steward well the assignments He gives me on earth before He calls me home.


Are there areas in your life you would like to gain victory in before dying? If you want to share, I’d love to encourage you.


© Cheri Swalwell 2020



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The Blessing of Breath

Breathe – Part II


Yesterday I talked about how God blessed my choice to breathe and embrace the “busy” with an attitude of serving. Today I want to talk about another blessing He reminded me during that lesson.


Breath. It’s something most of us don’t think about – we just naturally do. Breathe in, breathe out, taking for granted that it will always be there.


Yesterday, when I was choosing to take deep breaths, relax, and let God handle my schedule, I was reminded about how this time last year I was struggling to breathe as well, but in the literal and physical sense. I had gotten sick the day before Halloween which then exacerbated my asthma and in my busyness, left it untreated, allowing it to grow steadily worse. I kept thinking it would get better on its own, using my inhaler occasionally and waiting for the relief to come.

Finally a week before Christmas, I broke down and went to the doctor … and spent Christmas break recovering with inhalers, three rounds of steroids and plenty of rest. Months later, when I could finally breathe again regularly without constant coughing, I had a newfound thankfulness for my lungs.


This year, I’ve stayed healthy… healthier than I have in years actually. And I’m not taking it for granted. I’ll occasionally cough, but I can take full breaths without wheezing, sing in church without sputtering and I’m so thankful.


Breath … until it became such a struggle, I didn’t realize how precious it really was.


What’s one area in your life you used to take for granted but now, for whatever reason, you have a new appreciation for?


© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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About the Book

Book:  Flight Risk

Author: Cara Putman

Genre:  Romantic Legal Suspense

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Bestselling author Cara Putman returns with a romantic legal thriller that will challenge the assumptions of truth tellers everywhere.

Savannah Daniels has worked hard to build her law practice, to surround herself with good friends, and to be the loyal aunt her troubled niece can always count on. But since her ex-husband’s betrayal, she has trouble trusting anyone.

Jett Glover’s father committed suicide over a false newspaper report that ruined his reputation. Now a fierce champion of truth, Jett is writing the story of his journalism career—an international sex-trafficking exposé that will bring down a celebrity baseball player and the men closest to him, including Savannah’s ex-husband.

When Jett’s story breaks, tragedy ensues. Then a commercial airline crashes, and one of Savannah’s clients is implicated in the crash. Men connected to the scandal, including her ex, begin to die amid mysterious circumstances, and Savannah’s niece becomes an unwitting target.

Against their better instincts, Jett and Savannah join ranks to sort the facts from fiction. But can Savannah trust the reporter who threw her life into chaos? And can Jett face the possibility that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently writing book 33 and dreaming up future books, not hard when she sees what-ifs everywhere.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW and gives back to the writing community through her service on Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is also an attorney, full-time lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. You can learn more about Cara at http://www.caraputman.com <http://www.caraputman.com/>.

My Review of Flight Risk:

I loved this book. I had read the others in the series and enjoyed them also; so getting to read this one was like being back with the family. I love how Cara brings in suspense, mystery, great storylines and wonderful characters that are relatable. While I had a feeling something wasn’t “as meets the eye,” the way she wrote it and had the characters discover the truth was amazing … and I definitely didn’t see the twist coming at the end. I hope there are more in this series because I can’t wait to read about this group of amazing attorneys again.

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.


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 6

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 6

A Baker’s Perspective, April 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 7

Read Review Rejoice, April 7

deb’s Book Review, April 7

Betti Mace, April 8

Maureen’s Musings, April 8

Texas Book-aholic, April 8

Genesis 5020, April 9

Inklings and notions, April 9

Becka Jiménez’s FB, April 9

For Him and My Family, April 10

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 10

CarpeDiem, April 10

Through the Fire Blogs, April 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 11

LIfe, Love, Writing, April 11

Emily Yager, April 12

Splashes of Joy, April 12

Lights in a Dark World, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

Older & Smarter?, April 13

Daysong Reflections, April 13

Book of Ruth Ann, April 13

Kat’s Corner Books, April 14

Blessed & Bookish, April 14

Remembrancy, April 14

Blossoms and Blessings, April 15

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Simple Harvest Reads, April 15 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Writer Without a Space, April 16

By The Book, April 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 16

Bigreadersite, April 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, April 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 17

As He Leads is Joy, April 18

Pause for Tales, April 18

For The Love of Books, April 18

Hallie Reads, April 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 19

EmpowerMoms, April 19

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.



To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away the grand prize package of a Vera Bradley travel cosmetics set, a journal for capturing vacation memories, a copy of Flight Risk, and a bracelet!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


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Breathe …

This past winter, right before Christmas, I had an extremely busy week. I knew it was going to be busy … and planned for it, but really, even when you plan for “busy,” are you prepared when even more unexpected piles on top of your piles?


I could feel my attitude beginning to crash, and didn’t want that. I truly wanted to have a good attitude and trust God … and since that was my desire inwardly, I needed to show it outwardly. I apologized to God and asked Him to structure my day as only He could.

And boy did He! I got more done not just that day but all week than I had been able to accomplish in a normal week. Our family atmosphere changed from “mom’s stressed” to relaxed and happy-go-lucky and I had more down time at night than usual to recharge with my family.


I love how God takes sometimes our smidgen of obedience and when we totally surrender (schedules, lives, plans) shows us how much He can do with that little piece of obedience.


Have you ever had a day like described above where you needed an attitude adjustment and then God blessed your obedience?


© Cheri Swalwell 2020


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As I talked about toward the end of my last post, our family is learning two truths from the same lesson (how to learn not to worry about possible mistakes and how to extend grace to others when they mess up), and that got me thinking.


God is amazing! I know, I tell you that all the time, but it’s true. One of the many, many ways He’s amazing is …


While I believe God cares immensely about helping us learn specific lessons in our own lives in order to become the people He created us to be, I believe He loves us so much that when we take the time to learn those lessons, He “extra blesses” our obedience by giving us a bonus blessing.

For instance, I shared in the last few months how I’ve been pressing in through prayer and fasting for a breakthrough for someone I love. Not only have I seen God answering that prayer (and by the time you read this, it may be fully answered), but God has used my obedience and faithfulness of praying for someone else to help me gain victory in a certain area in my life I’ve struggled in for four decades. Four decades!


And I believe He gave me victory because I didn’t begin the prayer and fasting season for any other reason except obedience to my Heavenly Father and a strong love for the other person. But as a result, God has opened my eyes and healed me of some false thinking on my part (I now have freedom in areas of my life I didn’t before), and an extra bonus of freedom from bondage to food addiction that has plagued me for decades.


That, my friends, is the God I serve. His currency is that the more we love others and serve them without asking for anything in return, the more He will bless us with victory in our own lives.


God is amazing! I know, I tell you that all the time, but it’s true!


In what way has God showed His amazing to you lately?


© Cheri Swalwell 2020

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