Archive for August, 2020

I specifically chose to talk about this book last. Spoken from the Heart: Choosing Grace is the book readers tell me over and over again is their favorite.


Remembering the year this book was written has both happy and hard memories for me. This was the year my sister told me she was moving across the country. Except for the four years she was in college (and even then she was only 3 hours away), we had always lived in the same town, neighboring towns, or in the same house.


I lived with her from birth until her freshman year in college, then moved in with her when I transferred to her town as a junior in college, and then moved with her across state lines when she got a job transfer.


She is the one who introduced me to my now husband and best friend. She is the one who helped me pick out our first amazing dog. (I wanted to get an 11-year-old dog that was heartworm positive) but she convinced me the 6-month-old puppy who was super calm and had a huge personality was the better choice. We had our beloved Max for 12 years and he truly was an amazing choice.


God had given me a word of the year for 2013 … and the word was grace. Little did I know in three short months the invitation would be extended to me whether or not I would choose grace in letting my sister go by being happy for her and her family or making the short time we had left miserable with a bad attitude. I share about that in this book along with other perspectives on grace God taught me throughout the year.


We published this book in March, right before Easter and to me, this picture is a great reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This picture was taken in our favorite retreat city, the one I speak of often, and was during a trip we took there with my husband’s extended family. This picture was also taken right before we found out we were pregnant with the baby we are still waiting to meet. I love this picture and all it represents.


Would you like to learn more about grace? Is there a different perspective about grace, maybe that you would like to discover? Maybe you’ve already read this book by now. If so, I hope you were encouraged by the words God gave me to share with you.


I hope you have enjoyed these last few months, learning a little about the “story behind the stories.” I know I’ve been encouraged remembering the various ways God has answered prayers, healed areas of my life that needed His personal touch and been reminded of the many blessings He loves to lavish on His children.


As I love to say, God doesn’t play favorites. I hope that as I have spent time telling you about ways God has shown up in our lives, you are reminded of ways He has shown up in your own, the blessings He’s given you, and the lessons you have learned. I would love to hear your stories too!

What does grace mean to you? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 



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About the Book

Book:  Blush

Author: Danielle Ripley-Burgess

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: September 15, 2020

NOBODY SAID growing up is easy. For Danielle, the safe suburbs of Kansas City always felt warm. Inviting. But one day, everything changed. Not only did she hate what puberty was doing to her body, she had spotted a few scary specks of blood after going number two. Gross. As an insecure tween who blushed during “the talk,” one who refused to buy toilet paper at the store, nobody could know her little secret. So she hid it from everyone—Mom, Dad, her brother, and her friends. This went on … for years.

Busted. Eventually, her secret came out. Danielle was rushed to the doctor and into a colonoscopy. Shock took over when she was diagnosed with a rare colon cancer (something the internet called an “old man’s disease”) just a few weeks after her seventeenth birthday. Seriously!?

High school mornings in classrooms morphed into nightmare days in cancer-center waiting rooms. Yet Danielle stayed hopeful, even grateful, for her illness. The way she saw it, fighting cancer spiced up her otherwise-boring testimony. And it brought her true love. Not until she heard the dreaded “It’s cancer” again at age twenty-five did she start to resent so much suffering and question her faith. Yet Danielle wasn’t about to stop. From Times Square to the White House, she became an outspoken survivor by starting a blog, as well as a young wife and a mom. Eventually, she found the self-acceptance she’d been looking for—it was guided by a still, small voice that had been with her all along.

In this soul-baring memoir, Blush: How I Barely Survived 17, Danielle reminds us that growing up is never easy, and she shows us how to go head to head with God. With out-of-body wisdom beyond its years, Blush beautifully inspires us to accept our imperfections and embrace every season of life.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Danielle Ripley-Burgess is a two-time colon cancer survivor first diagnosed at age seventeen and an award-winning communications professional. She writes and speaks to encourage those facing trials, under a motto of “faith that survives.” She’s the author of Blush: How I Barely Survived 17 (Redemption Press, 2020), The Holiday Girls (Little Lights Studio, 2018), and Unexpected: 25 Advent Devotionals. Her story has been told around the world through outlets like The Today Show, BBC’s World Have Your Say, Sirius Radio’s Doctor Radio, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, among others. Home is in Kansas City with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Mae. When she’s not writing, she can be found baking her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s a good one. Follow her blog at DanielleRipleyBurgess.com or connect on social media at @DanielleisB.


More from Danielle

I walked into the classroom, hung my backpack on a designated hook and glanced at the chalkboard as I took my seat. Sigh. It was spelling bee day. I’d dreaded it for weeks.

Most people probably didn’t realize I loathed the spelling bee, especially my teacher. As a book-loving student who aced nearly all English exams, anyone could have rightly assumed I would be jazzed about the competition. I was a great candidate to represent our class. But there was one little problem: it sounded like a nightmare. I wanted nothing to do with it. The idea of the whole school looking at me on stage—the chance of people noticing the zits on my face, seeing a bra underneath my shirt, or calling me a nerd because I was a strong speller—sounded awful. No thanks.


A buzzer echoing throughout the hallways kicked off our school day. My teacher, dressed in a popular floral dress from the 1990s, walked to the chalkboard to take control of our classroom. The pledge of allegiance, math worksheets and recess distracted me from the schedule until the dreaded hour came.

“Everyone please stand up, push in your chairs and join the circle,” my teacher insisted as she waved her hands to gather us. It was time.

Fortunately, I had a plan: I was going to cheat.

If my spelling test grades were any indicator, I had a good chance of making the spelling bee. So, I decided to purposely spell my word wrong. I would use a wrong vowel toward the end of the word and pause to hear, “I’m sorry but that’s incorrect.”

Let’s just say my plan worked like a charm. Relief flooded my chest when I was asked to sit down and join the others who were knocked out of the competition. A few weeks later during the school-wide spelling bee, I deeply exhaled and smiled widely as I watched my classmates compete on stage from the gymnasium floor. I was so glad it was them and not me.

Today, 25 years later, this memory is both a victory and a tragedy. I can’t help but see my younger self, a tween girl who felt embarrassed about her body, and feel proud of her for identifying what she did and didn’t want. That moment in fifth grade helped her find her voice. Yet her empowerment came at a high cost.

Convinced that hiding her true self—her body, her smarts and her opinions—was the only way, this thinking led to her nearly losing her life. If I could go back and chat with her today, I’d affirm her fears yet encourage her to see God gave her the smarts—being a strong speller and a good writer is a gift and not a bad thing. I’d challenge her to accept herself and say that dominating the school-wide spelling bee could actually be a great thing.

Blush is a memoir that tells many other stories like my fifth grade spelling bee. The book is dedicated to my daughter, who is just now becoming a tween. As I’ve relived my life by writing this book, I’ve not only found nuggets of truth to pass on to her as she navigates adolescence, but also confidence and redemption in my story.

Many of us have believed the lie that to be accepted, we must hide. I wrote Blush not only for my daughter, but for anyone looking for inspiration and hope. It’s a book especially for those who are ready to finally face their insecurities and consider how to stop sitting it out and instead take the stage.

Danielle Ripley-Burgess is a two-time colon cancer survivor first diagnosed at age 17, an award-winning communications professional and author of Blush: How I barely survived 17. Follow her blog at DanielleRipleyBurgess.com or connect on social media at @Danielleis


Author Interview for Blush:

Do you have a team or do you manage all aspects of writing by yourself? How do you balance writing, marketing, social media, etc.?

I’m a new author and Blush is my first long-form book, so it’s mostly all me! I have always wanted to write, but I didn’t realize it was a viable career. In college, I studied public relations because writing was part of the profession, so I fortunately picked up strategic communications skills that lend themselves well to being an author. My biggest advice for my clients (and now myself) is to create a campaign plan. It makes things more successful, and go smoother, in the long run—including promoting books.

It can be difficult to treat myself like a client. (I mean do chefs cook gourmet meals for their families every night?) It’s definitely easier to work on client campaigns versus my own. But I’ve got several friends who encourage me to keep going. Also, I have recently asked a friend to help me schedule posts on my Facebook page to keep it active and engaging. I’m learning to receive help when it’s offered and to lean into both my skills and community.


When you thought about being a writer, did it look like your days look now? How are they the same? How are they different? 

I don’t know why, but even still today, I picture writers as people with cozy little cabins in the woods where books line the shelves and the smell of smoky chimney mixed with hot tea fills the air. Paper and pens all over the place, the writer is left with nothing to do but ponder nature and jot down a few sentences at a time. And let’s just say—my life looks nothing like that.

I do collect a lot of books and am considering ways to remodel our home and add more shelves! I like to sip both hot coffee and tea. And, my desk is often littered with lined notepaper and pens. But instead of a secluded cabin in the woods, I am usually writing from my home office in the suburbs or an occasional coffee shop. And while I do enjoy it here, I’m constantly interrupted by either the dog, doorbell or my beloved daughter who, in fact, has asked for something three times while I’ve been trying to type this one sentence.


If you have a family, how do they support your writing career?

I wouldn’t be a writer without the encouragement of my husband, Mike. He gives me gifts like memoir writing books, journals and nice pens. He’s been quick to hang out with our daughter while I disappear to write. His support has not only made writing a practical reality, but he’s emotionally built me up.

Also, I write memoir, which can be tricky when it comes to telling family stories. But one of the most powerful things my mom said to me is, “Your story is your story—and you have a right to tell it.” Nobody’s life is perfect and memoir readers crave books that remind them of that. For my mom, dad and brother to all offer me unconditional love and support, and the permission to share many of our vulnerable stories, I am eternally grateful. I pray God brings double blessings their way.


What’s one thing you’d tell your younger self?

In a way, I have used Blush to go back and give myself a voice. So maybe the one thing I’d tell her is, “Hang in there… you have no idea what good will come from this pain. You’re not alone, you are seen, and God is going to transform the world with your story. Oh-and you won’t get periods forever.”


What’s one way God speaks to you personally in your daily life?

I love this question. As I found myself in the adventure of writing a memoir, I also learned to discern the voice of God in my life. What were my thoughts? What was from the enemy? And, what came from God? There was so much! Writing this book has helped me get to know new sides of God—ones that are intimate, caring, funny and thoughtful. I’ve realized He’s always speaking, I’m hungry to find spaces to be still and listen.


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

Texas Book-aholic, August 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 22

Simple Harvest Reads, August 23 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, August 23

For Him and My Family, August 24

Inklings and notions, August 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 26

Spoken from the Heart, August 27 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, August 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Get Cozy Book Nook, August 29

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 30

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 1 (Author Interview)

Emily Yager, September 2

Lights in a Dark World, September 3



To celebrate her tour, Danielle is giving away the grand prize package of Danielle’s favorite local coffee, Betty’s Recipe from the Roasterie in Kansas City & a signed copy of the book!! (here’s a link to the coffee: https://theroasterie.com/product/bettys-recipe/)

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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Spoken from the Heart: The Importance of Relationships was published in February 2018. In 2013, God invited me to go deeper in my relationship with Him. As a result, I have learned what it means to trust Him in all areas of my life.


In addition, God had taken the last three years to show me the blessings of friendship with people who share the same biblical values and beliefs.


He gave me the gift of close female friendships, how it feels to belong in a community, allowed me to watch the joy of friendship between my children and their friends, and reminded me of the blessing of being married to a man who loves God first, his wife second, and then his children, extended family and friends.

God also took the time to show me the blessing of extended family and taking the time to make memories that will last a lifetime.


The cover for this book is another one of my favorites. The picture was taken during the birthday party of our youngest. While he was enjoying the value of friendship with two of his buddies, I saw this picture opportunity and took it. I can’t think of this picture without thinking of the fun Sunday afternoon we spent as a family and with friends.


Maybe you already have close friendships and feel like you belong in your community, your church, or your work setting. If not, and you want to be encouraged in this area, I hope this book will offer that support to you.


I hope throughout the past few months you have started to feel like you belong here … because you do!


What is one thing you enjoy about friendship? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you.


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Spoken from the Heart: Blessed by His Love was published in November 2014. It was written as I was beginning to deepen my relationship with God and God was teaching me what it meant to be unconditionally loved by Him.

For the majority of my life, I pictured God as a Judge sitting up in Heaven waiting to punish me for every infraction, big or small, that I committed.

Even though I knew I was saved by my relationship with Christ, not anything I’ve done but all that He’s done, I still struggled with works versus grace.

God loved me enough to show me His unconditional love … and to help me begin the process of taking it from head knowledge to cementing it in my heart.

When I’m having a particularly difficult day, the ugly “works” mentality will rear its ugly head, but I’m quicker now than I was in 2014 to recognize the lie and replace it with God’s truth.

The picture we used for the cover of Spoken from the Heart: Blessed by His Love has a sunbeam shining down. That’s significant because when our kids were little, whenever we would see a sunbeam we would say, “Jesus hug.” I still can’t see a sunbeam without thinking God’s sending a hug down from heaven for me (or us).

If you, like me, ever struggle with whether or not God truly loves you, or what it means to be unconditionally loved by our Heavenly Father, maybe this book will offer encourage to you as well.

Do you have a cute nickname for sunbeams? Please share by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 

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About the Book

Book:  The Crushing Depths

Author: Dani Pettrey

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 30, 2020

They know the power and peril of the ocean.

But as they get closer to the deadly truth…

An even greater danger lurks just beneath the surface.

When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it’ll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they’re cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer
wants them. It’s a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.

Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today).

She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland. For more information visit www.danipettrey.com


More from Dani


Enjoy this special recipe for a Lavender and Honey Latte that makes a special appearance in my book!


My Review of Crushing Depths:

I eagerly awaited the second in this series, (Coastal Guardians #2), and it was everything I asked for and more. Pettrey gives so much suspense, from the first page, having me asking “who dun it?” throughout until the end reveal. I love also the knowledge and in depth research she must do in order to make the scenes and storyline so realistic. I love learning about marine life, oil rigs, and more. I feel like I’m right in the center of the action and love every single second.

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

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 12

Losing the Busyness, August 12

deb’s Book Review, August 12

Texas Book-aholic, August 13

Fiction Full Of Faith, August 13

For Him and My Family, August 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 13

Artistic Nobody, August 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 15

Mia Reads, August 15

April Hayman, Author, August 15

Emily Yager, August 15

Inklings and notions, August 16

Stories By Gina, August 16

CarpeDiem, August 16

Betti Mace, August 17

Lighthouse Academy, August 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 17

KarenSueHadley, August 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 18

lakaesidelivingsite, August 18

Livin’ Lit, August 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 19

Life, Love, Writing, August 19

Blogging With Carol, August 19

Life of Literature, August 19

Older & Smarter?, August 20

Inside the Wong Mind, August 20

Mary Hake, August 20

Melissa Wardwell- Back Porch Reads, August 21

Southern Gal Loves to Read, August 21

Empowermoms, August 21

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 21

Amanda Tero, August 22

Splashes of Joy, August 22

Simple Harvest Reads, August 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, August 22

Blossoms and Blessings, August 23

Worthy2Read, August 23

Spoken from the Heart, August 23

Hallie Reads, August 23

The Artist Librarian, August 24

Christian Bookshelf Reviews , August 24

Daysong Reflections, August 24

Hebrews 12 Endurance, August 25

Live. Love. Read., August 25

Remembrancy, August 25

Lights in a Dark World, August 25



To celebrate her tour, Dani is giving away the grand prize package of a necklace, tumbler and 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.


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I’ve shared a little bit during our time together here about how my husband suddenly got sick in February 2007 … and for the next decade we spent praying and treating him, trusting God for restoration of his health to better than it was before he got sick.


I’ve also shared how some time in the last six years, I started fasting every January, choosing to give God the first of my year. Remember I told you God gave me a hiatus in 2016, telling me to continue writing my blogs but otherwise to spend time with my family?


January 2017 God did something He had never done before … and hasn’t done since. It was during my time of fasting and I was driving home from dropping our son off at school. I remember exactly where I was on the road.


I don’t remember anything particularly spiritual about the conversation I was having with God; we were just talking back and forth. By that I mean I would say something out loud to Him and then sit in silence in case He wanted to respond. I’ve never heard His voice audibly, but I have “heard” His gentle whispers in my spirit.

I had known for about a year that I wanted to eventually write a Bible study about the lessons I learned as a caregiver for my husband. I was sitting quietly in the car and suddenly God reminded me of this project.

He began to download the outline for the book to me. I got home, sat down at the computer and began to take notes from what He was telling me. Within 20 minutes, the entire book was outlined and all that was left was to write the actual words.


From February 2017 through the end of the summer, I spent time writing each chapter. This was probably one of the hardest assignments God gave me. In order to write the book, I had to relive the fear that my husband would die while walking through the grief of losing our baby all over again.


One vivid memory that stands out to me was my husband had to take me to the emergency room two days after my miscarriage due to complications which resulted in surgery. Two months later we were back in the same emergency room, with the same smells, same nurses and same doctors, but this time with an undiagnosed medical condition and a husband whose health was deteriorating in front of me.


I finished writing in August and then while it was being edited, once again I was stuck with the dilemma of what picture to use for the cover. Many suggestions were made but none of them were right.


Our family took a quick weekend getaway in October to our favorite spot … and that is when God created the right conditions for the picture that appears on the cover. As in the past, His timing is perfect.


Since the publishing of this book, I have had the privilege of leading a Bible study at my church. It has been such a blessing to walk alongside others who care for their loved ones each and every day.


Just as God used our miscarriage as a way for us to offer encouragement to others, He used my husband’s illness as a way for us to offer support and prayer to those around us who are caring for those they love.


Are you a caregiver of a friend or loved one? If not, do you know someone who takes care of a loved one on a regular basis? What do you need or how can you help encourage your friend/family member? Please share with us by hitting reply. I’d love to continue this conversation with you. 


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