“”And when I can feel God’s presence in such a manner (resting above the voices of a worshipping congregation) it is incomparable to anything joyful, exciting or awesome this world can offer.” (Gina Duke, Organizing Your Prayer Closet)

Have you ever experienced God in a very real and personal way? The times in my life when I have are like no other experience and they have changed me forever. God is not just Almighty and All Powerful, somewhere out there, indifferent, inpersonal and uncaring.

No, the God I serve loves me so much, He meets me where I am and then lavishes me with His love, for the pure and simple fact that I’m His child. Not because of anything I’ve done, not because of anything I haven’t done … but because I’m His.

There have been many times throughout my life when God has shown up and “shown off,” as I like to say. One time in particular I love to share about is when I was feeling so unloved I didn’t think I was worth a 75 cent cup of coffee at the library. It was a unique flavor and I wanted to try it, but wouldn’t pay even 75 cents. Instead? God delivered to my doorstep six months later a 24-count box of the very flavor I had been wanting to try.

People could argue and say, “How do you know that was God? It could have been a coincidence.”

I guess it could have been a coincidence, except that I had invited God into my coffee request. I told Him that I wasn’t worth paying 75 cents for a cup of coffee, but if He wanted me to try it, He’d have to bring it to me. I didn’t tell anyone about that conversation with God. No one. Not my husband, not my prayer parter, not my parents, no one.

And six months later, in time for Christmas, God hand-delivered a 24-count of the very coffee I was wanting to try. And I loved every single pod of that delicious coffee (except I didn’t drink all 24 cups, because I wanted to share the blessing I was given with others, so if you were at my house during that time, you were offered some to try as well.)

That is one (small) example of God’s personal attentiveness to His children. I don’t worship and praise Him because He gave me what I wanted. I worship and praise Him because He showed His glory in that moment and I want nothing more than to share His awesomeness with those around me who need to feel His love too.

As I love to say, “what He’s willing to do for me, He’s waiting to do for you. All you have to do is ask.” Your conversation with Him probably won’t be about a certain flavor of coffee. But I know God cares as much about your conversation as He did mine.

© Cheri Swalwell 2021

America of We the People by Terry Overton CELEBRATE LIT BLOG TOUR

About the Book

Book: America of We the People

Author: Terry Overton

Genre: Christian, Inspirational, Patriotic, Poetry

Release date: September 29, 2020

This is an inspirational patriotic Christian book for those who feel pride in the United States of America and support the Constitution and America. This is a collection of famous quotes, original poetry, short essays or musings, and Scriptural references. If you are looking to read short works of heartfelt poems, quotes, and essays valued by those who follow an American and Christian way of life, you will enjoy this book.

Topics include patriotism, soldiers who see war for the first time, September 11, 2001, Benghazi, Afghanistan, faith in America, first responders, the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and topics of the current times such as vaccine mandates, media, liberty, and identity politics.

A portion of the sales of both the paperback and eBook versions go to the Tunnel2Towers Foundation for veterans and first responders.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Terry Overton is a retired university professor of educational and school psychology. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her professional experience includes teaching public school, teaching at the university level, and being a college dean. She has two children and six grandchildren. Her writing and publication experiences include textbook and journal articles in the fields of special education and school psychology. She seeks to answer God’s call to share the good news and grow the church by writing Christian books and devotionals. Her book Both Sides of the Border is a Firebird Book Award winner in the categories of Cross-Genre, Socio-Political Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. Her book, America of We the People was awarded the Firebird Book Award for Socio-Political and Political categories. She and her husband live in the southern tip of Texas where they enjoy semi-tropical weather and spending time with their friends and family.

More from Terry

“America of We the People” is a work from my heart. Dedicated to my dad who is a three purple heart Marine Veteran who served and fought in the Korean War as well as my grandson, in the 82nd Airborne, another dear friend in the 82nd Airborne who was in Kabul the day it was bombed and we lost 13 servicemen and women (he is home now and was not injured), my son, who is a captain in the Fire Department, and other first responders, police, and military servicemen and women. It is written in memory of all who perished in war or due to direct terrorism attacks.

On the day Kabul was bombed, I watched in horror, knowing we had a loved one there. Weeks passed before we knew he was not injured and was on his way home. A poem, written for him, describes the difference between his face before and after combat. Two poems were written for my dad and were based on his stories of the Korean War and letters he received. Poems were written reflecting my own experiences growing up during the Vietnam War when we watched the names of those who were killed, injured, or missing in action, displayed on our televisions in our living rooms as we watched and prayed, we would not see the names of friends and family.  Other poems were written for leaders around the world. And, poems reflecting current events, such as the border crisis, human trafficking, and other issues we face, like the pandemic (some are satirical).

The goal of the book was to convey what seems to be facing our nation and to note concern that our country has lost sight of God. The book was written to encourage others to pray for our country.

There are famous quotes about patriotism, soldiers, wars, and leadership. Short commentaries and essays are included along with verses from Scripture.

My Review of America of We the People:

I loved the concept of this book and the book itself was even more amazing. I have a veteran for a husband and military friends and extended family so I take pride in an America that fears God and humbles itself before Him. I love how this writer brings back the patriotism of loving God, loving one’s country and defending biblical values. I loved the quotes, the poetry and even more than that, I love that half the proceeds of the sale of this book goes to the Tunnel2Towers Foundation. I love that the writer brings us back to encouraging us to pray for our country. That is what we need. She does a great job reminding us of true patriotism.

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

Girls in White Dresses, March 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 3

Blossoms and Blessings, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 4

Inklings and notions, March 5

For Him and My Family, March 6

An Author’s Take, March 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 8

She Lives To Read, March 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 11

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 12

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 13 (Spotlight)

Spoken from the Heart, March 13

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 15

Giveaway

To celebration her tour, Terry is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & copy of the book!!

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/1b4bc/america-of-we-the-people-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Gift of Parenting with a Village.

Parenting is not for the faint at heart. Just as it’s important in life to surround yourself with people who are like-minded and share similar values to help encourage you when you’re struggling with life in general, it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded friends (or family) who can help support you in your parenting journey.

Our kids have benefited from some amazing adults in their lives. God gets all the praise for connecting us with a community of believers and like-minded people who have taken the time to speak life into their lives.

God has even allowed us to meet strangers at the store who have spoken into our children when they needed it most. One such time sticks out very clearly to me. One of our children wasn’t able to go to fifth grade camp with the rest of the class. I was out running errands with that child and we struck up a conversation with a wonderful, sweet lady. She spoke truth into our child that day which I hope encouraged our child as much as it encouraged me.

We asked for words of encouragement/wisdom for our daughter at graduation, and the words that were written to her are priceless. I love that they are written down, too, so that she can reread them whenever she wants to, so they can continue to speak to her for years.

Do you have a community of like-minded friends who are willing to walk alongside you in your parenting journey?

Maybe you don’t have kids…are you willing to walk alongside someone else and speak life into their kids?

© Cheri Swalwell 2021

It’s Never Too Lat to Start … and It’s Never Too Slow, but Could be Too Fast

I have been talking about my Bible study group and how much it has helped me understand the Scriptures more. As I shared recently, we’ve been reading one book of the Bible a month, sometimes two depending upon how long (or short) they are.

At first the legalism mentality reared its ugly head. If I’m not reading my Bible every single day, I’m not doing it right. Then I remembered God isn’t about rules, He wants a relationship. And if I can read the Bible more slowly and understand and put into practice what I’m reading better by doing it five days a week, that’s way more important than reading it every single day and walking away five minutes later not remembering a thing I just “read.”

Today I want to encourage you. If you think having a daily quiettime is intimidating and you don’t even know where to start, might I suggest taking a month that has 31 days in it, and reading one chapter of Proverbs every single day. If you fall behind, that’s okay. Pick up where you left off and take 5 weeks, or two months to read it all the way through.

If you think reading the whole Bible is intimidating, then find one or two friends to “read a chapter a month” with you. By the end of one year, you will have read 12 books of the Bible (or more)! That’s 12 chapters you wouldn’t have read if you hadn’t gotten started.

It’s never too late to start. Failing to start means you might be missing out on some blessings God wants to give to you. Starting too fast could be discouraging or you could miss the richness of the Scriptures because you’re hurrying through them.

Find a pace that works for you. Find one or two friends who have the same goal as you – growing closer to God, not speed-reading the Bible as fast as possible.

However you decide to do it, remember, it’s never too late to start, unless you choose not to start at all.

© Cheri Swalwell 2021

Daring: A Call to Courageous Manhood by Paul Louis Cole SPOTLIGHT

About the Book

Book: Daring: A Call to Courageous Manhood

Author: Paul Louis Cole

Genre: RELIGION / Christian Living/Men’s Interests

Release date: February 15, 2022

Victory is always on the other side of a fight. Here is help to win the battles and keep on winning!

Daring: A Call To Courageous Manhood sets the tone for a new wave of masculinity by defining what it is to be a man of courage, endurance, and resolve. The unique, creative voice of Paul Louis Cole cuts through cultural clutter to speak to the
issues that lay in the heart of every man.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Paul Louis Cole, D.Th., president of Christian Men’s Network, is a communicator, church planter, pastor, author, and one of the world’s leading experts on men’s issues. Paul is an award-winning media writer/producer/director, but his passion is in carrying the message of Christlike manhood globally. The son of Edwin Louis Cole, he has continued the work of the Christian Men’s Network, helping pastors build strong men, strong families, and strong churches in over 100 nations. Paul’s mission is to rescue men, defeat fatherlessness, and end child abuse by providing leadership tools and strategies to bring a clear and defining word to men. Paul and his wife of forty-plus years, Judi, reside in Grapevine, Texas. They have three children and five grandchildren.

More from Whitaker House

“Electrifies the heart to beat loudly and strongly as the lion’s heart…”
—Leonard Sweet, New York Times Bestselling Author

“A masterpiece to challenge you…and change your life”
—Dale C. Bronner, Word of Faith Family Cathedral

“I highly recommend this book to help you navigate the challenges of life to become God’s man…”
—Jonathan Falwell

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

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Artistic Nobody, February 27 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, February 28

Texas Book-aholic, March 1

Simple Harvest Reads, March 2 (Spotlight)

Miriam Jacob, March 2

deb’s Book Review, March 3

Fiction Book Lover, March 4 (Spotlight)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 6

Spoken from the Heart, March 7 (Spotlight)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 7

For Him and My Family, March 8

An Author’s Take, March 9

Susan K. Beatty, Author, March 10 (Spotlight)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 11

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Paul is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/1b060/daring-a-call-to-courageous-manhood-celebration-tour-giveaway

Leah: Unnoticed. Unwanted. Unloved by Amanda Bedzrah Author’s Interview

About the Book

Book: Leah: Unnoticed. Unwanted. Unloved

Author: Amanda Bedzrah

Genre: Bible Fiction

Release date: November, 2020

Lying in bed next to ‘the man of her dreams’, Leah is crippled with fear and unable to sleep. She knows that her husband Jacob is going to wake up to her, not “the woman of his dreams”.

Jacob worked and served Leah’s father Laban for seven years to marry her younger sister Rachel, but on the night of their wedding, the brides were switched; the right man was married to the wrong bride.

As Leah anticipates, his dissatisfaction is not hidden; his rejection is immediate. Seven days later, Jacob marries Rachel after promising to work another seven years for her.

Leah is now left in a place of pain and bitterness. A fearsome war erupts. She is in a battle for her husband’s affection – not with an enemy, but with her own sister!

Will she ever be loved and accepted?

Can God use a woman like Leah: unnoticed, unwanted, and unloved, to change history?

This book is a fictional retelling of one of the greatest Bible stories of all time. It is a story of love, deception, betrayal, competition, heartbreak, and forgiveness. It reminds us that God has a plan and purpose for our lives.

No pain is ever wasted with God!

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Amanda Bedzrah is married to Francois and they have three wonderful children. They live in the county of Kent, best known as “The Garden of England” in the United Kingdom.

Amanda is a passionate Bible teacher, an inspirational speaker, a prayer minister, and a senior NHS professional. She is a Law graduate (LLB Hons), she is also certified in Business Analysis Practice and Project Management.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

What role does God play in your writing career?

God plays the most important role. Firstly, I believe He is the One who blessed me with the gift of writing and when I write I do it to honor Him. My writing career is dedicated to bringing people closer to Jesus and to help them find Him in their everyday lives.

Without the grace of God, I don’t think that I would have the strength, wisdom and confidence to do what I do.

My go to scripture when I write is Psalm 45:1 (NIV) which says –

My heart is stirred by a noble theme

    as I recite my verses for the king;

    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer

What kind of fiction do you like writing the most? Why?

I enjoy writing Bible based fiction. I love the Bible and I love Bible fiction. For many, the stories will be familiar. They know the story from the Bible or have heard it, but a novel truly brings it to life. It may answer some of their own questions about the story or make it easier for people to find themselves or their situations or someone they know within the pages of the book, and that sparks something within that helps the reader connect deeply.

The Bible is rich with stories that are relevant to our lives today and I consider it an honour to be able to give life to the characters, and use my imagination in collaboration with the word of God to create a beautiful story that entertains, educates, motivates and inspires but most importantly; encourages people to read the bible for themselves..

Do you write full-time or part-time? How does that influence your writing?

At the moment, I write part time. It is my dream to one day be in a position where I can dedicate my time to writing full time. Writing part time can be difficult as I have a very busy full time career, a husband and three children to look after. This means that I have to be more intentional about writing and plan ahead, it means a lot of sleepless nights and it often means a lot of time away from the family where I can’t be fully present and my kids eat more take out than a home cooked meal. It also means that I often have to sacrifice other things like quality time with friends, watching TV, holidays etc. But when I do take time out to write, I have to be so focused, dedicated and respectful of the limited time I have. Part time writing also means that I cannot write as many books as I have in my heart, so I often have to write the book plots and wait which can be sometimes frustrating as I would love to be able to write 3-4 novels a year, at the moment, I am able to do 1-2 and it is sometimes hard to choose which story to write first, but I have learned to prioritize them in order of God’s direction.

What advice would you give your younger self? Before you started writing?

This is a really good question. Wow, there is so much I would say to my younger self I am not even sure where to begin. The first thing I would advise my younger self is to put God first always and trust in His plan and purpose for her life. Dream big, laugh loud, love hard and don’t change for anyone. Find inner healing, it is so much more important than outwards success. God redeems and restores, allow God to work things out in His own way and learn to forgive easily.

I would also advise my younger self to not allow fear or discouragement to stop her from writing. Write for the love of it and remember that not everybody will enjoy the book but even if only one life is changed, that one life is just as important. I have learned that most times, God will place a book on my heart to write but the person who benefits most of all is me, the writer, so I will tell my younger self that whilst she will write to entertain, educate or inspire others, her first audience is herself. There is so much she will learn from her own books. I would tell my younger self to embrace self love, to ensure that discipline is cultivated and consistency is a priority. Take courage, trust God more and never quit.

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

God often speak to me through different things daily, even the smallest things. It can be a memory, a song, something in nature, a book, a teaching, a word from someone or just an impression I get on my heart during a time of prayer and worship. But most times, He speaks to me through His word so I try to ensure that I listen to or read my Bible daily as much as I can because each day, God has something different to say.

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

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 19

A Reader’s Brain, February 20

Texas Book-aholic, February 21

For Him and My Family, February 22

Inklings and notions, February 23

deb’s Book Review, February 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 26

Connie’s History Classroom, February 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 28 (Spotlight)

Miriam Jacob, February 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 1

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 2

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Spoken from the Heart, March 4 (Author Interview)

Book Butterfly in Dreamland, March 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away the grand prize of 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/1ab31/leah-unnoticed-unwanted-unloved-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Benefits of Reading the Bible in Community

I spoke last time about the Bible study I’ve joined this year. It’s only three of us but wow, have I learned so much more about Scripture than if I was reading it by myself. Around the second month of us reading together I started to notice something really interesting.

I’m a relational person I read the Bible and God highlights the different emotions, relationships or interactions between people. I have always enjoyed true stories over history books and reading a fictional account of a historical event versus reading the facts behind the event.

One of my Bible study partners is more factual. She can remember meanings behind themes, truths, and other important elements of the Bible that I don’t retain (or sometimes even remember learning).

Our other partner brings a whole different element to our group. Her faith and complete trust in God amazes me. She brings elements out of the reading that I have never even thought about … and asks questions that get us all thinking about the deeper meaning behind the words.

At first I felt badly that I wasn’t as factual and “learned” as one of my friends, and that my faith wasn’t as strong as my other friend … until God reminded me that we are all different parts of the same body (all daughters of the King) and each of the elements that we individually bring to the reading makes us all better as a whole.

I know I have learned so much more from reading the Bible together with my tribe than I would have gotten out of reading it by myself. I love their insight, their added knowledge, and the questions they raise that make me think. Not to mention, they will hear something in their sermon or read something else in a devotional and it will tie into what we’re studying and that adds a whole ‘nother layer to our understanding.

I have been so blessed by my sisters and our Bible study. I encourage you if you want to start one yourself, keep it semi-small so that everyone’s voices can be heard, but more importantly, let it be Holy Spirit led. He will tell you how many people to invite, and how to set it up. He truly was the One who started it this summer.

It began with a simple conversation from one friend to another and now we are studying the Bible together five days a week. Who knew on July 1st that by October we would have read through 5 books of the Bible? I didn’t know that … but God did!

Are you ready to ask God the question of what His plan is for you?

© Cheri Swalwell 2021

Friends and Disagreements

https://cheeruppodcast.buzzsprout.com/1633087/8019999-friends-and-disagreements

Disagreements with friends. How do you handle them? Or disagreements with co-workers and others you socialize and fellowship with? Disagreeing with someone can be difficult, especially if it is with someone we love or care about. Fortunately, the Bible shows us how to disagree with someone and still keep the relationship intact.

New episodes uploaded every Wednesday morning. To visit the Cheer UP! Podcast website, click here.

To contact Kara, please visit her website by clicking here.

To contact Cheri, please visit her website here.

Click to learn more about HymnTalkTwinTalk.

For comments, questions, or prayer requests related to the podcast, please send an email to cheeruppodcast at gmail dot com or visit us on Twitter – @CheerPodcast or Instagram @cheeruppodcast. We also have a Facebook Group and would love it if you’d join us by clicking here.

The Cheer UP! Podcast is also available on the Roku, Downcast, Chromecast, Google Podcasts, Spotify and iHeart devices and apps.

The Struggle for Love by Marilyn T. Parker CELEBRATE LIT BLOG TOUR

About the Book

Book: The Struggle for Love

Author: Marilyn T. Parker

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Release date: November 2, 2021

The Struggle for LoveTwo sisters married to the same man. A man who loves only one.

Leah didn’t want a marriage without love. A strong and capable woman, she had determined to live a life of service as a midwife, bringing other women’s children into the world, allowing her father to breach tradition and betroth her beautiful younger sister first. But that was not to be.

Forced by her father to pose as her sister, Leah goes to Jacob’s wedding bed. When Jacob awakens to find Leah instead of the beautiful Rachel, he tells Leah that he will provide for her and do what a husband must, but she will never have his love.

Rejected by her husband and her relationship with her beloved sister broken, will Leah be able to keep her faith in the God of Abraham through the tragedies to come? Will Jacob see Leah for the woman she truly is? Will these two wives of the patriarch mend their relationship before it’s too late?

Enjoy this beautiful story of a woman overlooked by history but not by God. In Genesis 29:31 the scripture says, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved—” God was watching over Leah. And He’s watching over you.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Marilyn has worn many hats in her life: school teacher, pastor’s wife, mother of four God-loving children, and best of all—Grammy! She is presently the older member of a mother/daughter blogging duo with her wonderful daughter, Rebecca. They co-author Persevering Women, a blog full of inspiration to help women live above their circumstances.

Four years after becoming a widow, Marilyn married Peter Parker. Yes! She’s Mrs. Spiderman! Marilyn says she is truly married to her superhero.

When Marilyn and Peter are not traipsing around the country in their RV, they reside in Buckeye, Arizona with their monster dog, Mimi (don’t let the cute name fool you!). Marilyn’s greatest desire is that her work bring glory to God.

More from Marilyn

When I was seven or eight years old, I entered a writing contest for elementary students sponsored by the local newspaper. I won! Actually, I won two years in a row. I still remember some things about those stories. I remember that one was about a little girl who was so poor, she had to use fall leaves to make Christmas cards. Uh, kind of got my seasons mixed up there—but the storyline must have been good! That was the beginning of my writing career! 

So why do I write biblical fiction?  

Can’t people just read their Bibles? Yes. Of course. But years ago, when I was reading through the book of Genesis, studying the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, one of Jacob’s wives caught my attention. 

Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved— 

God was watching Leah. Can you imagine it? The God of the Universe leaning over the portal of heaven to get a better view of an unloved woman! I was hooked on the story right then. The scriptures were scant, but the story was hiding there in subtle hints. As I fleshed out Leah’s life from the Word, I fell more in love with the God who originally wrote her story. The Great Storyteller who knew both Leah and me before He laid the foundation of the earth, and who wrote our stories with love, promising us the best of all happy endings with Him.

My Review of The Struggle for Love:

I’m a relational person. I love true stories, I retain facts better when told in story form and this wonderful, beautiful biblical story jumped off the pages for me and created an imprint of a story I’ve read multiple times in the Bible, yet brought it to life. I have never read anything from Marilyn before, but will definitely be looking for her name in the future. I hesitate if I don’t recognize the author for biblical fiction because to me, writing biblical fiction is more difficult than any other genre. To get it wrong is to get the Bible wrong. This author did an amazing job and I can’t wait to read more by her. I have a friend who LOVES biblical fiction and you know she’s the first one I’m telling about this amazing 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

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 15

Girls in White Dresses, February 16

Texas Book-aholic, February 17

Blogging With Carol, February 17

Inklings and notions, February 18

For Him and My Family, February 19

Breny and Books, February 19

deb’s Book Review, February 20

Batya’s Bits, February 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 23

Pause for Tales, February 23

Connie’s History Classroom, February 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 25

Mary Hake, February 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 27 (Spotlight)

Spoken from the Heart, February 27

Lights in a Dark World, February 28

Genesis 5020, February 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marilyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/1a45f/the-struggle-for-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

Apple Trees and Children

Years ago my husband and I were taking a walk around our property and looking at our apple trees. That was the first year we have seen blossoms on them, and I can’t wait to taste the fruit of his labor. We bought them approximately five years ago and since then, my husband has been nurturing, feeding, protecting, and lovingly taking care of them in order to produce some great tasting apples. Feeding our family healthy food is important to us, and how better than to grow it ourselves, knowing exactly what was put into it in order to reap the results?

It got me thinking about how similar children are to apple trees. It took my husband five years of hard work before he started to see any fruits for his labor (literally and figuratively speaking). And, isn’t that how it is with children? When they are first born, they are helpless, completely dependent on their parents for food, shelter, protection, love, and security. They are weak, needing to grow bigger and stronger in order to be able to survive in the world on their own. And we as parents, lovingly take on the challenge to provide all of our children’s needs, without asking for anything in return, knowing that one day they will fulfill their purpose in life in part because of our hard work and dedication to helping them develop the traits necessary for a successful life.

Now, once the fruit starts developing on the trees, my husband can’t stop working. He has to continue to prune, water, feed, and protect the trees until they reach full maturity, and that’s going to take many more years.

The same with our children. Even though they start to produce fruit and productivity in their lives at a young age (seen through kind words, responsibility of completing chores, and compassion towards others), they still have a lot of growing to do before they are fully mature, ready to handle life as an adult. More sacrifice, hard work, love, and protection will be needed by us, as parents, before our children are ready to step out in the world on their own, but again, we do this willingly, knowing the reward that is ahead if done right.

So, today, I just want to encourage all us parents. When our children are little, we are in the season of hard work – sleepless nights, demands on our time and energy, and lots of hands-on instruction. However, if we continue to provide the structure, boundaries, protection, and love required, there will come a day when we can sit back to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Just like my husband is looking forward to years from now when he can go and just pick an apple off the tree without having to nurture it as a seedling anymore, we will also hopefully reap the benefits of our hard work through a friendship with our kids and maybe even eventually grandchildren. Until then, let’s all encourage each other together through the sleepless nights (both in the infant and teenager stages), puberty, endless homework, and high grocery bills. While we are at it, let’s take the time to enjoy these stages since they are fleeting and will disappear long before any of our honestly want them too. **Reposted from earlier.