Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Visiting a friend at his family gathering, a young grandson brought smiles to our faces by practicing his new skills in salesmanship. He was selling rocks packaged in plastic snack bags, freshly collected from the river running directly in front of us. His “bargain price” for these rocks was one dollar.
Unable to resist the dimples and charm of this young entrepreneur, the adults dug deep for small cash. As we produced dollar bills, we were quickly informed that his preferred currency was coin. Four shiny quarters were better than one piece of paper and one hundred pennies were even better! No one cheated the boy, but he would have gladly accepted any amount of change over a single paper bill. Chuckles and knowing looks were exchanged among the adults thinking, “Soon enough he’ll understand.”
Pondering the purchase of those river rocks, I thought of Christ’s broken body, payment for the debt of our sin. God sent His son Jesus to make change in our lives, in our brokenness...an exchange. The breaking of Him was for restoration of us.
Before his crucifixion, Jesus feeds thousands by breaking up a single lunch of bread and fishes into pieces. He prays blessing. He breaks. He restores. Many were fed with the pieces. And somehow there was excess where the whole seemed insufficient.
Then, the Gospel of Luke recounts the Last Supper in a way that paints the picture of this divine broken way. Jesus addresses the Apostles in Luke 22:19 (ESV):
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”
Jesus tears his dinner roll into pieces and hands those pieces to the Apostles. Did they remember serving up the bread and fish to the multitudes? Now Jesus is telling them to do likewise. Tearing and sharing and saying now you restore too. Jesus then submitted himself to being broken for the sake of wholeness offered to mankind.
If you tear God into one hundred pieces, is He still the almighty God? Yes, of course! Yet to those of us who receive His forgiveness, that broken body is priceless!
The hurts of this life have torn me to pieces. Perhaps you are torn up too. So, what if we stopped striving to pull ourselves together and, instead, we offer our fragments as a love offering for the restoration of broken relationships?
Forgiveness is about paying the bill of the hurt someone has inflicted upon you. Is there enough love within you to pay that debt? Or have the wounds drained us of the love God filled us with?
Relational injuries feel like the weight of worthless rocks, and giving love in exchange for them is irrational. But this is the call Christ gave to his followers – to love. Even our enemies.
The next time you find yourself digging deep for change, pause and be
reminded of how much love God has poured into you, and how much love you have to spend on others.
Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.
She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.
Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.
Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.
Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.
Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry.
Connect with Sharon:
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Thursday, September 21, 2023
About the Book
Book: Redemption in the Wilderness
Author: Andrea Byrd
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: September 19, 2023
Two sisters alone on the Kentucky frontier…love is the last thing they expect to find.
After the death of their parents during the Hard Winter, Margaret and her sister have struggled to survive. Between her mother’s dying wish that Margaret protect her sister, and the nagging sensation that they are not alone, guilt and worry are her constant companions. And if someone is following them, is their watcher friend or foe?
Iain Donegal can’t afford roots, not with the pain and guilt of the life he’s left behind, or the memory of the drink that once threatened to consume him. But his solitary life as a long hunter in the wilds of Kentucky finds a new path when he happens upon a young woman digging a grave for her own mother. Unable to pull himself away when he realizes that she and her sister are on their own, he begins to provide anonymous aid. But when the women truly need him, can he risk leaving his solitary life behind to step in and fill the void?
Another enchanting tale set in the Kentucky wilderness in 1780. The characteristics of the characters were dimensional, the plot complex with ups and down, blessings and challenges that kept the pages turning till the end. I was transported to the settings, emotions, and happenings surrounding the characters that brought the story to life. There was a gentle weaved faith message that despite the past mistakes, hardships, and unknown future God was always present to provide and give new hope.
This is the second book in the Frontier Hearts series but can be read as a standalone easily. I look forward to the next book releasing in February 2024.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Bloggers tour and the publisher without any obligation to write a positive review. I have expressed my own thoughts.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Andrea Byrd is a Christian wife and mom located in rural Kentucky, who loves to spend time with her family in the great outdoors, one with nature. Often described as having been born outside her time, she has a deep affinity for an old-fashioned, natural lifestyle.
With a degree in Equine Health & Rehabilitation gathering dust and a full-time job tethering her to a desk eight hours a day, Andrea decided it was time to show both herself and her children that it is truly possible to make your dreams come true. Now with over 1,000 contemporary Christian romance novellas sold, Andrea is pursuing her passion of writing faith-filled romance woven with a thread of true history.
More from Andrea
One of my favorite aspects of being a historical fiction author is learning new tidbits of information with each novel I pen.
Not only have I always loved learning, but I also harbor a deep passion for novels that incorporate real places and events. In Redemption in the Wilderness, I was blessed with the opportunity to research the beginnings of Harrodsburg, KY. This town was founded in 1774 as Harrodstown by James Harrod. What began mainly as a civilian fort with the building of Fort Harrod has endured more than 200 years of Kentucky’s rich history. Tourists and locals alike can still visit a replica of Fort Harrod today. And, you, yourself, can visit the original fort in Redemption in the Wilderness.
Beyond historical places and events, I also always find myself on a search engine with the strangest little inquisitions. Such as… What plants are native to Kentucky? When do said plants bloom? And which can be used as a natural remedy for this particular ailment? With this novel, I found that feverfew, a native Kentucky wildflower, was so aptly named because early settlers used this native plant to reduce fever. I cannot wait for you to see what role it played for the characters in Redemption in the Wilderness.
Life on Chickadee Lane, September 19
Holly’s Book Corner, September 19
Alena Mentink, September 20
Pause for Tales, September 20
Lighthouse Academy Blog, September 21 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22
For Him and My Family, September 22
Texas Book-aholic, September 23
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 24
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 25
lakesidelivingsite, September 26
Karen Baney Reviews, September 26
Bigreadersite, September 27
Connie’s History Classroom, September 28
Cover Lover Book Review, September 29
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, September 29
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 30 (Author Interview)
Avid Reader Nurse, September 30
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1
Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 2
To celebrate her tour, Andrea 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.
Sunday, September 17, 2023
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)
Per my yearly regiment, I recently had my DEXA bone scan. Even with my aging and family history, I was fairly confident my results would fall in the normal range. After all, I was faithfully taking healthy doses of natural calcium supplements, especially since I had dipped down to the osteoporosis level a few years back. My next scan following that bad test revealed I had come back up to a better level and I no longer had osteoporosis—whew! After a couple of years, I pridefully decided I could cut back on my calcium supplements. Not stop them mind you, just lower my intake a bit. Well, it’s okay to play doctor for myself, right? I know what I’m doing.
Imagine my surprise when I got the less than desirable test results back in my patient portal with a message from my provider: You are at the osteopenia level. Your spine bone density has declined. We can discuss next steps at your annual appointment.
That very day, I humbly increased my calcium supplements to the level they needed to be. And I am humbly anticipating my annual checkup for “next steps.”
I want to have healthy bones. My skeletal system supports my body. It gives me shape, allows movement, makes blood cells, and provides protection for my organs as well as storing minerals for me.
I started thinking about what the wise teacher Solomon wrote about bones in Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.
God created us for joy, delight, and humor to be vital parts of our lives. Medical studies confirm what King Solomon said 3,000 years ago. Laughter and enjoyment of life can increase the time we live. I’ve never heard of any negative side effects from laughter.
What steps are you taking to put away a killjoy atmosphere and put on the joy of the Lord? A merry heart in the Lord is everlasting and can bring a bounce to our steps, a smile to our faces, and refreshing health to our bones. I, for one, do not wish to have dry bones!
Becky Van Vleet is a retired teacher and principal and award-winning multi-genre author. She has been published in Guideposts, The Country Register, and Christian Devotions Ministry. Her children’s picture books are the recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Editing award as well as the Purple Dragonfly award in 2020 and 2021. She and her husband make their home close to Colorado Springs where she enjoys gardening, hiking, oil painting, power walking, and spending time with her family, especially reading books to her grandchildren.
Becky is the author of Unintended Hero, a true story about her father’s battles, experiences, and adventures in WWII aboard the USS Denver. She is passionate about sharing the values from the Greatest Generation and enjoys speaking to high school classes about patriotism.
A member of ACFW and Allauthor, Becky has devoted her website to creating and preserving family memories and sharing family stories for the next generations through her monthly blogs.
You can find her at: https://beckyvanvleet.com. She would love to hear from you, especially if you have a family story to share!
Social Media Links:
Amazon Central Author Page: https://amzn.to/3INHIPB
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