Thursday, February 29, 2024

Welcome to the Who Brought the Dog to Church? Celebration Tour! #giveaway

 

Who Brought the Dog to Church? Kick-Off Package

About the Book

Book: Who Brought the Dog to Church?

Author: Tracy L. Smoak

Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: June, 2023

Betty is sure that Ida Lou does not belong in their church when the woman shows up to the Good Friday service with her small dog in tow. But before she knows what’s happening, Betty is pushed into helping the woman as she deals with the sudden hospitalization of her husband. Having lost her own husband just one year ago, Betty is chosen as the perfect person to help walk through this valley with the newcomer—along with the other women of the WUFHs (Women United For Him).

Sarah McAdams knows her husband loves her. He just loses his temper sometimes. It comes with the stress of being a highly recognized police officer. But when Sarah makes the decision that this is not the life she wants for her young son, will she be able to get out alive? Where can she go? And who will help her?

God works in mysterious ways—and through ordinary people. The town of Prosper is about to experience some drama—and it all starts with a dog who comes to church.

 Marilyn's thoughts:   The title of this book caught my attention. This tale has humor along with topics of grief and domestic violence. The casts of characters are unique in their own way plus add in Sweetie the dog, who came to church. Smoak gently penned the theme of individuals being the hands and feet of Jesus through their compassion, actions, words and loving those suffering no matter their past behavior to bring healing and forgiveness.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit Bloggers tour. I have expressed my own thoughts.   

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

A native Floridian, Tracy L. Smoak grew up riding horses and climbing citrus trees. Her passion is to encourage others in their faith journey. Smoak writes for Guideposts. Ambassador International released her debut novel, Who Brought the Dog to Church?. Bold Vision published her Bible study about encouragement titled Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place.

She loves photography and authored two hardcover devotionals with her original nature art (Living Water to Refresh Your Soul – tranquil lake scenes; and Arranged with Love– floral landscapes).

Smoak holds a master’s in Education and a bachelor’s in Communication. At her church home, she leads small-group Bible studies. She is an active member of Word Weavers International.

 

More from Tracy

What secrets are hidden behind your neighbor’s door? What do you try to hide?

The idea for this contemporary fiction began in a small country church during an Easter prayer vigil a decade ago. As I sat in the pew late at night, I heard a strange scratching noise. When I turned to locate the sound’s source, I saw a woman across the aisle with a little Yorkie.

The vigil was silent, so I didn’t approach the lady, but I did wonder why that pooch accompanied her in the sanctuary. That scenario, connected with others in my weekly involvement in several volunteer roles, sparked imagination. We judge appearances and may completely miss needs of the heart. Do we know our neighbors?

Experiences as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence started me wondering how do people get free from damaging situations? What are the obstacles holding them back?

Serving as a Stephens Ministry leader in my home church exposed me to people suffering loss. How are we to stand with those crushed with grief?

Another volunteer role helping immigrants settle in the U.S. reminded me of the difficulties they face. How can one fill out an online job application when a person relocates from a refugee camp with no electricity and never has had a computer?

The story’s heart is learning to really see, and know, our neighbors. Three women and their friendships reveal how doing good unites a community. Through comic misunderstandings and risky undertakings, the characters show us how to be Christ’s hands and feet.

Short videos to introduce the main characters can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kuEoU7pFvU&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMcocMuZDOZUvLxZG48BiWm5&index=1.

Audio book excerpts can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwxqS2mNisI&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMcocMuZDOZUvLxZG48BiWm5&index=9.

Video resources for survivors of domestic violence are at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Aq2myofjo&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMd0mkdKujmZeq7iKDzi8IoQ&index=2.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 28

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 29 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 1 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 1

Texas Book-aholic, March 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 4

Pause for Tales, March 5

Artistic Nobody, March 6 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, March 6

Cover Lover Book Review, March 7

Fiction Book Lover, March 8 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 9

For Him and My Family, March 10

Books I’ve Read, March 11

Girls in White Dresses, March 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tracy is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy each of Who Brought the Dog to Church? and Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place!!

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/2a3cd/who-brought-the-dog-to-church



Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Welcome to the What I Promise You Celebration Tour!


 

About the Book

Book: What I Promise You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release Date: February 1, 2024

A Family’s History Is Lost to the Ravages of WWII in Southwest France

1942
Noémie Treves, a young, pregnant Jewish woman, had her entire world shattered when she is arrested and taken to the Camp de Rivesaltes transit camp in Southwest France. No sooner does she arrive, though, than she assists in helping two young girls scheduled for transport escape to a nearby maternity hospital. The matron there befriends her and changes her name to help hide her. But nothing goes according to plan, and Hannah finds herself doing the unimaginable to save one precious life.

2022
Caitlyn Laurant is haunted by recent events in her life and hopes becoming a nurse on the mission field will help her forget. While in training, she and her friends travel to France where her grandfather was born. What should have been an easy search for his birthplace turns into anything but and reveals secrets that no one alive has ever heard.

 Marilyn's thoughts:   A fantastic Christian historical split timeline from 1942, 1955 to 2022 with intrigue, adventure, faith, and history. 

 

Liz Tolsma penned a compelling, gripping and emotional read in What I Promise You. The characters were dimensional with fortitude, resilience, faith and a desire in aiding others. Their journey were not easy but with new acquaintances walking with them they were able to continue on when life was filled with grief.

 

This tale is filled with the tragedy events against the Jews during WWII but a worthwhile read to show the everlasting power of a loving God to forgive, more forward and make a difference in our world.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing for the book tour with Celebrate Lit Bloggers. I have expressed my own thoughts for this well written Christian historical.

 

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping.

 

 

 

 

More from Liz

The Story behind the Cover of What I Promise You

In the late summer, I got the preliminary cover for What I Promise You. While Barbour Publishing always does a great job with their covers, and the one they sent was very nice, I wasn’t crazy about it because it didn’t tell the story at all. The mansion that plays such a big part in the novel was nowhere to be seen. Barbour is fantastic when it comes to working with me to get great covers, so I asked if we could include the real mansion that the story is based on. Turns out that they were having trouble getting copyright permission to use any image they could find of the maternity home.

That was disappointing. But I got brave and let them know that I took a picture of it when I was in France last year, and they could use it, but I’m not a very good photographer and I only used my iPhone. I attached the photo to the email and didn’t hear anything for a while.

Then in October, I wanted to include a preorder link to the book on social media or something and went to Amazon to grab it. And there was the cover. I went back and forth between the cover and my picture, and sure enough, it was the picture of the maternity home I had sent them! So I not only wrote What I Promise You, but some of my photography is on the front. I never thought that would happen. Am I in the wrong profession?? Just kidding!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 27

Life on Chickadee Lane, February 27

Lots of Helpers, February 28

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 28 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 29

For Him and My Family, February 29

Betti Mace, March 1

Devoted To Hope, March 1

She Lives To Read, March 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 4

Blogging With Carol, March 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 5

Lily’s Corner, March 5

Bizwings Book Blog, March 5

lakesidelivingsite, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 7 (Author Interview)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 8

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, March 8

Cover Lover Book Review, March 8

Connie’s History Classroom, March 9

Holly’s Book Corner, March 9

Pause for Tales, March 10

Labor Not in Vain, March 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, March 11

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, March 11

Lights in a Dark World, March 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-Gift card and print 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/2a3ce/what-i-promise-you-celebration-tour-giveaway



Monday, February 26, 2024

Fragile Designs #RomanticSuspense

 


Fragile Designs 

January 2, 2024

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Jesus Christ Our Low Man by Sharon Musgrove #devotional #SundayThoughts

 

Jesus Christ Our Low Man

By Sharon Musgrove

 

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:12-17 (NIV)

 

In the United States, there is a popular saying, which reflects our cultural viewpoint on societal hierarchies.  The phrase low man on the totem pole refers to the person lowest in rank or the one least important, least powerful.  This American idiom was derived from an assumption of meaning in the Indigenous American artwork of layered carvings called “totem poles.”  But the one who tooled this famous expression had the ranking flipped.  The images sculpted on the bottom of the pillar were those considered of greatest importance because they carried the weight of those stacked above them. 

 

Humanity has always misjudged the requirements of greatness.  We associate popularity and power with value, even within our spiritual or religious circles.  From Genesis, we see all of mankind played out in the story of Adam and Eve, deceived into believing they were not really God’s chosen because of a perceived lack of power.  Envious, we’ve been climbing over each other ever since.

 

Christ told a different story. 

 

Jesus, Son of God, raised a carpenter, carved a way out of our miserable, cut-throat culture, by way of sacrifice.  He did everything possible, everything necessary, to reveal to mankind that the blessed way of life is servitude.  He exhibited for us bottom-of-the-pillar behaviors, including the task of washing His disciples’ feet (as recorded in John 13, quoted above).

 

There was great significance in Jewish culture for washing feet.  Because of the nature of sandals, and the conditions of life with animals and without today’s sewer systems, frequency of foot washing was a necessity.  It was customary to wash one’s feet before entering a residence, prior to eating (reclining with others at a low-to-the-ground table) and going to bed.  Priests were required to perform ritual cleansings prior to approaching God’s Temple, just as no one was allowed to approach a king without due preparation.

 

In washing His disciples’ feet, Christ was doing the task of a servant, but also preparing His people for the privilege of approaching the King directly. 

 

That was counter cultural.

 

Backwards and upside down.

 

A King doesn’t wash feet.  And only the elite get access.

 

So, to put stop to this madness, a tree was felled and carved.  Upon that tree a King was nailed and raised up. This pole shaped for ridicule and shame.

 

Yet Christ arose.

 

According to Totem Poles: Heraldic Columns of the Northwest Coast, the word totem comes from the indigenous Algonquian language word odoodem meaning “[his] kinship group.”  The intent behind carving the elaborate images into tree trunks was to commemorate an ancestor or recount a specific historical event.  These chiseled trees were meant for honor, not shame.

 

To this day, mainstream culture continues to get the positioning wrong.  We still seek popularity and power, believing our value is on more, while continuing to raise up those who have the most fame and influence. 

 

Yet Christ gives us an open invitation into His way of life.  It is foot washing life that doesn’t promise a monument will be erected in our honor.  But it does promise that we have the highest value to Him and direct access to the King of Kings.

 

Which kinship group will you choose?  Who do you want as low man on your totem?



Author Bio:

 


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:

Website: Sharonmusgrove.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Sharon-Musgrove-Untethered-102208978041060

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharonmusgrove_untethered/

 


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Welcome to the Ephesians Celebration Tour! #giveaway


 

About the Book

Book: Ephesians (Real World Bible Study)

Author: Joy Suzanne Hunt

Genre: Bible Study Guide

Release Date: December 15, 2023

God’s Word + YOUR Real Life

If you’ve ever had trouble building a Bible study habit or understanding God’s Word for yourself, you’re not alone. But God’s Word was actually written about real life, for real life! It’s meant for the real world!

Connect with God’s Word in 15 min a Day

Whether you’re a Bible Study veteran, or you’re brand new and don’t know where to start, this study guide is for you. In this study, you’ll learn the steps to understand Scripture for yourself and connect it to your life and community. Each week, you’ll complete 5 days of study on your own (in manageable chunks that allow you go to deeper if desired), followed by a group session to explore the text with friends or family, because we interpret Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit and community.

 Marilyn's thoughts:    

 

Ephesians is an in depth study of this book penned by Paul while he was in prison. The study is divided into weekly and daily lessons with questions and information for discussion. Even though designed as a group or individual study, I would recommend using it in a group setting for discussion purposes. The questions are designed to make the student see how Biblical truths and doctrine were given to be followed instead straying away from the written Word as seen in our world today where Biblical teachings are disregarded.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and the author without any obligation to write a positive review.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Joy Suzanne Hunt is the Pastor of Adult Education for CityWide Mosaic Church in Temecula, CA and a professor with SoCal School of Ministry.  Her mission is to equip men and women to take ownership of their lives, faith, and finances. When she’s not teaching, writing, or coaching, you can find her walking her Temecula neighborhood, trying out crockpot recipes, or playing board games with friends.

 

 

 

More from Joy

As a Bible college professor, I’m always looking for books written “by the seminary guys but for normal people,” meaning that I want the best scholarship and teaching out there, written in a way that everyone can understand. (Let’s face it: even if you’ve been to grad school, chances are reading someone’s PhD dissertation isn’t actually fun for you.)

And as a pastor, I choose study guides for our small groups that help teach members how to study the Bible and give them a framework to build Bible study into daily life. My favorite study guides pull in great background information and teach hands-on study skills, and are structured in a way that helps readers to spend time in God’s Word every day (whether they spend 5 minutes or 30). This study was born from our church calendar: all of my favorite study guide series’ are 13-week studies, and I needed to plan for a small group series that would last 7-8 weeks. What do you do when you can’t find the book you want? You write it, of course!

This study guide is built around the “3 Steps to Interpret a Bible Passage” that I’ve been teaching to my School of Ministry students for years. If you’ve never looked into the historical context of a passage on your own and made the connection to our lives today, you’re in for a treat. Getting into the context really makes God’s Word come alive for us and it helps guide how we handle difficult topics. I hope this study leaves you hungry for more – and armed with the tools to encounter and interpret God’s Word for yourself every day.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 23

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 24 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 25

Texas Book-aholic, February 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 28

Godly Book Reviews, February 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 2

Batya’s Bits, March 3

Beauty in the Binding, March 4 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, March 4

Cover Lover Book Review, March 5

Aryn The Libraryan, March 6

Blossoms and Blessings, March 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 7

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Joy is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Gift Card, copy of the book, and NLT Filament Bible Journal: Ephesians (Softcover)!!

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/2a258/ephesians-celebration-tour-giveaway



While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

  While the City Sleeps  (Women of Midtown)  February 13, 2024 by  Elizabeth Camden   (Author) Amid the hushed city, two hearts must navigat...