Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mother's Day Giveaway Post: Jennifer

Beyond I Do
by Jennifer Slattery

I'm thrilled to be bringing back Ainsley from my first novel, Beyond I Do. I'll be writing her and Angela's story on May 7th. But I need your help. To enter the Mother's Day Giveaway, answer the questions I ask in the comments below. And don't forget to follow the other authors as they post their questions, too, for more entries. Newsletter subscribers will automatically receive an entry, so feel free to sign up!

Mom: Angela MeadowsDaughter: Ainsley Meadows, heroine in Beyond I Do.

Angela is plagued by regret and shame. Her and her daughter have a strained relationship, and though she longs to repair their relationship and make-amends for past behaviors, she finds she keeps falling into the same old sins. She doesn't understand grace. 

She loves bright colors and all things glittery and glamorous. She's not much of a cook or baker, but she and Ainsley have special (and hilarious) memories of making salt dough ornaments when Ainsley was young. 

Ainsley feels if she would just come to Christ, everything would change, and she and her mom could build a healthy relationship. Though she's been deeply hurt by her mother, she's determined to use Mother's Day as an opportunity to reach out and reveal the love of Christ. 

What gift could Ainsley give her mother? When should she give it to her? Should she plan an entire day for just the two of them, and if so, where should she take them? (They both live in Kansas City, MO, though the could travel up to five or six miles, should you think they should do a girls' weekend.) Added bonus--share a special mother-daughter experience with us! 

Beyond I Do:

Find it on Amazon.
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Read a free, 36 page excerpt HERE.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thoughts on Friendship

Turning 60 makes a girl think.
About a lot of things . . .
Friendship, for one.

That’s a topic the Holy Spirit kept driving home to my heart during my summer quiet time walks last year. Cultivate relationships with other women, He whispered. As you age, you will need the added support. Yes, you’ve always considered your husband your best friend, but you need others, too. 

Since I longed for the Lord to direct me as I embraced a new decade of life, I quickly wrote down “Women Support” on my seasonal goal list. Then I asked Him who He wanted in my closest circle of friends. Since I believe the best relationships are face-to-face ones, I considered women in my hometown or within close proximity to my town. I noted that some connections were already in place but needed more attention. 

Several criteria came to mind as I jotted down possible names. Here is what I came up with, in no particular order.

A woman who knows how to laugh
A good friend knows how to look at the lighter side of life and encourages me to do the same. A merry heart is good medicine, Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs. So true. Nothing like a good belly life to lift the spirits and bond people. 

A woman who knows how to empathize
A good friend knows how to enter into my pain. Yes, she knows how to laugh and rejoice with me, but she also knows how to weep. Shared suffering creates a bond. 

A woman who knows how to encourage
Not only does a good friend know how to empathize with my hardships, but she also knows when it’s time to nudge me forward. She doesn’t allow me to wallow too long or too hard. Grieve, yes, but then move on to healthy acceptance when she sees I am ready. 

A woman who challenges me to be all I can be
A good friend sometimes asks the hard questions to help me regain focus or put life in perspective. She takes me to the Word of God to remind me of my role in the Kingdom of God. 

A woman who prays with me and for me
As I look back over my life, some of my deepest connections with other women have come through praying together. In God’s amazing way He works, He creates a bond through prayer unlike any other.

A woman who keeps a confidence
A good friend honors the relationship by putting a lock on her lips. She would never violate the rules of friendship by leaking information shared between the two of us, unless she senses my life or someone else’s life is in danger. If she slips, she quickly seeks forgiveness and reconciliation between us. 

A woman who models honesty
A good friend can admit her own weaknesses and knows how to ask for prayer and help when needed. She understands that she is a work in progress. Through her example, she helps me break down my defenses and admit my struggles.

A woman who lives a balanced life
A good friend leaves margins and sets healthy boundaries. She knows that saying “yes” to God sometimes means saying “no” to others, even to me. 

A woman who enjoys life
A good friend exudes a joyful spirit in everything she does. She enjoys God’s world and those around her because she’s embraced her Creator as Savior and Lord. She lives with an eternal perspective—she knows the story ends with a happily ever after!

A woman who serves God faithfully
Whether single or married, she knows her God-given calling and uses her gifts, talents, time, treasure, and interests for the glory of God and the furtherance of His gospel. 

As I step back from my list, I realize I, too, want to model these qualities to the friends on my list. I need to be the kind of friend who knows how to laugh, empathize, encourage, challenge, pray, keep a confidence, model honesty, enjoy life, live a balanced life, and serve God faithfully.

All the way to the finish line.

May I encourage you, dear woman reader? Don’t let fear, past wounds, busyness, or a host of other things rob you of cultivating friendships with other women. 

Ask the Lord to guide you to those friendships that offer mutual enrichment. 

Then take the next step . . .

Call her up. Invite her out for coffee or over to your home for tea. Send her a card. Be courageous. And be proactive. 

Action plan: Ask the Lord to open the way for cultivating deeper face-to-face relationships with other women. Pull out your journal or piece of paper. Jot down any names He brings to mind. Purpose to pursue someone this week. 


Eileen Rife, author of Masquerade, speaks to women's groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His story!, 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Mother's Day Giveaway Post: Eileen

Journey to Judah
by Eileen Rife

To celebrate Mother's Day, I'll be writing a short story about Elizabeth Osteder, from my novel, Journey to Judah. I'd love your help in crafting this story! To enter the giveaway for an ebook copy of my novel, answer my question in the comment section below. My short story will be appearing May 5th, so keep an eye out!

Mother: Elizabeth Osteder

Elizabeth Osteder's waited a long time to visit her single missionary daughter, Maggie, in Chennai, India. At last, her flight is booked and suitcase packed. Both Mom and daughter are excited. But little does Maggie know this will be her mom's last visit to India. 

What gift might Maggie surprise Mom with upon arrival or shortly thereafter? 

Find it on Amazon.
Could love await her - even in India? 

Maggie Osteder's given up hope of finding a man who shares her love for India. So while her friends plan dream weddings, she follows her heart, fulfilling a ten-year dream of becoming a career missionary. "Don't lose heart. Stay focused on serving, and God will take care of the rest," her mother always tells her. Yet upon arrival in Chennai, a fellow missionary makes a comment that strikes to Maggie's heart - that her ministry will be more effective if she's married. And her newfound friend says she has the perfect match: the new doctor, Gavin Munsfield.

But Maggie isn't so sure she's ready to open her heart...especially to a man who seems to be struggling with his own issues.

One woman. One God. One passion.

In an exotic culture of 7.5 million people and over 30 million gods, one woman resolves to follow her heart...