Where does the time go? How is it the last week of September already? I mean, considering how this year has gone, it’s actually surprising how “fast” it seems to have passed. I’m seriously ready for Christmas right now. All the decorating makes me feel so much happier (I’m waiting, for now, hah).
Monday’s have been Willow’s day for most of the summer and I know it’s been a few weeks since I shared part of her story. Honestly, I felt like I was getting stuck and I needed to step back for a bit and reevaluate how I want her story to play out on paper. It’s a very different thing to write a story with pretty much ONE character. It’s a lot harder to create dialogue but also adds a unique perspective to Chautona Havig’s original character.
I mean, think about what it would be like talking to no one from one day to the next, one month to the next. In Ms Havig’s book, Past Tense, she has the lawyer only coming once a year. I changed that to give it more of a “fatherly” feel, even though he’s not much older than Willow. I wanted Avery’s character not to become romantically involved but still retain that aspect of wanting to help.
And then there’s Avery’s mom. I mean, she’s not in the original story, AT ALL. Hah. I chose to add her because my heart could literally not take writing about someone having a baby with absolutely no one around to talk to. Can you even imagine the fear those nine months would elicit as you walk through the changes your body is going through during pregnancy without someone to ask questions of? Especially in our digital world where Willow has no access to Dr Google if something comes up. I’m a super emotional person and deeply feel things that others brush off. Some of that has come out in this story as I shared how Willow struggled as the enormity of her decision hit her that first week. To try and write about her giving birth on her own was just something I literally could not do.
I won’t leave you hanging (like last time, lol), I am working on her story and polishing up a few chapters I’ve already written. I had planned to have her celebrate Thanksgiving on Canadian Thanksgiving but I’m not sure if I can jump ahead that far in the story. We’ll see where next week takes us. I don’t want to drag this out forever, either. Hah. Please pray for me as I write. I love to write and I want to write what the Lord gives me. I don’t want it to just be words on paper. I also want it to be an encouragement to others. That the lessons Willow learns can also be lessons we all need to learn.
If you haven’t read Willow’s story, you can check out each chapter below:
*Disclaimer: I received this book for review from Celebrate Lit.
Seriously. Food, People!
I love food. Especially if I don’t have to cook it. And like, food trucks. I heard about a church one time that did a food truck rally as an outreach. I so wished it weren’t 1500 hours away from me, hah!
But Book. I’m getting distracted. See, food. It’s all it takes.
Melissa Wardwell nailed this one. It had me laughing, which is amazing for a book. I also related a bit to the character and her relationship with her family.
But the food truck storyline is awesome. So not something I would do (you do not want me cooking for you! Oi!). I also loved how it matched up to the islands that Chautona Havig wrote about in Dual Power of Convenience. It’s so fun when books connect (it was on purpose in case you’re wondering).
I really liked the storyline and especially the “mystery” (not really a mystery but I’m unsure what else to call it, lol). I thought the author did an amazing job weaving the plot with the main character’s food truck theme.
This one is definitely worth reading! <3 Check out the RECIPE and the GIVEAWAY below!
About the Book
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.
Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.
Or so she hopes.
What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?
Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?
With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.
This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.
Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.
Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.
Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.
That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?
The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.
Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.
Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.
Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.
With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.
Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.
Melissa’s Chicken Salad
Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)
2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy
1/2 cup of red grapes – halved
1/2 cup celery – diced
Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad
1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp of sugar
Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.
Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.
*Disclaimer: I received this book for review from Celebrate Lit
This was a vastly different book than what I was expecting when I signed up to review it. It kind of surprised me, to be honest. The story is based around a group of missionaries who head into the West to take the Gospel to Native Americans.
What I wasn’t ready for was the dive into the unseen world that the book quickly takes. From shaman to demon possession, you’re immersed into a world that reminds me closely of Frank Perreti (remember his books from the 90’s?)
The story intrigued me and I was immediately drawn into it. I’m just not sure how I feel about the demon world as I understand how real that is and that it’s not something to be played around with.
I really liked how the author built his characters into the story, though. I could picture each of them in my mind as he introduced them and I love that when I read books. It makes it more interesting when the characters seem like real people that you can relate to or picture in a certain time period.
If you enjoy reading good versus evil, this is the read for you!
Check out these other blogs on the tour and scroll to the bottom for a giveaway!
In 1840 Pastor Allen Hartman leaves behind his white-steepled church in New York, and the woman he hopes to marry, to serve as a missionary to Indians in the Oregon Territory. On his epic westward journey, he is plunged into the dark end of spiritual warfare and vital intercession. His mettle is further tested when he’s asked to stay in a village of Arapaho already contending with a malevolent witch doctor—where Allen has to draw upon courage he didn’t know he possessed and discovers ministering to Indians is not at all what he imagined.
Arapaho medicine man Two Rivers knows one thing—the Great Spirit is sending White Falcon to help his people defeat the malicious spiritual forces determined to overpower the tribe. But even as White Falcon teams up with Two Rivers, Allen finds himself enslaved in a cave and in a heaven-meets-earth clash of faith with an evil sorcerer. With his life at stake and his new friends unable to help, will Spirit-led prayers of believers lead to a complete victory, or will something be left undone?
Michael W. Henry’s ministry has spanned from serving as a missionary in Mexico, where he encountered intense spiritual warfare, to planting and pastoring churches in Washington state. A Christian counselor, Michael is certified through the American Association of Christian Counselors and offers spiritual-life coaching to believers searching for deep faith encounters with Jesus. Michael has long been fascinated by Native American spirituality and culture. He and his wife, also a certified counselor, live in Wenatchee, Washington, and enjoy hunting, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities with their four adult children and two grandchildren.
More from Michael
Two Rivers is a story about courageous faith. I wrote it because as a missionary in Mexico, I had experienced spiritual encounters that I felt needed to be shared. A historical fiction seemed the perfect place to demonstrate the power of prayer and cross cultural respect in an authentic way.
Avery had been surprised to receive Willow’s phone call while he was still just 20 minutes away. He had figured she wouldn’t wake up for a long while. But he was glad. It had been the Lord’s working, for sure. Avery had never admitted to Willow that he had grown up in the area or that his mother lived just up the road from her. He had figured she would run the other direction as fast as she could if she knew that. He also had had no intention of telling his mother what he was doing. He knew what HER reaction would be!
Now, though, it was a different matter entirely. He had spent almost two hours explaining the situation to his mother and his reasoning for coming to her now. And he had received the world’s biggest scolding from her over the whole thing. She did not agree with Willow’s decision or her son’s part in it, but as Avery talked to Willow her heart melted just a bit and she agreed to go back to the house with him and meet her. As they drove, Avery told his mother that he felt the Lord had prompted him to enlist her help in seeing Willow through this season. She “Harumphed” in response and stared out the window.
It wasn’t long before he was pulling off the road and heading into the trees to Willow’s oasis. He noticed Willow on the porch waiting for them. Willow looked uncertain when she saw the woman sitting next to him. He turned off the car and made to get out when his mother turned on him.
“You will wait here. You’ve made a big enough mess of this. I will go and talk to her.” Avery opened his mouth to protest but his mother glared at him and proceeded to get out of the car. He dropped his hand from the handle and watched the scene unfold before him.
His mother reached the bottom step and he watched her speak to Willow, gesturing to him. He assumed she was explaining her relationship to him. Willow looked his way and glared for a moment before turning back to his mother. Then the two disappeared into the house, his mother with her hand on Willow’s back.
Hours passed as Avery impatiently waited. He had eventually gotten out of the car and walked around a bit but it was beginning to get late and he still had the drive back to the city tonight. Finally, Avery’s mother appeared at the door with Willow close on her heels. Willow’s face was red as if she had been crying. Avery hoped that wasn’t a bad thing. She raised a hand and waved at him and then headed back inside.
His mother approached the car, “I am ready to go now. We will talk at the house. You will stay with me tonight and then come talk to Willow tomorrow.”
Avery looked back at the house and then at his mom, “Are you sure? I could just go home tonight if she doesn’t want me.”
“No!” The word came out sharply. “You will talk to her tomorrow and we will come up with a plan. A better one than what you were working through. Get in!”
Avery opened his mouth and closed it. Only crazy people argued with their mothers. But he did feel a little frustrated. A better plan? He had spent entire days focused on putting this all together. And he thought he’d done a pretty good job, too!
As they drove he worked up the courage to tell his mother how he felt, but she beat him to it.
“Avery, you are a man! And you created a plan for a man. She is a woman, and a young one at that. And pregnant!” The last sentence hung between them. He knew that! He had tried his best to make sure she would be safe. But his mother wasn’t finished.
“You cannot drop a young, pregnant girl in the middle of nowhere, with no skills, and expect her to survive, let alone thrive! What were you thinking??? Of course, you weren’t thinking. You’re a man! It’s by the grace of God you decided to come to me. How was she supposed to make sure she had a healthy pregnancy, and delivery, with no help? Where is the brain God gave you?” She huffed and turned to look out the window again.
Avery deflated just a little. Maybe there were a few things he hadn’t quite thought through. Okay, maybe there were a lot of things. But he was working off Willow’s desires. He had only done what she had asked him to do. And to top it off, he had done his best to make sure she was safe. He snuck a glance at his mom and looked back at the road. Okay, he had messed up. But at least now his mom was in the picture. She would help him sort it out.
“You will talk to Willow tomorrow and make a new plan, the two of you. I will do my best to help her through this, but I’m not a midwife. You’re going to have to figure this out. If she dies out there alone it will be on your head! Willow has agreed for me to come twice a week to check on her. That was the best I could negotiate. She thought it would bring too much attention to her if I came more often. It sounds like she is about 3 months along. That means this baby will come some time in November. We must be ready for that.”
Avery nodded his head and turned up the drive to his mother’s house. “Soooo, are those burritos you were working still going to be good?” He snuck a glance at her as her head whipped around to look at him.
“All you can think about is your stomach? What kind of son have I raised!” She threw her hands up and looked up at the roof of the car. “Oi!”
“Mom, you’re not Spanish,” he joked weakly.
“No, but my burritos are!” She winked at him and then frowned again as she got out of the car. She couldn’t let him think he was off the hook that quickly!
*Disclaimer: I received this book for review from Celebrate Lit
I love learning about the Bible. My Bible-specific classes in college were some of my favourite. It felt like I was unlocking something that had been a mystery to me. I remember reading my textbook for Bible Geography and Customs and my classmates thought I was crazy. But understanding the customs of the Bible just made some of the passages make SO MUCH sense.
This isn’t to say that you can’t understand the Bible without these types of things, I know that the Holy Spirit can give us understanding as we read, so please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.
I just find that sometimes a passage becomes more real to me or takes on even more meaning when I understand completely what was being written and what was happening during that time period. I am, however, a history buff, and that might be part of my fascination with the whole thing.
However, when I saw the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance. Greek was actually something I wasn’t allowed to take in college. I think they had some idea that girls do better with languages and that it would discourage the guys if the girls were getting better grades (that’s what was whispered in dorms, anyway, hah). I don’t know if that’s the real reason we weren’t allowed or not, but I think it would have been cool to have learned even a little.
The author, Chris Palmer, did a great job with this book, writing it for the everyday person. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to understand what he’s written. His style is simple and personable, making it an enjoyable read as well. I actually thought this would be a good book even for a homeschool setting. You could study one word a week (there are 90 words in the book). A great option for those who don’t want to get too heavy into learning Greek, but still offers enough instruction to help with the understanding of the Bible.
I recommend this book and am hoping to add a paperback copy to my bookshelves
About the Book
Book: Greek Word Study
Author: Chris Palmer
Genre: Christian Non-fiction, Educational
Release Date: July 17, 2020
“Flour. Sheep. Coins. Wheat. Jesus never abandoned the familiarity of His time because what He had to say was so celestial or deep. Instead, He took advantage of what people already understood. In doing so, He didn’t just leave a way of salvation for us, but also a pattern of teaching to follow. This alone was my inspiration for how I chose to write Greek Word Study.”—author Chris Palmer
In a follow-up to his highly acclaimed book Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Rev. Chris Palmer has written Greek Word Study: 90 Ancient Words That Unlock Scripture. With wit, humor, grace, and scholarship, Chris offers biblical insights while teaching Koine Greek words and phrases one delightful bite at a time. Unlike other books that overwhelm readers with Greek grammar, word formation, tenses, and the like, Chris makes the language accessible to anyone, using modern stories and analogies that engage readers and draw them into the Scriptures. Learning some Greek words and phrases helps you read the Bible in high definition!
“You don’t need to be scholar to read this book and you don’t need to know an ounce of Greek either. In fact, you don’t even have to really know much about the Bible at all,” Chris says. “All you need to do is just kick back and enjoy.”
The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries. He is host of the popular podcast, Greek for the Week, seen on several Internet platforms. His first book with Whitaker House, Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, has received dozens of five-star reviews from readers. Chris began in full-time ministry in 2006 and began to preach internationally in 2009, helping many congregations grow, flourish, and expand. His desire for missions is to train and educate pastors, encourage congregations, support the vision of local church, and show the love of God to the culture. He has done this successfully for a decade in over forty nations of the world in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean, working with both traditional churches and the underground and persecuted church. Chris earned a B.A. in Pastoral Studies from North Central University and an M.A. in Exegetical Theology, magna cum laude, from Moody Theological Seminary. He is a sought-after Greek scholar for his ability to make God’s Word come alive from the Greek in a unique way. Chris is often invited to present Greek and hermeneutics workshops at Bible and ministry schools. He recently began working on his Ph.D. at the University of Wales, Bangor, in the area of Johannine literature, particularly the book of Revelation. His previous books include the self-published Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose, The 85 Questions You Ask When You Begin a Relationship with God, The Believer’s Journey, and Escaping the Haunting Past: A Handbook for Deliverance.
Read an Excerpt
Study 12: Immeasurable: Hyperballō; ὑπερβάλλω) And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might. (Ephesians 1:19) Over the years, I’ve been privileged to travel to many lands and countries to preach the gospel. One of the best parts about this is experiencing the different cultures, particularly their food and cuisines. Meals are times of joy and jubilee, when the hosts go all out to make me feel at home. This is especially true in Sicily. I’ve often joked with my Sicilian friends that eating is a full-time job there. Sicilians take pride in making sure you are well fed, and you’ll often hear them say, “Mangia” (eat) or “Mangia qualcosa” (eat something), even right after you’ve just eaten. Food is of the utmost importance there and the answer to many of life’s problems. I understand this because my grandparents were of Sicilian descent. There’s a joke in Sicily about a young man with a guilty conscience who tells his mother, “Mama, I’ve robbed a bank.” She says, “Well, that’s not good.” Then, he says, “And I’ve stolen a car.” His mama says, “I see. That’s not good either.” Then he says, “And I haven’t eaten today.” And she jumps up from her seat and screams, “What! You haven’t eaten? What’s wrong with you!?” I once invented a joke of my own that the Sicilians found funny. I said, “After studying God’s Word, I’ve discovered the disciples of Jesus were Sicilian.” They looked perplexed. While they were still scratching their heads, I had them turn to John 4:31, which says, “Meanwhile the disciples were urging him [Jesus], saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’” I think that joke has been making its way around Italy ever since. Needless to say, there’s never been a time when I’ve been disappointed with mealtimes. I’ve been to Sicily twelve times and I can’t think of one instance when I didn’t have more than enough food placed before my eyes. I will never forget the first meal I had in Sicily. It was on a Sunday afternoon after church. I was told we were going to have “a little something” before dinner that evening. They brought out course after course after course. I was stuffed to the gills before the main course even arrived¾and this wasn’t even dinner. My translator told me later, “Chris, the Sicilians go all out for every meal. You are never going to survive if you try eating everything.” If I’ve learned anything about the wonderful Sicilian people over the years, it’s that they don’t mess around when it comes to food: it’s always going to be over and above, more than enough, and plenty left afterwards. The apostle Paul talks about God’s power this way in Ephesians 1:19. Here, Paul was sharing with his church in Ephesus what he prays for them. He tells them that he prays they will know the hope that God has called them to and the riches of God’s “glorious inheritance in the saints” (verse 18). The hope that God called us to represents the beginning of the Christian life. While we did call upon God to be saved (see Romans 10:13), He first called us. He called us to belong to Christ and have a new life free from sin, to be holy and separate from the world, and be part of God’s celestial family. The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints alludes to the end of the Christian life. It is our total inheritance, which we will receive when the fullness of time comes. Until then, we are waiting for it with patience. In short, verse 18 speaks about the beginning and end of the Christian life. At present, we find ourselves in the middle. Our Christian life has taken off, but we have yet to receive the totality of God’s promises. As we make our way toward receiving this final inheritance, we find our path strewn with all sorts of challenges, difficulties, and suffering. To push us past these and over the goal line, God has given us His power—“what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” The Greek word for “immeasurable” is hyperballō. It is a two-part Greek word that comes from: hyper (above, over, beyond, more than) and ballō (to throw or cast). It literally meant to “throw beyond” or “surpass.” Over time, it came to express other means of excessiveness such as outbidding someone at an auction, extreme heat from a fire, unbearable pain, and the intense brightness of stars. Hence, it was a word used for something that stood out, excelled the norms, and went beyond the standard amount. The idea in this Scripture is that God supplies an over-and-above ration of His power to help us overcome the obstacles and challenges we face so we can receive the full inheritance promised to us. Not just a little, just enough, or even more than enough, but an over-and-above, highly excessive amount, like a meal in Sicily. We can stuff ourselves with God’s power and never come close to exhausting it. It’s all around us and is ours for the taking. And we aren’t to be stingy with it because there is enough to go around and plenty to take home. Perhaps you are wondering how you can tap into this smorgasbord of power. The way Paul tapped into it: through prayer. When you come into prayer, you stand before a banquet table that is heaped with everything you could possibly need to overcome your troubles. And you are free to take.