Friday, August 31, 2018

Living Every Day Brave

The following guest post was written by Rachel Linden, author of Becoming the Talbot Sisters.
If you are a media outlet interested in interviewing Rachel, contact me at

Living Every Day Brave
by Rachel Linden
Today I am choosing to be every day brave.

What does that mean, you may ask? In essence, every day brave means choosing courage in the face of challenge. Believing that on the other side of fear is something better. It means embracing bravery as a mantra, a habit, a way of life, and embracing it every single day.

Five years ago I took a giant, nerve-wracking step toward my lifelong dream of being a published novelist and sent query letters to a dozen renowned literary agents in the US, asking them to consider representing my debut novel. I said a prayer, squared my shoulders, and waited for their replies. Eleven responses were rejections, which I was expecting. But one beautiful response was a yes!

Since that first yes, I have experienced a few dozen marvelous open doors, acts of grace, and sheer miracles on the road to publication and my dream career as a writer, but I have also faced far more rejections, disappointments and challenges. With each challenge and disappointment I have a choice. Will I buckle in the face of struggle and opposition? Or will I choose to be every day brave once more. Chin up, shoulders back, step forward. I CAN do this!

In my stories I naturally gravitate toward themes about courage, connection and hope. My central characters are strong women facing tremendous challenges both internal and external. In my new novel, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, estranged twin sisters Waverly and Charlie take an unexpected road trip across central Europe. Although both are successful career women – Waverly is the star of a popular home entertaining show Simply Perfect and Charlie is an international aid worker living in Budapest- they each face significant challenges in their lives. The story features themes of infertility and surrogacy, career woes, past sexual trauma and the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable women. In the face of all of these issues Charlie and Waverly exhibited surprising grit, choosing to have courage and hope no matter how grave their circumstances. For me, the Talbot Sisters truly embody the essence of every day brave.

It’s true that Charlie and Waverly are fictional characters, but their struggles and triumphs highlight deeper truths about our lives as women. That is, after all, the beauty and purpose of literature, is it not? To illuminate our human experience and show us a higher way?

In the past five years I have had to choose to be brave in the face of significant challenges, both personal and professional. In addition to being a novelist, I am a wife and mother of two small children, and an international aid worker who has lived in central Europe and worked in over 30 countries around the globe. These past five years have been have been rich with opportunity, joy and potential for growth, but they have also held their fair share of rejection, loss, and disappointment.  

We face myriad challenges as women in this modern life. It is likely we will face significant adversity both personally and professionally at different points in our lives. In order to ascend, excel, triumph, we must make the choice to courageously encounter those challenges when they come, bravely facing every challenge, every day.

In the light of this truth, I want to ask the following questions. What does every day brave mean to you? Are you living every day brave? Why or why not? Today, how will you choose to be every day brave?

Chin up, shoulders back, step forward. You CAN do this!


Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College and a BA in Literature from Huntington University. Linden also studied creative writing at Oxford University during college.

Currently, Rachel lives in beautiful Seattle, WA with her husband and two young children. She enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. Her first book, Ascension of Larks, released in 2017. Becoming the Talbot Sisters (Thomas Nelson) is her second release.

Find Rachel Linden online at, on Facebook (authorrachellinden) and on Instagram (rachellinden_writer).

Thursday, August 30, 2018

New Christian Living releases focus on truth, humility and anxiety up for review

We wanted to let you know about our
recent Christian Living releases and
make them available for you to review.

Learn more about the books below, then

click here to sign-up or
Newcomers to the church community need tools to navigate the Christian faith and a guide for connecting doctrine to real life. In a world that’s increasingly relative, author Andrew Petiprin helps readers discover unchanging truth based on God’s Word. Truth Matters: Knowing God and Yourself shows how core tenets of the Christian faith were affirmed over the centuries by faithful biblical scholars. Petiprin helps readers flourish in their faith by discovering the true answers to age-old questions like, “Who is God?” and “Who am I?”
Walking readers through many important doctrines of the Christian faith, Truth Matters supports those doctrines with Scripture and shows how they were developed carefully over the centuries by those who studied the Bible. As he engages with great thinkers of Christian tradition, including C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot and others, Petiprin guides readers to the true answers to age-old questions like “Who is God?” and “Who am I?” .
Mirroring the structure of traditional creeds, Truth Matters helps readers better understand truths about themselves by understanding the truth about God and his desire for a relationship with us. As readers learn more about how doctrine was debated and decided, they will also see that Truth never changes, and that the purpose of doctrine is to make Truth clearer than before.
As it champions the authentic teachings of the Christian faith, Truth Matters points to doctrine, liturgy, and tradition as a way to discover not just the truth about God, but to find God himself.
About the author:
Andrew K. Petiprin is a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. He was a Marshall Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, and also holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University. Andrew is author of Truth Matters: Knowing God and Yourself, and is a regular contributor to the Living Church magazine and other publications. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Amber, and their two children.
Releases September 3.
Most of us value humility . . . especially in other people. But Jesus taught that humility is central to the Christian life. Author Christopher Hutchinson invites the church to follow Christ—both individually and corporately—in this high calling.
A systematic and comprehensive treatment of this core tenant of Christianity, Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Down is structured around the three times Jesus addresses the topic in Scripture—how it is found, embraced and applied. This insightful resource should be required reading for all seminary students so they can understand the pitfalls of leadership before they begin to pastor. Current pastors and church leaders will find Hutchinson’s critiques and suggestions helpful as they seek to create humble and healthy churches. Individuals who have lost an appreciation for humility as a central Christian virtue will be reminded of its value as the best way to grow closer to and more like Jesus.
Humble Christians create healthy churches, but in today’s world of celebrity pastors and widening platforms, our churches are more than ever imitating the prideful methodologies of our culture. Through his critiques, Hutchinson also offers suggestions for how Christians can better practice and promote humility in our time.
Offering a fresh and updated application of humility to our day, Hutchinson calls for a return to the path of humility as the one pilgrimage most necessary for Christian faith and life. By showing humility in in all its truth, beauty and goodness, it becomes a value worth seeking — if never fully found — on this side of heaven.
About the author
Christopher Hutchinson is Senior Pastor of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a graduate of Duke University (A.B.), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div). Prior to entering the ministry, Chris served in the U.S. Army, including a combat tour during Operation Desert Storm. Chris and his wife, Kirstan, have two grown daughters, one a collaborative pianist studying in Arizona, and the other an artist studying in South Carolina. Chris is the author of Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Down.

Released June 4.
Packed with biblical truth, A Bright Tomorrow: How to Face the Future without Fear addresses anxiety about an uncertain future by reminding readers of what they can be certain of–God’s grace, his unshakeable promises, and the hope of resurrection. Jared Mellinger helps readers remember their security in Christ in the midst of parental fears, cultural decline, aging, death, and facing the unknown.
The future is scary, and Jared Mellinger knows we live in a world full of daunting change, frightening uncertainties, and concerning circumstances. Parenting fears, old age, death, and illness are just a few of the common anxieties that weigh on the hearts and minds of most of us at some point in our lives. If you’re a Christian who obsesses over the future or ignores it for good reason, this book is for you. Lasting comfort and peace are found in Christ, who has secured a place for his people and offers a bright tomorrow based on the solid ground of God’s promises.
A Bright Tomorrow equips Christians with biblical truths laid out in Scripture to face the future with confidence. Readers will learn to face their fears and worries about the future by living right now in view of the gospel of hope and the promise of life everlasting.
This life-changing book will lead Christians to grasp onto certain hope, transforming the way they think about God, themselves, and the world around them. True courage comes from knowing the end of the story, and as Christians with forward-looking hope, we can be eternal optimists and fight fear of the future through Jesus our champion, who gives us victory over death.
About the author:
Jared Mellinger is the senior pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, where he lives in with his wife Meghan and their six children. He is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection and A Bright Tomorrow: How to Face the Future Without Fear.

Released June 4.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I need to stop having really great ideas

After the Mondayest Wednesday ever, I had a great idea.

Side trip before getting to my point. Everyone on Facebook seemed to have the Mondayest Wednesday ever. Why? I don't think it was a full moon. Could have been, I actually have no idea where we are in the moon phases, but so it goes.

So, I was looking up a meme of Mondayest Wednesday ever (which, of course, I found), and it was part of an initial spark of an idea.

An awesome online idea I want to start without advertising I am a part of it, at least for now. It requires a website and social media accounts.

The problem is, I can't manage to keep my blog, crafty website, or any of my social media accounts updated well. I update other people's social media for a living, not mine obviously.

Oh, but it's a great idea. Such a great idea.

But, I need to fix the graphics for our craft trailer so we can it done...

I need to get out in the craft room...

I need to stop working past prime time TV hours...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Why I need to rearrange my office... again

Back when I worked in an actual office years ago, I was kind of known for rearranging my office. Then I would move it back to the way I had it because it just didn't work.

When my job situation changed back in March, I decided I needed to try something new and rearrange my set-up. I needed in the room I spend more time (waking hours especially) than any other room in the house to change with the transition. That worked for a few months... until it didn't.

So, I put my office (at least my desks - not everything) back the way it was because of a computer situation. It still isn't working for me, so I've been looking and looking for a computer desk, scratch that desks plural so that I can spread out and not have tables at four different levels because I have all these tables pushed together.

I need to order because I keep wasting time looking! I can't tell you how much time I have looked online! I've finally settled on two L-Shaped desks that will configure a couple of different ways. I know my productivity will increase by not being distracted by Walmart, Wayfair, Target, Office Depot, Amazon and other furniture ads popping up EVERYWHERE online! 😄

I cannot wait to get a better set-up where I'm not always reaching for the wrong mouse when I am working on one of computers because it's set up by another.

However, before I get more furniture, I need to sell some pieces I want to get rid of. Partly for the money, partly because I don't have room to keep everything! I guess I'm going to have to post on the local buy, sell, trade Facebook groups which I know will have me chasing my tail in circles. I'll not get anything done for answering Facebook messages. The vicious circle, you know!

Always an excuse not to "Get it done!" Always!

(UPDATE: I sold three pieces of furniture quickly, have some money in hand, and have ordered my desks.)

Monday, August 27, 2018

When being caught up on blogging lasts about 30 hours

I spent a chunk of the weekend trying to catch-up on back blogging because I had fallen almost two weeks behind, but after the post for yesterday, I was all caught up. Whoooohoooooo!

Then, came Monday, and after a typical Monday, here we go again!

I hate feeling behind, and then I hit a mental block. That only leads me to get further and further behind. The struggle is: I'm behind on EVERYTHING in EVERY part of life at the moment.

Someday... oh, someday I might be CLOSER to caught up. I never except to achieve it. 😝

So, as far as one thing off my to-do list, have I mentioned in the past week how thankful I'm not wasting my time blogging on Bachelor in Paradise even if I am watching it.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Blue Skies and Rainbows

Blue Skies and Rainbows
By Gary L. Mabry

Blue skies and rainbows,
and sunbeams from heaven,
Are what I can see, 
When my Lord is living in me.

I know that Jesus is well and alive today.
He makes His home in my heart.
Never more will I be, all alone since He,
Promised me that we never would part.

Green grass and flowers, 
all blooming in springtime,
Are works of my master, 
I live for each day.


Tall mountains, green valleys,
The beauty that surrounds me,
All make me aware,
Of the One who made it all.


I’m not ashamed of 
the Gospel of Jesus,
For it is the power,
That saves us today. 


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Maybe not the most productive use of my Saturday night

I spent most of the day trying to catch up on a lot of work related stuff, then went to Walmart because I decided I had to torture myself. I needed some groceries before being at home a couple of days without a car since I'm going to go get my bumper fixed that I'm really not all that concerned with getting fixed. (Remember that bump into a truck a few weeks ago at the end of my driveway? I won't express my angst I still have about it all.)

After typing up the schedule for the next two quarters of my teaching rotation at church, I was planning on catching up on about 10 days of my blog here. (I've been really busy and really behind). Instead, I decided to update business cards so I could order them. Since I wanted to put our fall schedule, I totally revamped them. It took more time than I anticipated because the VistaPrint website was not cooperating. I really didn't want to make my total computer hours for the week hit around 80, but I get side-tracked when I have the laptop downstairs. I tend to avoid what I brought it down here for to begin with.

I really want to wait on until they come in to show Dad, but I know I'll end up showing him at lunch tomorrow after church. I think he's going to like them.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Start your fall with a bountiful harvest of children's books

We are excited about our line-up of children's
releases this fall and hope you will be too!

Learn more about all SIX children's books coming out this fall,
then head over to this form to make your review selections.

Click here to sign-up!
This beautifully illustrated children’s book invites kids to explore God’s design for ethnic diversity and challenges readers—both parents and children—to learn and live out counter-cultural, biblical views, fostering a lifelong celebration of diversity for the glory of God. Designed for four- to eleven-year-oldsGod Made Me and You written by Christian hip-hop artist Shai Linne and illustrated by Trish Mahoney is the second book in the God Made Me series.
Because Scripture teaches that ethnic diversity is not something that should be tolerated but rather enthusiastically embraced, Christian hip hop artist Shai Linne helps children, parents, and caregivers to celebrate this biblical truth through a lyrical, rhyming style and colorful illustrations.
God Made Me and You is an approachable guide for families to begin conversations about cultivating a God’s perspective on ethnic diversity, confronting the sins of racism, bigotry, and ethnic pride.
Because children learn from family members, media, or peers, parents and caretakers have a responsibility to teach their children what God has to say about the beauty of diversity in his image-bearers, with a particular focus on ethnic diversity.
This colorful and compelling children’s book serves as a resource and lifelong gift for children and parents, helping families understand diversity from a biblical perspective and with a clear picture of the beauty and glory of God.

Releases September 17.
A Fever, a Flight, and a Fight for the World is a compelling African adventure story that will enthrall eight- to fourteen-year-old youth who love adventure and learning about faraway places. In the exciting fourth and final book in the Rwendigo Tales Series, readers will be inspired by ordinary people who make the extraordinary choice to stand against great evil. Written by J. A. Myhre, a doctor living and working in East Africa, this adventure story teaches readers of all ages important truths about justice, overcoming evil, and the courage to make a difference.
In A Fever, a Flight, and a Fight for the World, A doctor volunteering in a village plagued by a mysterious virus wakes up on a deserted island injured, sick, and near death—with no memory of how he got there. As Dr. Mujuni slowly regains his memory, he pieces together the horrific reality of what happened to the community and learns just how far the government-backed officials will go to silence all knowledge of the epidemic. As a young girl named Nyakato, the only other survivor, nurses him back to health, Dr. Mujuni must devise a plan to make their way back to the mainland, but what they discover on their journey is even more dangerous than they could ever imagine.
Through a series of perils and hazards, Mujuni and Nyakato must fight for more than their own lives, learning the true cost of overcoming evil and greed. Through their adventures, readers will find hope in the midst of great loss, triumph and courage in the midst of death and injustice, and love in the midst of darkness.

Releases October 1.
Good News for Little Hearts is a new series of hardback, illustrated children’s books for three-to eight-year-olds—each centered on an animal family—bring gospel help and biblical counsel to families. The animal characters, colorful illustrations, and the real-life issues each animal family face will captivate children. The first three books address anxiety, anger, and failure, bringing biblical help and hope to issues every child faces. The last page of each book contains information for parents on how God, in his Word, helps children apply biblical truth to specific issues. Together children and parents will be guided by the stories into meaningful conversations about living by faith in the details of everyday life.
- Each story, based on a different animal family, will keep even the youngest child engaged.
- Brightly colored, fun illustrations welcome children into a detailed animal world.
- Each story helps children process a challenging situation with concrete, grace-based, help.
- Instead of moralism, children are offered a practical way to follow Jesus through a difficult situation.
- Based on CCEF’s model of hope and help that encourages a growing relationship with Jesus.

Buster was sure he was the fastest bunny in the meadow. But during a race at summer camp, nothing goes as planned and Buster gets tripped up. After his epic fall, his older sister, Ivy, helps him see that failure is an opportunity to grow. As Buster remembers God’s love, he is able to let go of others’ opinions and accept that it is okay to try your best but not always be the best. Edited by Edward T. Welch, Buster’s Ears Trip Him Up: When You Fail ends with a special section that guides parents in teaching children how the gospel of Jesus Christ comforts and sustains us through failure and turns our focus away from ourselves and toward others. Also included is a tear-out page of Back Pocket Bible Verses that will remind children and adults of God’s love and help for those who get tripped up.

Releases October 8.
Everyone gets frustrated when something important to them goes wrong. In Jax’s Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry, the whole Squirrel family ends up out of sorts when acorn gathering doesn’t go according to plan. Although Papa, Mama, Jax, and Caspian Squirrel all get angry, they also learn about the power of saying sorry, seeking forgiveness, remembering God’s words, and praying together. Edited by David Powlison, Jax’s Tail Twitches ends with a special section that guides parents in teaching children how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes how we respond when life goes wrong. Also included is a tear-out page of Back Pocket Bible Verses that will help children and adults remember to turn to God for help when they are angry.

Releases October 8.
The third book in the Good News for Little Hearts series is Zoe's Hiding Place: When You Are Anxious, edited by David Powlison. This beautifully illustrated book invites children to remember that the Lord is near when they are anxious. Zoe, a fearful mouse, is worried about a class trip. As she talks with her parents, Zoe realizes that she can turn to God for help. Papa Mouse gives her a verse from the "Great Book" that she can read when she is afraid. She learns that she can tell God all about her fears, and he will comfort her. Also included is a tear-out page of "Back Pocket Bible Verses" that will give children a practical way to remember God's words when they are afraid.

Releases October 8.
In this engaging, illustrated children’s book by Irene Sun, young readers learn how numbers declare the glory of God, discovering Bible stories and the truth, beauty, and goodness of our sovereign God through numbers and patterns. With countable illustrations and an easy-to-learn structure, children who are always seeking, finding, tracing, and counting numbers will be captivated by God Counts: Numbers in His Word and His World.
Through simple language kids will understand, God Counts shares theological truths and helps children become familiar with Scripture, exploring the patterns of creation, numbers in the plan of redemption, and the intimacy of a personal relationship with God. This children’s book explores how God counts every fish in the sea, every star in the sky, every hair on their heads, and every tear in their eyes.
By discovering numbers in God’s world and in his Word, parents help their children foster a deeper love and knowledge of who God is and how he counts them as his. Families will be enriched as they learn together how numbers magnify God—just as a telescope magnifies the stars—and each numbered lesson points to a larger redemptive story of Scripture. On each page, the illustrations engage readers, displaying not only a picture but a mosaic of patterns. 
This playful children’s book serves as a beginner’s theology book for young readers who love numbers and patterns, introducing the Trinity, the God of order, the holiness of God, the problem of sin, the rescue and love of Jesus, and much more. Children who love to count will be filled with wonder, leading them to understand deeper truths about God, themselves, and the world around them.

Releases November 5.
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