Monday, October 20, 2014

RAINBOWS IN IRELAND--by Guest Author Cindy Thomson

My first trip to Ireland, in October 2010, began with some trepidation. I knew my father was ill, but when I left I believed he had more time. And yet, right before I boarded my overseas flight, I felt something wasn’t right. I talked to him on the phone. He told me he was glad I was going. Before we hung up he told me he loved me and to tell my husband he loved him too. I knew he did, but that wasn’t something that was said, not to other men. 

As I sat on the plane I distinctly heard God’s voice. That hasn’t happened many times in my life, but I have perceived it during times of great stress. This is what I heard God say: What are you afraid of? That he’ll die while you are gone? Is that so bad?

I felt humbled by that and reassured. I knew Jesus would be welcoming my father, and that my father’s pain would be healed. But I still did not think it would come that soon. I think we all try not to believe the end is near for our loved ones.

A few days before I was to come home I learned my father was truly on his deathbed. I could not get an earlier return flight. I felt helpless and sad. Our trip to Ireland that year had been blessed with abundant sunshine. The rainbows that everyone spoke of were absent, replaced by vivid blue skies for most of the trip. And then on October 17 while touring the northern coast of Ireland we saw rainbows and snapped several pictures. I later learned that the very hour I was taking photographs my father passed into heaven. God’s promises never fail. I believe He wanted me to know that.

About Cindy Thompson:

Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at

The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.

But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.

Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

CAN YOU SMELL HE HEART ROT? by guest author Jennifer Slatterly

Summer is just behind us, which meant family reunions, long road trips, and... vehicles crammed with enough junk and electronics to keep a short-tempered family occupied for … five minutes.

Then, just when we reached our end and it feels like every brain cell had been stretched to oblivion, we arrive home late, glance around at the mess all around us and realize we have to unpack the junk. Which is what most of it is. Cheap, overpriced trinkets your kids had to have, empty soda cans dropped on the floor, half eaten granola bars littered everywhere.

For you to clean. It’d be easier to rent one of those high power vacuums; suck up every last tidbit and crumb. If you had even an ounce of energy left.

 So you put it off, lugging out the essentials and leaving the rest to rot. Which is what bring you back to the van with your gas mask, gloves and vacuum cleaner.

The term “pay now or pay later” arose for a reason and it applies to much more than moldy beef jerky shoved between seat cushions.

Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Smell that? That’s your innards, friend. Unresolved wounds festering, begging to be dealt with. Before the spores of bitterness invade all that’s good and pure and lovely.
How long has it been since you’ve surrendered your heart to God for some deep cleaning?

There’s a song I love, though I haven’t heard it in some time. It’s called “Suitcases”, and you can listen to it here.

 Through the lyrics, Dara Maclean tells us to drop the baggage holding us down so we can run toward the victorious life God plans for us. I love the idea of shucking off the gunk of our past, but I don’t think it’s as easy as dropping our luggage on the roadside. Often, to truly grab hold of our freedom in Christ, we need to start with a bit of unpacking. 

We need to sift through our typical responses until we get at the feelings buried underneath. Or more accurately, we need to allow God to expose those heart-shielding barriers that get in His way. Otherwise, we’ll continually dredge through life with a gin-and-bear-it approach, lingering on the edge of transformation without ever experiencing the full metamorphosis.

This road to transformation begins with an honest, heart-felt prayer, modeled for us in Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, God, and know my heart; 
   test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
See if there is any offensive way in me, 
   and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Our actions, reactions, and perceptions are often the result of our past experiences. Sometimes this is obvious. You burn your hand on a hot stove. This motivates you to cook with care the next time. But other times, figuring out the why takes a bit more searching. Hence David’s prayer.

The Hebrew word translated as heart in verse 23 is lebab which means: the mind, heart, will, inner man. This is the deep chamber of our being—where we attempt to hide our fears, wounds, and scars .
Sometimes even from ourselves.

Only God sees it all, but it doesn’t drive Him away. Instead, it draws Him to us. His greatest desire is that we let Him in, cooperating with Him as He searches our hearts and minds with the care of a trained surgeon slicing out cancerous tumors.

This journey of unpacking, of allowing Christ to bring us to wholeness, won’t be easy or painless, but it is necessary. If we want to experience true and lasting peace.

The choice is ours, and it begins and is sustained by surrender.

Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers, Christian Living articles for, and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud and the Internet Café Devotions. Her debut novel, a romance about a security-seeking bride who longs for purpose must face her deepest fears—including the wounds of her past—to find it, is currently available for pre-order at a discounted rate.  You can visit Jennifer online at or on Facebook at

Beyond I Do:

Will seeing beyond the present unite Ainsley and her fiancé’ or tear them apart.
Marriage. It’s more than 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 ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. 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.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

PERFECTLY UNANSWERED PRAYERS --- by guest author Amanda Cabot

Perfectly Unanswered Prayers
Show of hands, please.  Is there anyone who’s not familiar with Garth Brooks’ song “Unanswered Prayers”?  All right.  Since I see a few hands, we’ll have a brief refresher course.  In the song, when Garth attends a football game with his wife, he sees his high school sweetheart, the one he prayed would love him.  There’s only one problem: she’s not the way he remembered.  And with that realization comes his understanding that one of God’s gifts was not answering that particular prayer.

I have a slightly different view of the story.  I think God did answer Garth’s prayer.  He simply gave Garth what he needed, not what he wanted.  As authors we’re taught that a satisfying resolution to a story is giving the heroine what she needs, not what she thinks she wants.  How did we learn that?  From the Author of all things.

Okay, you’re probably saying, that’s fine in stories, but does it happen in real life?  I’m here to tell you that it does and that it happened to me.  When I was a junior in high school, I was a candidate for a year-long foreign exchange program.  No one from my school had ever been chosen for that program, but I was convinced that I would be the first.  Like Garth in his song, I wanted this desperately.  Part of me longed for the distinction of being the first to accomplish something, but mostly I clung to the idea of living abroad as a way of escaping a less-than-perfect home life.  I prayed and prayed and prayed that I’d be selected.

You know what happened, don’t you?  I wasn’t chosen.  To say that I was heartbroken is a major understatement.  I was devastated as only a teenager can be, convinced that nothing would ever be right again.  But then, on a day when I was feeling particularly low, I stayed after school to help one of the Latin teachers with a project.  She and I were cutting up pieces of fabric to make tents for a model of a Roman camp when one of the seniors came into the room. 

He and I started talking.  One thing led to another, and the next thing I knew, he was walking me home, then inviting me on a date.  He became not just my high school sweetheart but the man I married, the man I’m still married to decades later. 

God had answered my prayers in a way I could never have imagined.  He didn’t give me the year abroad that I wanted.  

Instead he gave me what I needed: a man to love and a man who would love me.  It was the perfect answer to what had seemed like an unanswered prayer. 

Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.

Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago. There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort’s unassuming handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye—billions more, in fact.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day. You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow’s End.


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.