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Behind The Sword of the Matchmaker by Debbie Lynne Costello

Sat, 2017-06-10 10:31 -- Jocelyn Green
Today I'm happy to welcome to the blog author Debbie Lynne Costello, in celebration of her new medieval novella release, Sword of the Matchmaker! She is giving away a copy of either Sword of the Matchmaker of her novel Sword of Forgiveness (winner's choice of title and format). Leave a comment or answer one of the questions at the end of this post OR ask her a question to be entered.     PLUS Debbie Lynne is also giving away a choice of a kindle fire with Sword of the Matchmaker or a $50 Amazon Gift Card, $15 Amazon gift card and much more! Hop over to her blog post here to read a review of her book and to enter that give-away. (You can still enter a give-away here by simply leaving a comment.) Without further ado, here is Debbie Lynne! Have you ever wondered if it is true that we're taller than our predecessors? I've read and heard that our ancestors were short and just assumed that meant every generation before us, but that just isn't the case. According to The Year 1000 by Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger, one of the first things noticed about people living in or around the year 1000 is they were tall--very much like we are today. The truth is we are taller than most of our more recent ancestors (1700-1900). Georgian and Victorian England residents, who were malnourished and overcrowded, did not have the good health or the stature by the end of the twentieth century that we share today with our access to food and medicine. So when we picture those knights in shining armor as tall and muscular, good news, you are correct! According to Lacy & Danzinger, nine out of ten people lived in the country. A lush green and unpolluted land that provided plentiful food and nourishment, allowing the medieval man to grow strong limbs and very healthy teeth. So that knight who is the hero, guess what? He really does have a full set of white teeth! If these people were so healthy one would think they'd live as long as we do, but here the differences are drastic. Life was short. A simple cut or wound could take a person's life. In the medieval time period, an illness or childhood disease that today we can stop with a visit to the doctor could spread like a fire and wipe out a whole village. Because of this, a boy of twelve years of age was considered old enough to swear an oath to the king. Young girls were married off in their early teens to much older men. Life expectancy was almost half of what it is today. Most people died in their forties, and for a person to reach into their fifties was quite impressive and they were revered. Life for the average person was hard, but pretty simple. There obviously wasn't the local grocery or clothing stores for running down to get the needed item as we have today. That being said, television often depicts the medieval man like he only wore brown clothes and lived in a drab world. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. They may not have had the rich dyes that produce the vibrant colors we have today, but that didn't keep them from having colored clothes. They used vegetation to dye fabric and with those dyes they were able to produce bright yellows, greens, and reds. Speaking of grocery stores, what do you think might be a valuable food commodity in the year 1000? This food was considered so valuable it was even used to pay taxes. The food was honey. The 11th century man was known to say, It is a lucky day when a swarm of bees settled in your thatch. Thatch of course being what the medieval person used as a roof. For those who were lucky enough to have a swarm in their roof, not only received honey, but propolis, a building material, that is a reddish resin used by the worker bees. Propolis was a great healing balm used for treating wounds and was highly valued. But those bees nesting in the home owner's thatch, not only gave the owner honey and propolis, but the beeswax brought an even higher price than an equal amount of honey. I love the medieval time period, although I don't believe I'd like to have lived during that time. Life was hard. But it is a fun time period to write about. Most medieval authors take writer liberties such as, our heroes and heroines isn't depicted quite as hard as it most likely was, and our heroines are not young teen girls marrying thirty year old men.  So what do you think? Would you rather have writers take a few liberties and make their hero and heroine, an exception to the rule, or would you prefer to see history portrayed exactly as it was? The next stop in Debbie Lynne's blog tour will be on Anne Payne's blog on June 13. About Sword of the Matchmaker Penelope Beatty made up her mind long ago she would live and die a Scottish warrior not a wife. But when nearly all her clan is killed and she is betrayed, she loathes doing the unthinkable, but must seek the help of an Englishman who owed her father’s his life. Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. But the last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.                  Purchase Here More Medieval Fiction Love Medieval Stories? Read the first book in the Winds of Change Series, Sword of Forgiveness. After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution. Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim. Purchase Here About the Author Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. Connect with Debbie Lynne! www.debbielynnecostello.com www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com www.HHHistory.com https://www.facebook.com/debbielynnecostello https://twitter.com/DebiLynCostello https://www.pinterest.com/debbielynne1/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9458076.Debbie_Lynne_Costello https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DebbieLynneCostello https://smile.amazon.com/Debbie-Lynne Costello/e/B00TRT6RYS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1494110062&sr=8-2

Message in a Bottle Book Launch and Give-away! (Blog Hop Stop #5)

Mon, 2017-02-27 11:14 -- Jocelyn Green
Flames lapped at the monk’s robes. He raced down the corridors that crackled with the collision of dampness and heat, dodging fire-lit debris. So this was to be the end, then. The night the stones of Ballyfir Monastery would tell their last tale… So begins the tale of a humble monk, his unwavering courage, and the bronze bottle he sends into the night with a prayer that its contents might bring hope—the very word etched into the bottle—to someone, somewhere. The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection follows the journey of that same bottle throughout the centuries in five novellas. It travels the world and touches hearts… and today, we’d like to invite you along for that journey. Would you care to come along with us for a look behind the scenes in this short five-stop blog tour? At each stop, one of the five co-authors will interview another, to take you chronologically through the novella collection and unwrap some fun bonus material. Joanne is kicking us off with an interview of Heather, who wrote the first novella in the collection.  Oh! And don’t miss the chance to enter the giveaway (more information at the bottom of this post). Thank you for joining us, friends! Go Behind the Scenes with Joanne Bischof I'm delighted to be hosting Joanne on my blog today! I'm sure many of you already know and love her work, including her most recent full-length historical romance, The Lady and the Lionheart. Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. She is a Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul, Though My Heart is Torn, and My Hope is Found (WaterBrook Multnomah).  1) Did you learn anything new in the research for The Swelling Sea? Joanne: I learned a lot about rowboats in the Victorian era! It seems such a small thing but rowing plays such a large role in this story that getting the details as correct as possible was really key. Feeling really outside of my element, I read articles about the different types of boats available during that time—both for leisure rowing, and for sport, which is what the team of four young men in this novella do. I also studied up on which colleges did or didn’t have a crew team in 1890. I watched dozens of videos on the sport and the techniques involved from rower positions to signals and calls. A friend who’s a rower helped me immensely with the details and what began as one of the biggest challenges of the research ended up being a really special collaboration. 2) What makes your heroine unique in this story? Joanne: I’d say definitely her memory loss. During a near-drowning, she suffered from oxygen asphyxiation as a child and has never fully recovered. Her symptoms not only included her having to relearn how to use some of her motor skills on one side of her body, but working on regaining her memory—and as the story plays out—learning to make peace with the possibility of not regaining some memories at all. Her personality is a lot of fun because she gets confused easily and it’s rather endearing. She’s also strong and determined, so she doesn’t let it beat her. I think it’s one of the reasons why the hero, Jonas, is first taken with her. She’s very unique and that made her a fun heroine to get to write. 3) What kind of role does the setting play in The Swelling Sea?  Joanne: The setting is a big one as the novella is set at the historic Hotel Del Coronado. As a native southern California girl, Coronado Island is one of my favorite places to visit. It’s just a two-hour drive from where we live and any excuse to head that way is worth it. Crossing over the great bridge is a magical experience and seeing the grand Hotel Del which was built in 1888 is even more special. I’ve visited it many times and each time, get to discover new nooks and crannies of the hotel. It’s iconic enough to have been filmed in “Some Like it Hot” alongside Marilyn Monroe, and has housed many famous actors and actresses as well as 14 US presidents from Taft to Kennedy. Walking its halls and corridors, and standing upon its beach is like experiencing a whimsical part of Victorian-era history. I hope that as readers discover it within Jonas and Rosie’s story, they’ll understand the magic pull it has and why I return to that place time and time again. 4) How does writing for a collection differ from writing your individual novels/novellas? Joanne: It differs in the sense that we all have a common thread to stick to. With this series, of course, the bottle, and what a fun one it was! What made this collection extra unique, is that it begins with a unified prologue and ends with an epilogue, both which tie the stories all together. The bottle also travels from novella to novella, so there is a commonality touching the hands and lives of all our characters. That made it really special. Not only for the stories themselves, but for getting to work that closely with the other authors. 5) Any lessons or elements of encouragement you hope the reader will take away from your novella? Joanne: This was the first time that I didn’t think I would be able to complete a deadline. Due to some personal trials, the writing for this novella was easily harder than any other story I’ve written. When I was near to giving up (and my agent and co-authors were rallying around me) what happened is that I began to simply write my heart right into the tale. Like Rosie, I didn’t have it all together, but like her, I wanted to cling to the promise that there is always hope. It was such a gift from the Lord, that amid my own struggles, I got to be a part of this collection centered around that one, incredible word. HOPE. My greatest wish for this story is to bring that very reminder to readers who might be going through their own trials or struggles. That it would be a reminder that we’re never alone, and the world is a large place filled with hurting people who struggle just like us. It’s a comfort in knowing that we walk shoulder to shoulder with so many others.   The Giveaway  Thank you for being here! If you haven’t had a chance yet, do hop over and enter this hope-themed giveaway, which we hope will be a blessing to our readers. Top 3 Reasons to enter: We want to celebrate you! We’re so thankful for our readers, and this giveaway is one way we’d like to thank you. Super quick and easy giveaway form—as simple as entering your name and e-mail, then clicking through to submit! As you’ll see, there is a chance for additional entries, but it’s entirely optional. …you could win a wee plot o’ land in Ireland! Not to mention this. . . And the . . . This was the final stop in our Message in a Bottle 5-stop blog hop! (Psst, if you missed my interview on Maureen Lang's blog, you can find it here.) If you’re just now joining us, do stop by Joanne’s post. She kicked us off with a wonderful interview with Heather and we’re so excited to share some behind-the-scenes fun from each story with you. Thank you for joining us! (One final note: If your comment doesn't appear on my blog at first, never fear. They will wait for me to moderate and approve them, which I will do as often as I can. Thank you for your patience with me on this, as I am finishing up my next novel this week, as well!)  

The Mark of the King: FREE Excerpt + Give-away

Mon, 2016-12-26 07:43 -- Jocelyn Green
The day has finally come! The Mark of the King is now available at Amazon, ChristianBook, BarnesandNoble, and wherever books are sold, and I couldn't be more excited. Here is the book blurb: After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict. When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on? With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption. The mark of the king, as referenced in the title, has two meanings. The first is very literal. It’s the fleur-de-lys symbol of the French monarchy that was branded on certain criminals during the time the novel takes place, to permanently mark them with judgment. In the novel, this mark plays a big role. But there is a spiritual layer to the phrase, as well. As believers, we serve a higher King than any authority here on earth. Our lives are marked by His grace, no matter how scarred we may have been by judgment from others—whether that judgment was deserved or not. God’s grace covers all of it. Grace covers all of us. For a glimpse of my inspiration and research for the novel, visit my Pinterest board for the novel here.  Read a free excerpt (prologue and first chapter) here.   If you're curious about the French pronunciation of the character names in the novel, the six-minute guide below will help you out:   The Give-Away To celebrate the release of The Mark of the King, I am giving away to one lucky winner a gift basket from Cafe de Monde in New Orleans (two mugs, coffee and beignet mix), a set of French soaps, and a pair of silver fleur-de-lys earrings!   Please use this Rafflecopter form to enter. The drawing opens early the morning of Monday, Jan. 2. Good luck!  

Interview with Amelia Rhodes + Giveaway!

Fri, 2016-11-04 16:13 -- Jocelyn Green
Happy Release Week to Amelia Rhodes for her new book Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community! My copy of this book is already well-loved. Whether you’re a seasoned prayer warrior or just beginning to talk to God, Pray A to Z is guaranteed to bring new meaning to your prayer life. Profound in its simplicity, this book is an invaluable tool to keep us in conversation with God, and to keep the needs of others at the forefront of our minds. Because we pray to a God who answers, I can’t wait to see how this book changes the world around us. Amelia is here to answer a few questions for us today, and her publisher has generously offered a free copy of Pray A to Z to TWO winners! (Details on the giveaway after the interview.) Q: Pray A to Z is not an instruction book on the mechanics of prayer, but rather a guide to praying for one’s community, born from your personal experiences. Where did the idea of praying from A to Z come from? One day within the span of a few hours, I received phone calls and text messages from a number of friends who were all dealing with very heavy struggles. Each one asked me to pray for them.  Of course, I said I would, but at that point I recognized how often I fail to follow through on praying long-term for people. As I prayed that day, I also asked God to help me with my prayer life. I realized how many people I knew were struggling with the same types of things — adoptions, cancer, marriages. The idea of praying by topic seemed natural, and then I decided to see if I could make an A to Z list of all the needs and struggles facing our communities today.  Q: You lead readers in praying through the alphabet for their community, but there are more than just 26 topics in this book. Share with us how the book is structured and how you have organized the individual letters. Each letter features prayers and prompts on five topics. Three topics for each letter focus on prayers of petition, and two focus on praise. So we pray about adoptions, abuse and alcoholism and then praise God for His abundance and that He is almighty. We pray for marriages, missionaries and ministers and those in the military while praising God for His majesty and mercy. Q: Why did you feel it important to include aspects of praise and adoration, rather than having only need-based topics? The needs get heavy and overwhelming. I found that incorporating praise brings the focus back to our great God. Praising Him helps us recognize how every need we have is met in who God is. Q: What are some of the prayer needs you cover in the book? I covered the needs of families in our communities, such as foster families, special needs families, pregnancy crises, raising children, marriages, divorce, adoption and infertility. I also take a look at many of the justice issues facing our societies today, including prejudice, homelessness, hunger, human trafficking, refugees and violence. The prayers also include topics related to how we interact with our communities, including generosity, kindness, estranged relationships, joy, obedience to God, vanity and our yearnings. Q: Why is it hard for us to pray with focused intention for the requests of those around us? Our world has become increasingly chaotic, with an endless stream of chatter and alerts from our tech devices. Every week the news reports more heartbreaking tragedies. I find with so many things calling for my attention, it can be easy to let prayer get squeezed out of the day. Sometimes I just don’t know where to begin, or I can’t find the words to express the ache in my soul. My heart and mind often jump from need to need. Writing and then reading these prayers and verses has become a starting place to bring my focused attention to God in prayer for my community. About Amelia: Amelia Rhodes lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. Amelia encourages women to discover who they are in Christ and to deepen their relationships with each other. She is the author of Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community (Worthy Inspired, 2016) and Isn't it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world. Her writing has also been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and GEMS' Girls Clubs.  Connect with her online at www.ameliarhodes.com. Twitter: @amrhodes Facebook: @ameliarhodeswriter Instagram: @ameliamrhodes   Giveaway Details! To enter the drawing for your own copy of Pray to Z, please leave a comment telling us why you'd like it! If you have subscribed to my (Jocelyn's) newsletter, tell me that in your comment and receive an extra point.  (Psst, if you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so right here--and receive a free gift when you confirm your subscription!) Thanks for your patience as I approve the comments as I have time! Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win! Looking forward to hearing from all of you. Winners will be drawn using random.org on November 22. Winners, I will email you to ask for your mailing address. Pray A to Z is available wherever books are sold, including: Amazon, BarnesandNoble, ChristianBook, and BooksaMillion.  

New Novella Collection Contracted!

Sat, 2016-05-14 07:41 -- Jocelyn Green
Drumroll please! I am so delighted to announce that I've signed a contract with Barbour Publishing, along with four other talented authors, for The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection! The five of us are currently hard at work writing our novellas, each from a different era and location, tied together with a single bottle that finds its way across the world and through generations to bring hope. My particular novella is set in one of my favorite periods: you guessed it, the Civil War.  We've been sitting on this news for sooo long! Look, I'm wearing a turtleneck in that photo. It was February when we signed the contract! I'm so honored to be writing with these four ladies. If you're not familiar with them already, allow me to introduce you! HEATHER DAY GILBERT writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University and is married to her college sweetheart. Having recently returned to her roots, she and her husband are raising their three children in the same home in which Heather grew up. Heather's Viking historical novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon Norse bestseller. She is also the author of  Miranda Warning and Trial by Twelve, Books One and Two in the bestselling A Murder in the Mountains mystery series. She has also written the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher. Find Heather online at her Web site, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. AMANDA DYKES is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales. With both Scottish and British heritage herself, writing A Song in the Night for the Message in a Bottle collection has been a very special journey for her. Amanda has a B.A. in English Education. She relishes connecting with readers online in an encouraging and heartfelt way. Delighting in a shared love of good books, she serves as the book club resource person for Novel Crossing. It’s also her joy to serve as Digital Coordinator for PulsePoint Design. Find Amanda online at her Web site, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. MAUREEN LANG is the author of thirteen novels and three novellas, with settings ranging from historical to contemporary, Europe to America. Her earlier work won RWA’s Golden Heart Award then ACFW’s Genesis, and published works went on to final in the Christy, Carol, Book Buyer’s Best, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Golden Quill. She’s won a HOLT Medallion, First Place in the Selah and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest. A wife and mother of three, she is the primary caregiver to her adult son with Fragile X Syndrome and lives in the Chicago area. Find Maureen online at her Web site, on Facebook, on Goodreads, and in a group blog at Christians Read. JOANNE BISCHOF is a three-time Christy Award finalist in historical romance and young adult categories. Her titles include Be Still My Soul, This Quiet Sky, To Get to You and The Lady and the  Lionheart (forthcoming). She has a deep passion for heartfelt tales and writing stories that shine light on God's grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children and visits Coronado Island as often as she can. Find Joanne online at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. WOW! What a line-up. I'm so fortunate to be able to write with these authors. I can't wait to read the stories they are spinning. We are sharing glimpses with each other along the way, as we work out details of how the stories interlock, and I can tell you that you're in for a treat with this collection! This will be my first novella I've ever written. Let's see if I can squeeze a story into 30,000 words instead of 100,000! :) I'm up for the challenge! The next few weeks I'll be really digging into this story, so if it's quiet on the blog and social media, just know I'm busy in my writing cave, doing terrible things to my characters and then bringing them back from the brink. :) 

Giveaway and Sale for Military Wives!

Fri, 2016-05-06 06:30 -- Jocelyn Green
Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! As a former military wife myself, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to each of you who is married to someone who is active duty, National Guard, Reserves, or even retired from any branch of service. I definitely appreciate the servicemembers themselves, but today is about you, the spouse! Your sacrifices and dedication are rarely in the spotlight, but you are the backbone of your family! I'm praying special blessings over each one of you today. In honor of your service, I'm giving away THREE copies of the book, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front.Here's the book blurb: Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front captures the fascinating and inspiring history of the heroines and heroes at home, from the very foundation of our nation up until the present day. It presents stories of many lesser known figures, as well as well-known political figures. Each individual's significant legacy of faith and courage impacted by war brings insights into their faith, lives and society in which they lived. Each story includes a coordinated Scripture and a prayer for today's military, families, or individuals encountering struggles. It's a 365-day book, with a brief reading for each day. Most of the stories are about military spouses, with some parents, children, siblings, and a few dedicated civilian stories included as well. It was while I was researching this book of true stories that I was inspired to write what would become the Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War series of novels!  Want to read an excerpt? Try any of the following: In the Line of Fire (Civil War)  Carrying On: The Sullivan Brothers' Survivors (World War 2)  Letter to a New York City Police Officer (Sept. 11, 2001) To enter the drawing, please leave a comment telling me which branch of service your family represents, and why you'd like a copy of this book! I'll choose a winner using Random.org at the end of Monday, May 9. The winners will be emailed Tuesday May 10. Winners, you must reply with your mailing address within two days or I'll have to select a different winner.  Now, to let you in on an amazing sale happening right now at ChristianBook.com for three books I either co-authored or contributed to! For a limited time (which could mean just today, or just this weekend), the following books are sharply discounted: Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs Only $5.99 (70% off this hardcover volume!) Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front Only $7.99 (53% off!) Military Families Bible (just released in March!) Only $17.49 (42% off) If you're a military spouse, treat yourself to some encouraging words with this sale! If you know a military spouse, consider buying him or her a gift. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Available for Pre-order! Refresh: Spiritual Nourishment for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Wed, 2016-04-20 06:30 -- Jocelyn Green
Refresh: Spiritual Nourishment for Parents of Children with Special Needs is now available to pre-order! This devotional book near and dear to my heart. A special thank you to all of you who have been part of this project, whether you prayed for us as we were working on it, or whether you were one of the many parents I had the privilege of interviewing for the book! My co-author Kimberly Drew and I are so excited about this upcoming release, we are going to offer some FREE bonuses to those who pre-order at Amazon, BarnesandNoble,ChristianBook, DeeperShopping, etc.  Here's the book blurb: Packed with encouragement from parents who understand this complicated balancing act, Refresh guides readers to spiritual truths that can be applied to the demands they face every day. It offers perspective and hope through the varying stages and phases families experience, from diagnosis to loss and grief. Each day's devotional includes a reading from Scripture, as well as stories and testimonies from parents who intimately know the struggle readers face. Their children represent a wide range of special needs, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, chronic illness, and more. Drew and Green show how the truths of God's Word are relevant, regardless of the diagnosis. Their devotional illuminates the unique lessons and perspectives to be gained as a result of raising a child with special needs.  Insightful and powerful, Refresh will help weary parents grow spiritual roots and turn toward the Light that never fades. Now let's talk about the FREEBIES! After you place your order for the book, just email your receipt to me (jocelyn[at]jocelyngreen[dot]com). Upon receiving that from you, I will send YOU the following items for free! List of Family Friendly Activities for children with special needs, courtesy of Kimberly (PDF) Refresh with Quick & Easy Recipes, a brief collection compiled by me (PDF) A coupon code to use for $5 off Laurie Wallin's EXCELLENT book: Get Your Joy Back: Banishing Resentment and Reclaiming Confidence in Your Special Needs Family I hope to see you in my inbox soon!

Remembering the Heroes on 9-11

Fri, 2015-09-11 08:12 -- Jocelyn Green
Because I lived in DC during the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks, the anniversary holds special meaning for me.  It was my great honor  to gather several stories from others who experienced that day in a personal way and include them in Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front. Today I’d like to share with you a short but profound excerpt. It brings me to tears every time I read this letter, but the spiritual parallel is, I believe, equally moving. I hope this book excerpt below encourages you today. Letter to a New York Police Officer On the morning of September 11, 2001, four commercial airplanes were hijacked by terrorists and used as weapons against non-combatant American citizens on our own soil. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, one smashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one crash landed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when passengers rushed the terrorists. On September 12, a New York resident wrote this letter to a man whose name she never knew: To the Police Officer who helped me on September 11th, You literally picked me up off the sidewalk that day. I was on the east side of City Hall Park and after the second WTC collapse I was running from the wall of dust and flying debris when I fell. I was terrified—people were running over me and past me. You lifted me off the ground and said “run with me.” After a few blocks when I said I didn’t think I could run anymore, you said run just a little further and then if you can’t run I’ll carry you. You got me to a safe place and went back to help others. I didn’t get your badge number or your name but I will never forget you. I pray that you are safe. You and your brother and sister officers are one of the great things about this city. With love and gratitude, Ann (the lady in the gray dress and yellow sweater) We don’t know if the police officer who helped Ann was a Christian or not, but his actions and words demonstrate God’s attitude toward us. When we stumble in our own lives, our heavenly Father is unwilling to let us stay down. He picks us up and guides us to safety. When we cry out to Him that we just can’t go on, He gently urges to go further—and if we don’t have the strength to carry on, He will carry us through Himself. Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your guiding hand, and for carrying me through even the most trying circumstances. “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” ~Psalm 63:8 *Source: Grunwald, Lisa and Stephen Adler, editors. Women’s Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, 746.

Gettysburg Diaries: Tillie Pierce's Field for Profound Thought

Thu, 2015-07-02 08:10 -- Jocelyn Green
Today in 1863, Gettysburg shuddered beneath its second day of battle. Yesterday, I shared housewife Sarah Broadhead's perspective of hiding in the cellar during the July 1 fighting. Today, it's teenaged Tillie Pierce's turn in the spotlight. The following is excerpted from my nonfiction book, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front: A Field for Profound Thought [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"677", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-228 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"124", "height":"179", "alt":"BB-homefront-cover_125"}}]] When fifteen-year-old Tillie Pierce fled to a neighbor’s farmhouse a few miles away, she thought she would be safe from the battle. Instead, she was right behind the Union lines on the eastern slopes of the Round Tops for the second and third days of the battle. She and her neighbors passed out water to the soldiers in blue as they proceeded into battle, and watched in horror as they came back wounded or dead. After tearing all the muslin and linen in the house into strips for bandages, Tillie finally looked up. I was looking out one of the windows facing the front yard. Near the basement door, and directly underneath the window I was at, stood one of these [amputating] benches. I saw them lifting the poor men upon it, then the surgeons sawing and cutting off arms and legs, then again probing and picking bullets from the flesh. Some of the soldiers fairly begged to be taken next, so great was their suffering, and so anxious were they to obtain relief . . . To the south of the house, and just outside of the yard, I noticed a pile of limbs higher than the fence. It was a ghastly sight! [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1285", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-3305", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"300", "height":"316", "alt":"Tillie Pierce"}}]] Tillie Pierce   After the battle ended, Tillie and many other women in the town threw themselves into whatever they could do to bring comfort to these strangers, who by now felt more like family. They brought lemons, oranges, cakes, jellies and rolls. The women also spent hours reading to the wounded and participated in their religious services at the hospital. Though the Battle of Gettysburg certainly left a mark on Tillie, she chose to dwell not on the human suffering now forever linked with her hometown, but on God’s sovereignty. What in my girlhood was a teeming and attractive landscape spread out by the Omnipotent Hand to teach us of His goodness, has by His own direction, become a field for profound thought, where, through coming ages, will be taught lessons of loyalty, patriotism and sacrifice. . . . we cannot fail to learn that: “The God of battles” is ever present, that on those memorable days at Gettysburg “The hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy.” Prayer: Lord, help me focus on You and learn the lessons you have for me. “The hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy.” ~Ezra 8:31 ___________________________ [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"771", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-891 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"125", "height":"193", "alt":"Widow cover 3 125"}}]]Tillie's diary, At Gettysburg: Or What a Young Girl Saw and Heard of the Battle, is a wonderful eyewitness account, and one I used in my research for Widow of Gettysburg. It can be read online in its entirety for free at Google Books or purchased in paperback (or 99 cents for Kindle). Tillie's house is now the Tillie Pierce Inn, where you could lodge during your next visit to Gettysburg! (Also be sure to check out the home of Tillie's neighbor, Hettie Shriver. The Shriver House Museum is on my list of 9 Must-See Sites of Gettsyburg!) If you liked meeting Tillie Pierce and Sarah Broadhead, you may also enjoy 3 Heroines of Gettysburg. Learn more about Widow of Gettysburg here, or view the one-minute trailer below for a taste of the story.

#DEAL: $3.99 Military Wives New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs

Wed, 2015-05-27 10:05 -- Jocelyn Green
Military wives, if you own an ereader, I've got great news for you! From now until May 31, the Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs is only $3.99 as an ebook! This special NIV volume includes 90 devotions and stories written by close to 30 military wives. Features: * 60 devotions written by military wives, for military wives that provide hope, encouragement, and spiritual growth *30 Home Front Heroes stories of inspiring military wives from all generations *Basic Training Bible study guides *Favorite hymns for military wives *Foreword from Jocelyn Green * Scripture from the New International Version* Topical Index and other study helps “The MWNT is a must have for every military wife. Whether her husband is deployed, home or in training, every wife needs the wisdom found in God’s word and the wisdom of those who have walked before on the path she must now journey. Along the way, she will find many new truths that have an even greater meaning because of the enhanced experience of Godly women who also seek God’s face in their daily walk as a military wife. I know that I  could not have journeyed this path successfully without the wisdom of my sisters-in-arms whose faith held me when nothing else could. I highly recommend MWNT for every military wife you know and love.” ~Ellie Kay, Author of best selling, Heroes at Home, America’s Military Family Expert (™) If you'd rather have hardcover, those are on sale right now, too. (Just $7.99 instead of $19.99 at ChristianBook.com!)

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