This story from Emerald Barnes is perfectly timed. I knew it was meant to be when Em selected January 28th--my dad's birthday. It's been just over six months since he passed away, and I miss him as much now as the day we lost him to cancer. But I know I can rely on my Heavenly Father to get me though the pain of losing my earthly dad. Life isn't always easy, but it's easier with faith, in knowing that God has plans for us, plans to give us hope, and a future.
The Greatest Love Story, by Emerald Barnes
I don’t have my very own love story. At least in the normal sense.
I’m a single woman in her late twenties, and I have yet to be in a relationship that budded into marriage, and that’s okay with me because the greatest love story that has happened to me is the one that I’m about to tell you.
When I was around the age of nine, I asked my father, a preacher man, how to be saved. He explained it to me: ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, repent for those sins, and live a life for Him. That wasn’t hard for me because I had always lived a life for Jesus. I was raised in church, and I still go to church to this day. I couldn’t imagine one day without Him.
I had my ups and downs, of course, as I went through my teenage years and fell into discouragement from some situations in my old churches which caused us to leave, and there was plenty of family drama at home. I felt like I didn’t need to go to church. I could be a Christian without being in church, right?
A few months later, my dad found a new pastoral job which he accepted. We began going to church again, but my heart was never in it. I didn’t read my Bible, and frankly, I didn’t want to be a part of this church. I went every Sunday, but I only went for show, because it was expected of me.
When Dad had to leave this church, I was done. I told him that I never wanted to go to church again. I was tired of being hurt by church after church, and I didn’t want to be part of any church he might pastor in the future. The hurt far outweighed Jesus at the time, and that never should have happened. But it did, and I can’t say that I’m sorry it did either. Otherwise, I might not be where I am today.
At some point, my brother-in-law talked us into going to a church he went to in his teenage years. I don’t know what prompted me to go that following Sunday. In fact, it had only been a few weeks since we left the other church, but I got in the vehicle with my family and went to church. I turned my life around that day. Jesus got my attention completely, and I have only missed a few Sundays due to sickness or vacation since that day almost five years ago.
My relationship with God has grown and continues to do so. I am living a life fuller and closer to God than I ever have before. My relationship with Him is just that, a relationship. I’m no longer going through the motions. I’m His daughter, and He’s my Father. And I love Him more than I ever have. It’s no longer just going through motions. I feel this love deeply, and I’ve learned to feel that same love from Him.
My love story will never end, because my Father will never stop loving me. And He won’t stop loving you either.
#IChooseLove every time I wake up and thank Him for another day. #IChooseLove when I get onto my social media accounts and remind others that they can love themselves like our Father loves them. #IChooseLove when I look at my Bible and am reminded of everything that Jesus did for me when He died on the cross.
And I’m grateful that Jesus Chose Love instead of asking God to stop the series of events that led to His death.
#IChooseLove because He chose me.
About Emerald Barnes
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.
Connect with Emerald online: Facebook * Twitter * TSU * Blog * Website
Read More from Emerald in Entertaining Angels & Before We Say I Do
About Entertaining Angels
Madison Andrews can’t face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that’s not skin deep.
Along comes Zach, the new guy in high school. He’s smoking hot and totally out of her league. She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won’t let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.
Dark forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. With her newfound Christian faith, can Madison find true happiness in her own skin amidst the battle of angels and demons?
Get it online: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Goodreads
About Before We Say I Do
Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.
Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or was he sent by God on another mission?
Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, his dad is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him. Chase must learn to let go of the past before the demon that haunts him ruins his wedding.
Get it online: Amazon * Goodreads
This post from Lydia Thomas isn't one about finding THE ONE, but about loving yourself, and allowing yourself to be loved. It is a choice to act and react with love. It is a choice to love others even when they don't deserve it. It is a choice to allow someone to love you, even when you don't feel like you deserve it.
#IChooseLove: When You Think You Can't Choose Love Anymore,
Thinkin' of a way to explain-o
Back in the day there was a man
About Tabitha Caplinger
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Read More from Tabitha in The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline
In this first installment of the Christian fantasy trilogy The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.
Get it here: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
A day in the life of me and my writing, by S. Valentine
Writing is the best, but sometimes hardest thing, as I can get writers block, where nothing seems to come. Other times, my mind is spinning with so many ideas, and it seems to be the worst just as I want to go to sleep. I’ve had to keep a notepad by my bed to jot stuff down. But, I love writing, and with everything, you get the downfalls.
So, anyway, here is how my day usually goes. I wake up, and instantly make a coffee.
I can’t focus unless I’ve had coffee. I then set my laptop up, and firstly check my emails. I manage authors from Booktrope, maintain a book blog, and write articles weekly for my local newspaper, so I need to ensure I have everything up to date. I then either help other authors promote their books, and promote my own online.
Sometimes, the time flies by, and before I know it, it’s 5PM, and I’ve got no writing done. If only there were more hours in the day!
When I do get writing done, I can write anything as little as 500 words, or 3,000 a day, more, if I’m really concentrating. I like to write whilst listening to music. I can’t sit in complete silence. I also can’t do one thing at a time; I always have to be juggling other stuff: checking my social media sites, responding to people etc.
When I’m in writing mode, my diet is the worst. I cook food that is quick and easy. Unhealthy, I know!
I also can’t watch TV series, as they tend to influence my writing style. I’ve had to put Sons Of Anarchy, Gossip Girl and Dexter on hold, even though I’m halfway through them all. I can’t allow Charlie Hunnam’s bad-boy Jax Teller influence me any more lol! I already have enough of him in my work.
In-between writing, I also do the housework, and whatever else needs doing. When I’m having a really good day, and the sun is shining, I take a notepad to the beach, or sit in a quiet bar overlooking the beach and write there. Those are my better writing days :)
Anyway, if you want to read about my debut novel, HIS CONFESSION, book #1 of The Black Door Trilogy, the blurb is below, along with book trailer, and teasers. You can also find me at: www.facebook.com/SophiaValentineAuthor, and
About S. Valentine
Returning to her lifelong passion of writing books, she’s also a weekly columnist for The Ibizan newspaper on: lifestyle, relationships and fashion. She blogs at www.lifestyleandliterature.wordpress.com, and tweets at @SophiaVAuthor. She can also be found sharing her many passions on Instagram @SophiaValentineAuthor, and pinning beautiful things on www.pinterest.com/SophiaVWrites.
Sophia’s interests include reading, shopping, and sunbathing whilst drinking a Cosmopolitan. For more information, please visit: www.s-valentine.wix.com/books.
If you join her newsletter, you will be the first to receive sneak peeks of chapters, teasers, news, giveaway prizes and more!
Find S. Valentine online:
Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * PInterest * Goodreads
Read more from S. Valentine in His Confession, coming Feb 2016
At the club, she realises, it’s not her fiancé’s fidelity that can’t be trusted…
It’s her own.
The owner, Darion Milano comes into her life--daring, intriguing, and unpredictable.
Unable to get him out of her head, against Darion’s explicit warning, Gabi begins a torrid affair. No longer fighting the urge to enter the depth of his dark and mysterious lifestyle, she indulges in his deepest desires.
They became the most exciting, wild, infatuated couple everybody knew.
Until his confession changes everything.
Her heart is telling her to stay. Her instinct is telling her to run.
She can never match his outrageous ex-wife, and become the fun fearless woman that he craves, or can she?
Discover a world of sex, secrets and seduction.
Watch the trailer!
*Warning - book is rated for ages 18+ and may contain mature content.*
Dry Ice & Cyanide - or - How I Met My Wife, by R. Harrison
Dry Ice and Cyanide.
How I met my wife.
It was at the introduction party for the new graduate students, of which I was one, green, wet behind the ears and unaware of it. Typical lab-fodder. In between the beer and the dancing, except well, the stereo was only a tuner, not an amp, so it was more like in between the beers and the conversation, that I met her.
Actually, I'd gone to refill my glass, to get away from the crush and noise, and she was standing there, next to the keg. Her appearance definitely improved the scene. She was (and is) a babe; a devastatingly intelligent babe at that. For once in my life I chatted calmly instead of issuing the inane nervous chatter that usually bubbled out when I met a girl. It must have been fate, but her strong English accent probably helped. I can't remember all the details, but we talked about life on the rough side of town – where the rents were low enough for the students and the housing, once proud and rich, hadn't completely crumbled. As an aside, my building still had the tubes for gas lights, that and bare, naked wires on ceramic posts – first generation electricity, but I digress.
Like every building in that city, it had roaches, armies and armies of roaches. A horde of roaches who threatened to conquer the world. Genghis Khan had nothing on them. You could tell they felt, “We out-lasted the dinosaurs for this? Crumbs? It's time for real meat.” They hid in every crevice and watched threateningly - waving their antenna at me when I showered. Either that or they wanted popcorn, I never could tell. We also had mice, but they were pets. Especially when we found they ate the bugs. I mean what are a few fleas between friends and allies, united against a common foe.
Her apartment had the same issue, but she'd controlled it. She told me she used 'prussic acid', an old word for hydrogen cyanide, to deal with them. I was hooked, she was a woman after my own heart, a serious chemist who brooked no nonsense. That would show those roaches who was boss.
We must have parted, but next I remember we talked for a long time while I fiddled with the dry ice used to cool something, and to generate the sodden chilly fog of water vapor that filled the rooms. Not only was she British, but she was a post-doc, way up the academic feeding chain from a rookie like me. She worked in the lab where I was assigned my first rotation. I was in luck – we'd meet again.
The course of true love is never straight, and there were a few misadventures on the way, but she was in my dreams almost from the time I met her. By the way, she said 'Boracic acid' (boric acid which is much safer, though less effective) and I'd misheard her, as she explained to me one afternoon. By then it didn’t matter.
About R. Harrison
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Read More From R. Harrison in The Curious Profession of Dr. Craven
Unfortunately one of the things she’s conveniently forgotten was her arranged engagement to a vulgar, but wealthy son of a Northern industrialist. Not only that, but there is some deep dark secret about Dr Craven that her father believes makes him completely ineligible.
Resolving the resulting tangle in this sweet historical romance takes the combined efforts of the doctor’s once profligate brother, the Earl of Craven, a displaced French Royal, le Duc de Bourbon, and the visit of a mysterious French Baron to the sacred floor or Almack’s.urb
Get it here: Amazon
I Want to Know What Love Is, by Niki Krauss
Love is oftentimes fickle. People fall in love; they fall out of love. How can it be so unreliable? Yet, unreliable or not, we continually look for it. Love isn’t perfect. That’s obvious if you’ve been in a relationship for more than, say, ten minutes. We’re broken, fallen human beings not even close to being perfect, so our love bears our imperfections. The love of another human being will never complete you—no matter what Tom Cruise said in Jerry Maguire.
So, then, is it hopeless? No. As imperfect as love is, it’s also wonderful and beautiful and worth seeking. But, there can be ups and downs and ebbs and flows. Sometimes there are conditions to love; human love tends to be based on something tangible: I love you because you ________. Fill in the blank. It’s hard for us to love unconditionally. What about when he drives me crazy? What about when this child continually chooses to disobey? What about when my feelings get hurt? I don’t want to love you then. Love can be painful in those kinds of moments.
If the love of another person won’t complete you, what will? Even in the best of love relationships, there is a void the other person will never be able to fill, and it can be disastrous to put that expectation onto the person you love. He’ll never be able to fill it because it’s a God-sized void, and only the love of God can fill it. That God-sized void is present in all of us. The sad thing is a lot of us don't recognize it. Until you've invited God in and he fills up that void, you likely wouldn't have even known it was there. It's only when he's changed everything about you and for you that you can see what was missing.
Unlike human love, the love God pours out comes without conditions. It’s not based on who we are or what we’ve done. God’s love is based on who he is. There is no other love like it. The Bible says we can’t even fathom how much God loves us. One of my favorite passages, Ephesians 3:16–19, explains the unexplainable to help us better comprehend the incomprehensible:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
About Niki Krauss
Connect with Niki online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads
Read More From Niki in Little Girl Mended
Little Girl Mended is both a story of abuse and a story of redemption, spanning more than fifty years. From the loss of innocence at age seven, through ten-plus years of abuse, forty-five years of silence, and finally—well into my fifties—coming to understand that healing is possible. My walk through recovery coincided with a deepening of my relationship with Jesus Christ. Through that relationship I came to experience the Father’s love—a love I couldn’t fully understand while viewing everything through the distorted lens of incest.
In this first-person narrative, I examine painful memories and difficult emotions, allowing myself to feel for the first time in my life. As I grapple with shattering hurt and long-buried pain, I come to realize there can be no healing without surrender. It’s not in my strength that I find healing, but in my complete surrender to Jesus Christ.
The power found in the pages of Little Girl Mended is there for you, too—whatever the circumstances of your own life’s story. Come along and claim it.
Get it here: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
#IChooseLove, by Sherilyn Putnam
With one book released, it’s sequel and another story on the way, plus more series planned out, I have multiple opportunities to show the love, as it were. I choose love, I choose to write about it, because it is good. I weave it into each story I write, in hopes that I can bring love to someone who might need it. I think that is a primary goal of any storyteller, to bring the reader/watcher/listener an emotion that they need at that moment. A tender hug by characters you can relate to, a few words of encouragement read at a hard time, the most perfect music lyric at the most perfect time, these are all ways to help you get through a spot in which you are needing an extra boost of love. It might be presumptuous of me, but that is what I hope for. To have someone read something I wrote and get that little boost. That shred of realization that they are not alone, that they have that love there for them. No matter who they are or what they are going through.
Whatever position you are in right now, the writer or the reader, I hope you too choose love.
About Sherilyn Putnam
Connect with Sherilyn online: Website * Facebook * Twitter
Read more from Sherilyn, in The Dragon Child
Get it here: Amazon
Perfect for Each Other, by Mary Graziano Scro
Gliding toward her, quickly yet stiffly, his arms pumped in perfect “pump” form. He could hardly wait to pull her into his tanned, strong, he-man arms and meld his lips with hers, sure they’d be a perfect fit. His brown, wavy hair – not too curly or too straight – remained perfectly styled as he flew toward her.
Her dress, oh, her dress – flimsy, flowing, flowery fabric – revealed every perfect curve of her body as it rippled with the breeze. His own body – muscular, lean, and perfectly packed into his denim jeans and short-sleeved t-shirt – was a perfect match for hers.
Finally, the moment arrived where their hands, then arms, then bodies met in a stiff but perfectly timed embrace. He brought his mouth to hers, and held it there for what seemed like an eternity, relishing the most perfect moment of his life.
Sally Jane snatched up Barbie and Ken by the legs, and went in for lunch.
…law is perfect (Psalm 19:7)
…way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31)
…works are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4)
…gifts are good and perfect (James 1:17)
…power is made perfect in (our) weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
…perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18)
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14 NIV)
If you’re tired of looking for perfect love in all the wrong places, come to Jesus. He died for you so your sins could be forgiven, was resurrected so you could share in His life, and is waiting for you with open arms.
You and Jesus – you’re perfect for each other.
About Mary Graziano Scro
Connect with Mary online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon
Read More from Mary Graziano Scro
The devil’s goal is to separate us from God and from each other – not with obvious attacks of evil, but by luring us away, one small, seemingly innocent choice at a time. He can only defeat us if we let him – if we are unprepared, unaware, or unwise with our choices.
God calls us to advance the Kingdom of God on the earth, and to love the lost into it. He gave us the authority we need in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to empower us to do what we cannot in our own strength – all to accomplish His mission.
In Intentional Warfare, author Mary Graziano Scro shares practical advice and testimony from her life, supported by Scripture, about how to win the daily spiritual battles through Bible study, obedience, perseverance, and faith in the One who already won the war.
Get it here: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
Choosing Love, by Allison J. Kennedy
Like many of us, I have experienced the types of wounds that don’t just happen once, but rather come again and again, reopening the scars that had barely begun to heal. I often wonder how many of them were self-inflicted; how many of them I brought on myself because healing would be much more painful. But I’m not here today to reminisce about those wounds. I’m here to tell you why choosing love is what saved me.
When I met my husband, I was on the tail end of several years of battling for inner peace. I was hard and cold, but strangely receptive to his kindness, even if it only reached the outermost layer of my walls. For months I wondered what this gentle, God fearing, devoted man could possibly see in me. Why did he pray with me, even when I refused to close my eyes? There was a time when I loved God too. There was a time when I trusted Him with my life. But that time had passed, and somehow that didn’t matter to him. Somehow he knew I was worth the wait.
I remember saying my vows on our wedding day, still broken, but filled with hope. I remember thinking my new husband would wake up next to me in the weeks to come and realize he made a mistake. But there was something inside of me that chose to believe he knew what he was doing, and that meant he knew I would let him down or be difficult to love a times. Something within me believed in his love for me. And I loved him with everything I could offer. Looking back, I know it wasn’t nearly what he deserved.
Let me be clear and say my husband didn’t save me. I was clinging to the hope that his love (which, when from a human heart, always has the potential to fail) was perfect and complete. I thought I was saved. I even began to pray again. But my walls were still there, and there came a point when I knew he would give up on me. I looked him in the eye and waited for him to pack his bags and run. I even offered him the option, shrinking into myself with hopeless tears. And then he said something that I knew didn’t come from him at all. It came from something much bigger, and much more perfect.
He said, “You don’t get to choose how much I love you. There is nothing you could do that will ever make me love you less.”
It hit me like a blast of wind off the ocean, clearing my mind and opening my heart. My husband chose love, and not because it was within him alone to do so, but because God first loved him.
Friends, that was the day I woke up. That was the day I really understood what love means. Through my husband, I learned how perfectly and unconditionally I am loved, even in my ugliness. And though embracing it was hard, I too found the courage to love vulnerably and completely.
Now I sit here feeling my unborn child moving within: a new, innocent life whose heart will be open to everything good and bad when she is born. And the only thing I can do in this moment is weep with thankfulness for this gift, looking forward to the days when we can not only pour that love into her, but also teach her Who loved her first.
About Allison J. Kennedy
Born and raised in Oregon, she now resides in Oklahoma with her husband and two cats.
Connect with Allison online: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest
Read More from Allison
I lost myself the night of the party. Just like that, my innocence and my sanity were torn away.
I would like to say that time heals all wounds, but it doesn't. And I would like to say that falling in love is what rescued me, but it wasn't. Nobody told me what to expect in the coming days and weeks and months after conceiving a rapist's child. Years later, my wounds are still just as fresh as the night they were made. It would be so easy to disappear and allow the memories to consume me.
But that's the choice, isn't it? To live instead.
**This book contains rape triggers. Discretion is advised.
Get it here: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Becki Brannen is a thirty-something writer born and raised in the heart of Georgia. Her debut novel, Breathless, is the result of NaNoWriMo 2011, having been written in just twenty-nine days. Becki primarily writes "chick lit with a Christian twist," marrying one of her favorite genres with her Christian faith. Her life verses are Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 41:10. Becki and her husband have twin daughters and a poodle, Sophie.