17 September 2017

Heidi Chiavaroli -- Overcoming Fear With God's Help

Heidi Chiavaroli, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 
Thank you so much for having me, Carrie!

Would you tell us about the one of the most difficult things in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
 Definitely, definitely fear. I was the little girl who would run to my Mom every time I got the smallest scrape, fearing it would somehow prove fatal. I was the girl who clung to the side of the pool for the entire 4th of July party, missing out on all the fun, even though I had a perfectly dependable bubble strapped to my back.
By God’s grace, some of this lessened as I grew and then…I had kids of my own! Talk about knowing fear. How would I protect them, raise them right, keep my patience? Add to that a particularly trying time in the northeast when New England was shaken up by the Boston Marathon bombing, just months after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. I totally reverted back to my old fearful ways. I didn’t want to send my kids to school, I even called the police on a tax assessor who came to our door in the days following the bombing because I was fearful one of the brothers stood at my door (to me, the assessor looked just like the pictures all over the news). Crazy, but I was scared, just realizing—really realizing—that anything could happen any time or any place. I was not an exception to the evil in the world.
BUT I was able to explore this fear in the writing of this novel, and even work out my own struggles through it.

What passages in the Bible have been most helpful to you in those times?
I’m so glad you asked this!
There are many, but here are two of my favorites:
Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
This verse absolutely speaks to my heart. And I love that it’s one of those special prophecies, written about Jesus (my righteous right hand) hundreds of years before Jesus even showed up in Bethlehem. Love that.
The other is Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I think we often go to this verse and think, “Okay, everything’s going to be good for me because I love God.” But that’s more of a health and wealth gospel, not the gospel Jesus died for. His gospel is so much bigger, bringing purpose out of pain and suffering. Though I often struggle with fear, this verse reminds me that no matter what, no matter how I see things, God has this, simply because I am his.

What helped you get through or helped you cope with this difficulty?
Marinating myself in God’s promises and the truth of His gospel. By realizing that belief isn’t just a one time thing. It’s an every second of every minute kind of thing. We need God for so much more than a one-moment-of-faith conversion. We need Him to sustain our own faith, even. At least I know I do!
Reading the writings of those strong in the faith also helped me, as well as attending a Bible study. Having sisters who sympathized with me and prayed for me made an absolute world of difference. And of course, my family. I don’t know what I’d do without their love, shown in tangible ways all the time.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
I’m sorry—nothing yet! Hopefully down the line…
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?  
Everyone has struggled with something they fear, or something in their past they would have done differently. This is both Annie’s and Liberty’s difficulty. Annie wonders how she will ever get past the day of the marathon bombing, and the subsequent choices she made. Liberty fears she will have to face the man she stole a ring from—a man who showed her nothing but kindness. She is also distraught over her brother’s death in the Boston Massacre.

Both these characters struggle with forms of PTSD (though certainly they didn’t label it such in colonial days!) Though we might or might not suffer from a similar disorder, we have all done things we regret. We struggle over our inability to have do-overs. We spend precious time fearing we will make the same mistakes, or fearing that we are simply not strong enough, not smart enough, not enough at all. And maybe we’re not. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hope greater than us and our abilities.
BIO:
Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston's Freedom Trail. She writes Women's Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.
Heidi’s Links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16080793.Heidi_Chiavaroli

Question you’d like to ask readers:How have you struggled with fear in your life? How has God used this in your life?

GIVEAWAY: Heidi is generously giving away a copy of her book to one of our commenters! 



14 September 2017

My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar -- Guest Review by Andrea Stephens


About the book:
Journey into the Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where...
With Very Little Left of the Family Farm, Lily May be Forced into a Loveless Marriage.

Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright has purchased land in the Shenandoah Valley. However, the land belongs to Lillyanna Laughlin—or so she erroneously thinks. Mac sets her straight and despite a poor start, the two become friends. .if only he were financially stable to offer her more. 

When Lily’s life is threatened and his whole future goes up in flames, Mac truly becomes a man without means, and Lily is forced to make the impossible choice between a loveless marriage with a man twice her age or the man who has shown her what true love could be. How can she choose between love and economic security? Her family is depending on her. Is her heart destined to break?
 
Journey into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where a woman’s dreams and future happiness are on the line.




My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma (Barbour Publishing, September 2017)
Guest Review by Andrea Stephens

I have to say it took me about four pages to get hooked on this book. When handsome former Captian Mac hears the beautiful Lily singing. How they meet is quite a surprise, for both of them, I think. From that point on, I couldn't read fast enough. It quickly became a 5 Star book for me.

The writing was so descriptive I found myself walking through the orchards, tasting Aunt Hilda's food and sneering at the evil Silas Everett every time his black box carriage came down the lane.

There is so much heart woven into this story. Lily's love for her family home Haus am Bach and the memories it holds, her caring for her younger brothers and her Aunt. The dilemma she faces is unimaginable, being under the supposed care and protection of her late father's friend Silas Everett. A local Inn owner with gambling tables in the back room, and all around nasty scoundrel. He has sold off the family orchards and fields, how are they to survive?
I liked that Lily had a bit of spunk to her in certain situations, in others she demurred.

Lily and Mac did not expect to fall for each other, in fact, after much discussion of the matter they reach an agreement to “just be neighbors, and friends” I don't give spoilers but I will say that arrangement does not work out very well.

The other characters in the book are so good! I loved Mr. John Blake, an older man, and Mac's former first mate. He has a way with words and phrases, one of them being “...but I'm not a landlubber. I don't even like farm animals, unless they are roasted to perfection...” You have to read the book to find out where that line comes from. I liked the little side romance between Mr. Blake and Aunt Hilda too. It was nice to see two older folks find love.

There are a lot of fun moments and heart felt moments in the book but it is filled with drama and some suspense too. The faith elements are gently woven in throughout the book with forgiveness and redemption found in the pages as well.

I highly recommend this book to people who love Inspirational Historical Fiction, though I think there is a bit of something for everyone here.

I will leave you with another great piece of advice from the book, spoken by a friend in a tense situation. I think part of it applies to each of us:
“Never pick a fight with a blacksmith or the Almighty. You're sure to lose on both accounts.”

*After reading an ARC provided by the publishers and NetGalley, I bought a copy of the book to keep for myself.  

The My Heart Belongs Series from Barbour Publishing:










     
Jan-2017Buy
Mar-2017Buy
May-2017Buy
Jul-2017Buy

Sep-2017Buy

NOTE: My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma  is ON SALE on KINDLE for only 99 Cents as of this publication time (September 14th, 2017, 8:30 AM Eastern).  Click here 

THANK YOU to Andrea Stephens, our guest reviewer for the My Heart Belongs series!!!

GIVEAWAY: Any ONE of the five "My Heart Belongs" series from Barbour Publishing, that have already released (pictured above). More to come! Including Angie Dickens' book in November! 

12 September 2017

Bonnie Roof Reviews Julie Lessman's Four New Novella's

She longs to be the perfect mother. He just longs for his wife. Until they receive ... the best gift of all. Everyone knows Lizzie and John Brady have the perfect marriage. But when Lizzie’s desire to be a good mother eclipses her desire for her husband, the honeymoon is definitely over. Can the spirit of Christmas heal their hearts when Lizzie gives John the best gift of all?

THE BEST GIFT OF ALL: AN O'CONNOR CHRISTMAS NOVELLA - 5 Stars


The Best Gift of All features John and Lizzy Brady in an engaging romance that addresses a problem familiar to many marriages: balancing the roles of spouse and parent. The Best Gift of All will inspire, reveal dramatic surprises, entertain with its family's antics, bring both smiles and tears, warm the reader's heart, and endear them to its characters. It's story of faith could quite possibly heal some marriages!


He’s everybody’s lovable rogue. She’s nobody’s fool who hopes to steer clear. Until a thunderstorm sinks them both into a sea of love. Blake “The Rake” McClare has a notorious reputation as a womanizer, which is why soft-spoken Patience Peabody carefully avoids the lovable rogue attorney at the law firm in which they both work. Until a rare thunderstorm brings them together in a love soaked with the grace of God ... and sparked with a little lightning of its own

GRACE LIKE RAIN: A HEART OF SAN FRANCISCO Novella - 5 Stars

Attorney Blake "The Rake" McClare is a womanizer who lives up to his name - until his charms are lost on soft-spoken, professional, receptionist Patience Peabody (who wears her name well). Patience has a few tricks of her own - who will win the battle of the wills in this engrossing, sweet romance that will inspire, give you a laugh, some drama, spin a twist, and then steal your heart with it's warm, realistic characters? Only God knows!



She’s the Accident to His Prayers …Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s caught fire to the kitchen, dyed his long johns pink, and scorched nearly everything she cooks. But he’s desperate, and she’s as destitute as they come. Even though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died. But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

THE GIFT OF GRACE: A FRONTIER CHRISTMAS NOVELLA - 5 Stars

When his aunt is injured, Pastor Cole McCabe is desperate for a housekeeper and nanny for his daughters. A friend of Cole's deceased wife, Grace O'Malley is destitute and desperate for a lifestyle change. What would appear to be the perfect answer to the problems of both - turns into a disaster when Cole finds Grace can't cook and has few housekeeping skills. When her secrets threaten to tear his family apart, Cole intervenes and reveals a few secrets of his own. Drama, twists, and suspense kept me glued to the pages of this beautiful romance; the endearing children, hilarious situations, and sweet romance brought me to tears. Forgiveness and redemption through a loving God are the healing factors making this story a winner.


She’s desperate for a baby. He’s desperate for an empty nest.
Love is desperate to surprise them both. With a husband dead set against adoption, Charity O’Connor Dennehy has barely a whisper of hope for more children, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … will it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?

A WHISPER OF HOPE: AN O'CONNOR CHRISTMAS NOVELLA - 5 Stars

Charity O'Connor Dennehy, mother of twins, desperately wants to adopt a child she has come to love while on visits to St. Mary's Home For Unwed-Mothers with her sister-in-law. Husband Mitch, 16 years Charity's senior, is deeply opposed - wanting to raise and provide their best for the two children they already have. Whose perspective will change?

Having worked in a home for abused and neglected children and being a parent myself, I could identify with both sides of the story and was deeply touched by it. Author Julie Lessman provided just enough warmth, laughs, and spiritual inspiration to balance out my reader tears.     



You may purchase these wonderful novellas by clicking on these links. 










GIVEAWAY: Ms. Lessman has graciously offered the gift of (3) Three e-books. Each Winner Has The Choice of Any (1) One of These Outstanding Novellas. 

10 September 2017

Eyes on the Hurricane -- Divert Them to God

Hurricane Hugo image from NOAA Library
All eyes have been on devastating Hurricane Harvey in Texas and now on Hurricane Iris as it bears down on Florida. All the images on television bring back memories of living in Charleston, South Carolina, during Hurricane Hugo. Anyone who has gone through a hurricane knows how devastating they can be.  We'd evacuated our home and gone inland to Columbia, South Carolina, to a friend's house -- but even there they had very high winds that were frightening. My husband returned home to find most roads into our subdivision blocked. By the time I and our sick baby daughter returned to Charleston, trees had been chainsawed and moved out the way -- mostly by neighbors. The entire area looked like a giant had come in and snapped trees like pencils and tossed them on the ground. We had thirteen trees down on our property. One large tree came down on our neighbor's home and a couple came down on ours. Thankfully, we were able to return to our home. When I went to my office, my private practice as a psychologist on Ashley Phosphate Road, there was a sign on the building saying it was condemned (temporarily) due to structural damage.

In Virginia, we've had hurricanes and threats of hurricanes pretty much every other year since we've been here, almost twenty years. By the time Hurricane Isabel hit shore, when our son was a toddler, it had been downgraded but did unbelievable massive damage. We lost power for even longer than Hurricane Hugo -- I believe nine days for us. No land line phone. Cell towers were down so very minimal cell phone use. The trees and debris stacked in the street were as tall as a man.

Our loved ones who are going through the devastation of hurricanes will not only need our support in tangible ways, donations, bringing them needed items (my inlaws came all the way from Chicago to bring us a generator and help with clean up after Hugo), but they will also need our ongoing prayer support.

Let's lift our eyes to God and beseech him to bring help. And if He has led you to be one of those responders stepping into the breech, God go with you and bless you!

Comments are closed on this post. I simply ask you to pray! Thank you!

05 September 2017

Teresa S. Mathews Reviews Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore



Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews
5 Stars*****


In this book one of her new series, In the Line of Duty, Janice Cantore tackles a subject that has been all over the news lately; a police officer has to make a quick decision in a dangerous situation and sadly someone loses their life. 

Tess O'Rourke is a wonderful example of an outstanding officer, she quickly rose to Commander of the East Division of Long Beach, California, and hopefully one day she will be the first female Chief. Sadly, that dream is snatched away when she shows up at a call where a fellow officer is under attack and to save his life she is forced to shoot an unarmed teenager. 

One blogger with a beef against the police, paints a target on Tess's back and doesn't give up until he has people angrily questioning the shooting even after Tess is cleared of any wrong doing. Forced to resign from her job, she leaves behind her beloved city to be Chief in the small, quiet town of Rogue's Hollow, Oregon. Tess thought this peaceful town would be different from the fast pace of Long Beach but she soon finds out even a quiet town can harbor murders, drug addicts and kidnappers.

Janice Cantore being a retired police officer, knows firsthand the dangers officers face every day and she handled this heated subject extremely well. Through Tess's story you can see an officers point of view, since the media never wants to tell the complete story. Janice also knows how to write a story that will quickly pull you in, and Tess's story did that to me. The characters were quite intriguing; a dedicated Pastor, whose wife is fighting cancer, an overbearing Mayor hounding Tess's every move, a young woman that the whole town has given up on, and of course, a handsome Sheriff's Deputy that is more than happy to help the new chief.

I have been reading Janice Cantore's books for years and I have never been disappointed and I can't wait for book two of this series to come out. Thank you, Janice, for yet another satisfying read!

***Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for supplying 
a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!***

GIVEWAY: Ms. Cantore has graciously offered two paperback copies of this wonderful book to two blessed commenters. Leave a comment, along with your email so we can contact you if your name is drawn. US RESIDENTS ONLY



03 September 2017

Overcoming Difficulty with Praise by Teresa S. Mathews

I know all of us at some time in our lives have faced difficulties; whether it be sickness, finances, death of a loved one or many other things that can come to mind. You probably all know my situation these past three years and know how hard it has been for me to keep going. I am so glad I can say I have had the Lord taking care of me every step of the way. There are so many things we can do when going through trials; pray, read the Bible, fellowship with friends and family but I think praise should be high on the list.

When terrible things happen it’s so easy to fall on our face before GOD and begin to plead for mercy for our situation, that’s how we have been taught. It’s in our nature to call out for help, which is what our Father wants us to do but the one thing most of us forget to do is Praise Him during the storm.

I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago, trying to encourage them by quoting a scripture we probably all know “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5. Afterward I looked up that verse to reread it and the first part of it hit me like a ton of bricks; “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have…”

WOW!! I have read that verse over and over and quoted it probably hundreds of times but I never put the whole thing together like I did that day. Let me break that down the way it hit me. I shouldn’t look at others that are having what appears to be the time of their lives and wonder “why can’t I have their easy life?”  Hmm…I’m supposed to be happy with all the problems life has thrown at me?! REALLY???  SERIOUSLY??? Lord, are you sure that’s what you meant?!!

Let’s look at the whole verse; Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  KJV

Let’s try the NKJV and see what it says; Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Maybe we should try the NIV; Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Isn’t that something? Even with the wording changed around a little bit the meaning is the same; Don’t fret your circumstances, or wish you had a different life, Jesus is right there with you for the endurance! 

Does that come as easy as it sounds? Not always, and that’s why I believe that’s where praise comes in. There are so many encouraging scriptures that back that up but I’ll only share a couple.

Romans 5:3-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Going through difficult times is not something anyone likes but we have to trust that GOD is going to work the situation out for good. When we come to terms with that and begin to praise Him it will draw us closer to Him in ways that would not have been possible if we had that “easy life” we craved; take it from someone who knows!

I would love for you to share in the comments some of the scriptures that have helped you in difficult times. I also find music to be a great tool to use to in my praise. I've shared some songs have blessed me through the years.










31 August 2017

Audiobook Review of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White


Blurb: 
Edwardian romance and history gains a twist of suspense. 
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name? 
Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?


A Name Unknown
(Shadows over England, # 1)
Audiobook Review
Recorded Books 2017
By Roseanna M. White
Narrated By Liz Pierce


Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Book One in a New British Series!
This novel was a Romantic Times Book Reviews Top Pick in July, 2017. I listened to a download of the book on Audible.com. The suspenseful romance and mystery is available in multiple formats at Barnes and Noble,  Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, at your local Christian book store (BTW, Lifeway will price match and they also can get you a book that they don't have in the store), and at other online and brick-and-mortar bookstores.

First of all, this is a very unusual Christian fiction story in that the heroine is an anti-hero. Roseanna will be speaking in Maryland, on September 9th, at the Write To Inspire Workshop in Frederick, on "When to Break the Rules" in writing, so I'm assuming that's what she's trying to do for this novel. When I had the opportunity to have dinner with Roseanna and her family in Williamsburg, Virginia, recently, she also talked a little about this idea. Realize, however, it takes a really talented author to do this.  With 200+ reviews on Amazon with a 4.7 average, readers agree that she's done so.

Be prepared for a long listen. This book is over 400 pages long which translates into many hours of audible listen. If you don't have to do the read by audio, you might want to stick with the paperback, ebook, or hardcover edition. Listening to the narrator stutter (yes, the hero is a stutterer, but if you're reading it with your eyes you don't actually hear it) is painful at times. It does hammer through the reality of the characters situation, though. The narrator is good, with a lovely British accent, but she doesn't quite nail the male character's voices like some other narrators can do. 

Because I'm also an author, the concept of this book (the hero is a secret novelist) caused "author intrusion" for me throughout much of the listen. I don't think this would be a problem for the vast majority of listeners, and indeed by the ratings it obviously didn't. And knowing Roseanna made that intrusion even worse. Big sigh. One of those times I wish I was still a reader only, as this is a nice long lovely listen to savor.

Bibiliotherapy aspects are ripe and rich and make this audiobook a top candidate for my Bibliotherapy Book of the Year. With the first hero with a marked speech impairment and a heroine who is not only an orphan but a thief who has grown up with a family of criminals, albeit her loved ones with reasons why they've turned to this life.

Questions: How often do you listen to a new release on audio? What's your favorite way to read and why?





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