Friday, August 21, 2015

3 Steps to Finding the Grace to Chase a Dream by Cara Putman Dear Readers! Today we welcome Award Winning Author Cara Putman! Cara has some great advice to share with us today & will be giving away a copy of her novel, Stars in the Night. Enter to win below!

Without further ado, let's give Cara a warm welcome!

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ONCE there was a 14-year-old who quickly realized her favorite authors simply could not write books fast enough. Because she was young, she decided she could write books, too. Her mother smiled and allowed her to write as part of her English. Slowly two novels grew on an old computer, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. She loved creating ideas, research, writing. The process delighted her soul, and she wondered if she’d found what she was created to do.
        Then life got busy. College, a career. A husband and a family. Writing was pressed to the perimeter of her life by the busyness of a full life.
                Most days it was enough.
                But some days, the whisper to write became a roaring ache to try. When this occurred, this girl grown into a woman would take the dream to God, hold it in open hands, and ask Him if this was His dream for her. If not, show her so she could kill the dream and focus on His will for her life.
                In due time, He announced it was time to follow her dream. Nine years later she’s awaiting the publication of her 18th and 19th books later this year.
                You may have already guessed: I am that girl. I know what it’s like to have a dream burning inside me and wonder if anything would ever come of it. I want to encourage you. If this is you. If you’re convinced your dreams have disappeared under a pile of laundry, dirty diapers, and grocery lists, that there are ways to live with grace until the appointed time for the dream to burst to life.
                Here’s what I learned on the journey:
1)      Hold the dream loosely. Pry your tight grip from the dream and offer it to God. Ask Him for wisdom to know if this is the time or the dream. Seek Him first. A dream without Him at the center is simply not as fulfilling.
2)      Prepare when you can as you can. For me that meant continuing to read voraciously. Through that I had a core understanding of what made a story and characters work. I might not have known all the lingo, but I intuitively gained an education. It also meant I read how-to write novel books. Each time the itch would resurface, you’d find me in the stacks looking for another book, so I could get structural understanding.
3)      Be prepared to run when God gives you the go-ahead. The years since God told me it was time to test the dream have been a whirlwind of work. It has required immense discipline and stick-to-it-iveness. I’ve had to let go of things to make room for the dream. Are you willing to do the same?

Waiting for a dream is hard. But with God’s grace, the waiting can be a time of preparation and drawing closer to Him.

Cara Shares Some of her Faves!

Favorite Dessert:                           Apple pie
Favorite Restaurant:                     Runza   
Favorite Branch of the Military (I won’t judge you if say anything other than Army, lol J) : ARMY – My dad flew Heweys in Vietnam and Desert Storm
Favorite Genre of Music:              Praise and worship
Favorite Subject in School:           history

Author Bio:
Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 20 books, graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” It received the Christian Retailing BEST award for Historical Fiction and the HOLT Award of Distinction. Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman recently received her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

Shadowed by Grace: by Grace is a dramatic story inspired by the Monuments Men of World War II by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper's assignment to travel to Italy to capture images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive - to find the father she never knew -- an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It's an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her

Connect with Cara:

Enter Below to Win a Copy of  Stars in the Night: 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

4 Reasons to Host A Backyard Bible Club

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

My name is Hannah Conway, Army wife for more than a decade, and the author of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, and Wedding a Warrior from Olivia Kimbrell Press.
This summer, our family hosted our very first Backyard Bible Club! We want to share the experience, and encourage military and civilian families to host your very own Backyard Bible Club for several reasons:
1: We’re promoting community, and that’s always a good thing!
2:  We’re cultivating relationships when we invite your neighbors over, and living in a military community it’s so vital to make connections with others we can trust, learn from and grow together. So to my military families out there, I challenge you to host a club.
3: The third and most important reason to host a backyard bible club is, we get to share Jesus with kids! How often do we sit in our homes and ever really get to know our neighbors, let alone work up enough nerve to tell them about Jesus or even let them know we’re a follower. A backyard Bible club helps to bridge that gap.
4: The 4th reason to host a club…well, that’s pretty easy! We get to have a lot of fun…a lot of messy fun…or not so messy, but our family likes messy games…really messy games! We’ve got the pics to prove it!

Thinking of starting your own Backyard Bible Club? Check out for easy-to-use curriculum or use any of our ideas, lessons/agendas, crafts, games etc.

Feel free to comment below with suggestions for next year’s club, or suggestions/advice for anyone interested in hosting their own club.  

Scripture Blocks Made From Scrap Wood, Paint, Construction
Paper, and Modge Podge.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Lady BorneKova: Meet the Author & Amazon Gift Card Giveway! Dear Readers! Today we have Author Sara R. Turnquist here with us! She's giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card, my friends! Enter to win below. Share with your friends and family for more entry points! And now, enjoy getting to know Sara! She's a fabulous person & talented author!
Welcome Sara! Please tell us about your latest novel, and any personal inspiration behind it.
The Lady Bornekova is set in the Czech Republic on the cusp of the Hussite Wars. Which were a religious civil war of sorts for the Czech (Bohemian) peoples. My novel follows the journey of one young lady, Karin Bornekova, and what happens to her throughout the events leading up to the start of the Hussite Wars. My personal inspiration? For several summers just after I graduated college, I went over to the Czech Republic on short term mission trips to teach English to college students. I absolutely fell in love with the culture, the country, the people. I was very inspired. Each year, our team leader would find something unique for us to do to kick off our time in the Czech Republic. One year we went to visit this massive chateau outside of Hradec Kralove. Touring the chateau and the grounds was the inspiration for this story.'s so interesting! And it all sounds so beautiful! I know you've finished this novel, but do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I have just finished working on a novel set during the Trail of Tears. It's been a really difficult novel to write. The Native Americans suffered so much between the removals and the actual journey along the trail. I am finding it a daunting task to undertake to do justice to the historical events and honor the people who endured these events. But there is a story to tell and I'm determined to tell it.

I admire that determination and appreciate the passion you show for historical events. Writing can be a daunting task at times. Is there a favorite time of the day you like to write to help with the writing process? What about a favorite place?
I write whenever I can. I have three small kids ages 6 and under, so it's really whenever I can! Sometimes that's naptime, sometimes that's at night...whenever. A favorite place? I have a little makeshift desk and comfy chair in the bedroom that I write at most of the time. But I have to share the scene with my husband when it's finished. I just need the sounding board and instant feedback.

We're in agreement there. There's something about reading what you've written aloud that helps ALOT. Now, you're a follower of Christ. Many of our readers are as well. Could you share with us your favorite scripture and why?
For I have not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7; I just love that this verse speaks to where I struggle so much with mommy fears and Sara fears and silly fears...and a little craziness. Honestly. But God doesn't want me to be fearful, He hasn't given me a spirit of fearfulness, but a spirit that is powerful and is full of love. And I just love that He even speaks to my other insecurities here and tells me that He gives me a sound mind! Love. It.

I love that too! I've dealt with the same thing! Thank you for sharing. Now onward we go! I’m an Army Wife, and all Military Wives have to be flexible. Plans change at the drop of a hat. So, pretend you’re a Military Wife. Ok. Ready?! Your spouse came down on orders to relocate and you’ve got 30 days to move. What are the first three things you do to prepare? GO!
I assume you mean the first three things after I freak out, right? First things first, a list. I always, always, always need my lists. Next I'd prioritize my list (boring, right? But true, so true). Then I'd arrange a family meeting with a full blown typed out Itinerary and “To Do” lists for everyone. Yeah...I'm that person.

LOVE the response! I giggled out loud! :) I FOR REAL carried a clipboard around with me during each move we've made! You've given great advice! Let's see what other nuggets of wisdom you have to offer. I’m a Stay-at-Home-Momma of two. It gets a bit crazy around my house especially when I have edits to get to! Could you share some advice for all those parents out there raising their babies?
It's really okay if you can't “do it all”. There's nothing wrong with calling in reinforcements or getting help. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong or lacking in you. It means you're human like the rest of us. That whole 80s/90s “women can do it all/have it all” garbage is just that – garbage. No one can do it all, at least not well. Something will suffer. That's what we have back-up for. Whether that's hubby, or family, or friends, or babysitters, or a mother's helper...use the resources God is giving you.

That's even BETTER advice! Thank you for sharing with us, Sara! Before we move on to excerpts, and the giveaway info (squeal!!!!), is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? I know they’d love a personal note.

Thank you for your support and encouragement. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Sara, and thank you to all who stopped by! Remember to enter the $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway below!!

~ BOOK EXCERPT (Oh I love these little snippets!!) ~
Karin sighed as she leaned on Pavel's strong shoulder in blissful sleep. They had not been underway for long, but the movement of the carriage had rocked her to sleep in no time. Pavel's nerves worked double-time, having her so close to him. But he dare not move away, lest he wake her. So, he sat still, enjoying the same kind of closeness he had earlier that evening. The contact, while they danced, had been exciting. This was peaceful but, due to his nervousness, elating all the same. As she rested, he listened to the rhythmic clip-clop of the carriage. Just then, Pavel was startled by a crunching sound, followed by a loud crack! The carriage pitched to the side. He grabbed Karin and held her tight to his body. Karin awoke with a start, eyes wide.
"Don't move!" he commanded, wrapping his arms tighter around her as the carriage landed hard, jolting them both. It continued to roll, slamming them into the side, threatening to throw them out of the carriage window into an even more dangerous position. Pavel kept his body stiff and held on to Karin. He could barely breathe. It was his body that had slammed into the wall and cushioned Karin's hit. The car had not stopped moving, and it threatened to roll onto the roof, teetering precariously between the roof and side. How much longer could he hold onto her? How much longer could they endure?
The red-headed Karin is strong-willed and determined, something she inherited from her father. She tries to keep her true nature a secret to avoid being deemed a traitor by those loyal to the king. Karin and her father butt heads over her duty to her family and the Czech Crown. She is then sequestered to the Royal Viscount’s hunting lodge.
Not aware of everything that is happening, she becomes the target of an individual with murderous intent. Her heart soon becomes entangled though her father intends to wed her to another. The turmoil inside Karin deepens and reflects the turmoil of her homeland, on the brink of the Hussite Wars.

~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ resides with her family in Middle TN and though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word has always drawn her to write. An avid reader, she has been, for many years, what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write Historical Fiction. Sara has made several trips overseas to the Czech Republic for short stints in the summer over several years. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The LadyBornekovaset in the Czech town of Hradec Kralove.

Facebook: Sara R. Turnquist
Twitter: @sarat1701