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Posts tagged ‘family’

Books, Ornaments, and a Fireplace by Tracy Ruckman

I’ve always been a book lover – from even before I could walk, I think. My family gave me books every year for gifts at Christmas, birthday, Easter, and I devoured them all.

I passed that tradition onto my kids, and now they relay memories of Christmases of “nothing but books.” I wasn’t quite that drastic, except maybe one year.

That year had been quite turbulent. We’d moved back to Georgia in the summer, and then my grandmother and my dad died during the month of December, so we were on the road a lot, trying to spend time with them in Alabama as much as possible as their cancers progressed. At my job, someone passed around some ABC gift catalogs. Their prices fit my budget, and their merchandise fit my mood and personality. They had several sets of books for both ages of my boys and they had a fun, fake, cardboard fireplace that we could assemble for our new home that didn’t have one. One order and Christmas shopping was done.

But we had a problem with the tree. All our Christmas stuff had been left behind when we moved. My sister gifted us with some beautiful homemade ornaments – toy soldiers and elves – that we still put on the tree every year. (She made us a matching wreath, too!) When my mom learned about the tradition I’d started when my boys were little, she took us shopping to help recover some of the ornaments we’d left behind.

Every year, I bought an ornament for each boy and one for our home, based on something that was relevant to each during that previous year. I’d done this tradition for four or five years, so we tried to remember each one. Mom took us to this cool Christmas store that sold thousands of different kinds of ornaments, and we were able to find several that were quite similar to those left behind, so the tradition lives on today. Basketballs, musical instruments, a camera with film, Noah’s ark – all reminiscent of their growing years. When Zach got a home of his own, I packed up his ornaments and gifted him with those, so he could carry the tradition into his own family. Jonathan asked us to keep his for awhile longer so they’re here when he spends time with us during the holidays.

Tim and I have continued the tradition, too, adding an ornament or two each year. We have city ornaments from places we’ve lived or visited, and ornaments from various milestones. Every year we laugh when we pull out the handcuffs to put on the tree. That year, I’d attended a citizen’s police academy and Tim had served a short time as a bounty hunter, so when I found some handcuffs in a toy department, I knew they were our perfect ornament for that year!

The importance of traditions is lost to us until we grow older. Traditions aren’t created and kept we want to be boring (as some of us tend to think.) Traditions are created to help us remember those extra sweet moments that tend to get crowded out by other memories.

Tracy Ruckman owns TMP Books, where she serves as book publisher, writing coach, marketing guru. She is also a talented photo artist. She loves connecting with everyone – because everyone has a story to tell. Her latest books, The Young Storyteller’s Prompt and Draw Series, encourage children to develop their storytelling skills through their own words and illustrations.

Follow Tracy on her personal blog at www.TracyRuckman.com for all the latest updates. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. She invites you to explore her books on Amazon and discover her artwork on Zazzle and Etsy.

Pamela S. Thibodeaux shared her favorite Christmas memory last week. You can read about it here.

Character Interview: Mattie Colby from Mattie’s Choice by Gay N. Lewis

Today’s guest is Mattie Colby from Gay N. Lewis’s novel, Mattie’s Choice. Welcome to Inner Source, Mattie. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself, about your life, and anything else you feel is important for us to know?

Thanks for asking me to introduce myself to your readers. I’m a little shy, but I’ll try. My name is Mattie Colby. I grew up in a loving home in rural Oklahoma. My father is English and my mother is Cherokee. My dad is a builder, and he patterned our home after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Most of Osage Country admires and envies it. My father acquired land in Oklahoma Territory during the land rush of 1893. My mother’s ancestors endured the Trail of Tears. I have a twin brother, Maury, and three sisters. Maury and I are the first born. By intuition, we know what the other thinks and feels. Maury is my best friend. We were looking forward to graduating high school together, but I eloped with Jesse Colby and quit school. Maury is grieved over it.

I love my family and I love my husband. I’ve wanted to be is a wife and mother for as long as I can remember. Maury tells me I shouldn’t have quit school to elope with Jesse, and thinks I should have waited to marry. He even wanted me to go to college with him, but in my day and time, women didn’t have many opportunities. Careers? Those were unheard of. Heavens to Betsy! In 1925, our goal was to become wives and mothers, and that suited me just fine. What about you in your modern day? Have times changed much? Do women have careers in your day?

Yes, women have many more opportunities in this age to become anything they want to be. We even have women serving beside men in the battlefields. Not all charges are good, though. For a while, a stay-at-home mother was considered inferior to those who were out in the work force. Along the way, especially in America, we have lost our way. Our children are sometimes not the most important commodity for parents. Slowly, though, some are beginning to realize that raising children is an important task.

Your author placed you into the center of a very controversial and difficult subject for an author to tackle. You’re a stubborn lass, Mattie Colby, and you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. You were offered choices to make, but you stayed the course. Tell us why that was important to you.

My father taught his children to keep our word. I made a vow to God and Jesse that nothing but death would separate us from our marriage. I was a naïve, seventeen-year-old when I married. My parents had a good marriage and I thought I would too. I didn’t believe anyone’s tales that Jesse had a temper. Looking back on it, I should have investigated more about him. Courted him longer, too. I might have chosen differently if I had, but what was done was done. I gave my word, and that was that.

Your sister-in-law, Ella, made a different choice. I got to know you well, and I know that the two of you stayed friends, but I want to know what you were thinking about her choice deep down inside?

Now that’s an interesting question. Ella and I are lifelong friends, and we’re opposite in personality. She chose a nursing career while she lived in Galveston, and she continued to work in a hospital after she married Jesse’s brother and moved to Oklahoma. She’s outspoken and opinionated. You always know where you stand with Ella. When she left Oklahoma to move back to Galveston, I admired her. Truth be told, I wished I could escape my life and move far away., too. We had different ideas on commitments, and to this day, I can’t say which one of us was right. In some ways, we both were.

I agree with your assessment. You were clearly a victim of historical precepts and interpretation of Scripture. This is something your author, Gay, and I spoke of quite a bit. Shh, don’t tell her, but I agree that there was a time in history where the theological thinking concerning the protection of women, especially in a marital relationship was skewed. In the end, though, I think that your choice took a lot of courage, but if you had to do it over again, would you make the same choice?

Your comment about Gay makes me giggle, and I won’t tell her you asked this question. I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. As you know, I kept many over the years. Thank you for saying I have courage. That means a lot to me. Early on in marriage, I was stubborn to a fault. I think my pig-headedness was what kept me going. I didn’t believe my dad would help me, and I learned too late that he would have. I had too much pride to ask for help. Courage? I think I developed it as I grew older. Courage comes with self-confidence, and as I became confident, I became courageous. Does that make sense? If I could do it over, I’d have chosen to become assertive much sooner than I did. Keeping my beliefs and standing up for myself turned out to be the best choice in the long run.

Mattie, everyone who reads this blog understands that the verse I stand upon, even when it hurts to grasp hold of it, is Romans 8:28. That does not mean that I approach others who are hurting and declare this truth. I feel that, for the hurting, this verse’s truths can be very hard to grasp, but that very God declared the depth of it when He sent His Son to the cross. That verse tells us that all things work to good to those who know God … So, as a woman who has had a life of extreme hardship I’d like to ask two difficult questions: what good do you see coming from the choice you made, and 2) what good do you believe came from the choice Ella made?

Heavens to Betsy! I have to ponder that one. Yes, I had hardship. My husband was not easy to live with. In fact, he was downright awful at times. Life circumstances were difficult, too. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, all the world events made life unbearable at times, but my faith grew stronger through the trials. That was a good thing. Some, like Jesse, grew angry with God. I chose to stay close to Him and trust. Another good thing. My marriage with Jesse brought me eight children. Eight blessings. And guess what? Every one of them are productive, successful, God-fearing adults. Four are in the ministry. Like a rock thrown into water, the circle grows bigger, and in my case, a lot of good is in the circle.

Good came from Ella’s choice too. After seeing the way most of us women lived in our day, she started women’s shelters in Texas and became a crusader for women’s rights. I think all contemporary women owe Ella and women like her a debt of gratitude. Their lives are easier, thanks to Ella and others like her.

You are so right about Romans 8:28. I can look back on my life now and see the good God brought about with Ella’s and my choices. I believe I won’t see all the good until heaven. Scripture tells us our works follow us. Revelation 14:13 says, “…Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works follow them.” KJV To me, this means that what we do here continues to influence, bad or good, to those who come after us—like that rock thrown into water, impact lasts, good and bad. What I began with my children carries on to future generations, and most of it was good. Same with Ella. Women will continue to be helped with better lives as a result of her influence. I believe we both did more good to follow us than we did bad.

Mattie, thank you for being with us today. On Wednesday, your author, Gay, will be sharing a little more behind the inspiration for your novel.

About the Author:

A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

More About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

Author Interview: Sydney Avey

sydauthorphoto_smallToday’s guest is Sydney Avey, the author of The Sheepwalker’s Daughter and its sequel, The Lyre and the Lambs. Sydney lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine) and Ruminate. She has studied at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Sydney is the author of two novels, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter and The Lyre and the Lambs. She blogs at sydneyavey.com on topics related to relationships, legacy, faith, and the writing life.

Sydney, I didn’t find it a surprise that I would enjoy the second story because the first one had been such an enjoyable read. The Lyre and the Lambs is set in the 1960s. Would you mind sharing with us why you choose that time for your story?

We spend so much of our lives navigating change. In The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, set in the 1950s, Dee and Valerie experienced much personal growth due to changes in their family dynamics. I wondered what their family would look like ten years later. The 50s were relatively peaceful, although the seeds for turmoil were being sown. Events in the 60s challenged our national sense of safety and security. What effect might this have on Dee and Valerie? I wanted to explore differences between the way the generations responded to those events.

And you did that so well.

The story takes on many issues, but I think the one that encompasses both novels is spiritual growth. Dee is real in that her faith is there, but when she is tested by trials, her first thought isn’t to run to God. While in theory we know that God should always be our first resource, in truth, He is often our last resource. For Dee, and for others, why do you think that we know that God is truly our hope, but we often fail to reach out to Him in times of trouble?

Quite simply, it is our human sin nature. Dee lived many years without faith. Force of habit often drives her to a hasty first response. Change is a process. I hope readers will notice that as she practices faith, she indulges her negativity less. She is quicker to hear God’s voice and respond. I have watched people with prickly personalities soften over time as they allow God’s spirit to reform them. Seeing that has been a real faith builder for me.

The novel has some language that we don’t normally see in Christian fiction. They come with true emotions. Did you struggle with whether to allow your characters to use the language and whether or not it was a struggle, why did you choose to place those words in the dialogue?

I hear Dee’s voice in my head. Dee was not raised in a Christian home. She worked in a man’s world. Profanity was not a normal part of her speech, but an expression of anger or frustration when she was under stress. Given Dee’s character, I could not have her “stomp her little foot.” I understand that there are Christians who do not want to encounter rude words in what they read, but I also know Christians who will not read Christian Fiction because they feel it is sanitized and unrealistic. If readers can’t connect with a character in a book whose speech is rough on occasion, how do they respond to their salty neighbor or Uncle Pete who was in the marines?

I made a conscious choice not to sanitize my stories to sell books. It wasn’t so much a struggle as a risk. I deeply respect my publisher for allowing me to do that.

And as you and I discussed “off the record,” my reason for that question was not to cast judgment on you for doing so. First, I was truly interested in the decision, and secondly, I wanted to let others know that they might find it in the reading, but I do want to stress that the use is not throughout the story because I believe the story has a wonderful message, and I don’t want a reader to lose the message if that would be a distraction for them. And I can see that Dee was angry when she spoke.

Spiritual growth isn’t the only issue. You bring to the forefront mental health issues and how they were mostly disregarded during that time in history. No one talked about them. Why do you think that was? Do you think that the return of soldiers who fought in Vietnam who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) might have brought mental illnesses to a “discussable” stage?

I think it was sometime after the early 60s before we began to understand the dynamics of PTSD and other mental illnesses. The information was simply not out there. When I was in high school in the early 60s a boy in our class began acting strangely and then he disappeared from school for half the year. It got out that he had been institutionalized for mental illness. He was not a “bad boy.” He had been a good student. That was the first time any of us ever thought that something drove errant behavior besides a rebellious spirit. Today we have so much more information available about the host of mental illnesses that plague people of all ages. Behavior that once carried a label of shame has become worthy of our compassion because our understanding is growing.

Are we going to be able to follow Dee’s life any further? In other words, do you have any other projects in the works, whether Dee is a part of them or not?

I don’t have plans for a third book about Dee, but if readers indicate an interest in further adventures of this clan, or if the Muse wakes me up in the middle of the night with a story I can’t not write, I could change my mind. My third book is completely different. The themes are similar though; family relationships, conflicts between generations, how faith functions in real life, love and mystery.

I hope you’ll let me know when your next book is released, Sydney. It has been a pleasure visiting with you at Inner Source.

LyreLambsFront_smallMore About The Lyre and the Lambs:

A feast of family can be a plate-load of problems!

It’s the Sixties. Modernity and tradition clash as two newlywed couples set up house together. Dee and her daughter Valerie move with their husbands into a modern glass house Valerie built in a proudly rural Los Altos, California neighborhood. When their young relatives start showing up and moving in, the neighbors get suspicious. Then a body is found in the backyard and the life they are trying to build comes undone.

Father Mike is back to guide Dee through a difficult time with humor and grace, even as his own life is unraveling. Now he’s going to have to take some of his own advice about love.

The Lyre and the Lambs explores the passions that draw people together and the faith it takes to overcome trauma.

bookcoverAbout The Sheep Walker’s Daughter:

A Korean War widow’s difficult mother dies before revealing the identity of her daughter’s father and his cultural heritage. As Dee sorts through what little her mother left, she unearths puzzling clues that raise more questions: Why did Leora send money every month to the Basque Relief Agency? Why is her own daughter so secretive about her soon-to-be published book? And what does an Anglican priest know that he isn’t telling? All this head-spinning breaks a long, dry period in Dee’s life. She might just as well lose her job and see where the counsel of her new spiritual adviser and the attentions of an enigmatic ex-coworker lead her.

The Sheep Walker’s Daughter pairs a colorful immigrant history of loss, survival, and tough choices with one woman’s search for spiritual identity and personal fulfillment. Dee’s journey takes her through the Northern and Central California valleys of the 1950s and reaches across the world to the obscure Basque region of Spain. She will begin to discover who she is and why family history matters.

Character Interview: Delores “Dee” Moraga Carter Russell

LyreLambsFront_smallToday we have a return guest, Delores Moraga Carter Russell, the heroine of The Lyre and the Lambs and The Sheepwalker’s Daughter. Dee, I devoured the continuation of your story, this time set in the 1960s, as fast as I did the first novel.

Your life has sure has some twists and turns. Would you mind sharing a little about what has happened to you since we last saw you?

Fourteen years have passed quickly! I spent about ten years in Carmel working at the gallery, and growing as an artist and business woman. Roger was immersed in his career, travelling all over the world. We saw each other when we could but I guess neither of us were willing to give up work we loved to be together, that is until Roger had his heart attack. That changed everything. When you begin to feel your mortality you get serious about your priorities. You know, Fay, a brand new start keeps us young!

So that’s the secret. I can see that the same-old/same-old can make us feel pretty old as our feet dig the ruts.

I loved the eclectic family that you have gathered around you. Your arms were opened to bring others into the fold. Knowing you as an intensely private person from the previous novel, I’m interested in knowing what you found the most difficult about dealing with this new situation?

Doesn’t life have a way of bringing situations to your doorstep you never thought you could handle? Being an introvert, having people around me all the time exhausted me. I used a lot of energy biting my tongue! I didn’t want to be a lecturing mother and a crabby wife, so I tried very hard to keep perspective on the situation. Trying hard only gets you so far, though. I really learned to pray for grace during the time we lived in the Glass House. And I have to say, when I began to see things from the point of view of the young people, it was very energizing. I loved hearing about their hopes and dreams.

Your story comes to us from the 1960s, a turbulent time in our nation’s history. Two members of your family group are not American citizens when they come to live with you, but despite the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the possibility of a draft, they make plans to become citizens. This was mentioned briefly, but as the parental figure of the group, how did you feel about the draft that possibly loomed ahead and how it would change their lives?

I lived through the war years and married a soldier, so to my way of thinking military service is a privilege, a price we pay for freedom. Being from Israel, David understands this. And Danny’s Basque heritage is a culture of resistance against a government that tried to suppress his native language. They both believe that freedom is worth fighting for. But you are right. These boys are like my sons. No mother wants to watch her sons go off to war, especially this war. I really don’t understand why we are in Vietnam. I’m not pleased about the possibility that they might get drafted, but I love my country. I believe in the American Dream, and I’m proud they both made the choice to become citizens.

Your friend, Laura, refers to you as a lyre to the lambs you have gathered around you. I’d love it if you’d share a little more about this with us. It’s a captivating thought.

I discovered my heritage and faith late in life, I take seriously my responsibility to pass down family and faith traditions so the generations that come after me will know who they are.. Laura knows the Bible better than I do. When she shared with me how David played the lyre to soothe Saul, my artist’s eye could visualize fingers plucking strings in an effort to communicate through music what words sometimes cannot. God’s message of peace and love plays out in art, nature, and music. Laura helped me see that although I don’t always say the right things, young people flocked tour home because we made it a soothing, safe place for them to grow. We made the sounds of family, and they came.

That is a lovely thought and a beautiful picture. As your little family began to grow, it seemed things outside their control began to erode the situation. Your new husband, Roger, shared a verse in Psalms. Would you mind sharing that verse and what it means to you in light of all of the troubles that begin to exist around you?

Yes, of course. Psalm 121:1. I like the King James translation,” I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my hope.” When we wrap ourselves in our woes we fail to see the hope and the future that is there for us. It is an act of will to broaden our perspective on a bad situation. Roger had to take me out on the patio and point me in the direction of the hills I love to pull me out of my funk and help me take the long view. Despite the mounting stress of our situation we knew there would be justice because God is faithful and good. I needed to keep plucking along, living a life that sent out messages of hope and love. You know, I almost missed the fact that in the midst of trouble, my husband moved closer to the Lord!

Dee, again, thank you so much for sharing your life with the readers. I enjoyed both of the novels so much, and I look forward to the interview with your author, Sydney Avey, on Wednesday.

More About The Lyre and the Lambs:

A feast of family can be a plate-load of problems!

It’s the Sixties. Modernity and tradition clash as two newlywed couples set up house together. Dee and her daughter Valerie move with their husbands into a modern glass house Valerie built in a proudly rural Los Altos, California neighborhood. When their young relatives start showing up and moving in, the neighbors get suspicious. Then a body is found in the backyard and the life they are trying to build comes undone.

Father Mike is back to guide Dee through a difficult time with humor and grace, even as his own life is unraveling. Now he’s going to have to take some of his own advice about love.

The Lyre and the Lambs explores the passions that draw people together and the faith it takes to overcome trauma.

sydauthorphoto_smallAbout the Author:

Sydney Avey lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine) and Ruminate. She has studied at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Sydney is the author of two novels, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter and The Lyre and the Lambs. She blogs at sydneyavey.com on topics related to relationships, legacy, faith, and the writing life.

Character Interview: Charlotte Davis from Jerusha Agen’s This Redeemer

This_Redeemer_FRONT_COVER resized (655x1024)This week’s guest is Charlotte Davis who is the heroine of Jerusha Agen’s This Redeemer, the third book in The Sisters Redeemed series.

Charlotte, for those who have been reading the series, your story is a little different from Nye’s and Oriana’s stories. You grew up in a different world than they did. Would you tell us about your life, where you lived, and what brought you to Pennsylvania from Texas?

I’d say I was raised in Texas, but since I pretty much raised myself, that wouldn’t exactly be true. I was born in Dallas and grew up there, mostly fending for myself and trying to stay out of Momma’s way. You’re right when you say I grew up in a different world than Oriana and Nye. I sometimes think it was a different planet. Even they admit they were really blessed.

They had a loving mom and dad, but I only had Momma, and she was too drunk most of the time to know I even existed (those were really the best days, since it was worse when she noticed me). Nye and Oriana grew up spoiled rotten, too. Well, they were at least filthy rich. I’d never seen a house as nice as their parents’ place in real life before.

I never thought I’d leave Tommy, my boyfriend, and I sure never thought I’d get out of Texas. Tommy can get mean sometimes, and I’m used to that, but when he started on my baby girl, I knew I had to get her out of there, away from him. The only place I could think of to go was the home of a stranger in Pennsylvania Momma told me about before she died. He owed me big time, and I wanted to collect, or at least find a place to hide from Tommy.

I know you love your daughter, Phoebe, very much. Will you tell us a little about her?

Pheobe is special. People think she’s slow, but she’s isn’t. Not really. She’s a lot smarter than folks suppose. Sometimes, she’s the only thing that keeps me going, keeps me alive. She doesn’t deserve the life she’s had. I try to do what I can to make it better, to let her experience the kinds of things normal kids do, like ice cream melting on your hand and catching fireflies at night. But she’s had it rough, just like me.

The Lord is important to the people that He brings into your life in Pennsylvania. How did you feel when you realized that you had stumbled your way into a group of people who believed in the goodness of God despite the things they have gone through in their lives?

To tell the truth, I didn’t think they had gone through anything hard. They and their lives seemed perfect. But I sure saw that they believed in God and thought He was good all the time. I thought they were judgmental and stupid, looking down their noses at me because they believed in some silly old man in the sky who was only nice to the people who had such great lives they couldn’t help but be perfect all the time.

I had a very different experience in my life. The way I grew up and got used by so many people, I couldn’t believe a good God would ever let that kind of stuff happen to anybody. Come to find out, Nye and Oriana went through some rough stuff themselves, but I couldn’t believe it until God changed my heart. They seemed too happy and peaceful to have gone through anything bad. I didn’t realize until I met God that being like they were is really possible, even when you go through awful things.

The main focus of Inner Source is Romans 8:28 which tells us basically that God intends all things for good to those who love Him. He exemplified how the horrific can be turned to good for us when He declared that the only redemption we have is through the shed blood of His Only Son. God doesn’t just say that all things are intended for good. He set before us the cross: Jesus death, burial, and resurrection as a living example. How would you say that God worked all things out to good for you and for Phoebe?

I never thought I’d say this, but I can see now how even the bad things Tommy did, like on that day when I decided I had to leave him and go to Pennsylvania, brought me to where I needed to be in order to meet my Savior. Phoebe and I needed to be saved from the life we were trapped in, but I thought I could get out with some more cash or a big strong man to protect me.

Until the very worst thing happened, and I thought I’d lost my reason for living, I couldn’t see that my prison wasn’t caused by Tommy or other people. The bars of my prison were on the inside, in my heart and soul. God was the only One Who could free me from that kind of prison. He used all those awful things to bring me to the point where He redeemed me and my baby girl, not just from our hard lives, but from the sin and guilt that really made me a prisoner.

Have you come away from your story with a favorite scripture that you use to remember that God is in the details of our lives?

Yes. Nothing gives me comfort more than His promises in Isaiah 43:1: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.”

A great verse to go with a great story. Charlotte, thank you for sharing with us on Inner Source. I look forward to having your author, Jerusha Agen with us on Wednesday. I have enjoyed all three of the books in The Sisters Redeemed series.

More About This Redeemer:

Not all prisons have bars.

Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her.

Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could learn the truth about her. Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?

This_Dance_FRONT_COVER_smaller (for promo use)About This Dance:

No love, no pain. No God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living, too. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.

Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?

This_Shadow_FRONT_COVER (660x1024)About This Shadow:

She’s famous for her upbeat outlook.

Then the world goes black.

Oriana Sanders is always happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She enjoys a close relationship with God and a purpose-filled career teaching troubled kids. She even has the potential for romance in her sister’s friend, Nicanor, whose dark good looks and brooding manner make him an intriguing project for Oriana.

Oriana’s attempts to reach Nicanor with the joy of the Lord are brought to a halt when a confrontation with her student’s drug-dealing brother ends in tragedy. Facing darkness she has never known, can Oriana learn to forgive the unforgivable and find her way through the shadows to the light?

Jerusha AgenAbout the Author:

Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow and This Redeemer. Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas and A Dozen Apologies from Write Integrity Press.

Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.ReedeemerReviews.com.

Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large furry dogs and two small furry cats.

Connect with Jerusha on her website, Facebook: (Jerusha-SDG Words), and Twitter.