May 13, 2021

LIVING WATER


PLEASE WELCOME

ALLISON WELLS

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

 

THE STORY BEHIND LIVING WATER

Living Water is the story of a wallflower in a family of prize-winning roses. Based on the story of the Woman at the Well in John 4, Roxie DePrive only wants one thing - to be loved unconditionally. That desire leads them to get married fresh from high school to the first boy who pays her attention. But when that marriage is short-lived, she marries again, and again. She gets married five times in all, just like our Samaritan woman in the New Testament.

I’ve always wondered what led that woman to be married so many times. Was she five times widowed? Did her husbands leave her? What happened in her life? We know that because she went to get water at mid-day, she was not a popular woman in town. Most of the village women would have gone to the well early when it was still cool. They would have traded gossip and laughs as their children ran around playing. This is a big social time for the women of the village.

But not our dear girl, she was excluded from that. She did not walk with the other women, she did not trade recipes and stories. She was likely the story on everyone else’s lips. A woman fallen from grace for some reason or another.

So I wrote her story in a modern era. Starting with her high school years in the 1990s (anyone who came of age in the 90s will love the references) and carrying Roxie through to the 2020s, we see her transformation from senator’s daughter and a first-time bride to social pariah who is rumored to be a man stealer. Roxie is pushed away from polite society after her five marriages.

Just like the woman in the Bible, Roxie is at an all-time low when she meets Jesus in the form of a kind pastor who offers her living water. Neither woman understands what that is until it’s explained. And then, oh, then how their lives change. In John 4 we see the woman put down her water jar and run back to town to tell everyone about the Messiah.

Y’all. The social pariah of the town literally ran to those who scorned her to tell them about Jesus. That’s powerful stuff there. She was the first evangelist. That’s the power of Jesus coming into your life.

Roxie’s life is strife with sin and condemnation. But because someone believed in her and encouraged her, she turned her life around. I do love a good story of redemption and this is a big one. No matter how many times you stumble, God will always be there to pick you up. He guarantees it in Psalm 37:24.

I hope and pray that this story of redemption will resonate with all readers. No matter your past, you have a future with God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

MORE ABOUT LIVING WATER

As the lackluster youngest daughter of a U.S. Senator, Roxie DePrive spends her life thirsting for one thing: to be loved unconditionally.

So, when her first boyfriend turns into her first marriage, Roxie's life undergoes a drastic change. And when that first marriage doesn't work out, she marries again.

And again.

Until Roxie marries five times.

The first marriage is puppy love, then dangerous love, convenient love, wishful love, and one that might possibly be the real deal.

And yet, none of the men she marries can quench the thirst she feels in her heart. It's only when she meets a man who knows her entire life and all her mistakes that Roxie learns the power of something else-the deep and abiding peace of Living Water.

A modern retelling of the Woman at the Well in the New Testament, Living Water shows us that no matter our past, it's God's love that truly quenches the thirst of our souls.

Buy Links:

  AMAZON:
  BARNES AND NOBLE
  https://www.monsterivy.com/living-water

ABOUT ALLISON WELLS

Allison Wells is an author, avid reader, and sweet tea addict. She graduated from Clemson University and began writing books as a way to escape the doldrums of newspaper reporting. Allison is married to a wonderful man and they are raising one red-headed teen daughter and three wild boys in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Check out her daily adventures on social media. Her motto is, “Life is Short, Eat the Oreos.”

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/allisonwellswrites
https://www.instagram.com/whatallisonsaid/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18239522.Allison_Wells
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0_iDBJft3l-WqgWgTLjzWg

 

May 10, 2021

GOD'S BEAUTIFUL COINCIDENCES

 


PLEASE WELCOME

LINDA ROOKS

TO

ANYTHING GOES

God’s Beautiful Coincidences

Although we were happy and satisfied after a successful book signing, the warm weather had begun to sap our energy.

 “How would you like to walk over to the Inn by the lake and get something cold to drink?” I asked my husband.

Pleased at my suggestion, he helped me load the remaining children’s Easter books in the trunk of the car and turned to walk toward the Inn. Talking to the children had been a fun diversion for me since most of my ministry revolved around my books for those in marital crisis and a new marriage book had just released.

In cool, air-conditioned comfort, we found a table near the piano where a man had just begun playing lovely refrains from Broadway musicals. During the break, the piano player turned to us and asked if we liked the music. We told him it was beautiful and very relaxing after doing a book signing that day.

He asked what kinds of books I wrote. I told him the book we had done the signing for that day was called The Bunny Side of Easter, but most of my books were for those with marital problems. He stared at me a second, then turned back to his piano and began to play another song, his fingers moving with heartfelt emotion across the keys.

During the next break, he asked me more about my books. I told him a new one had just released, called Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated. He lowered his eyes, took a deep breath, and looked back at me. “I’m separated,” he said. “My wife kicked me out of the house yesterday.”

For the next hour, my husband and I listened to this talented musician express through music his deep loneliness and heartache. Between songs, he poured out his heartache to us in words. He’d been married 20 years. He loved his wife and was devastated that she wanted a divorce.

I'm always amazed at how God sometimes plops us right down in the right place at the right time to give hope to those who need it. Because of our years of marriage ministry, we were able to encourage him and give him hope that a restored marriage was possible. And as providence would have it, I just happened to have a copy of my new book in my purse. I gave it to him before we left, and we parted with a hug.

Some people call these coincidences, but I know it’s God. He knows our needs. He knows what’s available to bring healing to our hearts. God saw a lonely piano player, reeling from the pain of a collapsing marriage. God knew that a few streets down at a book signing, there was a couple who had personally experienced hope and healing in the midst of a marital separation, had written books about it, and knew there was hope for him as well. And God brought us together.


ABOUT FIGHTING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE WHILE SEPARATED

 

Winner of the Golden Scroll Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2019, Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated guides a person step-by-step through the complexities of a separation. Dispelling the assumption that a separation will inevitably end in divorce, Rooks shares practical insights, biblical wisdom, true stories of reconciled marriages, as well as her own reconciliation story after a three-year marital separation. Through scripture-based truth, practical wisdom gained from eleven years of ministry to marriages in crisis, and her own personal experience, Rooks demonstrates there is hope for reconciliation even when fighting for your marriage alone.

 

ABOUT LINDA W. ROOKS

 Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her award-winning book, Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated, and her earlier book, Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation, walk with those in the midst of marital breakdown to bring hope and practical guidance to those desiring reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family, HomeLife, and Today’s Christian Woman. Linda has participated in numerous radio and television interviews across the North American continent. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry and the classes they lead.

 

 

May 6, 2021

PAPER WOLF

 

PLEASE WELCOME

CHRISSY M. DENNIS

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

Read an excerpt from

A lot of things would be different if her mom were here.

Maybe she would have gone to the same school from kindergarten until now.

Maybe she would have met her dad.

Maybe she would have grown up having frozen yogurt every weekend instead of trying it for the first time at eleven years old.

The maybes swirled around in her mind, but what good did it do to let them? It wouldn’t change anything—the maybes only left her bitter about everything.

When Erin pulled into the garage back at the Barkmans’ house, Gracie leaped out of the van without any of her new things and tossed her unfinished frozen yogurt in the trash. The melting blue slime was only another painful reminder of all she’d missed out on, of everything she could never have.

ABOUT PAPER WOLF

(Available on Amazon / Print / Goodreads)

Happily-ever-after doesn’t exist for kids like Gracie—or does it? 

Gracie Anderson may only be eleven, but five years in foster care has taught her that happy endings don’t exist in the real world, not for kids like her anyway. And she’s convinced this next foster home will be just as bad as all the others.  

 Except… it’s not.  

 The Barkmans are completely different from any family she’s ever known—and she doesn’t trust them one bit because no one is that understanding and compassionate. But no matter how hard Gracie pushes against them, how rude, rebellious, and disrespectful she is toward them, they consistently come back at her with faith, love, and acceptance. And when Gracie’s mom decides not to come back for her, the Barkmans welcome her as one of their own, proving that even someone as damaged as Gracie deserves the love of God and a family.  

Buy Link

 

ABOUT CHRISSY M. DENNIS

Chrissy M. Dennis lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her foster daughters and calico kitty.  She is a full-time mom and a part-time administrative assistant for Renovar√© Canada. Chrissy also loves to read, crochet and, of course, write, trusting the Lord will use her books for the glory of God and the growth of His kingdom through the healing work of the Gospel.  

 She carries a Masters of Divinity in Youth and Family Ministry. She loves working with teens, and has felt the call of God to minister to the needs of youth in this culture. She hopes to continue writing, specifically regarding issues relevant to today’s teens, offering a message of salvation and hope. Her first novel, The Lion Cubs, received positive reviews and deals with themes of abuse and abandonment.

 Connect with the author:

www.chrissymdennis.com | www.facebook.com/chrissymdennis 

 www.twitter.com/chrissymdennis

https://www.instagram.com/chrissy_m_dennis/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826990.Chrissy_M_Dennis

May 3, 2021

WHO PUT THE VINEGAR IN THE SALT BY LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

 

buy link

READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Chapter Two

Called to Be Transformed    

Our world culture is in love with self. Songs encourage us to love ourselves for this is the greatest love of all. Self-preservation is a natural, biological instinct. We innately seek, not only our survival but our comfort. We seek shelter from the wind, we like a roof over our head when it rains, we look for shade on a hot day, and we want a warm blanket when the temperatures fall.

The Bible also recognizes this human instinct for self-regard. The commandment is not to disavow ourselves … rather to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

The Pursuit of Self

In the beginning, man was in complete union with God and gave no thought to his own body or needs until Adam sinned. God asked him, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Thus the birth of guilt and awareness of sin.

This human desire to satisfy self can create intense emotions when things do not go as we hope. Perceived need causes us to bemoan our lack—especially when compared to what others possess or achieve, and to nurse our anxieties and disappointments. The wisdom of the world plays out in all we read, our television viewing, and our hero-worship. Years ago, a hit song by Frank Sinatra was heralded as the wisdom for the ages as he proclaimed, “I did it my way.”

Psychologists have fashioned several diagrams of self-actualization, the desire to be all that we can be. At the bottom of the pyramid are the primal needs … food, air, shelter, clothing, and reproduction. Once these are met, humans will look to safety and security—employment, property, health, and resources. Next, human nature will strive for a sense of love and community—acceptance into a social group—friendship and a sense of belonging. These things, so they theorize, once achieved, will give one a sense of status, recognition, strength—those self-perceptions that are the basis of self-actualization.  

The world might view the process of self-actualization through pursuits … hard work that brings about a desired outcome.  In the movie, Back to the Future, Marty McFly tells his younger father, “You know, George, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” This is the world’s view of hard work … if you try hard enough, nothing is impossible. If you can dream it, you can do it.

God’s Hierarchical Design

However, God’s method for self-actualization is quite different. He is the supplier, our protector, our defender, and our reason for being. When we enter into a relationship with him, becoming the salt he wants us to be is dependent upon our continuing connection with the Lord through the work of the Holy Spirit.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).

The quest for self-actualization begins when we are born. The natural self believes we are deserving of basic needs. We believe we are entitled to comfort, purpose, health, or wealth. We yearn to be loved and accepted. We perceive that if God truly loves us, then, as the benefactor of our welfare, we should be given what we desire. Especially, if we strive toward a moral and upright life.

Such was Job’s thought as well as his so-called friends. When calamity struck, they were convinced Job must have sinned, and God must be punishing him. The Book of Job brings many to wonder why Job suffered so much, enduring physical suffering in addition to horrendous personal loss. How could a loving Father allow so much tragedy into the life of one whose righteousness pleased God? Our minds are befuddled by our human sense of what is fair and just. Especially when such unfairness is aimed at our own personal welfare and seemingly allowed by God.

In the final chapters of the book, God answers Job, in essence saying, “Before you take it on yourself to criticize my ways, you should ask yourself if you could manage the creation as well as I did.” Through taking Job on a journey of the natural world, Job realizes his insignificance, his powerlessness, his ignorance about God and his ways, Job’s finite state compared to an everlasting God. The reality is, we are unworthy to receive anything from God. But because we are born with a sense of self-importance, this reality can put us at enmity with our Creator.

In actuality, our true self-worth begins with the recognition we are undeserving and helpless. Yet, God values us above all. When we stand in awe of the beauty, power, and complexity of creation, we wonder why God bothers with insignificant humankind. We understand why the Psalmist wrote:

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? (Psalm 144:3).

God esteems us because of his everlasting love for his creation—why he calls us to be salt and to live according to his standards, not the world’s.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another … (Colossians 3:12-13a)

God’s hierarchical plan of self-actualization of his people is to bring them into a relationship with him, to repair our state of alienation through transformation. Satan, as he did with Adam and Eve, will throw out a complete arsenal to prevent us from experiencing the fullness of God.

READ MORE ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE AUTHOR

April 29, 2021

SURRENDERING HEARTS SEERIES

 

 

PLEASE WELCOME

JULIE ARDUINI

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

 

enjoy the contemporary romance series prologue

Nationally celebrated sextuplets each discover their own identity and find that special true love like their parents shared.

March 1996

One infertility patient. Six babies. A team of doctors. A marriage committed to preserving life. Global headlines. Yep, that sounded like Lisa Collins, Julia Turmeric’s best friend. Julia stared at the cordless phone in her hand. The buzz of the newsroom swarmed around her, but her focus remained on the blank screen of the disconnected call. The message so shocking that Julia’s jaw froze.

A set of finger snaps brought her back to reality. “Jules! What’s going on? I’ve been talking to you about Hussein’s latest statement and I didn’t even get an eye roll.”

She turned her head to her cameraman and held up the phone. Her reply came out as fast as syrup near the bottom of the bottle. “It’s my best friend from back home, Lisa Hart.”

Walt, her favorite colleague, nodded. “Oh, right. The morning anchor at that little station Upstate, right?”

Julia bit her lip as she replaced the phone to the base. “Yeah. She’s pregnant.” Saying it felt foreign. The first shock was Lisa marrying Paul and stepping away from broadcasting. How many college nights had they spent dreaming of becoming the nation’s news duo? Then, to realize Lisa was an infertility patient and her journey so raw and lonely, Julia secretly wished Lisa would stop the treatments and return to WFRN. Now, to hear Lisa’s dream was coming true. And then some.

“I remember you saying something about it, that she and the husband had been trying for a while. She okay?”

She sighed, still trying to process the news. “They learned they are carrying sextuplets. I knew when they were doing infertility treatments there was a chance of multiples, but this?” She ran a finger through her long, ebony, straight hair. “The doctors asked them to reduce, she had some term for it, but she’s real serious about her faith. Very pro-life.”

He picked up a tripod. “She’s keeping all of them?”

Julia nodded, still amazed at all Lisa had shared in that call. She tapped the camera. “And Lisa wants us to document their story.” Microphones from rival networks begging for information danced through Julia’s imagination, pushing aside the statistics she knew about high-risk multiple births.

December 1997

Julia unbuckled the seatbelt and stared at the ranch-style home in front of her, a deluge of childhood memories returning. “How are Lisa and Paul taking care of six babies in this little house?”

Her cameraman took the keys out of the ignition and shrugged. “This is your old Big Flats neighborhood, right? You grew up with brothers and sisters.” Walt, always so practical.

She pulled down the visor mirror and applied fresh lipstick. “Not six born at once.” She snapped the visor back in place and blotted her mouth with a tissue. “If anyone can do this, it’s Lisa. That girl could make the hardest person smile and tell their story to her for the camera. I still don’t understand why she didn’t keep our pact. In college, we said we’d go national together.”

“Love will do it all the time.” Walt chuckled. “Ask my ex-wives. They were all in at first.” He winked. “Then they got to know me.”

Julia rolled her eyes and gestured toward the house with chipped paint and missing chunks of sidewalk leading to the front door. “Can you get some exterior shots? I’m going in.”

She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell. Julia recognized Lisa’s mom, Gail Bell, when Gail opened the door, cradling a baby.

The instant grandmother of six wore a wide smile. “If it isn’t little JT from down the street. Come in.”

Julia recalled the childhood name for Lisa’s mom. “Hi, Mama G. Who do you have here?” Julia glanced at the newborn and then peeked past her second mother from childhood and observed the upheaval ahead past the kitchen. Car seats. Baby swings. Unopened gifts.

Gail’s shaky laugh echoed in the foyer. “If he didn’t have a tag, I wouldn’t know. This is James Matthew Collins, number four of six.”

Six babies. So surreal. I’m standing in the home of a national news event. Julia looked down the hall and could see a swing in motion.

“My cameraman will be inside soon. We have a lot to do. Can I see Paul and Lisa?”

Mama G. nodded and strolled down the hall to the living room. The couch and TV were there, but everything else was baby related. More swings. Baby chairs. Cradles.

Julia could barely take it all in. A man and woman were in front of her on the couch, each holding a baby. On the floor a woman with blonde hair sat near the swings, watching the remaining three fight sleep as they rocked back and forth.

Gail lowered her voice. “Lisa, Paul. Julia’s here.”

The two rose from the couch and faced Julia. Lisa navigated through the maze of equipment to reach her friend. Her eyes were bright, despite the circles underneath. “Julia! Thank you so much for doing this. It means everything to Paul and me that you’re the one covering our journey.”

Julia leaned in for a quick hug. Gone was the designer perfume Lisa always wore at work. Her best friend smelled of spoiled milk. “Are you kidding? Do you know how many stations around the world want to interview the parents of the multiples? Not only did you two refuse selective reduction, but had the babies stay the longest in the womb than any other multiples in the country. You all are medical miracles.”

Lisa glanced at Paul, who was at her side. “It’s all God. He blessed and took care of us.”

Paul chuckled. Wisps of light blond hair fell over his eyes. “And we pray He keeps providing. We need all the help we can get.”

August 2000

Julia touched the ends of her newly-cut hair, the hold from the hairspray keeping her trendy bob in place. The New York City humidity seemed extra miserable, but the five-hour trek upstate to Corning didn’t seem to provide any relief. The short hair took getting used to, but she was glad she’d done it.

Walt shook his head as the Collins home came into view. “Look at all the tricycles.”

“It’s crazy. At least that means the kids are more mobile than the first time we met them.” Julia gazed at the colonial home and smiled. “This place is bigger and more beautiful than Lisa said. It’s amazing how the community pitched in and had this home built for them.”

He nodded and pulled into the long, blacktop driveway. Three of the kids blew bubbles in the yard. “Viewers eat this up. They love this family. Lisa was smart to lock you in as a lifetime interviewer no matter what job you have, or what station.”

Julie smiled. Lisa may have left the news business for home life with the kids, but she was savvy. Every year the media sent Paul and Lisa publicity requests to see the kids and interview them. Lisa found a lawyer willing to draft an exclusive agreement that gave Julia the only access to the Hart sextuplets, as the reporters called them.

“And now that I’m co-anchor of Rise and Shine, I think ratings will skyrocket. Moms watch the show, and they adore Lisa.” Julia reached for her briefcase and looked out the window. “Speaking of, here she is.”

Lisa sauntered over to the news van, her long hair piled on top of her head. “Julia. Walt. It can’t be another year already.”

The two exited the vehicle and greeted the Faces and Places magazine’s Mom of the Year with a hug. “What’s almost three years old like? Does it get worse than terrible two?” Walt opened the back of the van.

Lisa shook her head; her voice breathy as if she had run from the time she woke until now. Her long hair twisted on top of her head, secured by barrettes. No makeup that Julia could see. “All I can say is if your producer wants a transparent look at ‘The Hart sextuplets’ is to have plenty of footage.”

Julia heard a screech, followed by a cry. One of the boys held an empty bubble bottle while one of the girls had wet, soapy hair. Julia tapped her favorite cameraman. “You can start by taping that.”

September 2002

Julia tripped over a backpack on her way to the spacious Hart kitchen, the sink full of dirty dishes, the dishwasher humming in the background. Jimmy and Kelly, babies four and five, were eating at the kitchen table, the area full not just with food, but crayons and coloring books. Unopened mail. “Hey, guys. Can I ask you a couple questions?”

Jimmy looked to his sister, then to Julia. “Is it for TV?” He reached for a baby carrot.

She nodded.

He narrowed his eyes and took a bite. “Are you gonna ask about school?”

Julia smiled. “Yes, that’s what everyone wants to know about.”

He reached for a cucumber slice. “I can make it easy. We all hate it.”

Julia bit her lip to kill the temptation to laugh. She glanced at Kelly, who nodded. “Hate it.”

January 2003

Julia tucked a piece of hair behind her ear as she looked at her notes for her upcoming interview with the latest A-lister actress. The morning show and evening magazine duties gave her a lot of assignments with Hollywood’s elite, but few gave Julia joy in prepping for the meeting.

She took a sip of her coffee and heard a knock on the door. Glancing at her office clock, she saw that it was late in the evening for visitors. “Who is it?”

“Julia.” His voice cracked. “It’s Walt.”

Julia stood and jogged to the door. He was always home and with his family once his assignments were done. She opened it, ready to invite him in, when she saw his hands shake and his eyes full of tears. “What’s wrong?”

“I told the brass I would be the one to tell you.”

Her eyebrows furrowed as she tried to discern what he was saying.

“Julia, there’s been a terrible accident back in your hometown.”

She felt the pit form and enlarge, as she instantly thought of her parents and siblings. “Dad? Mom?”

Walt shook his head. “Lisa and a couple of the kids.”

Julia felt her knees buckling beneath her. “Tell me they are okay.”

MORE ABOUT THE SERIES

Can two go-getters surrender their need to control and find a happily-ever-after?

Jordyn Bell Hart succeeds in everything she does. Her promotion to morning show co-anchor blossoms her career in the same way her mother’s work did. Jordyn keeps tabs on her family and enjoys helping them grow. When life around Jordyn starts to change, can she surrender her desire to control?

Spencer Collins knows how to balance a busy life. He has his work as a reporter, his time caregiving for his grieving father, and looking out for his little brother. When he learns he’s the new co-anchor of a morning show with Jordyn Hart, can he handle working with a celebrity who brings a lot of challenges to life on and off the set?

Read a FREE preview of Anchored Hearts by clicking HERE. Book 1 in Surrendering Hearts, a series about nationally celebrated sextuplets who each discover their own identity and find that special true love like their parents shared. https://dl.bookfunnel.com/sreqjn1tin

Anchored Hearts coming soon.

She never, in all her years choosing Walt as her cameraman, saw him cry.

“Lisa’s gone.”

Surrendering Hearts is a six-book series starting with Anchored Hearts. Read the free preview HERE.

ABOUT JULIE ARDUINI

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series SURRENDERING TIME, (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged,) as well as the stand-alone novellas, MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her other latest release, YOU’RE BRILLIANT, is for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenage daughter, Hannah, and is book 3 in their SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ series. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to opt in to her content full of resources and giveaway opportunities.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Facebook Author Page: http://facebook.com/JulieArduiniAuthor

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Julie Arduini Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/321e32f02e17/juliearduininewsletter

Receive FREE preview of Anchored Hearts: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/sreqjn1tin

 

April 26, 2021

THE BUTTERFLY BLUEPRINT

 

PLEASE WELCOME

STEPHANIE MILLER

TO

ANYTHING GOES

BOOK SPOTLIGHT

 

Have you ever found yourself doing the same thing over and over again without realizing it? Are you spiritually stuck, wanting a deeper relationship with God but not sure how to get there?

In The Butterfly Blueprint, Stephanie Miller uses each stage of a butterfly-egg, caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly to show you five ways to grow your faith. By examining how your past shapes your perspective and understanding of the value of authenticity and accountability in relationships, you will learn how to identify and address your spiritual blind spots that are hindering your growth.

Stephanie opens up her own journey of transformation while providing practical steps you can implement to see real progress in your spiritual life.

?      Your purpose will become clearer.

?      Your relationships will grow deeper.

?      You will create a new perspective to share your story with others.

You were not created to remain a caterpillar your entire life. Let God change your perspective so He can transform you into the beautiful butterfly He made you to be.

 

Purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xpYoEA

 

Stephanie Miller, M.A., is a certified personal and spiritual growth coach, best-selling author, and speaker. Her ministry, Butterfly Beginnings, specializes in helping those who are spiritually stuck by catalyzing change through connection with the Holy Spirit. She seeks to encourage women and challenge them to grow closer to God and in community with each other. She and her husband Nick have been married for almost 8 years. They have two children, ages 1.5 and 3.  As a family, they enjoy going on hiking adventures and mini road trips together. She also is training for her first sprint triathlon and loves a good cup of coffee paired with deep and meaningful conversation. Connect with her at www.butterflybeginnings.net. And FB/IG @stephaniemillercoach.

April 22, 2021

Bent Tree Bride

 


 



PLEASE WELCOME

DENISE WEIMER

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

**Please enjoy this excerpt from Bent Tree Bride. Mixed-blood Lieutenant Sam Hicks of the Cherokee Regiment has been assigned to guard his colonel’s daughter and son. They are at the throwing range outside Fort Strother in hostile Creek Indian Territory.**

AN EXCERPT FROM BENT TREE BRIDE

“Why do you care about throwing a knife or a tomahawk or any weapon when your father would order his entire regiment to fight to protect you?”

Susanna released a gusty sigh. “Because as much as I would like to think he will always be there, he may not. What if I lose him in battle? What if this lung sickness returns when he goes out on the next campaign and Polly can’t save him? Then what will I have left?”

For one, Dr. Hawkins would rush to the rescue, although Sam would be wiser to bite his tongue than suggest that when she was this betwattled.

Thankfully, she continued without pausing to solicit any answers. “I should at least be able to defend myself. The lessons at finishing school may have taught me how to speak French and snare a husband, but they are useless out here.”

“You know he will send you home at the first opportunity.” As much as the thought pained him. Fort Strother would seem a cheerless place without Susanna Moore.

“But that’s just it. I shouldn’t have to leave.” She balled her hands into fists at her sides. “I want to show him I am as strong as Polly. That I can survive, and not only survive, but be helpful on the frontier. I don’t have to have Cherokee blood to do that, do I?”

The yearning for acceptance in Susanna’s words echoed a similar longing in Sam’s heart. She searched his eyes as she had earlier, but this time, he didn’t close his soul. If she needed strength, and he could help give it to her, what cause had he to deny her?

“No. You don’t.” Sam reached for her right fist, pried open her fingers, and laid the handle of the knife in her palm.

She blinked, transferring the sheen of moisture from her eyes to her long, dark lashes. “Thank you.”

He jerked his chin toward the felled log. “Count off five paces. Same principles apply for throwing a knife as a tomahawk.” And once she felt comfortable with the knife, he’d let her try the latter, whether George whined or not.

She did as he instructed, her long, gray wool coat stirring with her footsteps. George made room for her but continued his practice with single-minded intensity. The boy would beg to return to the practice range on a daily basis now. But would that be so objectionable if Susanna accompanied him?

Sam frowned, concentrating on Susanna’s stance. And that made him frown more because now he had an excuse to look at her. But he purposed not to touch her as he had her brother. No, sir. Spoken instruction would have to do. “You do not need to draw your arm that far back.” He sighed as she attempted to correct her posture. “Or extend it that far out.”

“Like this?” She flexed with a chopping motion.

“Only if you plan to smite a mole when he pops out of his hole.”

She burst into that musical laughter again. “You are witty. I knew it.” Why that seemed to delight her so much, Sam had no idea. But her joyful response twisted his insides into a knot he didn’t want to try to understand. Then her mirth disappeared, and she waved him closer. “Well, don’t just stand there. Show me what I’m doing wrong.”

“You are thinking too much.” He sidled up behind her. So much for his noble intentions. Covering her hand with his, he slid her fingers farther down the handle and slightly extended her thumb. “Picture a part of yourself sailing through the air to connect with the target—if you could only fly.”

“If I could fly, I would head due west today.” She turned her head so that their faces hovered inches apart, but that fringe of lashes swept down. That was a mercy. His heart might have come out of his chest otherwise. “And see that apple orchard. The one at Fort Hill. And then, I would visit the library.” Her mouth turned up at the corners, and that blasted dimple dented the cheek next to him.

She wanted to see his home place. Why? The picture of her there swept all kinds of confusion over Sam. He stepped back and pointed forward with two fingers. “Draw your arm just over your head. Wrist firm, and throw.”

Only a quick blink portrayed any disappointment in his lack of response. Susanna faced front and complied. Someone murmured behind Sam when the knife tipped the bottom third of the log. He shifted to assess the cluster of Indians who had accumulated on the periphery when he’d been too distracted by Susanna to notice. Careless of him.

ABOUT BENT TREE BRIDE


Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman.

As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Bent-Tree-Bride-Denise-Weimer-ebook/dp/B08Q8K5YD6

ABOUT DENISE WEIMER

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense, mostly set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.


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April 19, 2021

A SONG FOR HER ENEMIES

 



PLEASE WELCOME

FICTION AUTHOR

SHERRI STEWART

TO

ANYTHING GOES

Today on Anything Goes, Sherri Stewart provides an excerpt from her novel


FROM A SONG FOR HER ENEMIES

“Your violin won’t be ready for two weeks. Maybe a month.” Her hands behind her back, Neelie studied the young man in the green uniform she’d just admitted to her foyer when he came to check on the status of his repair. “It’s hard to get the parts we need when the mail comes so slowly.” She couldn’t keep the sarcastic tone from filtering into her voice.


The officer’s fingers tapped the Art Deco table Frans had bought her for her birthday two years ago, his eyes taking in the portraits on the wall. Then he noticed the violin on the chair in the corner. “Is that a Stradivarius? My father just purchased two of those—”
“Purchased or stolen from families forced to flee?” Oh, that mouth of hers. When would she learn to keep her thoughts to herself?

Neelie held her breath.


The soldier removed his hat and smoothed his reddish hair. His lips pursed. His eyes slitted, and for a moment, he reminded her of a Gila monster she’d seen at the zoo in Amsterdam. Then a smile spread across his face. “I like a woman who speaks her mind. The situations to which you refer are the result of what happens to people who defy patriotism.”


It was all Neelie could do not to spew out a retort. She composed herself. “It will cost twenty guilders. The cost of parts has increased in the last few months.”


“Money is of no concern.” His eyes shifted to the grandfather clock in the corner. “Is that a Huygens?” He approached it slowly, his fingers caressing its rich woodwork. “It is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Would you consider selling it?” He pivoted toward her.


“I’m afraid not, Lieutenant Bergman. It’s been in my husband’s family for more than one hundred years.”


“I understand and respect your loyalty to your family. However, everything and everyone has a price, Mevrouw Visser. Especially now. What is your price?”


How dare he? Before Neelie could retort, Tamar’s sweet, pure voice floated from the kitchen. Neelie hurried to close the door that separated the foyer from the stairs to the kitchen.


“Wait.”


Nellie stopped, squeezed her eyes shut, sent a silent plea for help, then turned toward him. Everything was out of her hands now.
“I have never heard such a haunting and pure rendition of ‘O Mio Babbino Caro.’ Who is singing?”


What Neelie said next would change everything. Somehow, she’d avoided lying to the Nazis in her dealings in the city. Now the officer forced her to confront the dilemma of half-truths. Managing a shaky intake of breath, she said, “My niece.”


“I must meet her. What is her name?” His gaze remained on the open door. “I have not heard beauty like that since—”


“I’m sure she’s too busy.” Neelie hurried to the pad of paper that sat on the Amsterdam School Art Deco cabinet she’d set up in the foyer for clients picking up their violins. “Here is the receipt for your instrument. Two to four weeks, Lieutenant Bergman.”


“Nein, Mevrouw Visser. It will only take a minute to tell your niece how much I appreciate her voice. One minute is all I need.”


“As you wish.” Neelie inched toward the door, wishing there were a way to lock it without him hearing the click. When would she ever learn to be more careful? It had slipped her mind to close the door between the foyer and the stairs leading to the kitchen while Tamar scrubbed the floor.


A scarf held back Tamar’s hair, but curly tendrils fell into her eyes. Her singing came to an abrupt halt when Neelie appeared in the doorway. “Oh, you scared me.” She blew an errant lock away from her face, removed the scarf, and retied her ponytail. Her blonde ponytail.


“Quick, take off that apron and the scarf and come with me.” Neelie offered a hand to help her to her feet.


“What is it, Tante? What’s wrong?”


“Good. Call me Tante. Pretend I’m your real aunt.” Neelie took a handkerchief from her pocket and dabbed at a smudge on Tamar’s cheek. “A customer, a Nazi officer, heard your singing and insists on meeting you.”
 
ABOUT SHERRI STEWART

Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passion is traveling to the settings of her books, sampling the food, and visiting the sites. She loves the Netherlands, and she’s still learning Dutch, although she doesn’t need to since everyone seems to speak perfect English. A recent widow, Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her lazy dog, Lily, and her son, Joshua, who can fix anything. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and pix in her newsletter. Subscribe at http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/author/sherristewart/

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www.stewartwriting.com   

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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/758893.Sherri_Stewart/blog

ABOUT A SONG FOR HER ENEMIES
 
About A Song for Her EnemiesAfter Nazi soldiers close the opera and destroy Tamar Kaplan’s dream of becoming a professional singer, she joins the Dutch Resistance, her fair coloring concealing her Jewish heritage. Tamar partners with Dr. Daniel Feldman, and they risk their lives to help escaping refugees. When they are forced to flee themselves, violinist Neelie Visser takes them into hiding.

Tamar’s love for Daniel flowers in hardship, but she struggles with the paradox that a loving God would allow the atrocities around her. When Tamar resists the advances of a Third Reich officer, he exacts his revenge by betraying the secrets hidden behind the walls of Neelie’s house. From a prison hospital to a Nazi celebration to a concentration camp, will the three of them survive to tell the world the secrets behind barbed wire?  

A Song for Her Enemies is the story of a talented young opera singer and the bittersweet love that grows amid the tyranny and fear of World War II. Set against the backdrop of neighbors willing to risk their lives in the German-occupied, war-torn Netherlands, A Song for Her Enemies is an inspiring and beautiful novel celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the determination of Christians in the face of persecution. It is a novel for everyone seeking to understand the pain of the past and be inspired to embrace hope for the future. https://amzn.to/3tVYPE9

April 15, 2021

HANNAH A GOLD RUSH BRIDE

 



PLEASE WELCOME

LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

READ AN EXCERPT FROM HANNAH: A GOLD RUSH BRIDES NOVEL

March 29, 1829

Dahlonega, GA

Chapter One

Reverberations from the gunshot echoed among the hills surrounding Hannah Lauman’s property as she gripped the rifle and watched the cougar disappear through the trees. Winter had apparently not been kind to the gaunt and shaggy animal, prompting its boldness to approach the homestead. Fortunately, Quinn had taught her to shoot, so she could protect herself during the times he was away from their claim. Four-legged beasts weren’t the only predators she’d had to scare off after word got out about how much gold she and her husband were pulling from Yahoola Creek.

Panning this week had been more productive than usual and storing the accumulated flakes and nuggets in the cabin was never a good idea, so today’s journey to Gainesville was her husband’s third trip to the bank. How long the gold would hold out was anyone’s guess, so she should probably be down at the water’s edge, but the two of them were out of clean clothes, and she hadn’t swept or dusted in days. She wasn’t so gold-hungry that she’d live in a pigsty.

She grabbed one of Quinn’s shirts and hung the cotton garment over the line, then bent and picked up another. She ought to warn the other miners about the wildcat, but perhaps the gunshot would bring one of the neighbors running so she wouldn’t have to seek them out.

Finished with the clothes, she gave one last look toward the forest, then picked up the basket and headed toward the cabin. Inside, she lit one of the lamps to push away the gloom from the small abode. “Hello, the house!” A shrill voice sounded in the yard.

Hannah stepped to the doorway and waved.

Glenda Thompson, the wife of another miner a few claims away waddled toward her, the woman’s swollen stomach evidence of her late-term pregnancy. She carried a towel-wrapped bundle. “Good afternoon, Hannah. I made several loaves of bread and thought y’all might be able to use one.”

“Real bread sounds heavenly. We’ve been eating biscuits with most of our meals. Quinn will be thrilled.”

The petite blonde woman handed her the loaf, then rested her arms on her belly. “Where is that husband of yours? I didn’t see him on my way over. Thought he’d be down at the water with the rest of the boys sifting through the sand.”

“He went into Gainesville. Should be back any time.”

“Another trip to the bank?” Glenda’s eyebrow lifted. “Y’all must be doin’ better than the rumors say.”

Hannah shrugged. “Quinn’s no Stephen Girard. We won’t be financing the government any time soon.”

Glenda giggled, then sighed. “At least you’re gettin’ by.”

“We’ve done better than some, but the work is backbreaking, and the worry about claim jumpers, injury, and wildlife is wearing. By the way, a cougar wandered into the yard a short time ago. You might have heard the gunshot.”

“That’s bad news about the wildcat. I’ll be sure to pass the word.” Glenda huffed out a breath. “You ever wonder what life would be like if you weren’t diggin’ for gold day in and day out?”

“More often than you’d think.” She gestured to the garments flapping on the line. “Like I said, we’re doing all right, but it gets lonely.” Especially with no children, but Hannah wouldn’t get into that. Married for nearly ten years, she’d yet to conceive. And the longer her childlessness went on, the farther apart she and Quinn grew. “Everything okay?”

“We’ve about played out our claim. Might be movin’ on.” Glenda’s chin trembled. “This was going to be our chance to get ahead. I’m not sure how much more gold chasin’ I can do, but Bart doesn’t listen to me. He’s sure we’re gonna strike it big.”

“He might not be wrong. We only found dribs and drabs when we first arrived.”

“Yeah, but we’re gonna have a family to think about soon. We need a regular salary.” Glenda rubbed at the cross dangling from a long silver chain around her neck. “I’ve been prayin’ Bart will come to his senses, but nothin’ yet.”

“I’m sorry things are hard for you.” Hannah fiddled with the edge of the towel. If their claim hadn’t produced, would Quinn have been willing to walk away? Go back to their staid life in the city? If truth be told, they'd done better working the gold. A bit of a dreamer, he’d held and lost numerous jobs over the course of their lives together, always moving on to opportunities that were supposed to be bigger and better. The day he’d come home and announced he’d purchased a gold claim from a widow, they’d argued well into the night. Then she’d decided that working together might sweeten their marriage, draw them close again. She was still waiting for that to happen. What was it with men and their desire for fortune and glory?

Thundering hooves pounded, and Hannah’s head whipped toward the sound. Chet Fawley, Dahlonega’s sheriff crouched low over his horse’s neck. He brought the animal to a halt, then slid from the saddle. His face with lined with fatigue and sadness.

Hannah’s stomach hollowed. There was no doubt the man brought bad news. “Quinn?”

Sheriff Fawley removed his dusty Stetson and licked his lips. “I’m sorry, Miz Lauman. Your husband’s dead. Ambushed outside of town.”

Dizziness struck, and she swayed. Dots of light danced in her vision, and roaring, like an approaching train, filled her ears. She swallowed. “Who would want to murder my husband?”

“Looks like the work of the Cherokees. I’ve got my boys looking into things as we speak.” He ducked his head. “I guess you’ll be pulling out and going back to Atlanta, so be sure to let me know how I can contact you when I solve the case. Shouldn’t be long.”

Hannah squared her shoulders. “I’m not going anywhere, Sheriff. I’ve got a claim to work.”

PRE-ORDER LINK

 www.amazon.com/dp/http://www.amazon.com/dp/B091JPQHZT

ABOUT LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors. 

Social Media Links:

Website/blog: http://www.LindaShentonMatchett.com

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ABOUT GOLD RUSH BRIDE HANNAH


A brand-new widow, she’s doesn’t need another man in her life. He’s not looking for a wife. But when danger thrusts them together, will they change their minds...and hearts?

Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels...relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone...dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?

Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?

Gold Rush Bride: Hannah is the first book in the exciting new series Gold Rush Brides. Steeped in romance, intrigue, and history, the story will keep you turning pages long into the nigh

April 12, 2021

THE RELUCTANT BILLIONAIRE

 

­­­


PLEASE WELCOME

CAROL UNDERHILL

TO

ANYTHING GOES

 

READ ABOUT CAROL’S UPCOMING RELEASE: The Reluctant Billionaire

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release date: April 13th, 2021

Publisher: Anaiah Press

ABOUT THE RELUCTANT BILLIONAIRE

With her husband’s ultimate betrayal and the finalization of her divorce, Jessica Palmer’s dreams for her life go up in flames, leaving her devastated and lost. Now, she’s leaving Chicago and moving back into her parents’ house in an effort to rebuild her life. Longtime neighbor and friend, Liam Engstrom, is the only reason she hasn’t completely fallen apart, but the closer they get, the more she realizes the depth of his feelings.

Liam has loved Jessica since they were teens, but she never noticed him as more than a friend. Now that she’s single, he’s determined to show her how much he cares and that not all men are like her ex-husband--if she’ll let him.

Jessica is reluctant to trust again after what her husband did to her, and Liam refuses to be the rebound guy, but their attraction is hard to deny. So, together, with a little help from God, they decide to give love a chance. But between Liam’s recent inheritance and an unwanted public billionaire status that has people lining up with their hands out, and Jessica’s ex-husband monitoring her every move, their relationship is off to a rocky start. And when tragedy strikes, Liam pushes everyone away—including Jessica. Can they both learn to forgive and grow, or are they doomed to be alone?

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER BOOK?

I originally wrote this story in 1994 late at night while my infant and toddler were asleep, but I really didn’t do much with it once it was finished. I got busy with life, raising my kids, working, etc., and the story essentially fell by the wayside. I began reading and loving billionaire books and decided that I would try my hand at one. So I dug this story out, dusted it off, revised it heavily to make Liam a billionaire (and to bring it up to date) and eventually sent it to Anaiah…

ABOUT CAROL UNDERHILL

Carol Underhill lives in rural Michigan a few miles from the farm where she grew up. She is mom to three adult children and a spoiled Lab. Her household also includes several rescued cats. She likes finding new authors on Kindle and binge-reading all their books. Carol rewards herself for meeting deadlines with a cup of fudge-flavored coffee. She enjoys quiet mornings and spending time with her family.

www.facebook.com/authorcarolunderhill

www.twitter.com/@underhill7

Website and blog:

www.authorcarolunderhill.com

READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE RELUCTANT BILLIONAIRE

“Liam’s here.” Her dad’s voice carried from the living room, jarring Jessica from her thoughts.

She took a deep breath and left her bedroom. Despite this being a fake date, there was nothing fake about the way her heart started racing when she walked into the living room and saw Liam standing there. He looked red-carpet-ready in his black tux. It fit him as naturally as his work clothes or swim trunks. His white shirt set off his suntanned face with his trimmed beard.

His mouth gaped as his gaze swept over her. “Wow, you look great.” He walked over and stood in front of her.

“You’re too tall for Liam,” Julie said. “You should ditch the heels for something shorter.”

He put his hand on Jessica’s shoulder, and she blushed. “It’s okay. I like to be able to look her in the eye,” he said.

“Are you sure? I have a different pair of heels that would put me a couple of inches shorter.”

“You’re fine.” His voice was husky.

Jessica held up a necklace and a string of pearls. “I can’t decide which to wear. What do you think?”

Liam pulled a velvet box out of his pocket. Jessica gasped when he opened it, revealing a silver necklace with diamonds and sapphires. The necklace was obviously a Douglas Engstrom original and probably worth a fortune.

“Would you consider this appropriate?”


“It’s beautiful.” Jessica lightly touched the gems. “But it’s too valuable to wear.”

“I thought you could wear it in memory of Dad.”

“Oh, but—” Her gaze flew to his. “You should save this for someone special.”

His face paled, and she could tell he struggled with what to say.

Jessica’s dad stepped forward. “I think it’s a great idea. Fasten that thing around her neck.”

Liam hesitated. The velvet box moved as his hand trembled. He was nervous.

“I can do it.” Her mom took the necklace out of the box. “Turn around, Jessica.”

When Jessica turned her back to Liam and her mom, she met Julie’s enraged expression. And her dad’s gentle one. He seemed pretty pleased Liam was asking her to wear the necklace. Did her dad have an ulterior motive in mind? Was he trying to be a matchmaker? That was an unusual thing for him to do.

She walked over to the hall mirror. The reflection was of a sophisticated woman with her hair swept up and perfect makeup. Her dress shimmered in the light, and the diamonds and sapphires sparkled at her throat.

Liam appeared in the mirror behind her. His admiring gaze nearly took her breath away.

“I guess I’m ready.” She spoke a little too loudly, stepping away from the mirror and picking up her silver clutch.

 

 

LIVING WATER

PLEASE WELCOME ALLISON WELLS TO FICTION FRIDAY   THE STORY BEHIND LIVING WATER Living Water is the story of a wallflower in a fami...