Building a Strong Marriage: Happiness Isn’t the Goal in Marriage


When the wedding is over, and the guests go home, married-life starts.

Many of my friends, including myself, are or were military wives. We know homecomings, military balls, ceremonies, and mandatory fun events are not the whole of our marriage. These happy times are mixed in with the, well, the not so happy.  
At times it’s easy to love our spouse, and even a wonderful experience to do so, but other times…after kids, juggling schedules, dinner fails, a 60+ hour work week, pay cuts, hurtful words spoken intentional or unintentional, conflict of interests…well, sometimes things like that can make marriage a challenge. 
But that’s ok. We want to build and strengthen something worth fighting for, something worth our time and energy, even if it’s a challenge. Marriage is worth that challenge. Anything God ordains is worth that challenge.
One of the ways we begin to strengthen our marriage is by shifting the focus off of our happiness. Yes, happiness is great and all, but if it’s at the expense of someone else’s happiness, is it even true happiness? Wow, that just got philosophical! 
I argue that a self-seeking pursuit of happiness is not happiness at all, but selfishness. Yes, we have needs, even wants, but by transferring our focus to our spouse and their happiness…well, something close to magic happens…we find happiness—actually, contentment, which is FAR GREATER than happiness. It’s deeper, heartier, full of substance and value, whereas happiness changes on a whim, based on our current situation.
If happiness isn’t the goal of marriage, what is?

That’s a whole other blogpost my friends, but to sum it up, a purpose, but most definitely not the sole purpose of marriage, is to make us into better people as we serve each other in love, putting the other before ourselves. 

How do we do this? How do we stop focusing on happiness as our sole goal in marriage?
   
         1) Think about your spouse. Write down the things they enjoy. What are their goals? What makes them feel loved? Perhaps ask them these things in order to find out, or observe them more often.
Keep this list, and work to meet those goals and do those things that make your spouse feel loved. I HIGHLY recommend learning your spouse’s love language. Check out The 5 Love Languages, and The 5 Love Language: Military Edition.
    
      2) Pray for your spouse. Make a list of things to pray about for them. Here are some suggestions to get started:

  • Pray for their relationship with God to continue to grow.
  • Pray that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control overflow in and out of their lives. 
  •  Pray for wisdom in the decisions they have to make at work and in the family.
  • Pray for them to get the rest they need at night so they are able to get through the work week.
  • Pray for their self-image—that they would see themselves the way God sees them.
  • Pray for their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical protection.

Remember, happiness is great, but there’s so much more to marriage that’s worth our time in pursuing–like each other. 

Sermon Notes for Kids: Helping Your Kiddos Grow in their Faith

click to downloadI grew up in church. Every Sunday and Wednesday. Summer programs too. And I’m grateful for my upbringing and foundations of faith.

Now, I wasn’t the most quiet child during church service. Dad pecked my head a time or two–kept me in line. Kept me from squirming, doodling on the back of the bulletin, humming, or tossing paper wads at my brother.  🙂 Church service was sooo boring, well, up until my early teens, and then I started paying attention. Started understanding the relevance of the Bible, and faith. Started taking notes. Still take them, and enjoy going back through them from time to time.

Now that my kiddos sit in church service with us each Sunday, I find myself wondering how I can help them pay more attention…let the sermon sink in…help them apply it to their lives, and grow their faith…and keep the paper wads from flying across the room!

How??? How ?

Sermon notes for kids!!! Of course!!

Apparently I’m not the first to think of this idea. A whole host of Pinterest pins offer a variety of sermon notes for kids of all ages.  Check them out if you get a chance.

So I took my time, scanned through the pins and posts, gathered ideas, thought about my kiddos, how our church service is laid out, and created one for them, which I’m totally sharing with you. Free of charge! You’re welcome. 🙂

The notes include a page that highlights the importance of memorizing Bible verses, Prayers, Praises, and answered prayers pages, as well as a notes page for dates to remember perhaps from the bulletin, or other church social events. 

My oldest, now 10, won’t have any issues with filling out/reading the note pages. My youngest, now 5, will need some help. I will also be tweaking her sermon notes booklet a bit, equipped with Bible verses she can trace, and things more suited for her age (I’ll share that when I’m done).

So the game plan is: print out the pages, enough for a years worth of sermons, and bind them together to create a booklet for my oldest to take with him to church every Sunday. Now, one could easily print out the papers, hole punch them and put them in a binder, folder–whatevs. 🙂

Enjoy!! Print them out, get’em to your kiddos!

Click Here to Download the Sermon Notes pdf

Confessions of a Writer: Nearly Six Years into the Journey


This past Sunday, our Pastor preached a sermon entitled, Confessions of a Disciple: Nearly 40 years into the Journey. Highly recommend listening. Here’s the audio link.
 
Wow, these confessions were so real, and raw. His transparency was like a gift. We as Christians live messy lives as we work to live out real faith in real life. Sometimes others like Pastors or Best-Selling Authors seem to have arrived—got it all together, but that’s not the case. 
So, as a gift to fellow writers starting out, here are my confessions nearly six years into the journey as a writer.
1: If I wrote when I was inspired, the project would never get finished. 
Most, if not a great majority of things in life require discipline—an intentional action repeated on a consistent basis. 
I make a writing schedule and stick with it until one of the kiddos gets sick, or the back porch roof starts to cave in, or an after school practice or program takes precedence. I’m learning to apply an Army Wife Motto to my writing life: roll with it. If my schedule gets out of whack, I find the time I can write. 
Oh how I wish I had 4 or 5 hours of sheer uninterrupted time to write when I wasn’t exhausted from a day of adult-ing, but then again, I may be prone to wonder from the page and end up sucked into Pinterest or Facebook, or something else equally and wonderfully distracting. 
The point is, I’m learning to set writing goals to keep me on track.  Even going as far as to set a timer for 90 minutes, 4 times a week, and bust my chops to get in 1,500 words each session…which leads me to the next confession:
2: Embrace grace when goals go unmet.
There are some days when I don’t get a single word written. Ugh, that’s another confession that stands on its own. 
Sometimes life happens in the strangest of ways and sucks up your day. The oddest, most unpredictable things can occur…quite peculiar, really.
And then there’s just the day to day conflicts. I work part time, take care of my kiddos, juggle their schedules with mine and my hubby’s, volunteer, teach Sunday school, lead a writers group, cook, clean, market, blog…yikes, I need some chocolate just thinking about it all. 
But God reminds me of who I am. I’m His. And I can plan and schedule all I want, but each novel is His, and He will give me the grace, and strength to finish…even if there’s a day or a week when I haven’t typed a single word.
And that leads me to my next confession: 
3: Prioritizing time is a challenge but a necessity.
Yes, I set writing goals. Yes, I carve out and prioritize that writing time, but my first priority, even before family, is God.  Perhaps strange for some to hear, but it’s a way of life that works well for our family, and a multitude of other followers of Christ.
It’s almost become routine to wake up before the family and spend that time reading the Bible, praying, and listening. It’s a routine I like, and crave. It’s become a priority. 
That priority extends into the way I live, how I treat others, how I spend my money, and how I spend my time.  And I need daily reminders, helpful nudges from God to keep Him first. Family second. Friends third. Writing fourth. 
It’s a struggle, not gonna lie, but I remember that writing is just a part of my life, a good part, but not the whole. 
4: There’s more fear involved in the writing process than what I ever imagined. 
It hangs out beside my desk, in the corner, sometimes on my shoulder. It takes me a bit to acknowledge the fear…that my first draft is going to be probably the worst thing I’ve ever written…that I will probably get some bad reviews…that some people may never like a single thing I write…that I don’t have what it takes to be a writer. 
Fear acknowledged, then swallowed, because I know that fear doesn’t come from God. So, I press forward and write anyway, because I’m writing for another reason, and that reason is more powerful than a bit of fear hanging around.
And the last confession:
5: The first draft is gonna be terrible.
Ugh, I can’t stand this confession because I don’t want to embrace it. I want to write the perfect novel the first time. 
To help assuage my little writer heart, I asked MANY, MANY, MA NY other authors light years ahead of me in experience about their first drafts. Every single one of them either laughed, rolled their eyes, or grimaced, each stating there’s was terrible. Good news for the rest of us writers! 
But, after guidance, input, rewrites, and edits, that raw rough copy becomes a polished novel worth the struggles. Even better news!
So keep going, fellow writer! I pray these confessions help encourage you in your writing journey.

Angels Among Us: A Christmas Short Story Collection

http://www.amazon.com/Angels-Among-Inspirational-Celebrate-Christmas-ebook/dp/B018AMMTAI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1449721049&sr=8-2&keywords=hannah+conway 
Indeed, God’s Angels are among us! 

What a joy it was to join together with Kim and Darlene, two fantastic authors, to bring these fictitious stories to life! Truly an honor to join forces with these talented ladies.

I’ve never written a Christmas themed story, nor ever considered doing so until the offer came…and then my mind went berserk with ideas, scenarios etc.  Of course I wanted it to have a military-ish theme…that’s kinda part of my writer thing. So, after several brainstorming sessions, and hair-pulling (exaggerating a bit), it came together.

My tale, Brighter than a Bronze Star, follows Zander, a warrior angel embarked on a mission far from his comfort zone and in close proximity to the mortal world. Lives are at stake, dark forces swarm around, and Zander must not fail even when God’s orders are unclear, and difficult to obey.

Along the way, you’ll meet Judah, an Army medic questioning his life path, and Claire, a young editor addicted to work to keep past hurts from catching up to her.

Will Zander succeed in his mission, or will the enemy prevail? Will Judah find his path or continue to wonder aimlessly? Will Claire discover the strength she needs to let go and move forward, or remain captive to her hurt?

This Christmas, angels are among us in the most unique way! Enjoy these three short stories for .99 on Amazon, or FREE on Kobo.

Merry Christmas, Dear Reader!

Other books from Hannah Conway:

http://www.hannahrconway.com/p/books.html
http://www.hannahrconway.com/p/books.html

Christmas: It’s All About the Message


Welcome Dear Readers! Today we welcome our Special Guest Blogger Ann Knopp! Welcome, Ann!! Thank you for sharing with us today.

Christmas is all about the Message

All throughout the Bible God spoke and things happened.  He created the world with just His words, and it came into being.  He spoke to Noah and told him to build a gigantic boat in the middle of a desert region, and he did it.  And God was faithful to save.  He told Abraham to go to a land he’d never been.  Abraham went. No questions asked. Just went.  God promised him a future filled with generations of people, and God is continuing to fulfill that promise. Now Moses did do a little complaining, or making excuses, why it was not the best idea for him to lead God’s people out of Egypt, but in the end, he went as well.  

God was faithful to deliver all them (Noah, Abraham, & Moses).  On and on throughout history, God would speak, and God’s people would obey.  They didn’t have the Bible because essentially they were living the Bible one moment at a time so we could have a manual to follow today.
 
Then one day, God did an amazing thing.  He told His Son, Jesus, to go to the world.  He went (knowing what He was going to have to do once He got here).  Jesus was God’s ultimate plan to be the Savior to a dark and dying world.  When Jesus began His ministry, He found 12 men that were going about their daily routine and He said, “Come, follow Me.”  We find him ‘going.’ He went into the world, just like God asked, and so did the disciples. They dropped everything and followed.  
Click to Tweet Quote
Click to Tweet Quote

Then Jesus’ ultimate purpose for coming was revealed.  Jesus was in the garden, and He was praying, and asked God to take the “cup” or burden of death on the cross from Him.  God didn’t, but Jesus went faithfully.  God essentially said “Go,” and Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross for our sins.  Because of Him going, we have a direct path to God, and we can come to Him whenever we want.

God’s faithfulness, and our fully trusting in God, go hand in hand.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   
He didn’t say, go if you want to, or whenever you’re ready, meander on your way.  He said “Go!”   

We have a purpose.   Our job is to spread the gospel that has faithfully been lived out by men and women throughout the years to everyone we meet.  

Christmas is the best time of year to share this message because Jesus ISthe message of Christmas.  It says so right in the name.  Tell people the true meaning of Christmas, and live out your purpose during this season, and every day of the year.  God will be glorified through you!
About Ann:

My name is Ann Knopp.  I am a pastor’s wife and mother of two teenage boys who love to play basketball and run.  I truly have a desire to minister to women wherever God allows and the places to minister have been increasing over the last year.  God called me to write but not only to write but to share with whoever will listen.  I pray that the devotional that I have written will encourage you to share His message with whoever you meet throughout not only the Christmas season but throughout the year.  God bless!

Connect with Ann:

Email: ukknopp@comcast.net
Facebook: Ann Luck Knopp
 

Helping Kids Cope with Deployment

September 11th means many things to Americans–many things we aren’t even able to put into words.

It’s been 14 years.

Doesn’t seem like it.

I’ve often thought it strange that my children cannot remember a time when our country hasn’t been at war, nor do they quite grasp why their Daddy has had to be gone for long periods of time to fight the bad guys.  So today, Dear Readers, we have a special Guest Blogger & Army Wife who is going to talk with us about helping our kids cope with deployment. We want to honor our brave men and women who keep our country safe, and support their families with all the love and encouragement we can muster.
 
Welcome, Julie Provost!
 
~   ~   ~
Helping Kids Cope with Deployment
 
My oldest son was only about 2 years old when his Dad deployed for the first time. By the time my husband deployed for the 2nd time he was 4 and his little brother was 2. By our 3rd deployment my boys were 6, 4 and 2.5 months old. Then the 4th they were 8, 6 and 2.
As I look back over the years I can see how each time they handled the deployment a little differently. This is normal because different kids in different ages tend to do that. Some kids can handle deployments better than others. Sometimes it is because of their personality, but sometimes it is because of their age and how much they can understand.

There is a lot you can do as the Military spouse to help your children cope during a deployment. If you have a small baby, one who can’t even talk yet, you might just keep sharing photos with them. Some people will laminate them and put them up in the nursery. Just so your baby sees their Dad and gets used to his face.

For a toddler or preschoolers it might get a little more difficult. They might not be able to explain to you how they are feeling about the issue but they might act out a little more because they are missing their other parent. It is best to keep that in mind as you go through your day. Try to set up Skype chats if you can and just be there to help them through it.
When your kids get a little older and can understand what the word “war” and “Army” means you can sit down with them and have conversations about it. You can check in with them about how they are doing and what they might be worried about. Have them help you with care packages and have them talk to their Dad as often as possible. Just let them know that you understand how hard it is for them.
 
You can do some fun activities around the house that might help them through it. Have a chain of deployment days. Put up pictures of your spouse. Have them help make the homecoming posters. Get them excited when you know it is coming to an end.

Remember to pray with your kids for Daddy every night. Pray for his safety and the safety of his Company, Unit and the whole Army. It can be a good way for kids to get used to praying for others too.
 
There isn’t a lot you can do to change the fact that your spouse will be deployed when they are in the Military. It happens and could happen more often than you would like. But, you can be there for your kids and get them through the separations. You can be the person that they can always go to when they are feeling too sad about it. You can help them cope.

Tweet: “There is a lot you can do as the #MilitarySpouse to help your children cope during a #deployment.” http://ctt.ec/4Uc1o+


Julie is a blogger & social media addict living in Tennessee. She has been married for 13 years to her National Guard Soldier and has three boys, 10, 8 & 4. You can find her at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram.

The Journal & the Journey: The One Who Knows the Way

Not too long ago, I stumbled on an old diary at a flea market. The journal year? 1888.

Wow!

What a treasure for a history lover like myself. Of course I bought it, then struggled whether or not to read it. I wouldn’t want a stranger snooping through my journal! Friends assured me no moral dilemma existed considering the age of the document, and we were all curious, so…well, we read it. 🙂

To our amusement and utter awe, Sierra Hunt, the writer, described her life, and it’s simple, often mundane tasks. With her words, this young teen, transported us back in time. Glorious experience!

Not much changed from Sierra’s day to day routine. School, fetching water, helping Ma in the kitchen. On Sunday she walked to church. She made mention of the weather, social gatherings, a family friend getting ill, and visitors. At times, she seemed frustrated by her simple life, and skipped several days in the journal –a sad thing for all of us reading.

Sierra had grown used to her life, and it’s routine. I found myself able to relate well this young lady of the past. For years I’ve stayed at home with my children, raising them, and moving from state to state with the military. At times the life set before me seemed so rote, and blah. Even as a 21st century grown woman, I understand Sierra’s century old teenage rant.

So we continued to flipped through the journal, thoroughly enjoying each entry, until it stopped mid sentence.

She wrote on July 6, 1888: “Warm & Pleasant. I worked for Mrs. Struthers this forenoon. Sewed some. Scottie [her brother] and I went up and got the “

And that’s it. Nothing more. We’re left wondering where she and Scottie went, what they were doing, and what ever happened to Sierra. Did she finish school? Get married? So many unknowns!

If our lives were a journal, how many unknowns would we have?

For me, plenty.

We don’t know what tomorrow brings, or what our future holds when our paths in life change. We’re on this journey, and our journals are filled with unknowns.

But God knows. He knows what happened to Sierra, and I intend to ask him one day. He knows the paths our lives will take, and we can trust Him with all our unknowns. All of them — the career choices, parenting tips, finances, the good & the bad of it all. I’m learning this day by day as I transition into a new phase of life with my hubby retired from the Army, and my youngest starting school.

A new path doesn’t have to equal uncertainties when we are certain of The One guiding us.


“And whenever you turn to the right or two the left, your ears will hear this command behind you — this is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Many blessings, and a journey full of joy for all of you.

Click to Tweet: “A new path doesn’t have to equal uncertainties when we are certain of The One guiding us.” ~Author @hannahrconway http://ctt.ec/6IC6h+

3 Steps to Finding the Grace to Chase a Dream by Cara Putman

http://www.amazon.com/Stars-Night-Cara-C-Putman-ebook/dp/B00EV56C4S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440123709&sr=8-1&keywords=stars+in+the+nightHello Dear Readers! Today we welcome Award Winning Author Cara Putman! Cara has some great advice to share with us today & will be giving away a copy of her novel, Stars in the Night. Enter to win below!


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



 

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

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

Cara Shares Some of her Faves!

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


Author Bio:

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

Shadowed by Grace:
http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Grace-Story-Monuments-Men/dp/1433681781/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440123649&sr=8-1&keywords=shadowed+by+graceShadowed by Grace is a dramatic story inspired by the Monuments Men of World War II by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy to capture images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive – to find the father she never knew — an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It’s an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her

Connect with Cara:

 

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

4 Reasons to Host A Backyard Bible Club


Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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

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

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

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

The Lady BorneKova: Meet the Author & Amazon Gift Card Giveway!

http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Bornekova-Sara-R-Turnquist-ebook/dp/B010RNKE7S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438914073&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lady+bornekovaHello Dear Readers! Today we have Author Sara R. Turnquist here with us! She’s giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card, my friends! Enter to win below. Share with your friends and family for more entry points! And now, enjoy getting to know Sara! She’s a fabulous person & talented author!

 
Welcome Sara! Please tell us about your latest novel, and any personal inspiration behind it.

The Lady Bornekova is set in the Czech Republic on the cusp of the Hussite Wars. Which were a religious civil war of sorts for the Czech (Bohemian) peoples. My novel follows the journey of one young lady, Karin Bornekova, and what happens to her throughout the events leading up to the start of the Hussite Wars. My personal inspiration? For several summers just after I graduated college, I went over to the Czech Republic on short term mission trips to teach English to college students. I absolutely fell in love with the culture, the country, the people. I was very inspired. Each year, our team leader would find something unique for us to do to kick off our time in the Czech Republic. One year we went to visit this massive chateau outside of Hradec Kralove. Touring the chateau and the grounds was the inspiration for this story.

 
http://saraturnquist.com/That’s so interesting! And it all sounds so beautiful! I know you’ve finished this novel, but do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I have just finished working on a novel set during the Trail of Tears. It’s been a really difficult novel to write. The Native Americans suffered so much between the removals and the actual journey along the trail. I am finding it a daunting task to undertake to do justice to the historical events and honor the people who endured these events. But there is a story to tell and I’m determined to tell it.

I admire that determination and appreciate the passion you show for historical events. Writing can be a daunting task at times. Is there a favorite time of the day you like to write to help with the writing process? What about a favorite place?

I write whenever I can. I have three small kids ages 6 and under, so it’s really whenever I can! Sometimes that’s naptime, sometimes that’s at night…whenever. A favorite place? I have a little makeshift desk and comfy chair in the bedroom that I write at most of the time. But I have to share the scene with my husband when it’s finished. I just need the sounding board and instant feedback.

We’re in agreement there. There’s something about reading what you’ve written aloud that helps ALOT. Now, you’re a follower of Christ. Many of our readers are as well. Could you share with us your favorite scripture and why?

For I have not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7; I just love that this verse speaks to where I struggle so much with mommy fears and Sara fears and silly fears…and a little craziness. Honestly. But God doesn’t want me to be fearful, He hasn’t given me a spirit of fearfulness, but a spirit that is powerful and is full of love. And I just love that He even speaks to my other insecurities here and tells me that He gives me a sound mind! Love. It.

I love that too! I’ve dealt with the same thing! Thank you for sharing. Now onward we go! I’m an Army Wife, and all Military Wives have to be flexible. Plans change at the drop of a hat. So, pretend you’re a Military Wife. Ok. Ready?! Your spouse came down on orders to relocate and you’ve got 30 days to move. What are the first three things you do to prepare? GO!

I assume you mean the first three things after I freak out, right? First things first, a list. I always, always, always need my lists. Next I’d prioritize my list (boring, right? But true, so true). Then I’d arrange a family meeting with a full blown typed out Itinerary and “To Do” lists for everyone. Yeah…I’m that person.

LOVE the response! I giggled out loud! 🙂 I FOR REAL carried a clipboard around with me during each move we’ve made! You’ve given great advice! Let’s see what other nuggets of wisdom you have to offer. I’m a Stay-at-Home-Momma of two. It gets a bit crazy around my house especially when I have edits to get to! Could you share some advice for all those parents out there raising their babies?

It’s really okay if you can’t “do it all”. There’s nothing wrong with calling in reinforcements or getting help. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong or lacking in you. It means you’re human like the rest of us. That whole 80s/90s “women can do it all/have it all” garbage is just that – garbage. No one can do it all, at least not well. Something will suffer. That’s what we have back-up for. Whether that’s hubby, or family, or friends, or babysitters, or a mother’s helper…use the resources God is giving you.

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

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

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

~ BOOK EXCERPT (Oh I love these little snippets!!) ~
Karin sighed as she leaned on Pavel’s strong shoulder in blissful sleep. They had not been underway for long, but the movement of the carriage had rocked her to sleep in no time. Pavel’s nerves worked double-time, having her so close to him. But he dare not move away, lest he wake her. So, he sat still, enjoying the same kind of closeness he had earlier that evening. The contact, while they danced, had been exciting. This was peaceful but, due to his nervousness, elating all the same. As she rested, he listened to the rhythmic clip-clop of the carriage. Just then, Pavel was startled by a crunching sound, followed by a loud crack! The carriage pitched to the side. He grabbed Karin and held her tight to his body. Karin awoke with a start, eyes wide.
“Don’t move!” he commanded, wrapping his arms tighter around her as the carriage landed hard, jolting them both. It continued to roll, slamming them into the side, threatening to throw them out of the carriage window into an even more dangerous position. Pavel kept his body stiff and held on to Karin. He could barely breathe. It was his body that had slammed into the wall and cushioned Karin’s hit. The car had not stopped moving, and it threatened to roll onto the roof, teetering precariously between the roof and side. How much longer could he hold onto her? How much longer could they endure?
~ ABOUT THE LADY BORNEKOVA ~
http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Bornekova-Sara-R-Turnquist-ebook/dp/B010RNKE7S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438914073&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lady+bornekova
The red-headed Karin is strong-willed and determined, something she inherited from her father. She tries to keep her true nature a secret to avoid being deemed a traitor by those loyal to the king. Karin and her father butt heads over her duty to her family and the Czech Crown. She is then sequestered to the Royal Viscount’s hunting lodge.
Not aware of everything that is happening, she becomes the target of an individual with murderous intent. Her heart soon becomes entangled though her father intends to wed her to another. The turmoil inside Karin deepens and reflects the turmoil of her homeland, on the brink of the Hussite Wars.

~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~

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

~ STAY CONNECTED WITH SARA ~

Email: sara.turnquist.st@gmail.com

Facebook: Sara R. Turnquist
Twitter: @sarat1701

 
~ GIVEAWAY ~