Monday, December 28, 2015

Who Do You Want to Be?

by Andrea Renee Cox

Each day is a blessing, and every new year presents fresh opportunities. One of the opportunities I particularly look forward to is working with God to improve my character. Sometimes there are things I need to work on (okay, so that's pretty much all the time), but the amazing thing is that God is the One leading the way. He shows me my weaknesses, often to my great embarrassment, so that we may work on them together.

Now, this work isn't always easy. Most of the times it's the toughest challenge of my week. Or day. It's hard to look in the mirror and understand that I'm in the place I'm at and that I still have so far to go. That I am not perfect (and never will be on this earth). That my weaknesses and faults show themselves way more often than I'd like.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Be My Guest: Susan Page Davis

by Andrea Renee Cox

It is my pleasure to introduce you to this month's guest, Susan Page Davis. She has written over sixty books, and today she shares a glimpse of what inspires the stories she authors. If you enjoy her article, please check out some of her books (my personal favorite is Marie). You'll be really glad you did!

Historical Inspiration
by Susan Page Davis

A lot of my inspiration comes from the past. I love reading true history, and often I’ll read about an event that sparks an idea for a story. It might be a shipwreck, a robbery, or an old-fashioned celebration. I’ll think, what if this turned out a bit differently? And I’m off.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Favorite Quotes 2015

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hard to believe it’s been a year since my last “favorite quotes” article, but the Christmas season is now upon us. As we all prepare for the holidays, let me share with you a few of my favorite book quotes from novels I read during 2015.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Amish Christmas at North Star

by Andrea Renee Cox

“Josh said she was too picky. But to Elle it was a matter of not settling.”
~ Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert

When Amish midwife Rebekah Schlabach delivers four babies on one blizzardy night, adventures are certain to follow. Each of the novellas in Amish Christmas at North Star tells the story of one of “Rebekah’s babies.”

Monday, November 30, 2015

Roman Holiday

by Andrea Renee Cox

Did you know your local movie theater might show a classic film every now and then?

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that the theater I frequent was planning on featuring Roman Holiday, my favorite Audrey Hepburn film. Of course I had to see it! And, thankfully, one of the showtimes was on a Sunday afternoon, a time at which I could attend.

I was the first one in the theater, and chills washed over me as I thought of what seeing this film must have been like for the moviegoers of the early 1950s (the movie originally released in 1953). As I sat there waiting for the movie to begin, I realized again just how much the movie experience had changed over the years (not that I was there for all of the changes, considering I was born in the late 1980s). Though I won't go into the details today, here's a neat article about some of the differences.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bit O' Inspiration: Part Three

by Andrea Renee Cox

So I almost forgot to post this. It's midnight Sunday night/Monday morning as I type this, so please excuse any typos.

One thing on my mind today:

Spiritual Battles

Monday, November 16, 2015

Be My Guest: Andrea Boeshaar

by Andrea Renee Cox

Recently I read and greatly enjoyed a book written by Andrea Boeshaar (The Lighthouse Brides Collection), so I invited her to be a guest on my blog. I hope you enjoy this fun interview she sent me. Make sure you stay tuned to the very end. We've got a sweet surprise for you!


When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into or felt called to?
I knew I would be a writer when I was in 4th grade. It was then that I wrote my first “novel” called “Little Miss Mouse.” I still have it. It’s hilarious to read now, but I realized I wanted to write as a child.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bit O' Inspiration: Part Two

by Andrea Renee Cox

One thing on my mind today:

The Dallas Stars

My favorite hockey team is playing well to start their season. As of Sunday afternoon, they hold the best record in the entire NHL, at 12-3-0 (for those of you who aren't hockey fans, that's twelve wins, three losses, and zero overtime losses).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bit O' Inspiration: Part One

by Andrea Renee Cox

November seems to get busier every year for me. This one is my craziest one yet. So, to save my sanity, I will be keeping my articles simple and sweet this month.

One thing on my mind today:

Christmas shopping.

Monday, October 26, 2015

New NaNo, New Challenge

by Andrea Renee Cox

Only six more days until November. Which means there are only six more days until the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins. The goal with NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in one month.

This will be my third year to participate. The previous two, I was a winner. That means I reached 50,000 words each time. Exciting, isn’t it?

Well, this year I’m aiming a little higher.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Be My Guest: Sarah Sundin

by Andrea Renee Cox

During last Christmas season, I read a book called Where Treetops Glisten (see my review of it here). I was thrilled about the book, since I had already read and loved books by Tricia Goyer and Cara Putman. But Sarah Sundin was a new author for me, and I had no idea what to expect. What I got in her piece of that book was quick wit, lovable characters, and a sweet story that hooked me for good. Over this year (2015), I have collected all of her books that are in print to this date (Half Price Books is amazing), and I look forward to reading them in succession soon. If you haven't read her WWII fiction, what are you waiting for?

I'm pleased to announce that Sarah Sundin is today's guest blogger. I hope you enjoy her article and make her feel welcome!

Work and Play
by Sarah Sundin

Pets amuse us, comfort us, exasperate us, and sometimes even inspire us.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Perfectly Beautiful

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hello friends! I’m writing this on Sunday evening, at the tail end of an extra busy weekend. I hope you have had a productive weekend and found some rest as well. My weekend has included copyediting, seeing War Room with one of my best friends, and spending time with my family. The most important time I’ve spent, though, was with God. He gives me rest and refreshment when I bathe in His Word. I’m currently working through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Bible study workbook, along with the accompanying audio CDs. I’m not very far into it yet, but I’m already learning a lot. It’s amazing how quickly God starts moving in your heart once you get into His Word. Gives me goosebumps every time.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Drawing Prayer Circles

by Andrea Renee Cox

Recently, I read a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I’d heard great things about it on Facebook, so I thought I’d give it a look. Goodness, I’m glad I did! If you want to see revival in your relationship with God, I highly recommend you check out this book. One person’s prayers really do make a difference.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

by Andrea Renee Cox

As an influencer for Carrie Turansky, I received a copy of A Refuge at Highland Hall in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, Carrie!

Now that I got the business stuff out of the way, let me dig in to the meat of this story.

First of all, it’s the final installment in the Edwardian Brides series. This series should be read in order for optimum reader appreciation. I was glad I read it from beginning to end, because I got to know the characters and watched them grow from one book to the next. What a cool experience. A lot of books leave you wondering what could have happened to the characters you fell in love with, but Carrie Turansky took us on a journey further into the lives of her dear, fictional friends.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Be My Guest: Jill Kemerer

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hello friends! It is my pleasure to introduce you to Jill Kemerer. Her posts to Facebook often make me smile, as does her blog (I hope you'll check it out!), so of course I just had to ask her to be my guest.

Inspired by a Rarely Used Room
by Jill Kemerer

Ah, the formal dining room. I never had one until three years ago when we bought our house, and frankly, I didn’t see the point. My husband and I aren’t big entertainers. We eat meals with our kids around an old table in our kitchen. Easy to clean, low key. That’s how we like it.

But the new house came with one. The empty dining room begged to be furnished, so we purchased a used dining set, added a few accessories, and were happy with the end result. We even occasionally eat there. I know—crazy! It’s still the least used room in our house.

Monday, September 14, 2015

4 Tips for Better Focus

by Andrea Renee Cox

Are distractions holding you back? Is your desk buried under clutter? What keeps you from checking things off your to-do list?

For most of my life I have struggled with focus and organization. My excuse is I have lived with undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. I only know this because several of my tutoring students have been diagnosed with ADD, and I share the same symptoms and struggles that they deal with on a daily basis. Thankfully, God has revealed to me through trial and error what works and what doesn’t for me where organization and focus are concerned. That is not to say I have it mastered by any means; I do not. It is something I have to constantly work at and force myself to try and try and try again until I get it right for any given moment.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned the hard way.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Prayer Works

by Andrea Renee Cox

The movie War Room speaks to the power of prayer. After seeing the movie on opening weekend, I was inspired to pray more boldly yet with more humility.

Over the week or two prior to viewing the film, I had been in a sort of panic. The research for one of my old writing projects that I’d set aside had seemed to vanish. I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I prayed every day, several times each day, that it would show up if that’s the next project God wanted me to work on. I also asked my family and a friend to pray for me in this matter.

But the research remained lost.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton

by Andrea Renee Cox

I’ve been hearing tons of great things about Lori Benton’s latest novel, The Wood’s Edge, so I just had to read it for myself. Before I tell you my thoughts on the book, here’s the premise, borrowed from Lori’s website:

At the wood's edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

by Andrea Renee Cox

Sometimes a story woos you, dropping a few teasing hints at just the right moments to ensure it captures your heart before wrapping you in a whirlwind of emotion and hope. Novels like these tend to hold on to you long after you’ve placed them back on the shelf.

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is one such novel. But it’s also so much more. It squirrels away secrets you desperately want to learn, and as the story unfolds, you find that each piece of the treasure you were searching for might come in different vessels than you originally imagined, which just may be the best discovery of all.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Be My Guest: Lisa Wingate

by Andrea Renee Cox

Every book requires research. Authors generally learn way more during their research than they ever share in their novels. During the discovery phase, sometimes there are interesting finds that just have to make it into the author's work-in-progress. Lisa Wingate is here to share one such tidbit that she uncovered while researching her latest book, The Sea Keeper's Daughters.

New Novel Unearths America's Hidden Treasure
by Lisa Wingate

      Caught in the age of worldwide connectivity, many of us don’t realize that only scant decades ago, our parents and grandparents experienced a very different America. Its faces and stories might have quietly faded into history, but for a little-known program that charged average Americans with recording the stories of their communities.

Monday, August 10, 2015

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

by Andrea Renee Cox

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin is a great example of why I enjoy reading historical Christian fiction. There are many reasons why I like this genre, and this novel in particular, but the aspect I love the most is learning new things about different times in history. Before reading this book, I had no idea there were flight nurses in World War II.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Memory Verses

by Andrea Renee Cox

Have you ever tried memorizing Scripture?

When I was younger, I memorized a few fairly simple verses for Bible class at school (private school and homeschool). But I didn't feel like I was that great at memorizing the verses, so I gave up trying after those classes were over.

At the end of last year, one of my dearest friends asked me to participate with her in Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team. Boy, did my nerves jangle! Could I memorize twenty-four verses in a year? Could I even memorize ten?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

by Andrea Renee Cox

If you’re looking for a new series to read, you won’t want to miss the Destination Wedding series by Beth K. Vogt. It kicks off with the sweet novella, Can’t Buy Me Love (see my review). It continues in Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which ramps up the (mis)adventure you would expect in a series that features travel and weddings.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Be My Guest: Kristy Cambron ***Giveaway***

by Andrea Renee Cox

Friends, it is my dear pleasure to host Kristy Cambron today. She and I have only recently become acquainted online (see her Facebook and blog links after the article), but we have already learned much about each other's hearts. I'm glad she's sharing a part of hers with us. As you will see, she has such an inner beauty that could only come from God. May her heart -- and God's -- bless you in your journey.

Kristy sent her article to me in italic print, and as I was reading it, I realized that it should remain that way. It lends itself well to the topic of "whisper moments." In fact, I found myself whispering the words instead of reading them aloud at a normal tone, as I do with all my guests' articles.

Whisper Moments with God
by Kristy Cambron

It was the second time in little more than a year that I’d walked into an ICU room to pray with someone who was nearing death.

Courtesy of Kristy Cambron via Dollar Photo Club
The first time? That was with my Dad. We lost him to leukemia thirteen days after he’d been admitted for a relapse of cancer. But this time was… different. It was a life experience curve ball that was completely unexpected. This trip to a quiet ICU room was for a friend whom I’d only met a few weeks before. She and I sat at the same Bible study table on Tuesday mornings. We shared struggles. Prayers. Moments of studying the Word of which I will never forget. And she was supposed to be at the next Bible study this fall. Instead, she was going to meet our Jesus for real.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Friends for Life

by Andrea Renee Cox

When I was growing up, my family lived out in the country and had few neighbors. My only playmate was my sister; we quickly learned how to get along well and have been the closest of friends ever since. Once I was in school, I made friends, but none were close enough to call “best friend.” Switching schools a few times didn’t help, and neither did being really shy. So I’ve wondered practically my whole life what having close friends (other than my sister) would look like.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Reservations for Two by Hillary Manton Lodge

by Andrea Renee Cox

Sometimes a long wait is very much worth it. The second installment of Hillary Manton Lodge’s Two Blue Doors trilogy proved that to be true. Reservations for Two is a delectable tale of sweet romance, hearty recipes, and family mysteries that span several generations. Plus, it has a stunning cover that I’d love to slip into for a while.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Are We Really Broken If We Have Flaws?

by Andrea Renee Cox

We all have flaws.

You know, those things that annoy us about ourselves. Those things we wish we could fix.

But I ask you: Are we really broken?

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron and *GIVEAWAY*

by Andrea Renee Cox

Has a book ever swept you down a river of emotion and elegance? Was there beautiful despair tossed in?

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron not only took me down that river but sent me into an ocean of awe. The poignancy of the tale captured my interest from the first chapter and built layer upon layer of various emotions until I couldn't help but weep as I read.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Be My Guest: Camille Eide

by Andrea Renee Cox

On a couple of occasions now I have had the pleasure of copy editing manuscripts written by Camille Eide. Let me tell you a secret: Her novels have this sweet realness to them that is difficult to master as an author. I hope you'll give them a try soon. Welcome, Camille!

What If Inspiration Is Right Under Your Nose?
by Camille Eide

I can name the exact moment each of my novels were inspired.

My first novel came from a conversation about my American brother and my friend’s Norwegian sister who fell in love via email. How romantic for two people from different countries to fall in love over correspondence! Of course, characters and conflicts were added, but it was that conversation that sparked Like There’s No Tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Triple Crown Winner

by Andrea Renee Cox

Kentucky Derby. Preakness Stakes. Belmont Stakes.

Three individual horse races for three-year old thoroughbreds. But when you add them up they equal the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, the most difficult accomplishment to achieve in horse racing (at least in America). Few have attained the feat of winning all three competitions that are held in a five-week period. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner in 37 years. Not since Affirmed won in 1978.

Until this past weekend.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Can't Buy Me Love by Beth K. Vogt ***GIVEAWAY***

by Andrea Renee Cox

Another charming eNovella is now available to own. Can’t Buy Me Love introduces the new Destination Weddings series written by Beth K. Vogt. It’s the perfect way to kick off the series, if you ask me.

This bite-size book features dog groomer Bellamy Hillman, who has pinched pennies her entire life. She’s engaged to Reid Stanton, who has led a very privileged life. When Bellamy ends up with two wedding gowns, will their dreams of a Manhattan wedding combust before they even reach their destination?

Monday, May 25, 2015

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason

by Andrea Renee Cox

What if you were running for your life and only had a brief encrypted message for a clue as to why bad guys and law enforcement were hunting you down?

Jackie Sellers and Ian Lockwood are on the run with no place to hide. It seems like everyone on both sides of the law are tracking them. And all they know is they're being blamed for a terrorist plot ... but they're completely innocent. Will they find someone to trust before they find themselves arrested or buried? Will they be able to untangle the only clue they have before the terrorist plot becomes a terrorist act?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Be My Guest: Gabrielle Meyer and GIVEAWAY!!!

by Andrea Renee Cox

One of my Facebook friends recently had her first book published, and I am so excited for her. I'm also excited to share her with you today, friends. Stay tuned to the very end of this article. Gabrielle is offering a giveaway that I know you won't want to miss.

Inspiration from Home
by Gabrielle Meyer

I’m easily inspired by life. I can drive down a tree-lined street in my hometown and notice a unique architectural detail on a historic home and be inspired to write a full-length story. I can hear a snippet of a story about life on a century-old farm and be inspired to write a sweeping saga. I can read a short advertisement from 1855 and write a story about a young woman looking for love along the banks of the river, from New Orleans all the way to the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi.

Monday, May 11, 2015

More Encouragement To-Go

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hi y'all. This will be short and sweet this week as I'm down in my back. Hopefully I'll be back to my regular self before too long.

Here's another verse I'm studying for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team I told you about last week.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Encouragement To-Go

By Andrea Renee Cox

Since my computer is being worked on this week, I’m borrowing one that doesn’t have the same version of Microsoft Word. Therefore, all the articles on my thumb drive can’t be accessed this weekend. Instead of trying to remember and retype one of them, I thought I’d give you a bit of inspiration in a to-go size.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Teen Mom: You're Stronger Than You Think -- GIVEAWAY

by Andrea Renee Cox

Teen moms.

They’re often looked down upon in today’s society. But what’s so terrible about lifting these young women up, letting them know they are loved by the God who created them?

Tricia Goyer
Author Tricia Goyer was once a teen mom. Now she’s a wife, mother to six (soon to be ten, if her current adoption goes through), and a leader in the Little Rock Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. Her passions include God, family, writing, and sharing her faith and experience with others.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Be My Guest: Cara Putman

by Andrea Renee Cox

Please welcome my friend Cara Putman to Writing to Inspire. You might remember that I greatly enjoyed her novel Shadowed by Grace (read my review here) last year. The writing tips she's sharing today have encouraged me, and I hope they encourage and inspire you as well.

Inspiration: 4 Steps for Finding It
by Cara Putman

Inspiration is that elusive muse that writers chase.

I currently have a legal romantic suspense proposal circulating with publishing houses that is a great example of how inspiration isn’t always something that finds you. Sometimes you have to seek it. I spent months thinking and praying about what issue might interest me enough to write and live with it for a couple years. Then I spent more months beating my head against a wall fleshing out the characters and plot. During all of this life was continuing. Writing, teaching, homeschooling, lawyering, and all the other details of life.

With 20 books written, one in process, and a few more dreamed up, here are four steps I’ve learned that help when inspiration is a bit hard to find.

Monday, April 13, 2015

From the Start by Melissa Tagg

by Andrea Renee Cox

“What was a girl supposed to do after her heart dried up and took her creative spark with it?” Kate Walker wonders if she’ll ever write something meaningful or even find another dose of passion for her career.

Colton Greene’s NFL career ended abruptly due to an on-the-field injury. Now his agent is pushing him to rejuvenate his career by looking at new options.

When Colton and Kate both head to Maple Valley, Iowa to help clean up in the aftermath of a natural disaster, they decide to help each other with their individual problems. But they sure didn’t bargain on a whole new set of issues cropping up! What will they do when they don’t see eye to eye?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Be Imitators of God

by Andrea Renee Cox

Last week I left you with a question: How do we live a life that imitates God?

Let’s just jump right into the Word of God and find out.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Google Images

Be imitators of God. We are to imitate God. What does that mean? The Oxford American Dictionary says imitate means “to copy the behavior of, to take as an example that should be followed.” Isn’t that beautiful? We are to copy the behavior of God. We are to observe and study His behavior and then follow it.

Which leads me to ask: How does God behave?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Aim for Perfection

by Andrea Renee Cox

Is it all right to aim for perfection?

Take a look at what Jesus said while teaching on a mountainside:

Google Images

How can we, in our humanness, “be perfect … as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg

by Andrea Renee Cox

“Sometimes we have to let history rest to make way for what’s coming next.”
- Three Little Words, by Melissa Tagg

After being turned down for her dream job, Ava Kingsley struggles to understand how to let her history rest in order to give God room to put her future into place. When her email buddy and old college classmate, Seth Walker, invites her to stay in the empty apartment over the restaurant he’s opening in his hometown, will she see this opportunity as an open door to a new dream or just a pit stop along the way? Will these two friends debate their way into a romance or go after their individual dreams?

Well, Melissa Tagg did it again. Her trademark comedic timing in a sweet story about small-town love and big dreams translated so perfectly in her first novella ever. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of these e-shorts from her.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Be My Guest: Elizabeth Maddrey

by Andrea Renee Cox

Something that always fascinates me is where different writers find the inspiration for their books. Today, Elizabeth Maddrey shares her source with us. And stay tuned at the end for news about her latest book!

Spur Readers On
by Elizabeth Maddrey

When I was mulling the idea of inspiration, the following passage from the book of Hebrews jumped into my mind: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25). What more could inspiration possibly be than “spurring one another on toward love and good deeds” and “encouraging one another”? That, right there, is the best kind of inspiration in a nutshell. And it definitely feeds into my writing.

Consulting Mr. Webster’s fabulous publication (the dictionary – though, for nickel knowledge, Webster is indebted to Samuel Johnson for the idea), inspiration is defined as “the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions; the act of influencing or suggesting opinions.” Viewed in such broad terms, any book is going to be a source of inspiration – for good or ill. And so, as a Christian, I refer back to Hebrews as I write so that I keep the kind of inspiration I want to provide right there at the forefront of my mind.

Generally speaking, I’d classify my books as being written for folks who are actively trying to live out their Christian walk – those of us who are struggling with that delicate balance of being in the world but not of it. If you’re anything like me, you’ve made some bad choices, you’ve wrestled with God, you’ve stood on the sidewalk (maybe metaphorically) and shaken your fist at Him, you’ve identified with David and Job and Jacob (at their low points) much more than you care to admit. But you also have this sinking, sneaking suspicion that you’re not supposed to feel that way. That somehow or other, you’re doing something wrong because...wasn’t the Christian life supposed to be easier than this?

And so it’s my background, my struggles, which inspire my books to hit on topics in the Christian life that sometimes aren’t pretty. The things we run into as we navigate our way through this fallen, sinful world. All the while, it’s my prayer that I can, through my characters, do as the writer of Hebrews encouraged us to do, and spur readers on toward love and good deeds while encouraging them to know that it doesn’t matter if your life isn’t the picture perfect dream you expected it to be. God can and will use whatever broken pieces you have to offer Him.

Elizabeth Maddrey loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace. She lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website or on Facebook

Here's the scoop on Elizabeth's newest release:

A Splash of Substance

She doesn’t vote. He works for a Senator. Is it a recipe for love or disaster?

Paige Jackson has always stayed out of politics, leaving it to God to govern the world. She has enough on her plate as the owner of a catering company founded on convictions to buy local, sustainable fare. Jackson Trent works on Capitol Hill for Senator Carson, putting his beliefs in action to help shape national policy.

Hoping to find high-end clients to keep her business afloat, Paige bids on a contract to cater the Senator’s next fundraiser. Shake-ups in the Senator’s staff leave Jackson grudgingly in charge of the event. After Paige is chosen as caterer, she and Jackson must work together despite opposing beliefs on how God calls Christians to participate in government. As Paige introduces Jackson to sustainable fare, it’s not just the food that piques his interest.

When Senator Carson becomes front-page news in Washington, Paige is sucked into the whirlwind of scandal. Can Jackson convince Paige he wasn’t complicit and win her back or has politics burned his chance at love?

You can find A Splash of Substance at all of these locations:

Thanks for visiting Writing to Inspire today, Elizabeth! I love how you're using your inspiration and background to spur your readers into a brighter future. A Splash of Substance sounds very exciting. I'm adding it to my to-be-read pile right now!

Readers, what books have spurred you on lately? Is there anyone in your circle of friends that inspires you to make positive changes in your life?

Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to drop by next Monday for my latest article.

Would you like to be my guest? Here's how to submit an article.

Do you need a proofreader? Here are the services I offer.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Praying for Your Future Husband

by Andrea Renee Cox

As you know from my recent articles about the season of waiting (read Part One and Part Two), I am currently single and working on learning to be content with that. What I'm about to share with you is an article written by Tricia Goyer (it was originally posted here) that shares how to pray for your future husband. I hope you find it helpful and encouraging.

How to Pray for Your Future Husband: Understanding

by Tricia Goyer
I started praying for my future husband when I was 17 years old and pregnant with my son. I wanted someone who could love both me and my child. I wanted someone who loved God. God brought me an amazing man. John and I have been married for 23 years now. We had two more biological children, and we’ve adopted three more . . . making that six kids total! God has done more than I’d ever hoped or imagined.
My friend Robin Gunn and I wrote Praying for Your Future Husband a few years ago. The fun part is getting photos from some of the young women who prayed—wedding photos!
Of course there are women who are still praying and waiting, and we’ve gotten letters from them, too. They tell us they are drawing closer to God as they wait . . . and that is exactly what we hoped for!
In the moment, though, it’s hard to understand the wait. It may be hard for your future husband to understand, too. The best thing to do while you wait is to pray.
(And if you’re a mom, grandma, aunt or friend join the young women you love in prayer! Also considering picking up a copy of Praying for Your Future Husband for the young woman in your life!)
There are many things to pray for, but one of them is Understanding. Understanding means trusting that God has a plan. It means being willing to be open-minded about past mistakes, knowing that God’s grace is available to everyone.
Here are 6 ways to pray for understanding.
Pray for Understanding for Your Future Husband.
  1. Pray God’s Word will flood his heart.
  2. Pray your future husband will seek God and try to understand what God is doing in His life.
  3. Pray he has a tender heart that will be understanding of your past mistakes.
  4. Pray you will be understanding of his.
  5. Pray that if he has his heart broken, he will be surrounded by good friends who will support him during the healing process.
  6. Pray that in each of his relationships, he will develop an understanding heart and will always believe God has a different and better plan.
When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart. John Bunyan
Friend, God has good plans for your future. Keep trusting. Keep praying! And I’ll be excited to hear where He leads you!
Tricia Goyer
USA Today bestselling author Tricia Goyer is the author of more than 50 books, including the novelization for Moms’ Night Out. She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like and Tricia and her husband, John, live in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Tricia coordinates a Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. They have six children.

Tricia Goyer has a new book coming to a bookstore near you. Here's what it's about:
Teen Mom: You're Stronger Than You Think by Tricia Goyer
Everything changes the day you discover you’re going to be a mom. It’s not just yourself that you think about—you have a child to care for, too. While you wouldn’t trade your child for the world, some days are just hard. Baby-daddy drama, dealing with your parents, and worries about school, work, and your future slam you. Your friends can’t relate to your little family, and you wonder if God has turned His back on you, too.
Tricia Goyer understands. A mom at age 17, Tricia remembers what it felt like to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. She’s also been the coordinator of a teen mom support group for over twelve years, and she’s cheered on many young moms—from all walks of life—through their journey.
In Teen Mom, Tricia pours out her heart and shares advice for the hard things you face. She also longs to provide encouragement, reminding you that you can be the mom your child deserves—not in your own strength, but in the strength God provides.

Readers, is there a teen mom (or dad) in your life who could use a breath of encouragement? Consider giving them a copy of Teen Mom the next time you see them.

Coming soon:
March 16 - Be My Guest: Elizabeth Maddrey
March 23 - (yet to be decided)

Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to drop by next Monday for my latest article.

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Do you need a proofreader? Here are the services I offer.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Prayer Box

by Andrea Renee Cox

A couple weeks ago, I read a beautiful story from an author I’ve never read before. Lisa Wingate’s The Prayer Box captured the essence of a lifelong faith in one character (Iola Anne Poole) and the seedling of hope in another (Tandi Jo Reese). There were times I wanted to wring Tandi’s neck for the choices she was making. But other times I wanted to wrap her in a hug and tell her everything would turn out right in the end. And I’m pretty sure I would love hanging out with the Seashell Shop gals! All in all, Lisa crafted a charming story that seemed timeless and real. I didn’t want to set the book down to proofread another, and now that I've finished both of those books, I’m already enjoying the next Wingate book on my list (which happens to be The Story Keeper; I’m sure a review of it will be appearing on Writing to Inspire soon).

In The Prayer Box, Tandi Jo Reese learns a thing or two about faith and family when she becomes responsible for cleaning out the large Victorian house of her recently deceased landlady, Iola Anne Poole. One day, while cleaning, Tandi discovers a closet full of mysterious boxes, but it’s what’s inside the boxes that holds the power to change her life … if she chooses to grab on to the opportunity. But her past has a stranglehold on her and threatens to keep her chained to the pages of the history she’d rather thrust aside. What will this struggling young mother decide to do: step toward an unknown future with a God she doesn’t understand or remain dependent on the bad habits she learned from her undependable mother?

When a book inspires me to ponder my spiritual life, I know it's found a permanent spot on my bookshelf. The Prayer Box did just that.

One of my favorite lines in this book came in chapter seventeen. “The trouble with drowning in the mess of your own life is that you’re not in any shape to save anyone else.” It reminds me of the verse in the Bible that says (I’m paraphrasing) to take care of the plank in your own eye before attempting to remove the dust from your neighbor’s (Matthew 7:3-5).

Have you ever looked in the mirror and seen your mistakes staring back at you? I have. It’s not easy to admit when you’re wrong. Nor is it always simple to correct your mistakes. The way I approach this challenge is: Once I realize what my mistake is, I take it to God.

While on my knees, I pour out my heart at the foot of the cross. I admit my mistake, ask for forgiveness, and ask God to help me learn how to make better choices (or whatever it takes to fix the mistake or avoid it next time it tries to crop up).

Courtesy of FrameAngel and
Do I hear back every time? Not always right away. And not always in the way I expect. But God is faithful to answer my prayers when I come to Him with a humble heart.

With God’s forgiveness washing me clean and a new determination to improve my character and fix the area(s) of my life that were messy with sin, I then thank God for His blessings and for helping me during the weak moments in which I make mistakes. From there, it’s about maintenance, the continuous work to improve my character (with God’s help and guidance, which sometimes comes in phases) and to upkeep my relationship with God.

Being part of God’s family means learning from your mistakes and trying your best every day. It means working at gaining characteristics that will be useful and pleasing to God in the work He has planned for you to accomplish. And then, of course, doing the work He sends you to do.

That’s my daily goal. What’s yours?

Readers, how has faith whispered into your life? How do you proactively seek it out? What book(s) have you read lately that got you thinking deeper about your spiritual life?

Coming Soon:
March 9 - Praying for Your Future Husband
March 16 - Be My Guest: Elizabeth Maddrey

Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to drop by next Monday for my latest article.

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Do you need a proofreader? Here are the services I offer.