Be Encouraged...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast: The Swaddling Clothes by Amber Schamel

swaddling clothes
The Swaddling Clothes By Amber Schamel

About the Book

Through the ages, many stories have been told about Mary, Joseph and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But there is one story that has never been told. One story that has remained hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes. Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling "intriguing...thought provoking... a fresh twist on an age old story." "I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life." "Heartwarming... truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God's wonderful power and His amazing love."

Amber Schamel

Amber Schamel is a multi-published author of Christian Historical Fiction. Her passion for history and culture has led her to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. Amber is actively involved in her church and enjoys volunteer work and music ministry. Raised in a family of twelve children and homeschooled throughout her education, she currently resides in the beautiful state of Colorado where she also serves as bookkeeper and marketing director for their family businesses. Find Amber on her blog, or on all the main social media sites.

Follow Amber Schamel Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Amber Schamel! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fire, Burn Bright!

What do you love about a fire in the backyard pit or stove?

I love the cozy feeling.
The warmth.
It presses back the darkness.
It gives light to what would otherwise remain hidden--like scary things in the woods.
And it draws me like a magnet.

Let the lights go out in a classroom or group gathering and the one person holding a flashlight or candle suddenly becomes everyone's friend. We want the light. In the night when I wake up and hurry to the bathroom, or into the kitchen for a snack, my hands search for that light switch. I need the light! I want it.

Similarly, a fire draws me. When we have a fire in our backyard pit, I want to hold my hands out to it and feel the warmth on my skin. Even if it isn't a cold day, I sit close.

Just like I'm drawn to a physical fire, I'm attracted to the idea of God's fire burning deep within. When I see someone who's filled with the presence of the Lord, radically different, there's a glow on his or her face, an unquenchable fire, a light spilling all over everyone in the room. I love that! Light and fire. Fill us, Lord! Set us on fire. Set me on fire! A consuming fire of love, a heart filled to overflowing with passion and dedication to the things that matter to the heart of God.

"Darkness to light; resplendent with light; wraps himself in light; light for my path; a great light; light of the world; shine in our hearts; wonderful light; God is light."

One time we were driving a long distance at night through a world of darkness. Suddenly a city came into view, sparkling like a Christmas tree with radiant lights.

It was our "city on a hill" moment. A light shines far in the darkness, but oh, how much brighter a city of lights shines.

Or a fire in the distance.

We live in the country, and a logging company had been removing trees on the property next to us for a while. One night when we came home, the upper hillside was on fire! It burned hot, then smoldered for a month. But, oh, the glow in the sky, that was at first fearsome, began to shine like a beacon in the night, drawing us home.

Are we on fire for the Lord? Do our hearts burn within us, crying out "More of You, Lord! Change me and fill me with Your fire!"?

"A pillar of fire; my word like fire; tongues of fire; revealed with fire; God is a consuming fire; do not put out the Spirit's fire."

May we be a true city on a hill, on fire for God, burning for all to see. Then our marriages, families, churches, and neighborhoods will experience the great light of Jesus. An irresistible magnet, a glowing bush in the dark, shining into every dark corner of the world. A city on fire because all the hearts are on fire.

Let it begin in us.
Fire, burn bright!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mary's Indie Publishing Workshop

This weekend, I was invited to the Pinehurst, Idaho, public library to share my Indie Publishing Workshop. I'd heard there were a couple of people who had manuscripts ready and wanted to know what to do next. So I added some pretty new slides to my Power Point presentation, dusted off my handouts, and my husband and I went to meet some new friends about an hour-and-a-half drive from our country home. Still thinking I'd be sharing with two or three writers, we set up two tables and six comfy chairs facing the wall where my slideshow would be displayed. Boy, was I thrilled when people kept walking through the door of that small meeting room. By the end, thirteen writers and interested guests had joined with me in talking about the Indie writing/publishing way. Isn't that cool?

From newbies to a writer who'd already published six books, our mutual joy was discussing writing and the process of getting a book published and noticed. I shared tips on marketing, formatting, publishing in paperback and ebook, and what to do next. I met some wonderful writers who had tips of their own to share. One lady encouraged me when she said, "I can't wait to go home and pull my manuscript out and start writing!" That's exactly the response I love. I want to encourage others that they CAN do this. It's not as difficult as they (you) might imagine.

If you're wondering whether or not you should try publishing your book, you CAN do it. If your dream, like mine, has been to write a book since you were a kid, know this, you CAN. Don't give up. Join a writers' group where the goal is to be published, not just to practice writing. Read everything you can through blogs and ebooks about the current Indie Publishing possibilities. It's pretty exciting when you realize what you can do to get your ideas into the hands of readers—without it costing an arm and a leg. And you get to make all the creative choices. That's pretty awesome.

Follow your dream.
You can write AND publish.
Start today.
Begin with a single step...knowing you can!

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Review of My Heart Beats for You

This morning, I read My Heart Beats for You, and I loved it again!!

Here's my review of this heart-stirring book by Paula Lynn McGrew:

In My Heart Beats for You, Paula Lynn McGrew has created a masterpiece of words, emotions, and pictures depicting the precious and delightful love of God the Father. The words, as if from the Lord, himself, are truly inspiring and uplifting, almost like a psalm of devotion. As I read through this charming book, my heart was stirred to ponder and absorb the idea anew that God loves me. He LOVES me!! "Every moment I know where you are," and "Every time I look at you, I say, 'Wow!'" spoke to me like a love song. Paula did a fabulous job articulating the passion of a Father cherishing his child completely, forever, and no matter what. For anyone who's ever struggled with picturing a father's love, this book is the one to read. I highly recommend My Heart Beats for You to readers of all ages. I can see it being such a blessing at baby showers and birthdays or any kind of gift-giving event for children or adults—or simply purchased to read and enjoy, and then, read again. The message in this book touched me deeply; I'm sure it will speak to your heart too.

I first read this book a couple of months ago when Paula was preparing it for publication, and I loved it! The words stirred such a deep chord in my heart about God's love for me. Today, I read it again, and WOW!!! I felt the same warmth and sweetness of God's love pour over me. It's a definite read--and reread!!!

My Heart Beats for You is available in paperback and Kindle.

Click here for PAPERBACK
Click here for KINDLE 

Discover more about Paula Lynn McGrew at

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CrossReads Book Blast, Timothy Phillips by Cliff Ball

 Timothy Phillips
Timothy Phillips
By Cliff Ball

About the Book:

Can a nineteen year old stay true to the faith he was brought up on when he's under the spotlight?

Timothy Phillips dreams come true when he's discovered by the producer of a national talent show. So what's the problem? The recording contract is not in the Southern Gospel he would prefer to sing. As he begins recording and performing the music, he encounters increasing hostility towards Christians. Can he stay true to his faith, or will he end up compromising his beliefs little by little the more famous he becomes? When his world comes crashing down, will he have anything left to help him stand as the end times approach?

Cliff Ball lives in Texas, born in Arizona, is a Christian and is Baptist. Has two BA's, and a Certificate in Technical Communications from the University of North Texas. Has published ten novels and four short stories in multiple genres, but is currently writing a Christian fiction series called "The End Times Saga." Cliff's first taste of being published was when he won third in high school for a short story written in Creative Writing class for a young adult magazine.

Follow Cliff Ball

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Cliff Ball! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by CrossReads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!