Merry Christmas!

To all my friends (aka awesome readers),  I want to wish you a wonderful and very

Merry Christmas!

I’m so grateful for the hope that we can celebrate this time of year.  The most precious gift ever!

I hope that your time is filled with family, friends, love and joy….

and food!

Mmmm, food!

Thanks for walking on this journey with me. I love hearing from you and just knowing you’re out there.

~Sarah

Christmas 3

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Interview with Ronie Kendig + Grand Prize Giveaway!

FALCON Blog tour 1

This is a big day for me. If you follow my blog, you know that I am a big fan of Ronie Kendig. I never miss one of her books and pretty much spend months looking forward to them before their release date. FALCON was no exception. This book was made even more exciting for me when I found out that I was going to get the chance to interview Ronie!! Seriously, this is so awesome for me. I’m am honored to call Ronie friend as we’ve had many conversations about writing, editing and life. God blessed me with one of the coolest gifts when He brought Ronie into my world. I am still a bit starstruck each time I chat with her. Even thought she is one of the most humble, most down to earth ladies I know! FALCON released this month and I got to ask Ronie some questions about this amazing book. Here’s what she had to say!

Ronie, thanks for chatting about FALCON with me! I thought it was one of your best books to date. I seem to say that a lot about your books, but this one was so far exceeding my expectations… and I have high expectations when it comes to your fantastic writing!

FALCON cover 1

First of all, what do you hope readers get out of FALCON?

As with any of my novels, I pray that readers come away with a sense of hope, that no matter how dire things are in life, they know there is hope in Christ. I’d also like to see readers recognize the important of self-forgiveness, because, sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

What was the hardest thing about writing FALCON?

In all honesty, simply writing. I was so terribly burned out when it came time to get FALCON done, that I literally cried *every* time I sat down to write. I truly leaned on God, and I give Him all credit for the story that lives between the pages of that amazing cover.

What do you love most about Sal and FALCON?

To me, I loved writing Sal because, to many of his teammates, he had it all together. He was an excellent soldier, and he had unwavering dedication to the team. Inside, however, Sal was crumbling. I really like writing raw characters, because I think most of us in the real world are raw in one respect or another. And this book was one I loved because it brought closure to the team, to the series–and that’s always satisfying, in a very bittersweet way.​

Since FALCON is the last in the series (I’m still secretly hoping for Titanis to get his own book), what was your favorite thing about writing this series?

You’re not the only one holding out for Titanis. *grins* I really liked this team of soldiers. They were different from the Nightshade team because they each felt (at least to me) like their own person, with distinct idiosyncrasies that often caused some friction among the team, but also a cohesive unit. They had their beefs with each other, but when it came down to it, nobody mess with their team. 

My last question to you is, HOW COULD YOU?

One line from Aladdin comes to mind: Phenomenal Cosmic Power!!! Itty bitty living space.” Haha. As the author of the series, I saw what was coming, but I was confined to the story arc. But I also wanted readers to know…I’m listening. I hear ya. I’m right there with ya. What I write doesn’t always make me happy. There are things I’d rather not write. But then…the story wouldn’t be real. And Raptor would probably come after me. :-P​

Well, I sure wouldn’t want you to go against Raptor! Thanks for the chat, Ronie!

If the last question grabbed your interest and you want to see what made my jaw drop, you’ll want to enter my giveaway below! You have a chance of winning your very own copy of FALCON! Trust me, you want to get your hands on this amazing book! Enter today if you live in Canada or the US!
(Draw goes until May.25th, 2015!)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t win, get yourself a copy of FALCON (and all his Raptor brothers) at:

AMAZON (

CHAPTERS

B&N

ChristianBook

Connect with Ronie on her (AMAZING new) website, Facebook, Goodreads and twitter!

Ronie Kendig

~Sarah

FALCON by Ronie Kendig ~ A Review

FALCON Blog tour 1

Special Forces operator Salvatore “Falcon” Russo vowed to never again speak to or trust Lieutenant Cassandra Walker after a tragedy four years ago. But as Raptor closes in on the cyber terrorists responsible for killing two of their own, Sal must put his life—and the lives of his teammates—in her hands. Despite his anger, Cassie is ill-prepared for his resistance and the fallout when she must protect the one asset who can end the attacks. As allies become enemies and hostiles become unlikely partners, Raptor fights for its very existence.

FALCON cover 1

I have long been a fan of Ronie Kendig and her amazing writing style. I knew that FALCON would be no exception. What I didn’t expect was the mind-blowing twists and turns in FALCON. Following RAPTOR 6 and HAWK, FALCON is the fast paced conclusion to this amazing trilogy!

Salvatore “Falcon” Russo is a tough guy. Special Ops kind of tough. Raptor is an exclusive and secretive team. Only for the best in the world. Rator is sent reeling and fighting on their own turf after an attack leaves them on the defensive. Sal does not like being on the defensive, almost as much as he hates having Cassandra Walker anywhere near. Sal is determined to end the attacks and send Cassandra packing, but the cyber terrorists aren’t going down without a fight. Sal is also hiding a secret. One that is affecting him and the team more than he realizes. Sal is one of Ronie’s best, very-human, heroes. (Canyon still holds my reader heart!)

Cassandra Walker is strong. Even though she doesn’t see it. She struggles with Sal’s animosity but still has a mission to complete. She doesn’t realize how invested she is going to get as the mission begins to go sideways and she is thrown into a decision that she never expected she’d have to make. Cassandra is also harboring her own secrets.

Together, Sal and Cassandra are oil and water. Explosive conversations are had and both are fighting each other as they fight a common enemy. Will the secrets tear them further apart, or break down fortified walls?

Threatening to tear the team apart, and seeking destruction, are both inside and outside forces.

Ronie outdid herself on this book. All of her books are page-turners but this one had me flying through at break neck speed in order to find out if any of the characters would make it through the book alive. The twists in this book were more shocking than The Sixth Sense movie. So many times I found myself picking my jaw off the floor. Countless times I exclaimed ‘WHAT?!’ Enough times that my husband inquired if I should maybe take a break from the book. To which I replied with a sort of distant look and then moved on to the next sentence. He just laughed at me. This book was so unpredictable. Never did I expect I would be reading a Ronie Kendig book and find myself in tears. This was the book that did it.

If you are a fan of Ronie, then you NEED to read this book. If you haven’t ever read a Ronie Kendig book… let me tell you that you’re missing out. Ronie writes a kick-butt, military action book. Her characters are so real that they become friends. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Once you Go RFF

MAKE SURE TO STAY TUNED! On May 27th I will have an interview with Ronie Kendig and a GIVEAWAY!

*Thanks to the author for a copy to review!*

Ronie Kendig

Find Ronie on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website!

Find FALCON here: Amazon, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book.

See my other reviews on Raptor’s team: RAPTOR 6 and HAWK

Five Minute Friday ~ Plan

I’ve missed these days. Five Minute Friday. The day we just write without worrying if it is just right. Unedited, unscripted, unpolished. Just write. Welcome to my Five Minute Friday post.

GO

Plan

We all have them. Some of us have a 1-year plan, others have 5-year plans, some even have retirement plans when they are 30.

That’s all well and fine, but what happens when God has another plan?

I’ve been following this amazing blog called Mundane Faithfulness. If you’re not following it yet, do yourself a favor and get over there. (Though, can you finish reading this first? Once you get there, I won’t see you for a while) 🙂

Let me just say, Kara Tippetts faithfulness is anything but mundane. She is a superstar in my eyes when it comes to faithfulness.

Kara

This beautiful, loving, kind 38 year old is seeing the very possible end of her planning days. Her body is failing. She is dying. God has a plan.

What amazes me, day in and day out, about Kara is her attitude. I have no doubt that God’s plan looks nothing like she hoped it would. In fact, I’m reading her amazing book The Hardest Peace and I am seeing how she, like everyone, had a different plan in mind than diminishing health. Church planting, a young family to raise, friendships to make.

However, in spite of her life taking a very hard turn, she has not only accepted but embraced God’s plan in a way I wonder if I would ever be able to.

You know when your plans go askew – maybe that vacation you were planning for had to be cancelled. How do you handle it? Are you angry, bitter, sullen? Yeah, usually my reaction is similar. Even in the small things.

Yet, Kara has been asked to trust and embrace an eternity plan, and she is shining through it. She is so very real on her blog that I know she has her very sad days, but she trusts in the One who had the plan from the beginning. She knows that, even in the hard, God’s plan is the best plan.

Peace flows like a calm river from each of her blog posts and the pages of her book.

She accepts the plan of her Creator. She knows that whatever He is doing is good. She may not see all the good now, but she trusts that she will one day know it all. That He will wrap His arms around her and reveal His plan and how many people she has touched in this journey for Him. The journey in the hard of life.

I know that one day He will embrace her and say “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

He has a plan. My life has been intertwined with Kara’s, thanks to the internet, for a time. She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I know her. God’s plan for Kara’s life has touched mine. I know God has a plan for my life too. In the good and in the hard, I want to have mundane faithfulness like Kara.

Stop

Kara, you probably won’t see this but I want to place it here in case you do. You have deeply touched my heart with your honesty and bravery in this journey you are on. You have a peace that I desire so deeply and have encouraged me to dig deeper in my quiet times that I too might be able to have peace in the hard. You have touched many lives and don’t, even for a second, believe that God isn’t working through you. Even from that bed, you touch lives all over the world. Bringing hope, encouragement and a yearning for a glimpse of the God that is holding you. Thank you, dear sister-in-Christ, for sharing your journey with me. I pray for you often and look forward to the day when I will meet you in eternity and give you a hug. Thank you for all you’ve given me in your humble blog.

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If you want to get in on the awesomeness of Five Minute Friday, please click the image below and join in! We love getting people hooked on this unscripted, unedited joy of writing. Let me know if you join in as I’d love to read yours! You can see my others HERE.

~Sarah

FMF

 

No Home for Complacency

I am weary. Weary to the very depths of my being.

Broken and broken hearted.

I am so tired of complacency. Unawareness. Dangerous unawareness.

I think that I am happy. I think things are good. I am complacent. I’ve allowed satan to slowly blind my eyes. To the point where I don’t see the issue. I don’t see the danger.

Then, because He is merciful, God tears away the blinders… and I see.

The mess. The horrible, devastating crippling disaster that I have allowed to happen right in front of me.

It brings me to my knees. How could I have let this happen? How could I have let satan, the ENEMY of my SOUL, get such an anchor in?

Shame, horror, pain and a grief so deep drive me to my knees. I see who I am. I see the rubble. The complete devastation of myself.

I see Him. Through a mirror dimly, but Him. The light of His glory. I see how I have no idea of the size and power of the King I have promised my all to.

The mess can be made clean. The destruction… restoration.

Not by me. Only by Him.

I am done with dangerous unawareness. I am no home for complacency.

The blinders are off and I will fight to keep them off.

Thank you, Lord. The revelation is painful, but I know You are with me in the clean-up. You faithful will remain.

Will You Dare to Love?

By Seyed Mostafa Zamani

DARE TO LOVE
It’s all over the news. The world can’t stop watching. We shouldn’t stop watching. We know that all around the world there are people being persecuted. It may be for their social position, for their unique abilities, for their family status or it may be for their faith.

In Iraq there are many people who fall into that last category. You’ve seen it on the news if you are even remotely plugged in to what’s going on in the world. The President has spoken on it several times lately. In Iraq, Christians are being given an ultimatum. “Convert, pay up… or DIE.” Yep, those are the options. Give up your faith, pay them money, or ‘face the sword’. Wow, sounds like an offer they can’t refuse.

In a country where the national average is $5000, a lot of people don’t have the money to spare in order to pay ‘protection money’. 25% of the people in Iraq live below the poverty line. So they run. Leaving all they have known, towards the unknown with just the clothes on their backs. It’s all over the news. How can we see this and do nothing?

Forced to dig through garbage to help make a living for their families. Photo from UN.

Forced to dig through garbage to help make a living for their families. Photo from UN.

A sweet friend of mine, along with a few of her friends, have set up an organization called ‘DARE TO LOVE’. They aren’t a national organization, but they have their hearts set on the nation of Iraq. They are selling t-shirts and giving 75% of the proceeds to ‘Samaritan’s Purse’. I asked her a few questions and would like to share them with you.

Alex has been on my blog before. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll remember her as we followed her journey with her sweet daughter Noel. Now, Alex has taken up the cause of many other families.

Thanks, Alex for chatting with me. Tell us, what is it about this cause that drew your attention?

As you know Caleb and I lost Noel 16 months ago. I’m a completely different person from 16 months ago. I may not physically look different but if you were to look at my heart, it would be crushed into a billion different pieces. Not only because I lost my daughter but because God reveals to me everyday that I’m not the only one with a heart in this condition. Reading and learing and seeing what is happening in Iraq would leave me speechless. I asked God to impress on my heart what the Iraqi people were feeling. An overwhelming amount of sadness and heartache and hopelessness came over me. I knew, this is how they feel times 100. I would wake up in the middle of the night and cry and pray. I can only imagine how it would feel to lose a loved one the way they have. To lose a child the way they have. So I guess to answer the question, my heart breaks every day for them.

How did the ‘Dare to Love’ idea begin?

I recently ordered a shirt from two girls to benefit The A21 Campaign, a campaign that saves and helps human trafficking victims. I wanted to do something similar, ok well the exact same, ha ha ha! I know it may seem silly but I really admired what they did and thought doing something like this was out of reach. I read something Christine Caine said, “If you can figure a way to make it happen, you need to DREAM BIGGER.” Well, I figured a way to make this happen, so I just need to dream bigger.

How did you determine the right charity to donate the money to?

I’m not sure if you know this but a Franklin Graham Festival came through El Paso, TX this year in April. I was blessed enough to work for them. Franklin Graham started Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse has been helping people who are suffering in Iraq. Since I worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association choosing Samaritan’s Purse was a no brainer. And of course I prayed about it!

Why shirts?

I think a shirt is a great way to promote anything. Not only are you donating to a worthy cause but you become a walking billboard. If someone asks, “What’s Dare to Love?” you can tell them what it is and why you decided to give to this specific charity and cause. I think we would be shocked by how many people are blinded by what’s happening in the world, so the shirt is a great conversation starter.

CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE HERE! Help Iraqi families and get your shirt to start the conversation!

Click here to help families in Iraq!

I’d love to add first names here of people who donated! Will you be the first? Let me know if you donate and I’ll add your name here!!

________________________

~Sarah

The Thorn

2 Cor 12 9

I wondered aloud today if the apostle Paul every grew weary of the ‘thorn’ in his flesh. Or, was he fine with it because it was part of God’s plan and could (and probably did) bring glory to His name.

I got my answer when I looked at 2 Corinthians 12. Paul says:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”

Boy, oh boy, Paul. I can identify with the pleading. I spend a lot of my time there on days like today.

Today I am weary as well. I like to think I’ve been doing better. I like to think that I am less anxious, less stressed and able to give more of my ‘control’ (yep, totally delusional, I know) over to the One who has the actual control.

But today, I am failing. Today I feel like the battle is huge. Today the anxiety is a hard fight.

I long for the day that I can say, like Paul:

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I am not content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecution and calamities. I feel like everyone else around me handles these things with much more strength, faith and grace than I do. I feel weak and no where near strong.

Thankfully, I have no trouble believing that He is strong. I just hope that soon I can bring glory to His name during days my thorn is fighting for my focus and attention and not just on days when I feel fine.

Lord, help me to boast in my weakness. I could use Your power resting upon me. And peace, please. Your peace that passes all understanding would be really nice right about now. Thank you that You know what You’re doing… even when I don’t see it.

Especially when I don’t see it.

Amen.