BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!!!!

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It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.
From Nov 25 (that’s today!) through Nov 28th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping$0.99 ebookspackage deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!
Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.
What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked “Sold Out” but if you click them open, you’ll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Confessions. Stepping Out. Stepping Up.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

I usually don’t like to share personal things on my blog…because they are simply that, personal.

In fact that is why I change blog sites, there were just too many personal things, and I’d changed so much since I started…the thought of cleaning up and hiding posts was just exhausting so I came over here….and I am blogging my life once more! AHHH!!!!

However, I wanted to share this because…maybe someone out there is like me and I want to encourage them. Also, I wanted to make a public marker for myself.

For years…and I mean years I have been overweight. Definitely at an unhealthy weight since I was about 12 so we are talking 16 years of bad weight and bad choices…that I have just let slip.
This summer I was feeling kind of desperate, I knew I was gaining weight, and I wanted to change it…but I didn’t know how. I’ve been stuck in this rut for 12 years…how on earth do I change?

I asked for help…and got little…or the resources that were offered to me just didn’t feel like something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go to a weight watchers meeting and sit around with people in my condition, portion size, and nitpick at the food I ate and the way I was living. In other words, I wanted a miracle that I knew didn’t exist. I wanted to wake up with a brand new body, and a metabolism that would BURN EVERY STINKING BLOCK OF CHOCOLATE I THREW AT IT…..which let’s be honest wasn’t going to happen.

I knew I was in bad shape when I found new stretch marks…and that…hurt badly. I hadn’t gotten new stretch marks in years, except for two years ago when I coughed so long and so hard for months…that I earned a few around my ribs but these….these were ones that hurt to see. They went from nothing to suddenly a mass of marks that appeared overnight. I wanted to cry.

Despite the encouragement to just GET UP AND CHANGE SOMETHING…I struggled to change anything. I hated exercise. Mostly because I am and was overly self-conscious, the thought of people coming in when I am trying to get fit and making any variety of comments like: “Yay you’re trying,” “You aren’t doing it right.” “How long have you been doing this.” “Good job….” in an accidentally condescending tone…terrified me, because I hated the thought of failing myself, and disappointing people or hearing the words “She failed again,” which I have heard whispered and murmured before.

I’ll be honest…it’s only recently that I’ve started to figure out that I am more of a perfectionist than I knew….that and I ate a constant steady diet of lies about myself that other people told me:
“Anyone can see you are beautiful,”
“You are so perfect.”
“Man, you’re gorgeous.”
“You aren’t fat, you’re just big boned.”
“Everyone has a little bit of chub.”
“It’s your inside that counts.”
“Oh, my goodness you look so young!”
“You’re fine with your body image right?”
“You don’t need to change a thing.”

But those aren’t the only lies I believed…
The ones I told myself were:
If I became skinny I would become a narcissistic, green tea frappe, whinny, calorie counting, boy blabbing, selfish-selfie-happy-maniac menace to society.
And even further down I was afraid that if my body changed…people would stop seeing me for me, that I would lose everything I have fought to become, every inch of ground that I have gained to be me would be lost…and that I could open up myself to become very very hurt…again.

These things, words, fears, lies have held me back.

But, I am trying to overcome them.

About a month ago I received the challenge to walk every day…and instead of raising my hand and committing myself to someone else to doing it. I raised my hand inwardly and pledged to myself that I would try…because I am afraid of failure, afraid of falling short and making a miserable public humiliation of myself.

I’ve been walking nearly every day since then…not quite every day and some days I only get in less than half a mile, but I am making progress. My goal is 5,000 steps a day. I read somewhere that is a healthy amount of steps for people sooooooooo I am giving it a go. I don’t make it every day but you know…a few steps a time I am getting there.

I also have some fabulous friends who are being very supportive and giving me creative challenges to get fit and keep myself moving forward in making healthy choices.

I know I need to work on my diet…
Stress eating and BORED eating are two of my worst habits…but I want to get better at just being healthy.

The main reason I think I am writing this up right now, is that tonight I went shopping with my Asian friend…who is like a size -4 and I found the CUTEST shirt and bought it for a friend and I asked the owner if she had another because I know of another friend who would love to have one too…
The owner was very blunt in saying the shirt wouldn’t fit me….and I explained they would be for friends who were smaller than me. She was sweet enough to go around the back and look…I had found the last one she had.

Her words, stung, and when I got home I looked at the mirror and saw all of the flaws I know she saw…and I ate half a snickers bar…because emotional eating is something I do well.
I was discouraged and looking in the mirror I realized that I am still miles from who I want to be.

Then I realized that wasn’t going to help me and pushed myself to exercise for half an hour.

I need to push myself more. I’ve been managing closer to 7,000 steps almost every day…and in the past 30 days, I’ve walked 105 miles….but I still need to do more.

This is just the beginning, and I hope to get further to my goals…to push myself further, to step out of my fears and lies I’ve believed, and step up to who I can be inside…and out.

Pushing For More,
Jessica Greyson

Why I Stopped Reading.

Horrors of horrors what a title.
But it’s true.
For the past four or maybe even more years, I haven’t really read books.

Why?

Harry Potter
Percy Jackson
Lord of the Rings
Hunger Games
The Hobbit
Twilight
Eragon Series

Were all the rave, rage and well ravaged. I personally couldn’t hop on any of those boats, I didn’t agree, had nightmares or just downright didn’t want to read them, and it seemed if you wanted to BE ANYONE you had to be reading the latest, hotest book fad….that was filling up my pages on social media.
Walking through library shelves, I found fewer and fewer books to read, and more of the books I wanted to read on the 25 cent rack at the Library. I found less in commmon with other readers even friends, and tired of answering the question WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO READ!??? I was tired of heartbreak and fantasy and death…I know the books contain more than that, reading started feeling like being at a pizza party and everyone is eating peperoni and not getting that while you’ll eat it, you’d really rather be eating sausage pizza, and everyone is having fun and you just want to leave…go home order a sausage pizza and never go out again.

That has been me for the past couple years. It was almost like I had an alergic reaction to reading.
 I missed the DRIVE to pick up a book to read, the touch of paper and ink, the smell of a good book.I missed it. I ached for it, but it seemed more often than not when I picked up a book I got an “alergic reaction” and I didn’t want to read anymore.

So recently I decided to stick my neck out again, and do something I haven’t done in awhile.

Read.

Well, to be honest.

Listen.

I checked out an audio book from the library and listened to a “modern author” that is popular.

And I actually enjoyed it.

She was clean, refreshing and though it was a dysitopian universe…I actually like it.

I think I might try reading more once again! 🙂

What books have you been reading and enjoying?

Curiously,
Jessica Greyson

How To Be A Single Christian Woman 101

This is a tongue in cheek blog title. There is no perfect 101 to being a Single Christian Woman…because everyone’s story is different, we are all on journeys of our own and we all have our own bends and twists and turns.

However, there are things I am learning as an “SCW” that wouldn’t have learned if I was an MCW. (Married Christian Woman).
Life isn’t taking the twists and turns I expected.
I turned 28 this September.
In my life plan I laid out for myself back between 12-15 years of age I would be married for about five years and we would have 2.5 kiddos a.k.a. expecting number 3…but at least have two kids. But there would be a house in the country or suburbs and cuddles and story time, kisses and dreams all coming true.
Instead, I am 28, blissfully single, living at home, doing odd jobs, despite the fact that I’ve held down successful part-time jobs that I could have turned into full. I turned down the best full-time job I’ve ever been offered, and I am looking at returning to Taiwan for the second year of full-time ministry and teaching. I don’t have a college degree and people keep asking me.

(Slight update: I am now living in Taiwan, but…I still want to say everything I wrote so thus…this post as it is.)

“What on earth are you doing with your life?”

It’s a question, I feel like I asking myself often enough. Because my 12-15-year-old formula certainly didn’t work out. I didn’t meet the boy of my dreams during a ministry trip or at my church. No one has ever asked my dad if he could court me, no one has asked me for my phone number. I didn’t graduate high school and have a boy come knocking at the door because I was now of an eligible age, and the frog I kissed when I was 5 certainly hasn’t come hopping out of the pond….but that would just be weird.

I am learning things…

1. Contentment.
Content with who I am, where I am, what I am doing. I am not defined by the “job title” babysitter when I am juggling 12 kiddos in the basement of a mom’s bible study, or what I am going to be when I “grow up”. I am up. All I can be is the better version of who I am, but then even though that I am learning that I am nothing, except through Christ who saved me. I still have a lot to learn.

2. Choose Joy.
Just because I am not married and Mr. Man-of-My-Dreams, hasn’t shown up and for all I know may NEVER show up. Doesn’t mean I get to sit around and cry and mope, or daydream. I get to choose to be grateful. I get to choose joy. I get to choose singleness.
Somedays when I feel like this song. I get to say “God, thank you for the gift of being single.” It says to be grateful in all things, not for all things, but being grateful in singleness makes me grateful for singleness.

3. Grieving is Okay.
Woman was created to compliment man, to be a help meet, it’s okay if part of me “misses” him…who may never come. It’s okay. Grieving is part of life, in order to move forward, one needs to grieve. Living in a stationary stage of denial isn’t going to help me at all and will only harden my heart.

4. Appreciation
I’ll say my definition of “romance” has changed from chocolates, roses, compliments….to a man willing to eat an imperfect meal without a complaint, a man willing to pitch in with dishes, and hold a fussy baby…those are things that make a man much more attractive than the abilities to quote Shakespeare, and bring home a dozen roses…though those things are appreciated…they just aren’t as important.

I used to believe that if I was going to fall in love he had to be: TALL, (because being 5′ 9 3/4″ there are very few guys that I get to look UP to. harharhar pun pun pun) blond (because dark is just so over -rated) and well…handsome? Preferably…three years older than me, and with sisters and brothers….and loves dogs. Now, I realize that guys don’t come in “novel” packaging. That shorter guys can be really just as gentlemanly-maybe even more so, that younger guys can be shockingly mature and wise, and dark is just as handsome as blond. That no race is superior, that darker skin can be just caring and strong and loving as scandinavian white plaid wearing arms. And that brown eyes can be just as devistating as blue ones… I mean look at this kid….

Still Learning,

Jessica Greyson

The Books You Bring…

As a writer, no…as a human being going overseas is an amazing and incredible experience.
And as a writer, trying to decide what to bring and what not to bring is difficult.
If I was going for just a few weeks, it would be simple.
A journal.
A notepad.
A good book (preferably NOT the COMPLETE WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN…try lugging that around on a trip and through airports. If you want the work out it’s GREAT! If you don’t want to feel like your shoulder is going to break off….I suggest a volume of something smaller.)

If you are like me and you cherish an extended library, the thought of leaving your entire library…of 50 or 500 books is like leaving a part of your soul behind.
As I am getting ready to go back to Taiwan for a year.
I am faced with leaving my 300+ volume library stashed about the house in bins once again…however I’ve found that one shouldn’t be completely without books even if you don’t have time to read them.
Having something to look at…just makes life better. A mere look at a book and all of the memories you’ve had with it come rushing back, your fingers ache just to touch words on paper and just snatching a familiar volume from a shelf and just snatching a paragraph or two do wonders for the soul.

However, this time, I am making a LIST of books that make it.

Bible
A daily devotional (because some days are busy…and I need to run, but I certainly need to spend time with Him.)
A book that makes me laugh. (Only A Novel By Amy Dashwood)
A book that makes you cry. (An unpublished novel by a friend)
A book that will inspire you, (TBD Probably a book about a missionary or a North Korean escapee.)
A book you can learn from. (TBD The Memoirs of  Lafayette is in the running, though)
A book you haven’t read yet. (TBD but I might make exception here and bring two, a novel by G.A. Henty and Rachel Heffington.)
Your journal
A mostly empty note book.
A stash of pens.

If you were going to a country where it’s really hard to get your hands on books in your language…which books from your library would you bring along?

Blessings!
Jessica

Indestructible Women My Compass #mirriamstartedit

A little over a week ago a post from Mirriam popped up on my Facebook and blogger feed.

The quote and the post really made me stop and think for several moments. Who are my indestructible women?

Like Mirriam, I chose four, simply because it seemed like a good amount and it fitted what I wanted to say.

These are women who have built me up when I have felt broken down, they have strengthened me when I am in pieces…I am who I am today because of their love….they are my compass.

My North Star,
My Mama is my north star. When I don’t know which way to go, or what to do she reminds me of the ultimate goals of life–though we haven’t always agreed on the same things, she keeps me true. She keeps me focused, and guides me when I feel lost, I am drawn to her with the magnetic pull of a mother-daughter relationship. She is bright in the sky when things cloud my way, I look up to her as a beautiful example of where I should go and what I should do, of who I can become. Her love has guided me from birth, and I know her example will always hold me pushing towards higher brighter more beautiful things.

My Eastern Sunrise,
Katherine Sophia…Kate…faithful like the sun, bright with hope and renewing when I feel hopeless she shines brightly in my life and keeps me looking for the dawn, even in the midnight moments of my life. When I felt hopeless she threw me a line of hope to cling to, tying our souls together in a forever soul-sister-ship that shall sail straight on ’til the everlasting morn…when I am down she always hold out a hand and pulls me out of my depths, and walks beside me keeping together in step even when our paths separate, we are still together.

My Western Wind,
Ari, like wind, she has challenged me in new ways, she has pushed me forward and made me face things in new ways. But like the wind of a storm, and the wind of the sea, Ari has rocked my boat and she has also blown my worried ship into safe harbors of comfort and rest. Her strength is also her gentleness, she has raged beside me at injustice and pain, and she whispered comfort when I have needed a shoulder to lean on.

 My Southern Spice,
Christi Ella, she is laughter, she is wit, she is brightness and sunny sweet sass and faithfulness  Christi spices up my life with her sense of humor, introduction to snap chat, talented gif conversations, encouraging “little sister,” who does cooks off with me, and cheers me on in whatever I do. She looks for the bright side of life, and the funny side of it…even when it’s hard to find.

Death

Bridget
 June 15th, 2007- June 19th, 2016

Death.

Recently I experienced death in a whole new way.

Our beloved nine-year-old puppy died unexpectedly. We knew she was ill, but we thought the antibiotics would bring her back to health. I didn’t expect to wake up to my little sister’s voice urgently saying my name then “Bridget is dead!”
I woke up in a flash.
And took that soft limp body from my sister’s arms and into mine, hoping, praying, wanting, wishing, willing that it wasn’t true.
I am not sure exactly what happened next but I was kneeling on the bathroom floor wrapping our dog in a towel, trying to practice the dog version of CPR that I’d seen on a video a few months ago. Saying her name, as if that would make the peaceful blank brown eyes suddenly snap back to life, that her tail would wag, and she’d shake the memory of this feeling in my arms away.
Throwing on a coat, I continued dog CPR as we rushed to the vet hospital. The realization that she wasn’t responding, that she would most likely never come back sinking in.
I knew she was gone before we reaching the hospital, she was gone before my sister and I woke up, but I stood barefoot on the cold tile floor of the vets  in my pajamas hoping….that what I knew wasn’t true.
The vet tech came out and shook her head before she could even ask us what we wanted to do I blurted out that we had a place for her at our house. I couldn’t bear the thought of saying goodbye to her at the vet’s cold the sterile place…that wasn’t Bridget. That wasn’t who she was…she couldn’t stay there, and more than anything I wanted to hold her once again. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye,  This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening to Bridget, our baby…our darling, who had just been cuddling with me the night before. How could she be gone?

Slowly driving home, we were all crying in the car. Shock, grief, disbelief.
I suddenly understood why people wanted clones…why they pay thousands of dollars to ensure someone’s survival….
Once at home, we sat crying taking turns holding her.
I felt death taking control, changing her body, turning our cuddly puppy stiff and still forever, and something in me…felt as if it died, the permanence of death was suddenly settling in…and I couldn’t hold her anymore, death had taken our puppy away.

Death, as I have always understood it, has come in shiny boxes, dressed in it’s best clothes, reserved quiet tears, touching lives that I knew…it was coming for…or it could be expected mostly. I’ve always been able to say goodbye…and it’s a passing twinge of pain.

This is the closest I have felt the pangs of death, a chunk of my life suddenly stolen, a hole that I don’t know how to fill…not even with words. There were other complications in my life…that made this more difficult.

Last night…we laid our puppy to rest near the woodpile she used to climb to chase squirrels, under the full strawberry moon of the summer solstice…it was the quietest time of day, the only time of day we could have our privacy away from prying eyes…nosey neighbors, cars driving by…it was quiet. My sister and I tucked little things into the box, not because she needed them…but we needed her to have them for our memories. I tucked in an unpaired sock because she used to steal mine and carry them around the house and even outside, she always picked them up when she wanted something, like being let outside in the morning, it was her bargaining chip to get me out of bed…and it always worked. Suddenly the pyramids in Egypt and the Viking death ships made sense…even though they believed it was for the afterlife. I realize it was more for those who were left behind, these were the things they wanted them to take along…they were going away gifts…a sign of what of what that person meant.

She is gone.

I am learning a lot of things.

How I work through grief.

How my family responds to the same pains.

I am seeing new things.

How God’s hand has worked through this whole thing.

It’s painful.

It’s beautiful.

Death…is a paradox.

Mirriam Neal and her Paper Crown…

Well! She has done it again! Mirriam Neal has another book on the market! Make sure to check out her fabulous work and pick yourself up a copy! 

Paper Crowns:
Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

Links:
Blog
Email: the-shieldmaiden@hotmail.com
Goodreads
Publisher’s page
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Brothers-in-Arms by Jack Lewis Baillot

I am super psyched about Jack’s latest book and you should be too! It’s coming out this month on the 31st! So make sure to mark your calendars and get ready for awesomeness!!!!  You can even pre-order the ebook HERE!!!!!


When Jessica asked me to do a guest post for my book tour I kind of panicked a little. I’ve been in a mad rush all week to finish up final details. This last week, the second of May, a lot unexpectedly happened and it put me behind on sending out posts and sleeping – all those fun things. So when she asked for a guest post my mind went blank on what I could write about.

A character?
Friendship?
Research?
I’d done all of the above.
Then another idea came to me. The message behind my book.
I don’t know if I technically write Christian books. I write stories and my faith and beliefs comes out, because that is how it works.
This book though, it does have a strong message though it is more underlying I suppose. It is there, but it doesn’t so much take over the story. And yet in many ways it is, for me, the strongest message I’ve ever put into a book.
Like most everyone, I don’t have an easy life. It’s been full of struggles and very bad things – and as a result of those very bad things I have a lot of side effects. I struggle with a lot. But I grew up in a church which believed if you struggled with things it meant you were living in rebellion to God and He was punishing me. It took me moving away, going on a crazy adventure, and finding a place of safety before I was able to see through that and accept that it isn’t always true.
Christians suffer. Life is hard. There are dark spots. Sleepless nights. Knots in stomachs so tight one can’t eat. There are sorrows, grief which feels as if it pulls your heart in two, fears, confusion, and even feeling alone and worthless. And there’s no promise that things will be easy for Christians.
There is a promise though.
The promise that God is always with believers, even in the dark, even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
The things I have gone through, the things I have to go through, have brought me to a point where I can say with confidence that my hope lays with God and though it is hard for me I know I can make it because of Him.
In so many ways my own struggles came through in this book, my own fears, my own feelings of helplessness. But I also wanted to show what it means to trust God. It doesn’t always mean things get better, it doesn’t give a guarantee that we will get new houses and nice cars and everything will be wonderful on earth.
It means we have a Father who has a home for us, who loves us, who promised that the end would be worth all the suffering to get there.
And that is what I wanted to pass on to those who read my book. I hope that those who read it might find the same comfort I have.

Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler’s Germany?

Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high.

With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they’ve always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet’s heritage a secret. Taking his best friend’s safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.

With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can’t be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.

About Jack!

Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.
 When Jack isn’t writing, which doesn’t happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.
 She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn’t quite equal to Prince Adam’s but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.

Make sure you find Jack on all of her FABULOUS SOCIAL MEDIA and learn as much as possible by visiting these links!
Facebook
Twitter
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Blog

Add it to your shelves on goodreads!!!
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