Blog

Anticipating the View

jeremy-ricketts-9573-unsplash.jpgMy family and I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the beach last week.

Now, we are not necessarily “beach people”, but we enjoy the beauty of the ocean and the occasional sandcastle, and particularly liked exploring Charleston with its architecture, history, and great food.

I LOVE vacation, but there are things about ‘vacation’ that have their own challenges. Change in routine. Beds that aren’t ‘quite right’. Space issues. Food differences. Sunburns…anyone else understand these at all?

We seem to overcome these minor struggles to enjoy the awesomeness of something new, relatively relaxing, and fun.

Then…we leave and that’s when the coolest thing happens for me.

averie-woodard-111831-unsplash.jpgAs we drive back toward home, and those blue mountains start to appear on the horizon, the most amazing feeling swells in my heart. A comforting feeling. A strange kind of anticipation.

Those mountains have been a part of me my whole life. A ‘sign’ of home. A sort of fence around my world and I love seeing them welcoming me. I guess, those Blue Ridge Mountains provide a sense of belonging.

Don’t get me wrong, Charleston is a beautiful place, and for someone else, those lovely houses lining the cobblestone streets provide the same sense of belonging to them that the mountains do for me.

It’s a strange sort of feeling that really doesn’t have a clear-cut definition, I guess.

Well, today, as those mountains appeared in my view again and the same sweet welcome flooded through me, I had the sudden thought…“What would it feel like to glimpse my TRUE home? The home for my soul?”

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”.pngIf my heart glows with excitement over just the view of those mountains, how much more amazing will it be to glimpse into the ultimate place of belonging. Heaven. God’s presence.

As Christians, our hearts are in a constant state of ‘looking to the horizon’. C.S. Lewis put it like this, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

If our hearts belong to Christ and we believe the beauty of what He’s told us about Heaven, then I can only imagine what anticipation we’ll experience when we glimpse up to the horizon and see our forever-home.

It can certainly be a great reminder when this world wounds or wearies us to remember there is something…and Someone greater than this world – and we belong with Him.

pepper (1)

Once Upon a Laugh

Ready for a book collection you can’t put down?

Eight brand new contemporary Christian romantic comedies are here to keep you company. Some of your favorite inspirational authors have come together in this collection of all-new novellas.

From light-hearted romance to laugh-out-loud love, this set will put a smile on your face and keep you reading long into the night.

Now Available.png

You can find more information about this collection HERE.

Now available on Amazon!

Add to Goodreads

Once Upon a Laugh – Sneak Peek & Giveaway

It is ALMOST release day for this novella collection! Which means, Jane by the Book can be in your hands before this month is over! YAY! Pre-Order Once Upon a Laugh today for UNDER $1!!! This is available only on Amazon Kindle right now. These books will be released individually in the near future as well.

About the Collection

36886005_10216723477220004_8042417349426413568_n.jpgReady for a book collection you can’t put down?

Eight brand new contemporary Christian romantic comedies are here to keep you company. Some of your favorite inspirational authors have come together in this collection of all-new novellas.

From light-hearted romance to laugh-out-loud love, this set will put a smile on your face and keep you reading long into the night.

JBTB (2)

Jane by the Book by award-winning author Pepper Basham
She lives by the plans. He talks to imaginary characters. Can they team up to solve a family mystery?

36915064_10216746208228265_8183779244422201344_n

Crossed Out by USA Today bestselling author Christina Coryell
Ruth Erickson always spends her morning break doing the crossword puzzle. Tate Darrow just messed it up. What’s that old saying about love and war?

If She Dares

If She Dares by Mikal Dawn
He’s a board game champion, but can he win her heart?

37021295_10216746208548273_7812615072714326016_n

Definitely by award-winning author Heather Gray
Dating isn’t on her to-do list. Dating a pastor? Definitely not.

36896676_10216746211548348_8251362320056320000_n

Under the Honey Moon by Jessica R. Patch
A honeymoon cottage reunites a pair of childhood friends. Can it offer them a future filled with happily-ever-after?

36888012_10216746207788254_1715030155539251200_n

A (wildly) Wonderful Wedding by Krista Phillips
They may be the worst maid of honor and best man in the history of weddings…

36938990_10216746210628325_6719864183023730688_n

Save the Last Word by award-winning author Betsy St. Amant
When conventional meets creative, who will get the last word?

36969650_10216746210428320_2477249123862970368_n

The Long Game by award-winning author Laurie Tomlinson. Whoever said all is fair in love and war never dealt with small-town football…

Amazon (Pre-Order) | Goodreads

Pre-Order Sneak Peek

jonas-jacobsson-545909-unsplash.jpgI am SO excited to share Titus and Jane’s story that I am offering you a SNEAK PEEK at the book!!! You heard me right! Submit a copy of your pre-order receipt to pepperdbasham(AT)gmail(DOT)com and I will send you the first chapter of Jane by the Book! Available to international readers as well.

Giveaway

1 (One) winner will receive an early release eBook copy of Jane by the Book! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. No purchase necessary. Open internationally. Void where prohibited.Giveaway.png

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pepper (1)

Swoony Saturdays – William Crawford

Welcome! Welcome! Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high-quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

William Crawford SS

In celebration of heroes everywhere, especially the ones who put their lives on the line, we’re talking about Captain William Crawford from J’nell Cielielski’s WW1 novel, Among the Poppies.

Oliver Jackson-Cohen from Larkrise
From Pinterest

Who? Captain William Crawford

Where can we find this dreamboat? Among the Poppies by J’nell Cielieski

Personality summary: The world is at war and the last person Captain William Crawford expects to meet in the middle of the devastation and destruction is the spunky Gwynn Ruthers – a chauffer’s daughter-turned-war-nurse. His sense of duty tends to keep him more serious and driven, but we watch him thaw as war and Gwynn continually impact his life. A protector to the core, he’ll do whatever necessary to keep the ones he cares about safe, but he also values strength enough to allow people to use their skills – which is exactly what he does with Gwynn.

What makes us swoon?

Jonathan Harker  | #Dracula
From Pinterest

Today we have a real treat because J’nell has shared her own thoughts about why she thinks Captain Crawford is swoony, but I wanted to give a shoutout to author Rachel McMillan’s answer first 😊

I would say the moral compass for sure and an innate sense of duty which you know is part of the fabric of who he is. He doesn’t think he is above anyone else: Including the heroine. He very much believes that she is just as strong as he in what she does. At core, he is an equalist. And he knows that life works best when everyone is able to do their strengths. He’s a natural leader because he can acknowledge his own weaknesses.

– Rachel McMillan

My thoughts:

He has a subtle yet charming sense of humor – a definite positive for a man of war.

He comes off as endearingly disgruntled.

He’s definitely protective and brave – super swoony characteristics.

He cares deeply, even to the point of coming off as a bit bossy, yet, like Rachel said, he encourages others to walk in their strengths.

oxfordshire and buckinghamshire light infantry
From Pinterest

What does the author have to say about her hero?

Captain William Crawford of his majesty’s Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Infantry. A man of impeachable character, loyal to a fault, duty before self, and protective. The epitome of a military officer. At first glance, one might not think these features could make a swoony hero. Who wants a man that can’t bend a rule every now and again? How are you supposed to squeeze in any romance when it’s always duty before self with him? But think about this: every lady wants a man she can trust. A man who will keep his word because honor runs so deep in his veins that he would rather die than give it up. A man who puts the comfort and safety of others before himself, and a man that everyone holds in high regard. Now that is a hero that any woman would be proud to call her own. And that is exactly who William is.

36544821_10216695189872838_6202932802724298752_n
From Pixabay

Starting off, William is very rigid, almost to the point of stoic, but we see glimpses of his compassion for the soldiers in his command and damsels in distress by the side of the road. Only when Gwyn comes into his life does William’s rigidity begin to bend despite his best efforts not to. Gwyn sees past the starched uniform to the beating heart beneath and breathes fresh dreams into it, dreams that William had never before allowed himself to have. Only for, and because of her, does he do this.

From Pinterest

But the war is never far and its horror tails our couple, casting small moments of joy as well as tragedy on them. All through the circumstances, William’s heart and intentions remain true despite the great pain it costs him. He wants only the best for Gwyn, and in his tormenting situation decides that he can no longer be what’s best for her. At first glance it’s martyrdom, but look deeper because this is William at his core. Not a martyr, but an unselfish giving of what he thinks will be a better life for Gwyn. His intentions are nothing but honorable. But Gwyn cares not two snaps. Bound by unconditional love, she is the only one who can pull William back from the darkness and into the happiness they deserve. And he knows this. As any true hero, William recognizes that he’s met the match to his stubbornness as well as his heart.

And let’s just say, who doesn’t love a man in uniform?

 

Kissing level of such swooniness: Definitely on the hotter side. I mean, once this guy allows himself to release his emotions, he’s all-in. Wowzah! I’d place him at a 4.5 or 5. What do you think?

Kissing Levels

Among the Poppies

How can I meet this swoony mister?

You can find William Crawford in J’nell Cielieski’s book, Among the Poppies. Check out my review HERE and follow the links to purchase your own copy today!

Book Journeys – WWI

As many of you know, I have a historical love for the early 1900s, particularly the 1910s. Most of my novels are set ‘around’ World War I, where the war impacts decisions but the readers don’t journey into the trenches and No Man’s Land of The War to End All Wars, but in J’nell Cielielski’s beautiful novel, Among the Poppies you do!! You can read my review HERE.

She takes the readers on an amazing, heart wrenching, realistic look at the tragedies, horrors, triumphs, and dangers of fighting at the Front of a war where the weather could kill as much as the newest chemical warfare.

tower-bridge-2324875_1920
Pixabay.com

Now, World War I spans too many miles to feature everything, but we’re going to look at a few touchpoints from the Western Front featured in J’nell’s novel.

London is a key feature in both world wars, so I won’t spend a lot of time featuring London. Maybe a photo from the era, at least, but there are some lesser known places for you to get to know.

But let’s look at one of the largest battles of World War I that began almost exactly 102 years ago. German and Allied forces were at a deadlock, with the barren wasteland of No Man’s Land (the open ground between the two armies) filled with barbed wire, mud, debris, and casualties.

512px-Cheshire_Regiment_trench_Somme_1916.jpg
Wiki Commons

The Somme Offensive took place near the River Somme in the more northern part of France near German-occupied Belgium.  The defensive position usually had the advantage and that was definitely true in this case. Germany had been in the area a while which had allowed them time to become well entrenched and fortified. Not only is Germany equipped for the bombardment, but the British come in with newly trained soldiers, a large portion who hadn’t been in combat before.

404px-British_gun_somme.jpg
Wiki Commons

Known as one of the worst days in British military history, the first day of the Somme Joint-Offensive saw about 50,000 casualties for the British, as opposed to the roughly 7,000 for the French and 12,000 for the Germans.  The battle lasted 4 months and with the damage of the constant bombardment in the river area, paired with rain, caused a murky deathbed for some. By the end of the offensive, over 430,000 British soldiers were dead.

That’s staggering – and Cielieski’s book gives the reader a sense of a war so broken, you sense the desperation and frustrations…the exhaustion and despair. Yet, Among the Poppies also surges with hope – because of the heroes she’s placed within this story. Heroes bring hope into the worst situations – it’s one of their winning features.

36649073_10216695188632807_3218207218092474368_n (1)
Pixabay.com

Let’s end our journey with a more hopeful visit to Amiens. A little less than one hundred years ago, (two years after the Somme), the Allied forces engaged in a surprise attack which is seen as the beginning of the end of World War 1. In March, 1918, Germany overtook the beautiful town of Amiens (which wasn’t as beautiful once they finished with it), but by August, things changed. As Among the Poppies moves through history, we get the chance to see tragedy turn to hope, as the war waxes and wanes with the same theme. The Allies cut the German communication lines and engaged in surprise-night-fighting, that on the first day thousands of German soldiers surrendered. Australian, Canadian, and British troops worked together for this highly successful offensive which brought the town of Amiens back into Allied territory. Amiens is a strong city, like the characters in this story – it rebuilt after WW1 and then had to rebuild after WW2 too. Today, it’s a beautiful city with a history of perseverance, and the Amiens cathedral at the heart of the city, withstood both world wars…which I think mirrors the perseverance of these two main characters in Cielieski’s novel.Among the Poppies

Have you read this book? What were some of your favorite parts? What would you like to learn more about as regards to World War I? You know…. because I love that time period AND writing stories.😊

pepper (1)

 

Among the Poppies

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the World War I era, so when J’nell Ciesielski asked me to read her novel for endorsement, I was happy to oblige. What many of you, who have had the chance to read it, discovered is an Amazing tale. A woman with a strong heart and fierce determination and a capable man with a will of iron and a compassionate hearts. Set within the backdrop of war, social change, and human depravity, these two characters shine with the hope of faith, love, and internal strength.

Among the Poppies

About the Book:

The ideal lady wears lace, speaks quietly, and never under any circumstances fixes an automobile. But Gwyn Ruthers has never cared two snaps about being the ideal lady. With the war to end all wars exploding across the English Channel, she leaves behind her restrictive life as a chauffer’s daughter to serve in an all-female ambulance unit in France. She’s not about to let her social status or gender prevent her from serving her country. Not even a handsome captain can distract her from her mission. Most of the time.

Captain William Crawford wouldn’t wish the ravages of war on any man, much less the captivating woman who insists on driving into battle instead of staying safely at home. He can’t deny that the troops need more medical help, but not when it puts innocent women in danger. How can he lead his men against the Jerries while worrying about Gwyn’s safety?

Bound together by circumstances, Gwyn and William can’t stop the love growing between them. Can their relationship survive, or will it become another casualty of war?

Amazon | Goodreads

Here’s what I have to say about this fantastic edition to the WWI-era novels.

ATP“What a debut! J’nell Ciesielski ignites the pages with a captivating, out-of-the-box heroine and a kind hearted, by-the-book hero in this World War I romance of changing times, shakable lives, and a steadfast God.  With tedious detail and heart-wrenching descriptions, Ciesielski takes the reader on a journey through the hospitals, trenches, and frontlines of France, giving us not only, a view from a soldier but also the rare perspective of women who dared enter the devastating world of war. Friendships are challenged and formed, faith is tried and strengthened, hearts are broken and healed, and romance is found and forged through the fires of The War to End all Wars. This novel sweeps beyond the glitz and glamour of the Edwardian age and draws a realistic tale of love, loss, war, and dreams. The heroine was delightful and the hero a fitting match. A beautiful story.”
 
Follow this link to get your copy today. Not only does it introduce you to a lesser known time period, but to an amazing cast of characters from an author who knows how to write a beautiful story.
pepper (1)

World Building

Building a world for your story isn’t always filled with spacecraft and foreign planets. I love creating the place where my characters can thrive, grow, love, and heal.

What storyworld do YOU like to get lost in?


Original Post published 8/19/2015

firstclassdining Currently, I’ve been reading about creating a ‘story world’ and what’s involved in the intricate design of a world where readers can lose themselves in a story.

It may sound fairly straight-forward and simple, but it’s really quite complex. Readers need to feel the cohesiveness of feeling like they are really ‘there’ – in your story, during that time period. This not only requires crafting, but research too.

The most well-loved, memorable, and meaningful stories had a distinct time and place which couldn’t have occurred as effectively anywhere else. For example, Charles Dickens’ brilliant stories cannot be separated from London. I can’t imagine Frodo living anywhere else, except the Shire and Middle Earth.

071In A Twist of Faith, I’ve created the town of Ransom, Virginia – a small community that reminds me a lot of the Blue Ridge Mountain town in which I grew up: Small population, close-knit families, quaint downtown, and amazing scenic views. I want readers to walk the streets of Ransom and Mitchells’ Crossroads as they journey along with the characters.

TheThornbearer 500x750 (1)In my historical series, Penned in Time, I’ve tried to recreate the feel of the World War I era. The uncertainty, the change and energy… the small English villages, manor houses, and clothing.

All of those things make a storyworld.

Developing a strong story world helps readers take a trip and never leave their chair.

It gives me a great sense of joy and awe to think that, because of my Christian perspective, the stories and novels I write might give a sense of hope to those who read them. Through the time, place, characters, dialogue, and exposition – readers will sense the beautiful truth of hope in the Lord, no matter the circumstances. What a wonderful goal for which to aspire!

pepper (1)

Dawn Crandall and The Captive Imposter

In honor of the release of Timeless Love this week, I thought I would reshare this review of Dawn Crandall’s book, The Captive Imposter. You can find her new novella, Enchanting Nicholette as a part of the Timeless Love collection. Which is only available for TWO WEEKS! So go order your copy NOW for just $0.99!!!

Timeless Square


Original review posted 4/23/2015

I am thrilled to help celebrate the release of Dawn Crandall’s newest novel, The Captive Imposter.

11149491_826715327364733_6329530345869732703_n.jpg
 Credit: Suzanne Waltner

Besides the book being set in a deletable time period (gilded age), Dawn’s writing is fast-paced, descriptive, and incredibly emotive. This book, in particular, has all the wonderful makings of a

fantastic romance. A deeply wounded young woman, Estella Everstone may have grown up as an heiress, but now at the request of her family, she’s living the charade of a companion to an older woman. Despite her prosperous life, she has a somewhat innocent heart and despises the lie she must live. But an unexpected change of plans places her directly in the path of a remarkable and unexpected man – Dexter Blakely. Theirs is a tenuous and intriguing start which grows into a sweet and beautiful friendship – the type for which Estella has never known. But 

Dexter’s life is to take good care of and oversee the running of Everston, Estella’s family’s opulent mountain hotel, so what will happen when Dexter finds out who Estella truly is? And with her former fiance reminding her of the wounds in her past, Estella may be in more trouble than she imagined.

Sigh….definitely worth the journey to find out! Sweet, funny, and emotional depth all wrapped up in a well-written story of hope, faith, and trusting God who holds all the riches in his hands and creates people for his glory (regardless of class). And…might I add, Dawn includes the beautiful Appalachian mountains in this story? Makes me even happier because I LOVE Appalachia, whether in lovely Maine or nearer my neck of the woods!!


About the Book

Photo - CoverSent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she’d always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn’t like about the situation is that her ex-fiancé is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to.

When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can’t refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can’t deny the pull that’s evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she’s been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she’s with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she’s Estella Everstone? She’s not entirely sure.

The Everstone Chronicles
The Hesitant Heiress.jpg  The Bound Heart.jpg  The Captive Imposter.jpg  The Cautious Maiden.jpgEnchanting Nicolette

 

About the Author

Photo - Dawn CrandallA graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books in the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

Blog | Facebook | Book Review Blog | Goodreads | Pinterest | TwitterAmazon

Timeless Love – Release Day

It’s Release Day!!!

I am so excited that I got to be a part of this fabulous collection of books! And it is now available to you, dear readers. This is the first place you will be able to purchase my WWII novella, Facade! Purchase your copy on Amazon today.

All proceeds from the sale of this collection will be donated to the LiveStrong Foundation.

Enjoy seven romances through the ages in this Timeless Love limited time ebook. An open invitation to fall in love with the writing styles of a few new-to-you multi-published authors of your favorite Christian romance eras.

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Books


Give Me Thine Heart 1812 ~ Andrea Boeshaar

Moira loathes the man her uncle, Baron Tyrus Kinsley, wishes her to marry. But when she meets Sam Stryker, she soon guesses he’s from the American Colonies. After she stumbles onto a deep secret, Sam must make an impossible decision. Ultimately, he whisks Moira from England. However, it’s the on the 6-weeks long voyage to the U.S. that Moira learns about herself, her family…and the man who is both her kidnapper and rescuer. 

This Freedom Journey 1833 ~ Misty M. Beller

Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. 

The Heart of Home~ 1865 ~ Stephenia H. McGee

Opal Martin aspires to scrub the remnants of the War Between the States from her tattered life. When a nearly drowned soldier appears and asks if he can die on her porch, she must guard against the sudden revival of her heart’s hope for love. Tristan Stuart wants to escape the pain of war. He wakes up at a house that’s too much like home, with a woman determined to mend him he may discover a life worth fighting for. To save the last of what Opal holds dear, will he become the man she needs or let the troubled waters carry him away?


Enchanting Nicholette 1893 ~ Dawn Crandall

Young, widowed, and newly out of mourning, Nicholette Everstone is an heiress yearning to be loved. Her parents had arranged for her to marry her loving late husband, but the marriage ended tragically on her wedding day. Returning to Boston after being away, she finds there’s someone new to her set of friends and family she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices this man takes on, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears at bay?

Teach Me To Love 1899 ~ Kari Trumbo

Izzy Lawson has taken her last abuse. When her husband dies, she rushes to Belle Fourche to stay with the only friend she has. The wall she’s worked so hard to build crumbles in the arms of a man so different from her husband. Conrad Oleson can’t read and it’s shamed him for longer than he can remember. As Izzy reveals her painful past, he can’t stay away. He’ll do about anything, to get closer. Including, teach her how to love.


Façade 1942 ~ Pepper D. Basham

Olivia Rakes has excellent observations skills for facts and details, but stumbles through matters of the heart. When her brother goes missing in German-occupied France, Livy enlists her services with a group of search-and-rescue spies, who not only thrust her toward espionage, but…romance. Agent Christopher Dawson has avoided Livy since she broke his heart. When the search for his best friend brings them together, the heart takes on a mind of its own. In a world where war changes the rules of life and love, can they work together to complete their rescue mission before the enemy catches them?

 


Bookishly Ever After 2018 ~ Sarah Monzon

It all started with a bet and a book.

Emory Blake would take curling up with a novel over a night on the town any day. But then her best friend, Tate Woodby, accuses her of living between the pages of her paperbacks instead of the real world, and he makes a bet that will force her to experience the adventures of her fictional friends. Emory must confront the pain of the past. But is it also her perfect opportunity to her own happily ever after?


About the Authors

Learn more about each author on their websites listed below!

 Timeless Square

The Dynamic Duo: Compassion & Power

the force.jpgI love that my kids have awesome imaginations. Of course, their ways of expressing their imagination is all different – one uses drawing, one – writing, one- crafts cool stuff out of a various assortment of things,…but all love dress-up. My fifth grader inherited some amazing Nerf weapons from his older siblings and these necessary tools, for destroying imaginary enemies, are his joys.

It just so happened that recently he misplaced one of his swords. Maybe I should say THE sword. A Nerf Master Sword (if you actually know what that means, you receive 5 points). This was a BIG deal. He looked everywhere…twice, with no result.

I knew what it was like to lose something I loved. I have a favorite pair of earrings floating around in the world somewhere that I’ve never been able to find. So we sat together, prayed for help, and I tried to comfort him as best I could.

superheroes-2Then I remembered him placing it on a piece of furniture and wondered if maybe have fallen into a difficult nook behind that piece of furniture. So we looked. Sure enough, there it was. Not only was it in a difficult to reach spot, it was also stuck beneath the weight of this large bookshelf. Definitely in a spot my 11-year-old couldn’t get to.

Thankfully, my arms are longer than his, so after shuffling the bookshelf around a little, then reaching my arms down into the narrow crevice of doom, the sword came free and I had a happy son.

As simple as this sounds, it made me think of something eternal.

There’s something beautiful about compassion. When you feel as if you’re not carrying a burden alone, but others see the difficult and share in the struggle by showing kindness. Compassion serves a wonderful purpose of connection and comfort.

But compassion can only go so far. I could try and comfort Samuel about his lost sword, but he’d still hurt from the lostness.

kids1However, I had something else. I had power. Power to remember where I’d seen his sword last and also power to move stuff around to reach the coveted sword. Compassion paired with power is AMAZING.

You know, that’s what we get in Jesus. Just think about two stories in Mark that are told back-to-back. First the feeding of the 5000 and then Jesus walking on water. Jesus had compassion on the hungry people – because not only were they hungry for food but hungry for His words. His compassion was beautiful – but he could do even more. He had the POWER paired with compassion to make a difference.

We all know that power by itself isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s been misused for centuries to the detriment of millions -but paired with compassion it’s world-changing.

day5pAfter the feeding of the 5000, Jesus sees his disciples trying to cross the sea only to be met by strong winds slowing them down. What does he do? He goes to them…walking on the water. If he was just trying to show off power, he’d have kept walking right past them, but he doesn’t. Compassion for his wayward disciples pauses him and even compels him to still the winds so they could make it across the sea.

I find such comfort in this! Why?

Life happens! – with all of its messy, storming, achy, heart-bending brokeness.

And though God is a god of compassion – and that compassion can comfort in part, He is also a God of power, which makes the comfort whole.

He is able to take on the storm, the hungry, the broken…the mess, and do something about it out of his overwhelming goodness. If you’re struggling with finding your hope, remember, He not only showers His children with compassion – He has the ability  “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesian 3:20-21)

The outcome might be what we expect (ie…water walking), but it will be what we need most. At our cores. And it will be wrapped in his love.

That, we can count on.

pepper (1)