Interview and Give Away with Messianic Jewish Believer, Flora Reigada

I am so pleased to be able to feature Flora on my blog today. She has had some incredible experiences both growing up and as a Jewish believer in Jesus. Please join me in welcoming her!

Tell us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
One of my earliest memories is of waking to the sight of emerald maple leaves swaying outside my bedroom window.   I was secure in my grandparents' Victorian home on Staten Island, New York.  My mother and I lived there with her parents and aunt, while my father was away in the military.

The kindness with which I was treated in that home, wrapped around me like the arms of my loved ones.  It is hard to believe these caring people were agnostics and atheists.  By the time I came along, the Jewish faith of our predecessors had long been abandoned in the old country.

It was not until age 18 when I began dating Dan, my husband-to-be, that I heard the words "born again" or anyone speak of the Bible as if it had authority.  Still, I did not believe and except for Dan, I had contempt for Christians.

This began to change as I experienced a series of traumatic events.  My grandparents died and we lost our beautiful family home.  After Dan and I married, his employer moved us from the northeast to southern Virginia in the "Bible belt"—a major culture shock.

Dan and I had two children in rapid succession.  Left alone in the country all day with two crying toddlers, I suffered a mental breakdown.  I began seeing a psychologist, who diagnosed me as a delusional schizophrenic.

With nowhere else to turn, I asked Dan to take me to church services at Thomas Road Baptist Church, in Lynchburg, Virginia, about twenty miles from our house.  You may recall its pastor, the late Jerry Falwell.  When the invitation was given, I went forward to receive Jesus Christ as my savior.

A few days later I had an appointment with the psychologist and I told him what had happened.

"I don't understand all that, he said.  "I only know that on your previous visit, you were a delusional schizophrenic.  Now you are not."

Shaking his head in disbelief, he showed me his notepad with the diagnosis.
In the 30-plus years since, my life with Christ has been an amazing adventure.  Although with pseudonyms, my salvation experience is recounted in my Messianic mystery, "The Face Behind the Veil." 

EBook on sale for 99 cents:

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
In the fifth grade, I was an unpopular and overweight student struggling with math, when my teacher Mr. DePalma, gave our class the weekly assignment that would change my life.  It was to write a fictional story on the subject of our choice, then read it aloud to classmates.

I tackled this assignment with enthusiasm, weaving classmates into my tales of adventure.  When they began to petition the teacher for me to read my stories, I emerged from obscurity.  I also realized that even though I still struggled with math, I could write.  I have been doing so ever since.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?

Beginning and ending with World War II's Greatest Generation, "The Face Behind the Veil" is actually three-books-in-one, featuring three women in three periods of time: Naomi's Story, Rebecca's Story and Enter Teresa.  The book explores the mystery of the legendary birth veil, how each woman interpreted that mystery and how that related to her encounter with Jesus the Messiah.

I want the reader to join each woman in her world and see it through her eyes—to meet the brave warriors of World War II, to join Naomi in Times Square for the VJ Day celebration, but also to gather around the table with an eccentric, but warm-hearted Jewish family, for lots of love served with homemade chicken soup.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?

My grandparents' beautiful Victorian home served as a model for the Victorian home in my book, "The Face Behind the Veil."  Writing about it brought me back to that warm house, with its crackling fireplace and the aroma of home-cooked food drifting through the rooms.  I wanted to make the reader feel welcome there, as he or she would have been in those more hospitable times.  In that safer world of yesteryear, we actually left our doors unlocked during the day.  Only at night, would my grandfather lock them.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Vaca frita, (Meaning in Spanish, fried cow) with yellow rice and black beans smothered in onions.  It is one of the playfully named, tasty dishes served at Roberto's Little Havana Cuban Restaurant in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
One of my favorites is the great Christian classic, Pilgrim's Progress by 17th  century English preacher, John Bunyan.  In the pages of this timeless allegory I received a promise from God that opened the windows of heaven for me, and can for others as well.  I wrote about this in my soon-to-be-published women's devotional, "Where Your Heart Meets God's."  

To purchase Flora's amazing book on Amazon (kindle or paperback) click here

Guest Post - Donna Wasson - "Public School Religion"

I read this today and was just outraged by this teacher's behavior (and by this trend in general) and felt it should be shared with all of you.

Now they’ve done it. NOW THEY’VE DONE IT! Let me tell you about a 10 year old little girl, who attends Butts Road Intermediate School, in Chesapeake, Virginia. The Blaze, an Internet news source, didn’t release her name but that’s neither here nor there in this article.

Her “teacher,” Tara Harris, joined the school in September as a fifth-grade learning disabilities, special education teacher. Let me pause to take a few, cleansing breaths so my blood pressure can come back down…OK, I’ll continue. Ms. Harris has been charged with simple assault for injuring this child’s hand while forcing the class to learn…*gasp* *shudder* Islamic hand signs.

EXCUSE ME?? I don’t think I read that right. You mean to tell me a teacher in a public school system in this country, was teaching Islamic hand signs? The child’s mother, Stephanie Bennett, told The Blaze that this…this Ms. Harris has a disturbing trend of “indoctrinating” students with Islamic teachings. She also openly campaigns for President Obama and bashes GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, according to the testimony of several of her students.

Ms. Bennett, the mother, states, “The teacher was going over Islamic hand signs with the children—she stayed on this issue for two days straight, during their reading and math class.” The Blaze reports, when Bennett’s daughter was unable to perform the Islamic hand sign correctly after two days of instruction, Harris became frustrated and attempted to twist the girl’s fingers to make the Islamic gesture, which means, “power and strength.”

The mother continues, “When she didn't get it right, [Harris] went over and yanked her hand out of her desk and my daughter’s hand got hung up on the metal wire on her file folder, and the skin got caught on it. The other children saw my daughter’s hand dripping with blood after the teacher had gotten so mad that she went to twist my daughter’s hand into an Islamic sign.”

She immediately filed a police report, and Ms. Harris was placed on administrative leave. The next day, Ms. Bennett was informed by school officials that the teacher had been terminated from the Chesapeake Public School system all together. The Blaze was unable to independently confirm this.
The child told her mother that Harris “prays to Allah in Arabic” approximately five times a day in front of students, and teaches them about Islam and how it is superior to other religions. *inhale deeply*

Another parent, Nita Redditt, states that her son was scared to go back to the classroom the next day. “I think he was intimidated. I couldn’t believe what was going on in the classroom in regards to this teacher praying to Allah, and having them pray with her.” WHAT??? Oh no, you didn’t! Huh-uh! I don’t think so!

Oh…Oooo…Arggg…WHERE do I start? This is so outrageous on so many different levels, that it’s difficult to choose where to begin.

Here is an educated woman, who chose to work directly with learning disabled, special education children. This would demand a person who possesses a kind, calm demeanor and extreme patience, to be successful in such a career. This was obviously a BAD CHOICE of specialties on her part! As the teacher, she was fully aware this little girl suffers from a processing disorder, making it difficult for her to quickly grasp ideas, like (stupid) hand signs.

Did this matter to Ms. Harris? Nope. She was too caught up, selfishly defiling this kid by forcing her to perform on cue, like some animal she was attempting to train. For her to “yank” this child’s hand out of her desk for something this insidious, clearly demonstrates how untrustworthy she is to be around any child, much less those who need extra compassionate attention. Hey Ms. Harris—why don’t you try yanking and injuring MY kid’s hand and see what happens. I dare you. Grrrrrrr…

Now to the obvious. I bet you can guess what I’m going to say. WHY, pray tell, has this…this…Koran thumping, bigoted, abusive, Christophobic twit been allowed to RELIGIOUSLY RAPE these children in a government school classroom?? You mean to tell me NO other teacher or member of administration was aware she was forcing her religious beliefs on these impressionable, innocent, dependent kids? NO ONE? You’re joking, right?

That is absolutely inexcusable either way. If the school was aware she was openly, aggressively proselytizing Islam, then they are guilty of violating the government’s favorite phrase, (everybody say it with me), “the separation between church and state,” now, aren’t they?

And if this school denies any knowledge of this teacher’s activities, what the heck else are they unaware of?? Who’s to say she’s not sexually assaulting them also? Or forcing them to memorize parts of the Koran? Or keeping these kids silent by threatening to kill their parents or pets if they tell what she’s teaching them?

Why isn’t this on the national news? It would probably be the lead story if this were a Christian teacher, telling these children that Jesus loves them! Oh the horror! Was this even featured on the local news? I highly doubt it. A Christian teacher doing this sort of thing would be arrested and paraded naked on Main Street at noon!

Where are the loud-mouthed, intrusive, busybody ‘Freedom >From Religion’ people? Huh? Why aren’t they marching on the school grounds with their stupid signs, and filing a lawsuit in court? Why aren’t they on CNN, making a statement about how angry they are that, in this day and age, these children are being exposed to the ridiculous claims of the existence of god?

Where is the rabid, mouth foaming, snarling attack dog against all things Christian, the ACLU? In what Federal Court is their suit filed? Where is their outrage on this? If you pause for a moment, you can hear crickets in the silence.

Can you just imagine the hysterical, hair tearing, garment rending, screaming rants of the main stream media, Hollywood ‘stars’, members of Congress and even our very favorite Muslim, President Obama, if this woman was a Christian? I am dumbfounded by the blatant, double standard being applied here!

Let’s see, how does this usually go? Oh yeah, “How DARE this woman use the tax-payer’s money and time to force her religious beliefs on these children!”

She was hired for a specific task. She was to teach the customary, inadequate ‘curriculum of excellence,’ regurgitated by this nation’s public school system, which spits out high school graduates who can’t read above a 3rd grade level. Was that really too much to ask?

Where did she get the idea she had the right to indulge her big ‘ol, pushy self by wasting these student’s time, forcing them to learn her wicked, false religion? Hey, no one seems too upset about this, so this must mean prayer is allowed back in the classroom! Right. As if.

This ‘lady’ must worship the, “Islam: Make up the rules as you go,” sect of this filthy belief system. I’m providing the link to this story and in the accompanying photo, featuring this disciple of dog doo. Notice that she has a glass of red wine on the table in front of her. Wait a minute; I thought Islam forbid drinking alcohol!

But this seems to be the new normal in America today doesn’t it? She’s an exalted Muslim and can do anything she wants, ignore any law she wants, as long as she is spreading the teachings of Allah. After all, we’re supposed to be tolerant. However, if a Christian so much as opens their mouth to yawn in a public school building, there’s hell to pay.

Think this is an isolated incident? Au contraire. Are you kidding? Apparently, public schools in Minnesota close for two days each year, so the teacher’s union members can hold their annual Education Minnesota Professional Conference. What new topical gems are they planning to pass on to the students this next school year? Let’s look at a list.

“Using Personal Dolls to Promote Social Emotional Intelligence and Acceptance of Diversity” Uh-huh. Teachers learning to play with dolls. Sounds like a critical teaching skill to me.

“Teaching Students to be Peacemakers” Good luck with that.

“The State of Minnesota Schools and LGBTQ Youth: A Roundtable Discussion” Umm, WHY are these people spending time discussing their student’s budding sexuality, and learning how to ensure they understand the different types of perversions that are socially acceptable today? How about we concentrate on reading instead?

And the capstone, my favorite… “Teaching about Islam in the Context of Social Studies and World Religion” Okaaay. Well, actually it’s NOT okay at all!

What does the teacher’s union say about this session? “An expert panel will present information on teaching about Islam. They will share perspectives on how educators can help improve intercultural communication and well-being for immigrant and refugee students and families from Muslim countries.” Why don’t you teach these immigrants how to assimilate into American society instead? Oh right, that would make sense.

What the heck? Is Minnesota being overrun with Muslim refugees all of a sudden? Are the students going to be informed about who flew airplanes into our World Trade Center Towers on 9/11? Will they be given handouts to color, depicting Islamic suicide bombers blowing up American soldiers or innocent Israeli children? Will they receive a photograph of the Fogel family, who were butchered in their beds by Palestinian cowards? I’m guessing not.

Can someone please explain to me why our government schools are suddenly so enamored with religion and Islam in particular? I thought we didn’t talk about religion in schools. I was under the impression that the sky would fall, and cats would spontaneously explode if anyone, anywhere in Obama’s “57 states” even mentioned the concept of there being a god! No? When did this change, ‘cause I sure missed the news coverage.

So, can I infer from these reports, that prayer and the teaching of religion are once again allowed in school? Oh, could it actually be true?? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? But, who am I kidding? We all know this only pertains to the politically correct religion of that pagan moon god, and his wicked, nut-job prophet. Christianity is still relegated to the dumpster out back, thrown away with those little containers of sour milk, and leftovers from Michelle Obama’s approved school lunches.

What galls me the most about the encroaching threat of Islam into this country and into our schools is that NO ONE is saying a word about it! Church, where are you?? Put down your donuts and designer coffee at the sanctuary coffee bar, and DO something useful for once!! Lift your voices in collective outrage at the hypocritical, double standard being smeared in our face!

What’s the deal? You too busy being all touchy-feely emergent, or spitting on Israel to pay attention to what your little darlings are being taught in their government classrooms? Are you really that captivated with your stupid tennis team or golf game to bother, yet you have the gall to sit back and whine about the political system, while you sit in front of your 90 inch, flat screen TV watching Jersey Shore?

I suggest we all investigate if this outrage is occurring in our own states. If so, who’s gonna have the intestinal fortitude to do something about it? Who’s going to publicly call our leaders out for their failure to separate church and state in these instances? After all, they always frantically pummel Christians into silence by continually screeching that non-existent, so-called Constitutional rule.

By golly, if they are going to start pushing Islam on our children, then we need to demand Christianity be taught as well. After all, being tolerant and espousing diversity is the politically correct name of the game, isn’t it?

ou can reach the author at:

The Happiest Place on Earth

Like many people of my generation (the baby boomers) I grew up with Walt Disney (Uncle Walt) and Disneyland. Disneyland opened in 1955. My first memory of going there was at Christmas time when I was only three.  I remember my dad putting me on top of a mailbox on Main Street so I could watch a Disney Parade go by. Somewhere in my house is an old cardboard box with a photo of me in front of the tall Christmas Tree on Main Street.

Every Sunday night, I would watch the Wonderful World of Disney with Walt Disney in which he would showcase Disneyland, new attractions and movies based upon things he had there.  To us kids in the early 1960’s, Disneyland was absolute paradise and a rare treat. Even though it was more affordable back then, we only got to go once a year on average.  It took my family an hour to drive from our home to Anaheim and back then all you saw was 45 minutes of Orange Groves until the snowy peaks of the Matterhorn peaked out over the tops of the greenery. I always used to wonder how the Matterhorn always managed to have snow on it all year round.  Spotting the Matterhorn first became a generational game of me and my peers.

Back then we had ticket books and the E-tickets were always for THE BEST rides (that is where the term came from). In its infancy, the best rides were the Matterhorn, the Submarine ride and the Jungle Boat Cruise.  We used to wait in line for HOURS for the Jungle Boat Cruise. It was the ultimate goal of every teenage boy to earn the status of being Jungle Boat captain (and my brother in law, Steve, earned that distinction). When I turned ten, Disney changed from ticket books to a flat rate ($3.50 for the whole day back then).  I wanted to LIVE at Disneyland or at least live across the street so I could go every day. I actually still have some old ticket books and a 1962 guidebook still in pristine condition.  It took me until age 9 to get up the nerve to go on The Matterhorn.  It went a lot faster back then. Disneyland was the one place your parents could (and still can) drop you off for the entire day and know you will be safe. One of the things I ALWAYS had to have as a souvenir was the black Mickey Mouse ears with my name on it in gold thread. I always had to have them custom stitched because my name is so unusual.

It was also the dream of most children of my generation in America to stay at the Disneyland Hotel . I’m now 53 and I have yet to stay there but I did have a nice dinner at the Napa Rose this past Saturday at the Grand California. One of these days I will have to make good on that dream.

Like many other children I also felt a very special bond to Uncle Walt and actually cried quite a bit when he died.  It really was like losing a member of my family.

I have grown up with Disneyland my entire life and seen attractions come and go. One of my favorite memories is one of the first times I went to Disneyland with my husband when we were still dating.  We were riding in the Haunted Mansion and he was telling me how there used to be a guy in a suite of armor that would stand in one particular place and scare people.  I turned to him and said: “Look, I’ve been on this ride a hundred times and I've never seen a guy in a suit of armor!” No sooner were the words out of my mouth then our car swiveled sharply around and a guy in a suit of armor lunged at me. I screamed bloody murder! It was so perfect it was almost like a set up. I’m sure he had heard me and was probably laughing himself sick behind his metal visor at me.

When I was in my early 20’s I worked with a girl whose husband was in a band that played at the Tomorrow Land Terrace and one night we had the thrill of getting to go underneath the stage and see what it looked like before it rose up for their performance.

But my all time favorite thing is the fireworks and Tinkerbell. I still get chills of delight up my spine whenever I see her fly across the sky. I was there the Sunday right after 9-11 in 2001 and like many others, worried about a terrorist attack there. The fireworks that night were a tribute to America and there wasn't a dry eye around us.

For my birthday this past Saturday we went back for the first time in over five years. Losing my job, the economy and obscene price for a day (and Annual) pass had made Disneyland a very low priority and my husband and I discovered that we had really missed it.

We went to a newly redone California Adventure which now featured an entire CARS land which was really cool. We spent the entire day talking about what we had done with our daughter there when she was young. That night I got to see the Wonderful World of Color Show on the lake for the first time and my jaw literally dropped open in awe and stayed that way throughout the performance. I felt like a five year old child again; experiencing anew all the wonder and delight of being at Disneyland like it was the first time.

Do you have a favorite Disney memory? I would love to hear all about it! Post it in the comments section below.

Flight to Heaven

Probably like many of you, I am especially fascinated by stories of believers who have died and seen heaven.     Last year I read the Colton Burpo best seller "Heaven is for Real" and was blown away. I have to admit that I have become a bit jaded though.  There have been quite a few people who made the speaking and Christian television circuit a mainstay of their ministry based upon visions and experiences they have had only to be exposed later as charlatans making merchandise from the flock of God.

When I saw the video of Captain Dale Black a few days ago I was really struck by his unabashed emotions as he related his story. I think it was the first time I ever saw someone weep as they described their experience with heaven and it told me that this guy was the real deal. (Youtube video below - there are about 6 of them).

I ordered the book from Amazon and read it in a few days and was struck by the man's integrity. He waited 40 years to tell his story. Not even his wife heard about it until 2009 even though she had suspected he had had an "experience". He spent the majority of his life serving the Lord as a pilot and of late has even sold his home and business at the Lord's leading to live completely by faith. After 40 years he was given "permission" to tell his story.

This is not so much a review as it is a recommendation. This man is the real deal and his story is compelling. I  find myself envious of the relationship he has with the Lord as a result of his visit to heaven and how God has worked in his life to bring the Gospel to others. That is the focus of his book; how much God loves you, me and the lost and how He longs to touch them through us who believe.

Buy a book, win $1,000 - Contest!!!!!

Here are the rules:

  1. For each purchase of The Victor paperback from me you will be entered into the contest once.
  2. If you refer a friend to buy this book (and they say you referred them in writing to me) your name will be entered once if they buy a book and their name will be entered once per book purchase.
  3. For every review that is posted on your own blog for The Victor  I will enter your name again. 
  4. For every review that is posted on Amazon for The Victor book you purchased I will enter your name again.
  5. I will use a high tech method of choosing: slips of paper in a fishbowl which I will post on this blog.
  6. When I hit the magic # of 2,000 books purchased by 12/15/12 I will draw a name to win the $1,000 in a cashier's check.
  7. Contest ends on 12/15/12.
  8. If the goal of 2,000 books is not reached by 12/15/12 I will not be able to give out the $1,000 prize. In either case the contest will end on 12/15/12.
  9. All books have to be pre-purchased through me (NOT AMAZON or any other source) so I know who bought what and who referred who. 
  10. I can accept checks, Paypal, credit or Visa cards.  
  11. The winner will be announced on the blog after being notified by email.
  12. I will keep a regular log of the contest progress.
  13. Wouldn't you like to have $1,000 in time for Christmas?
  14. It's a GREAT read. For ages 10 through adult, both genders.
  15. Tell all your friends and post this everywhere on social media. 
To contact me personally to purchase a personally autographed paperback copy, email me at 
and put the words: PURCHASE THE VICTOR in the subject line

The Fishbowl is currently empty, let's get your name in there!
There will be smaller gifts along the way 
(Starbucks gift card, Pier One Gift Card) awarded randomly.

I will place orders for the book from the publisher in 100 increments as orders come in and ship them out to you as soon as they arrive. The cost per book is $13.99 (that is $3.00 off the cover price) + $3.00 for shipping and handling.

You can read reviews of The Victor here:

Here is just one from Cathy Bryant of Word Vessel Blogspot in her November 14, 2009 post:

"When Marlayne first contacted me about reviewing The Victor, I’m embarrassed to say I turned her down. I had already determined that I had to cut way back on book reviews in order to spend more time on my writing, and my July/August slate was already full.

But every once in a while, something about a book will resonate with me, and that’s exactly what happened in this instance. After receiving Marlayne’s interview and viewing the book trailer, I knew this was a book I had to read, so I contacted Marlayne for a review copy.

I’m sooooo glad I did. This book is not my usual read. In fact, I will even go so far to say that it’s unlike any other books I’ve seen in the inspirational market in recent years. It’s bigger and more profound. Timeless. Majestic.

Once I got into the story, I could NOT put the book down, and I read it through in one setting. With my crazy schedule, reading a book straight through is a rare event for me.

As Marlayne explained in her interview, the story is an allegory about Christ and His Bride. The prologue begins with Lucius (the antagonist–Satan) being expelled from the kingdom of Ellioth. This scene sets up the story for the rest of the book, and begins a whirlwind of activity that propels the reader for page after page.
Simply put, this is a love story about the greatest love story of all time. A story of epic proportions that reveals God’s great love for us.

Here are the things I especially loved about the book:

  • Biblically accurate (Lucius questions Eloth’s goodness and plants doubt; Lucius’ plan to woo the Bride of Christ; the betrayal of Eloth by Ardon and his wife; a faithful remnant)
  • Gorgeous cover!
  • Book design at each chapter beginning (lovely)
  • Character Names (Lucius for Satan, Eloth for God, Joshua for Jesus, Llyonesse for the Bride)
  • Great story world (Ellioth is the peaceable kingdom of God; Shiloh represents an earthly kingdom that belongs to Eloth and will be the future kingdom of his son, Joshua, but is taken over by the deception of Lucius.)
  • Beautiful language speaking ageless truth–here are some of my favorite snippets:

“Joshua beheld the utter ruination that had become his kingdom and wept.”
“There were some lone voices which contradicted his diatribes against the crown who tried to convince others that it was Lucan who was really to blame, but they became fewer in number each year and were persecuted as extremists and fanatics by the majority of those who had succumbed to Lucius’ relentless lies.”
“Their lives needn’t have come to this end: devoid of hope and empty; existing from one miserable day to the next. Had they been watchful, had they not succumbed to Lucius’ lies, it could have been so different. They were living in a hell of their own choosing.”
“Joshua listened to their screams in stony silence, his heart leaden with anguish. Nothing he might have said in his own defense would have mattered. Lucius had done his job well; they were convinced that he and his father were to blame for their misery and they were out for revenge.

This story will endure after many others are long forgotten. I would LOVE to see this book made into a movie! Thanks, Marlayne, for your patience in bringing this book to the public. I, for one, am so glad you didn’t give up.

Interview and Book Giveaway with Jill Richardson

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
Funny, considering your story of a movie making a difference, that my first real experience with God was watching Jesus Christ Superstar. (Yes, really.) I remember just weeping during the cross scene when it hit me fully that this part wasn't fiction. It really happened, and he did it for me. I had never been told that. I was thirteen and had never known the gospel. But I knew it unmistakably then. I continued to search in lots of places for God so I could know him. Finally, I met a girl when I was 16 who was a pastor's daughter. She radiated the love of God like no one I'd ever seen. I knew this was what I was searching for. I asked to go to church with her, and I've been with Jesus ever since.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
We took our girls on a mission trip to China when they were 6, 10, and 11. It was such an experience for us and them. I knew I wanted other families to have that chance. So few do things like missions together but what greater thing to do with your kids?

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
The overarching thing I want readers to always take away is that God offers them unlimited grace and resources, so they need never be afraid to become what God wants them to be.  This book? To realize that kids need to be in ministry, now, while they're growing, if we expect them to be followers of Christ when they're older. And a great way to do that is to do missions together.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
The stories of our trip because I got to relive them and process their impact on my kids.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
My life verse is 2 cor 12.9, “'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” and the verse on my website is Romans 8.15 “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are.”

I love that, because it says exactly what I want to tell people—don't live in fear! If you know who he is, you'll know what your life is supposed to be.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Not sure if it's comfort food, but I love chocolate covered marzipan!

What are your hobbies other than writing?
Musical theater (performing and directing), gardening, scrapbooking, reading, kayaking

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It amazes me how he tells this fascinating story and yet also talks about such deep theological and human questions. He addresses questions people weren't even asking yet, and it's all there. Plus, I'm character driven, so the complex characters intrigue me. I could keep reading and digging forever. He still manages to make it a page-turner!

Favorite childhood book?
Hmmm. So many. My sister always talks about how she could never get me to play because I was always reading. Little House books, I suppose and Ferdinand the Bull. Even then, I knew I loved the different underdog.

Have you ever had a mentor when you were first starting out? Who was it and how did they encourage you?
I had a woman who was an Aglow editor in my first writer's group. She wasn't afraid to tell me when something stunk. I learned a lot from her critique and honesty. We're too nice in Christian writer's groups. I'd far rather be told what needs to improve than have to wonder why I wasn't selling anything. Tell me the truth! I want to get better. 

Don't Forget to Pack the Kids: Short-Term Missions for Your Whole Family-

Interview and book Giveaway with Cathy Bryant

I'm so pleased to be able to feature Cathy Bryant on my blog today. Cathy and I go back a few years. She gave me one of my first (and best) reviews of my first book, The Victor. To say that I was walking on clouds after her review would have been an understatement. Cathy is a dear friend, I only wish we weren't separated by several states so I could hug her neck! If ever I'm in Texas she will be one of the first people I want to meet!  In addition to having a wonderful blog, Cathy has also written several Contemporary Romance Fiction Novels that gently weave in her faith.

Tell us first how you came to faith in Jesus. I love starting out with this question because although I write many “stories,” this is my REAL story. Without this story, my life would be without purpose. I was saved at the age of twelve. Though I had been to church all my life and even “walked the aisle,” that year at church camp was when I truly accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. Though salvation is instantaneous, it is also something we work out with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). That part of the journey for me meant coming to grips with my perfectionism and personal goodness, which is part of the basis for my latest book, The Way of GraceI've always tried to be a “good girl,” to do the right thing, as though I could somehow earn my way into God’s grace and His Kingdom. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and patience! Though I still struggle with perfectionism from time to time, I’m so grateful my salvation doesn't depend on me or my “good” works!

Where did you get the idea for your latest book? The idea for The Way of Grace first came to me one day when I was out for a walk. Even though I was working on book two in the Miller’s Creek Novels at the time, I heard this prim and proper voice in my head saying, “Tyler, Dent, and Snodgrass. Hold please.” Believe it or not, that weird line of dialogue was the first snippet of an idea for the third book. Fiction writers are trained to ask “What if?” So the next step in the story planning was to ask: “What if a prim and proper perfectionist who has a ‘perfect’ plan for her ‘perfect’ life is confronted by a disheveled free spirit who challenges the concept of personal goodness and human perfection?” From there the story took off, and as is usually the case, God prompted me to use my personal struggle with perfection as the spiritual theme of the book.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular? I want them to realize that grace isn’t something we earn. In fact, if we could earn it, it wouldn’t be grace at all. I also hope they come to understand the vastness of God’s grace. It’s not just a drip here and a drop there. It’s an ocean—wave upon wave of divine favor—a gift He bestows because of His great love for us. In addition, I want readers to recognize the costliness of grace. God’s grace cost God and Jesus a great deal; and as ambassadors of His grace, it will sometimes be costly for us as well.

What is your favorite Bible verse? I have lots of favorites, but the ones that became especially real to me during the writing of The Way of Grace are Romans 5:1-2: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…” and 2 Corinthians 5:21: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

How does your faith play into your writing? Without Christ, my writing is pointless. My desire continues to be to write heart-stirring stories about God’s unchanging grace. God calls us to be light to a dark world, so when I get a bad review because my writing shows my faith, I don’t take it as an insult. I take it as the highest compliment anyone could give me.

Cathy is the author of the Miller’s Creek Novels—Texas Roads, A Path Less Traveled, and The Way of Grace. Her desire is to write heart-stirring stories about God’s life-changing grace. Though Texas-born, she currently resides in the beautiful Ozark mountains of northwest Arkansas with her husband of thirty years and near the world’s cutest grandson. 

You can learn more about her and her books at and

Cathy has graciously offered to gift one blog follower who leaves a comment a free e-copy of her latest book.

The books are available in print and digital format. Here are the eBook links at Amazon:

To purchase Texas Roads (Book 1 in the Miller's Creek novels) on Amazon: CLICK HERE
To purchase A Path Less Traveled (Book 2) on Amazon: CLICK HERE

To purchase The Way of Grace (Book 3): CLICK HERE