Places In My Heart by Sheryl Lister

Please join author Sheryl Lister as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary Book Tours and her new release Places In My Heart, Pre Order Blitz and Contest on September 15, 2016.

CONTEST INSTRUCTIONS

In celebration of Sheryl’s upcoming release, Places In My Heart, she’s giving away (5) five prizes: (4) four mini-swag packs and (1) one Grand Prize of a Reader Lovers Basket, including a Kindle Fire and $25 Amazon gift card. 


Pre-order your copy: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OSFA3h

Once you’ve ordered, enter the contest here: http://sheryllister.com/contest




This contest is open to US only through September 30, 2016. 


Publication Date:  Oct 1, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN-10: 0373864701
ISBN-13: 978-0373864706



About The Book

Omar Drummond is a pro football superstar with a body that’s a pure work of art. But Morgan Gray is forbidden to act on their chemistry, or repeat their impulsive kiss. Proving her worth as a sports agent means securing the notorious celebrity as a client, not a lover. Yet between flowers, sweet notes and heady hotel interludes, Omar is shamelessly seducing her…

Other agents—and exes—have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.


About The Author


Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award and named BRAB’s 2015 Best New Author. When she’s not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.

Excerpt

Omar knew he had taken a risk showing up at Morgan’s office, but he was desperate. It had taken a lot to persuade Malcolm to share his sister’s information, especially since Omar had declined to say what had happened between them. He toyed with calling first, but changed his mind because he didn’t want to chance her refusing to see him. The woman seated outside Morgan’s office, whom he assumed was the assistant, greeted him with a wide smile and an exaggerated sway of her hips as she led him to the office. Omar ignored the not-so-subtle brush of her breasts against his arm when she turned to leave. In his peripheral vision, he noticed the slight rise in Morgan’s eyebrow and knew she’d seen it, too. He waited until the woman closed the door before turning to face Morgan.
Morgan folded her arms. “What are you doing here?”

“Hello to you, too,” he said.
An embarrassed expression crossed her face. “Sorry. Have a seat.”
Omar took the chair opposite her desk. “I apologize for stopping by without calling, but I figured you wouldn’t see me otherwise.”
“You were probably right. How do you know I won’t call security to throw you out now?”
“I don’t, but I’m counting on your love of football to work in my favor.” They engaged in a stare-down for several seconds until she looked away first.
“How did you know where I worked?”
“Malcolm.” She frowned and he added, “If it’s any consolation, he adamantly refused to divulge your home address.”
“Well, maybe I won’t kill him, after all.”
He chuckled.
“Since you went through all this trouble, I guess I can spare you five minutes.”
Omar knew the mention of football would rouse her curiosity. “I’d like to talk to you about a business proposition.”
“What does that have to do with football?”
“My contract is up for renewal in six weeks and—”
“Don’t you have an agent? If memory serves me correctly, you have one of the best agents around.”
“Things aren’t always as they seem.”
She sat up straight. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying it’s time for a change, and I’d like you to negotiate my upcoming contract. You’re an attorney and, according to your brother, you know football like you’ve played it all your life.”
Her eyes lit up and her mouth fell open. “Are you serious? Wait a minute.” She sat back again and angled her head. “What about your current agent? Did he dump you or something?”
Omar sighed. “No.” There was more to it, but he would only tell her if she agreed to represent him.
Morgan narrowed her eyes. “There are dozens of sports agents out there, and I’m certain any one of them would be happy to take you on, especially with your numbers from last year. Yet you’re in my office.”

He smiled. “You checked my stats? So, you’re admitting I’ve got game?”
A rush of color darkened her face. “Why me?” she asked, ignoring his questions.
“You want to be an agent, and I need one.” He leaned forward and whispered, “And I know you passed the sport’s agent certification test. It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”
“On second thought, I am going to kill Malcolm,” she muttered.
“I need your help, Morgan. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
“I have to think about this.” She turned slightly in her chair and stared out the window, and then back at him. “You realize I already have a job. And I’m working on a case.”
Omar nodded. “I understand, and I have no problems working around your schedule.”
“Even on weekends or late evenings.”
“Anytime.”
“I see.” She went back to staring out the window.
He could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. She bit down on her lip, drawing his attention and reminding him how much he enjoyed kissing her.

Finally she angled her head his direction. “I’ll agree on one condition.”
“What’s that?”
“You keep your hands and lips to yourself. No more kisses.”
Omar groaned inwardly. There was no way he could go without kissing her. In fact, it had been the first thing on his mind from the moment he saw her today. “Morgan—”
“No. More. Kisses,” she repeated.





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Someone Has to Die by Jim Baton

Someone Has to Die

About the Book

In the midst of a global clash between international terrorism and an American congressman’s peacemaking effort, a poor Muslim-majority neighborhood in Indonesia holds the keys to victory. While some in the neighborhood are making efforts to understand the truth behind the Muslim-Christian divide and build new bridges across it, others are determined to perpetuate and intensify the hatred that has plagued the region for years.

When a tragedy reveals an unexpected villain, it will be up to two unlikely heroes to set aside their differences and save the day. What will it take to keep hope alive? And who will be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of peace?
This intense thriller will encourage you to reexamine your understanding of love and forgiveness, and reconsider what it means to be a true peacemaker.

Book Excerpt

Excerpt from SOMEONE HAS TO DIE

 

Umar wiped his mouth on his sleeve and met Saifullah’s eyes. “It’s time.”

“It’s time for what?” Saifullah asked cautiously.

“It’s time for redemption.”

Could it really be? After over a year of hiding in Moro, hiding from his failure, could his day of redemption finally be here? No one at the camp but Umar knew. But he knew.

“Talk to me.”

“In four months’ time there will be an event in Jakarta. An American Congressman, a Christian, will be meeting with that swine traitor Ramadani. Other foreign diplomats are likely to be present. And hear this—the event will be held in the very building of your previous…disappointment.”

Failure. Just say it, Umar. My previous failure.

“Am I in charge of the operation?”

“Yes, we have a sleeper in place, and a safe house with all the…necessities. All you have to do is coordinate the mission and recruit the “bride.”

“This isn’t much time.”

“I know, but because of the location, this is too good a chance for you to miss. We just got word on this today, and I’ve already arranged a pump boat to standby for you in South Mindanao. Fifteen hours to Sangihe, on to North Sulawesi, and by the end of this week you’ll be recruiting a “bride” already. My suggestion is you recruit in Sulawesi—Java is too hot right now. Densus 88 has spies everywhere. Bring in someone from outside Java and they’ll attract less suspicion. Of course all this I’ve arranged assuming you’ll say yes.”

“Thanks, Umar. I’ve waited a long time for this.”

“Redemption, my friend.”

“Redemption.”

“Al-jihad sabiluna.”

“Al-jihad sabiluna.”

About the Author

Jim Baton (pen name) has spent the last 20 years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray.  His real name and photo can’t be displayed on this site to protect his identity from the extremist groups where he lives out his faith. Learn more at his website.

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DISCLOSURE: SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE PAGE ABOVE MAY BE “AFFILIATE LINKS.” THIS MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE ITEM, WE WILL RECEIVE AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION. WE ARE DISCLOSING THIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING.”

Beyond the Face of the Movies by D. C. Lassiter


Please join author D. C. Lassiter as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary and her new release Beyond The Face Of The Movies, from Sept 1-30, 2016.

Publication Date: July 7, 2016

Paperback & E-Book: 200 pages

Publisher: Pneuma Springs Publishing

ISBN-10: 1782284168

ISBN-13: 978-1782284161

Genre: Non-Fiction, Christian Living



About the Author



D.C. Lassiter resides in the Pennsylvania area and is a student of God’s word. After being called from a life of modeling and singing, she is now heading to Lancaster Bible College to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Theology & Biblical Studies with a minor in Communications. D.C. Lassiter is single and worships at Blue Route Vineyard Community Church. 

She also writes on her blog as well as various online Christian magazines and counsels women struggling with separation or divorce. You can also find her engaging with her listeners, on the radio, every Sunday as she hosts Dovetales from 2:30-3:30 pm eastern time. Through guests willing to share what the Holy Spirit has done in and for their lives, D.C. Lassiter has an opportunity to encourage many towards a personal relationship with the Godhead which is for everyone: all nationalities, all races, all ages and all backgrounds.
About The Book



Have you ever wondered why after watching a movie you are left with a residue of emotions? Perhaps after the credits have rolled off of your screen, you’ve experienced a sense of peace, empowerment, exhilaration, fear or maybe a better understanding of how to deal with a personal issue you’ve struggled with.

Whether we are a believer in God or not, everyone will come to a place where the choices they’ve made will lead them to asking themselves, “How did I get here?” And as we run from co-workers and then to friends and family pleading for an answer as to how it all went so wrong, we will still have to choose, in the end, which path we’ll take. Don’t be fooled, because once you decide it is you and only you who will ultimately have to live those choices out.

Beyond the Face of the Movies will show you at heart just how similar we all are and whether you see your life resembling a Hollywood movie or a real life biblical character you will discover, underneath all the glitz and the glam, that people are still the same when it comes to making mistakes.

Many times God challenges us to go deeper than the surface of the movie, in hope that we will discover principles that can be gleaned from beneath the excitement and buzz of the film.

By juxtaposing Hollywood movies and biblical characters, the author connects the dots for the reader so that they are guided through fundamental biblical truths in order to better understand and navigate through their own life challenges on a daily basis.

What does Bruce Almighty have in common with the biblical Samson? What is Prophet Jonah doing in the Wizard of Oz instead of going down to Nineveh? Find out in this fun and feisty easy-to-read book, and while you are at it – take the time to look beyond the surface of the movie and you will sense God speaking to you in encouraging, practical and at times convicting ways.

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Loyal by Yasmin Shiraz


Virtual Book Tour,  Loyal, a Young Adult Novel

Releasing August 30, 2016

About The Author

Yasmin Shiraz is an author, filmmaker, speaker and activist. She uses her passion for life to fuel her books, documentaries, speaking engagements and social activities. She’s spoken at over 100 colleges, universities, middle schools and high schools as well as non-profit organizations. 

She’s an award winning Writer/ Director and enjoys producing work on youth and community issues. By day, she’s the President of Still Eye Rise Media and runs the Yasmin Shiraz website.


About The Book
When a teen girl discovers her brother has been shot, she learns about firsthand about loyalty. Should her brother be more loyal to her or the gang members he’s so eager to impress?



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He’s Still Working Miracles: Daring To Ask God for the Impossible by Dana Rongione

Hes Still Working Miracles

About the Book

What if you could replace your fear with courage, your doubts with faith and your questions with proclamations of God’s goodness? What if someone could take you on a guided tour of God’s provision and faithfulness to His children? How would your life change if you dared to ask God for the impossible? Christian author, Dana Rongione, wants to challenge you to do just that.

Each chapter of He’s Still Working Miracles highlights a story in the New Testament where an ordinary person met an extraordinary God and gives application of how these encounters relate to your own life and circumstances. You are not alone in your struggles.

You don’t have to face your heartaches alone. Call out to the One who cares. The One who can make a difference. The one and only God of possibilities.

In this book, you will:

  • Learn to identify miracles in your own life.
  • Understand how to apply the principles of Biblical miracles to specific circumstances that the Bible doesn’t address.
  • Discover compelling reasons why keeping the faith is so difficult, yet imperative.
  • Be encouraged and inspired to stay on course with God for years to come.
  • Glean valuable insight from each story’s unfolding and conclusion.
  • Learn how to pray and accept God’s will in every situation.
  • Find the answer to the question, “Does God still work miracles?”

It’s time to lay your questions and doubts to rest. The God of yesterday is the God of today. He is still watching. He is still working. And He is still doing miracles.

Book Excerpt

Delight in the Darkness

At six o’clock this morning, I was awakened by the sound of not one or two, but an entire choir of whippoorwills. (If you’ve never heard a whippoorwill, it sounds a lot like an owl on steroids.) From the sound of it, the ensemble was directly outside my bedroom window. One would call out, and the others would answer. At first, I felt privileged to listen to the melodic conversation, but when it went on and on, I became agitated. It was, after all, only six o’clock in the morning, and Jason hadn’t gotten home from work until after two o’clock. I’m no math whiz, but I can tell you right now that that amount of sleep is not enough for me.

For nearly half an hour I listened to the sound of the whippoorwills. At one point, I wanted to open my window and scream into the darkness, “This is not the time for choir practice!” Thankfully, they quieted down before I did so.

Later on, after I had time to wake up and shake off my grumbles, I realized how foolish my behavior and attitude had been. What right did I have to begrudge the birds their song simply because I wasn’t ready to get out of bed yet? In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had been wrong, not only in my attitude but also in the words that nearly tumbled from my mouth.

Anytime is a good time for choir practice!

The whippoorwills were simply carrying out the command issued over and over again in the Bible—sing unto the Lord. They had something to say, and they didn’t hold back. They had a song in their hearts, so they let it fly. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Isn’t that what the Bible instructs? Don’t we have something worth singing about?

Now I understand that some people are more prone to sing than others. I also understand that some people enjoy singing while those around them wished sincerely that they didn’t. I wouldn’t say these people are tone deaf, but their song can only be described as a joyful noise. But you know what? That’s okay. God would rather hear that joyful noise than to see a saint without a song. He longs to hear our praise, and He deserves our worship!

As we abide in Christ, trust Him, and depend on His grace, we always have something to sing about. – Warren Wiersbe, Meet Yourself in the Psalms

Paul and Silas understood that. Acts 16:25 tells us, And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. Exhausted, wounded and weary, the missionaries found delight in the darkness of the dungeon. They didn’t throw a pity party. They didn’t complain or contemplate defeat. No, they prayed and sang.

And I don’t believe their song was “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.”

In fact, I believe their song might have closely resembled “Praise You in This Storm” or “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Whatever their song, it was not a soothing humming. The Bible says it was loud enough that all the prisoners heard. (We can only hope the duo were not in the “joyful noise club,” lest the other prisoners think the midnight serenade was part of their punishment.)

Corrie ten Boom once stated, “When you’re covered by His wings, it can get pretty dark.” Yes, in His wings there is safety, but that doesn’t mean there will be no darkness. Nevertheless, like Paul and Silas, we, too, can find delight in our dungeons of darkness.

Dana Rongione

 

About the Author

Dana Rongione is the author of several Christian books, including the highly-praised Giggles and Grace devotional series for women.  A dedicated wife and doggie “mom,” Dana lives in Greenville, SC, where she spends her days writing and reaching out to the hurting and discouraged.  Connect with her at her website and be sure to sign up for her daily devotions.

 

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DISCLOSURE: SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE PAGE ABOVE MAY BE “AFFILIATE LINKS.” THIS MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE ITEM, WE WILL RECEIVE AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION. WE ARE DISCLOSING THIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING.”

Get Organized: find your keys and figure out life by Dee Bentley

Get Organized

About the Book

While other guides present quaint or complicated methods, this guide is practical, easy to use, and delves into the heart as well as closets. Suitable as an all-in-one family management guide for the thoughtful woman, who is looking for direction and a deeper walk with God.

The author began a triple bottom line business using the organizational concepts in this book: financially responsible, caring for the environment through green practices such as re-purposing items, and being a good citizen of the world by giving to those in need and helping women in developing countries.

Follow this guide to achieve a well run home and explore suggestions to help you discover your next step.

Book Excerpt

It Worked For Me — It Can Work for You

Have you ever noticed that feeling disorganized usually goes along with a sense of aimlessness in life? I was at that sticky place in my life. I kept thinking, “If I could only get the house organized again, that would help me figure out the next step.” It worked. And I discovered how spiritual truth was related to areas of my home. How did I get stuck?

After my husband and I began a family, we felt a strong desire to homeschool our children. We jumped in and learned everything we could. Once we began, I gave it my all and we embraced the lifestyle. Seven years later, our youngest was born. When he was ten years old, he decided he wanted to attend school since he was lonely. His older siblings were moved out by then, which was also a difficult transition for me.

I flopped around for a while furthering my education and working, hoping to find a place I fit. Nothing seemed right. After two years, I seriously considered starting my own business, but what? I decided to get my house into shape. Bit by bit, as I organized my own home to reflect our life changes, a bright ribbon appeared, connecting each portion of my life. Suddenly, a plan became obvious. I wondered if this strategy could work for others?

There are many guides on organizing available, but organizing one’s home and life works best when we do the hard work of relating our inner homes to our outer: untangling the past, accepting the present, learning new systems, and going into the future confident that we are on the right path.

I recommend working through the book while you work through your home and heart. Every chapter has suggestions gained from twenty years of organizing in workplaces, within volunteer roles, my own home, and homes of others. At
the end of each chapter you’ll find a Heart Check section to help you examine life as related to areas in the home, a Prayer, and finally a Resources & Actions section.

While I recommend books throughout, most should be available through public libraries or as ebooks; alternatively, you could search similar topics on the Web. The Bible readings are available online at Bible Gateway. Keep a notebook handy as journaling will help you personalize the process. For simplicity, throughout the book I refer to children as either he or she, though sections may apply to both. I’ve also chosen to use Canadian spelling and hope it
will not be distracting.

Inside each of us is a desire to do meaningful work. God designed each of us for specific work yet at times we lose our way. When we get stuck, we should do our best to get up, shake off hopelessness, and do the work in front of us. There we will find meaning in the menial and hope for the future.

heart check

Are you up for the challenge of organizing your home? Are you tired of your life and ready for change?

My prayer for you–

Father God,
Please meet (dear reader) and help her through this journey. I thank You that You see her, and know all the hurts, joys and disappointments shebs been through. Wrap Your arms around her and draw her close to you. Give her Your
strength and bring her to a time of healing, refreshing, and new beginnings. You designed her with a special purpose in mind. I know and trust that as she is faithful to You, You will reveal Yourself and Your purpose to her.
Amen

resources & actions

Read Psalm 139
Mediate on the psalm and journal your thoughts and feelings.

 

Dee Bentley

About the Author

Dee Bentley is a life-long writer and organizer. Her love of story began with picture books, and she’s written her way through personal struggles and into many periodicals, including Alberta newspapers, national magazines, and North America wide journals. She was a freelance writer/columnist for two decades, and has recently been published in a literary magazine in short story and poetry. Her first picture book is due to be released fall 2017. She grew up in southern Ontario, but has made Alberta her home for over 30 years, loving the mountains, the northern forest, the badlands, the cities, and all the great coffee spots.

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DISCLOSURE: SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE PAGE ABOVE MAY BE “AFFILIATE LINKS.” THIS MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE ITEM, WE WILL RECEIVE AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION. WE ARE DISCLOSING THIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING.”

The French Collection by Kim Louise Clarke

The French Collection

 

About the Book

In this series of devotions, the reader travels through Paris with the author on her vacation and her journey of faith.

Six days are spent exploring some of the city’s lesser known sites, in anticipation of meeting up with her daughter for another three days of sightseeing.  Together reader and author become familiar with the fascinating history and culture of the city of Paris.

Certain moments stand out above all others from the vacation.  They are more intense, or more amusing, sometimes more embarrassing, or even more fearful.  Kim has written about these moments, developed them around the sights and history of Paris, wrapped them in Scripture and turned them into The French Collection.

 

Book Excerpt

From Chapter One – Stepping Out in Bijou

My mom used to say that a vacation that started off badly would be a great trip. I never took this seriously, and certainly never purposefully attempted to do something foolish before a trip if nothing bad had yet happened. I also do not remember her saying this after she became a

Christian, and not surprisingly, I can’t find any Scripture to substantiate this idea.

It was a few days before I flew to Paris, and my feet were resting comfortably in bubbling, silky warm waters: I had finally used my gift certificate for a pedicure. From the wide selection of colours, I chose a deep pink called ‘Bijou’, which is French for ‘jewel’. My silky smooth feet would soon be strolling around the exotic streets of Paris.

With a sense of enchantment, I stepped back out into the shopping mall but the feeling of specialness quickly began to fade as the tinges of a migraine that had been lurking around the back of my head grew painfully obvious.

I took meds but they proved ineffective and, as I passed a few stores, every movement emphasized the headache’s onset. I began to feel extremely ill. While I made my way over to one of the comfortable chairs clustered throughout the mall, I dug out my cell phone to tell my husband that I didn’t think I could drive home. A prisoner now in my favourite mall, I sank low in the huge chair, convinced I’d either pass out or vomit if I made any attempt to get up. Relentless mall noise whirled around me from all directions, and time crawled forward in slow motion.

What relief I felt when Ian’s voice came into the mix, and what a sense of gratitude that he had dropped everything to rescue me! I was unsure about my physical stability, so Ian stepped into a nearby store to ask for a plastic bag. After a few moments, I moved to get out of the chair.

How life’s situations can change so quickly. One moment I’m a lady exiting an expensive salon; the next, I’m a crumpled heap in a chair, vomiting into a bag.

            I can’t go to Paris. How am I going to manage on my own for six days, when I can’t even get home by myself from the mall?

Later, near midnight, with my headache well under control, we returned to the mall to retrieve my lonely car. We had no problem finding it on the deserted field of asphalt.

Most of the time, my migraines are manageable. It’s rare to have such a rapid descent into the pain with nothing able to ease it. Deep down, I knew nothing could stop me from going to Paris. Nothing could hold me back from almost a full week on my own in the warm August sun, seeing whatever I chose, all at my own pace. Topping it off would be the most wonderful highlight: meeting up with my daughter, Hannah, and touring around Paris with her for another three days. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame were on our list to explore together. This freed me up to visit some of the lesser known historical places in Paris on my own, so I threw myself into the research about places to seek out. Being on my own was usually not a problem, but I really didn’t like the idea of being alone and ill. I brushed up on many French phrases, but I hadn’t yet worked out, “Can you please help me? I think I’m going to be sick.”

The next day, feeling tired but better, I went over my migraine medication with my doctor. It gave me a certain peace of mind and more confidence physically. Of course I could have thought back to my mother’s old adage and taken some comfort in considering that, since my trip had the markings of a bad start, a great vacation awaited me—but I’m not superstitious so there was no comfort there.

Having been a Christian for more than thirty-five years, I knew that real comfort lay in knowing God would be with me at every step. Scripture verses came to my mind that promised God’s presence. These were promises meant to be claimed, meant to comfort, like Jesus’ promise to be with us “always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

But I didn’t feel comforted, despite my inner theological voice saying, “Of course, God is always with you. You’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit.” I desired a special sense of God’s presence. I felt oddly insecure and wanted to feel assured that God would be with me in Paris, but that didn’t happen.

I told myself to get a grip. My travels were not to a country torn apart by civil war. I didn’t have to pack my mosquito net and malaria pills to join up with a tropical mission team. My path wasn’t the sacrificial kind where one might think a Christian would require a special sense of God’s presence.

What reassurances of God did the average tourist need? There was nothing heroic about the path of a person fully intent on sitting at outdoor cafes in Paris, visiting fine museums, buying a lovely scarf or two. I would be just another tourist like millions of others, with Euros, credit cards and a return ticket home.

I was fairly sure I wouldn’t have another migraine episode, and I didn’t believe that I would pass out on the banks of the Seine. But then I started to imagine myself passing out on the banks of the Seine. I also saw myself vomiting and collapsing on a park bench far away from my hotel. Being a short, slight-of-frame, middle-aged woman on iron supplements, I wondered if I’d even be noticed if I did collapse.

Then I realized the heart of the problem. I was assured about God’s presence, in the sense that He would be somewhere in my vicinity. But even after so many years, I doubted that He would actually be close to me personally. I doubted His loving care for me. I doubted my importance to Him.

But I had to believe that God would be as close to me as He would be to any of His children, that God travels alongside the vacationer. He wouldn’t dismiss me or forget about me while I went on a holiday where it appeared that I wouldn’t be doing much spiritually, as if He would be back in touch with me upon my return. Blessings are not suspended until we’re back to work, back to ministry, back to what some call real life. God is the God of all of our times, the God of all moments. He has met me in the darkest times of my life and I needed to believe He would be equally with me in the brightest times. He is the God of the good and the exciting, not only our pain and sorrow. I need such a God, because when fun opportunities come along in life, I want to enjoy them. I don’t want fear, worry or guilt to dampen those joyful times.

Any reassurance I wanted had to be by faith, believing God saw me as important. I knew that wherever I went in the world, even if it was only across the street, desiring God’s presence was okay. He promises His constant presence. And constantly is how often I need Him. I had to believe and start packing.

Kim Clarke

About the Author

Kim Louise Clarke became interested in writing in 2010, challenging herself to write a mystery novel, which today still remains in draft form.  She finds writing creative non-fiction to be her niche, and several of her essays and devotionals have been published.  The French Collection is her first book, which she published after the manuscript was shortlisted in the 2015 Canadian Women’s Journey of Faith Contest. Kim lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and they have two adult children. She is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and has a Bachelor of Religious Education Degree from Prairie College (Prairie Bible Institute). Visit her website.

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