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Archive for Interviews


Interview with Alli Worthington

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What inspired your book, The Year of Living Happy?

My inspiration for the Year of Living Happy didn’t come from any one thing, but more from the journey I’ve been on over the last five years.

Back in 2014, I realized I needed to break out of my own crazy busy lifestyle so I could hear God and live out His purpose for me in a new way. I shared these stories and the lessons I learned in Breaking Busy.

After that, my husband and I went through one of the most challenging season of our lives, and I learned how to fight fear, wrestle worry, and overcome anxiety and shared those stories and insights in Fierce Faith. It was an especially difficult time for us, but in the midst of that crisis God strengthened me, built my character, and taught me in a very real way to value what is truly important.

It was during these seasons of growth, God put the word “Happiness’ was on my heart. I spent a year diving into both the truth of scripture about happiness and modern research that shows what habits, choices, and thoughts bring real and lasting happiness to our lives. All that I learned from those difficult seasons, along with the truth I found in God’s Word became The Year of Living Happy.


What is one thing that women can do daily to help them live happy?

Scripture and research teaches that practicing gratitude directly relates to us living happier lives. So of course that’s the first thing every woman should do in her daily life. But another really practical idea is something I call delegating the drudgery. And modern research backs me up on this. Research has shown that one way people can increase their happiness in their daily life by hiring people to do the tasks that they don’t like to do. In other words, money can’t buy happiness, but using your money to hire a housekeeper actually can.

Of course we don’t all have lots of disposable income, so we have to be creative in how we delegate the drudgery. In our house our older sons mow the lawn, do the laundry, and load and unload the dishwasher. Another way is bartering tasks with other people. Maybe you are an amazing graphic designer, but coding websites makes you want to poke your eye out. You can trade the services that you don’t like to do with someone else that loves to do those things and needs the service that you provide.

Delegation is a key habit that will increase our day-to-day happiness. So look for ways in your day-to-day life to take those things off your plate that you don’t enjoy doing. Then you’ll be able to focus on the things that you are called to do, the things that you love to do, and the things that make you happiest.


How did you learn to turn off “mommy guilt” in order to balance life better?

Because I have five sons ages 10, 12, 14, 17, 20 I have a unique perspective on motherhood. With some of the kids, I’m still in the middle of it, and with others I have gone from more of a disciplinarian roll to a coaching role. What I’ve realized over the years is that we, as mothers, tend to be approximately 1,000,000,000 times harder on ourselves than we need to be.

From the moment that tiny child is put in our arms, our sense of responsibility as well as the guilt over not being perfect goes through the roof.

What I have learned through the years is that our kids need quality time, love, discipline, encouragement, and coaching. There is more than enough time in every day to give them those things and still do the things that make us happy, healthy individuals. Read More→

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An Interview with Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall, Authors of As the Tide Comes In

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Tell us about your new novel, As the Tide Comes In.

Cindy: As the Tide Comes In is a journey through loss and renewal set in a gorgeous, unique location. Tara Abbot is a young woman who has set everything aside in order to raise her half-brothers to adulthood. But when tragedy strikes, she’s floundering and lost like a rowboat in a squall. But God’s love endures, even through the worst of storms. She encounters a spunky group of life-long friends, as well as a young man who stirs something inside of her that she’s never experienced before.


You have an incredible following of dedicated readers of your Amish fiction. What inspired you to venture into Southern fiction?

Cindy: I love the Amish setting. I’ve written over 20 novels in that setting, and I’ll continue to write Amish books. But since I live in the South, my creativity has been asking for a while to be let loose in my own stomping grounds. Southern fiction feels very homey, a world in which I dwell in real-life.


With your daughter-in-law Erin Woodsmall co-authoring As the Tide Comes In as well as a couple other titles with you, can you tell us what it has been like working as a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law team?


Cindy: It’s been rejuvenating, like opening the windows at the end of winter and welcoming the fresh spring air. Erin has helped me behind the scenes for a lot of years, but to dive into a story as a writing team has been completely different. The great thing about writing as a team is that each person brings something special to the table. We know different things about life, loss, and love, and we’ve navigated through life as a family for 12 years, so we can rely on each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses, both on page and off.  

Erin: It’s a lot of fun! I’ve always loved reading and making up stories, but for the first time I’ve been able to use these skills for something tangible. Cindy is so skilled at her craft of writing, and she has this wonderful intuition about shaping stories. She can really create juicy conflict and ultra-romantic scenes, no explicitness needed! I learn something new every day.



As the Tide Comes In tells the story of Tara Abbott, a woman who has suffered an unthinkable loss. The Glynn Girls—a group of eccentric fifty-somethingfifty-something women who live on St. Simons Island—take her in as their own. What message do you hope readers glean from the support they offer Tara?

Since the novel’s conception, we liked exploring the difference of helping in a clean, hands-off way verses getting “dirty” and uncomfortable. It’s a great thing to donate to our churches and give to charities and to spend time helping teens or elderly and then return home. But can we muster the courage to really minister to those who pull us out of our comfort zone? Jesus was all in. To Him it didn’t matter who someone was. He ate with sinners and ministered to the “unclean” of the day. How can we apply that to modern life? It’s not easy!


How can readers who have also experienced painful losses find encouragement and hope in Tara’s story?

If we live long enough, we’ll all experience great loss. It’s a certainty. But God offers us the ultimate hope and mercy. We know we will see our loved ones again in heaven, and that as long as we’re alive, He has plans for us here on earth. Life is precious, unpredictable, and but a breath in comparison to the grandness of all time. So let’s breathe it.

An excerpt:

Thoughts from Gavin: “…if life didn’t keep on keeping on, people meant to be born wouldn’t be. So we take our losses with our gains and let love bring us joy and break our hearts.”


What can you tell us about what you’re working on next?

Right now we’re working on two Amish books: first, we’re writing a follow-up Christmas novella to this October’s release, The Christmas Remedy. The next novella is tentatively titled A Restoring Nativity, and it’s a romance for a young Amish woman who has many dreams and aspirations, and none of it includes a man. A unique aspect to this new work is readers will meet a brother and sister who are in need of refuge, and readers will learn facets of the Swartzentruber Amish life. This novella will release in October 2019.

We’re also working on a stand-alone Amish novel tentatively titled His Debt to Pay. In this story a married couple grapples with a secret that threatens to undo their family. We’re very excited about this unique storyline that asks the question: Can forgiveness release every prisoner?

Categories : Interviews, Jill's Blog
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AuthorPhoto_SunnyLeeAn Interview with Sunny Lee

What do you think the most important takeaway from this book is?

The important takeaway from the book is that Money Masters and Money Monsters are created through what they’re taught. Our children are the most common money monsters and their parents are often their creators. Like most skills in life, when our children are taught money skills early, they can become Money Masters who can take charge of their finances and life. In my book, I will show you the seven simple habits that I taught my sons in order to make them Money Masters. Instead of depending on me to give money to them and tell them what to do, my sons know how to earn, save, give and invest money for their future. It’s like a teaching a man to fish instead of simply giving him a fish. When a man is taught this skill, he can eat for lifetime.


BookCover_SunnyLeeHow has your experience as a financial adviser changed the way you look at money?

Money is essential to a safe, comfortable life, and money is good and useful. It is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is. In my profession, I’ve met many generous multi-millionaires who love giving and sharing. However, I’ve also met many people whose ultimate goal in their lives is to make lots of money and get rich. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want, and it’s very dangerous to be in that kind of state of mind. We reap what we sow, whether good or bad, and that’s the law of sowing and reaping.


As a financial adviser, what are the biggest mistakes people make when creating a financial plan, and how would you recommend avoiding it?

The biggest mistake people often make is not making any plans at all for their financial future, and they keep their fingers crossed wishing and hoping that they will be fine. However, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” as Benjamin Franklin said. You can’t be exempt from life being life. Life happens all the time no matter who you are or how well you are prepared. Rain falls on everybody, so you need to have a good financial plan if you want to have a good life.

Another mistake many people often make when they create a financial plan is that they don’t ask for help nor seek advice from financial professionals in the process. Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something. Creating a financial plan is like building a house – if you don’t lay a solid foundation first, the house will collapse. It’s like a building a house on the sand instead of rock. A good financial plan requires both short-term and long-term goals as well as many detailed action plans to reach those goals. It also requires commitment and persistence until you get the job done. Having a long-term financial plan is like running a marathon. You need to be on the racetrack no matter what happens along the way until you finish the race. In the same way, your financial game is not over until your life is over, so don’t make permanent financial decisions based on temporary events in life, and don’t try to make a right plan but make a plan first and make it right.

Read More→


Excerpt from Play with Fire by Bianca Juarez Olthoff

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Prologue: The Legend of the Phoenix

play-with-fireThe caterpillar into the butterfly. The duckling into the swan. The peasant into the princess. Since childhood I’ve been obsessed with the idea of transformation. Perhaps it was because I wanted to shed my skin and emerge something better than I was, but at the core of my soul, I believed change was possible.

In college I read “The Rising of the Phoenix” as part of a project on Greek mythology and a spark ignited within me like a match to dry fodder. There was something about the story of this bird that moved my soul and gave me hope. The legend permeates more than Greek tradition and has been told and retold over years and cultures. The origins of the bird can be traced back to Greek, Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, and Persian cultures. But to early Church fathers like Clement and Lactantius, this bird was a symbol of resurrection, rebirth, and renewal. As I read the story, however, the Phoenix was more than a far away fable or symbol of faith . . . it was me.

My life was up in flames and I had nowhere to turn.

Perhaps it was the bird’s loneliness or the isolation or the hiding or the silence or the desire to be transformed, but I lost myself in the prose of ancient times. Soaring above my life, I had a bird’s eye view of a story that was to be my own. As the exhausted bird traveled out of desperation to an isolated desert, I caught a glimpse of my life and turned each page for the promise that one day I—like the Phoenix—would be made new.

Reading the mythological story awakened the reality that so many of us will face. There will be proverbial fires and flames that threaten our lives; moments that make us feel like all hope is gone and nothing can or will change. But I remind you, the fire that boils and softens a potato is the same fire that hardens an egg. It’s not about our circumstances, but simply what we’re made of. Read More→

Categories : Interviews, Jill's Blog
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Interview with Dr. Tim Lane – Living Without Worry

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Tim+LaneDr. Timothy S. Lane is the President of the Institute for Pastoral Care which was started in 2014. He is also a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), having been ordained in 1991. He is a member of Metro-Atlanta Presbytery. Tim is the author of Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace, co-author of How People Change and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. He has written several mini-books including PTSD, Forgiving Others, Sex Before Marriage, Family Feuds, Conflict, and Freedom From Guilt.

worry-laneHe has experience in both campus ministry (University of Georgia, 1984-1987) and pastoral ministry where he served as a pastor in Clemson, SC from 1991 until 2001. Beginning in 2001 until 2013, he served as a counselor and faculty at CCEF in Philadelphia, PA (Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation). Beginning in 2007, he served as its Executive Director until 2013.

In 2014, Tim and his family re-located to his home state, Georgia, where he formed the non profit ministry the Institute for Pastoral Care. His primary desire and commitment is to help pastors and leaders create or improve their ability to care for the people who attend their churches. For more information about this aspect of Tim’s work, please visit the website for the Institute for Pastoral Care. He continues to write, speak and travel both nationally and internationally. Tim is adjunct professor of practical theology at several seminaries where he teaches about pastoral care in the local church.

Tim and his wife, Barbara, live in Atlanta, GA. They married in 1989 and have four amazing children. Follow him on Twitter @timlane

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CWAHM Moment with Cynthia Ruchti, Author of “Ragged Hope”

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Cynthia RuchtiCWAHM Moment Podcast with Jill HartAbout the Author: 

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction projects, speaking events and a history of 33 years of on-air storytelling through The Heartbeat of the Home radio broadcast.

Her books have been recognized by Retailers’ Choice, RT Reviewers’ Choice, Family Fiction Readers’ Choice, ACFW’s Carol Award nomination, and other honors. In addition to Ruchti’s four previously released books, her novel When the Morning Glory Blooms (Abingdon Press Fiction) released in April 2013, followed by Ragged Hope, her second non-fiction release in July. Ruchti has also written articles for numerous magazines and industry publications and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Ruchti lives in Wisconsin where she spends her days diving into words, worship and wonder. It is her delight to serve on her church’s worship team and creative arts team. One of her greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. Cynthia and her husband have been married for 40-plus years and have three grown children and five grandchildren. Read More→

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Interview: Lisa Bergren on Glamorous Illusions

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Glamorous Illusions by Lisa BergrenABOUT GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS

When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery.


Lisa BergrenLisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (the first book, Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time (Waterfall, book 1, comes out in February 2011).

Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She’s married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids–Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7).

All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Categories : Interviews, Jill's Blog
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