Devotions for mothers–Welcome Cheri Swalwell for week two

Good Monday morning, readers. Last week’s winner of Vol. one is Sally Shupe. Thanks to everyone who posted comments.

Today we welcome author Cheri Swalwell back to Home Thoughts. Cheri wrote two superb books of devotions. Last week I featured volume one for wives and this week volume two is aimed at helping mothers. A 40 day Habit Between Friends–Because They Need You is a plan to enjoy your kids more, while helping them grow into people you want them to be. Here is taste of what’s inside: Day 22 ~ Apple Trees and Children “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Cheri Swalwel photo

This spring, my husband and I were taking a walk around our property and looking at our apple trees. This is the first year we’ve seen blossoms on them, and I can’t wait to taste the fruit of his labor. We bought them approximately five years ago, and since then, my husband has been nurturing, feeding, protecting, and lovingly taking care of them in order to produce some great tasting apples. Feeding our family healthy food is important to us, and how better than to grow it ourselves, knowing exactly what was put into it in order to reap the results?

That got me thinking about how similar children are to apple trees. It took my husband five years of hard work before he started to see any fruits for his labor (literally and figuratively speaking). And, isn’t that how it is with children? When they are first born, they are helpless, completely dependent on their parents for food, shelter, protection, love, and security. They are weak, needing to grow bigger and stronger in order to be able to survive in the world on their own. And we as parents lovingly take on the challenge to provide for all of our children’s needs, without asking anything in return, knowing one day they’ll fulfill their purpose in life in part because of our hard work and dedication to helping them develop the traits necessary for a successful life.

Now, once the fruit starts developing on the trees, my husband can’t stop working. He has to continue to prune, water, feed, and protect the trees until they reach full maturity, and that’s going to take many more years. The same with our children. Even though they start to produce fruit and productivity in their lives at a young age (seen through kind words, responsibility of completing chores, and compassion toward others), they still have a lot of growing to do before they’re fully mature, ready to handle life as an adult. More sacrifice, hard work, love, and protection will be needed by us before our children are ready to step out in the world on their own, but again, we do this willingly, knowing the reward that’s ahead if done right.

So, today, I just want to encourage all us parents. When our children are little, we’re in the season of hard work. We have sleepless nights, demands on our time and energy, and lots of hands-on instruction. However, if we continue to provide the structure, boundaries, protection, and love required, there will come a day when we can sit back to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Just like my husband is looking forward to years from now when he can go and just pick an apple off the tree without having to nurture it as a seedling anymore, we’ll also hopefully reap the benefits of our hard work through a friendship with our kids and maybe eventually grandchildren. Until then, let’s all encourage each other together through the sleepless nights (both in the infant and teenager stages), puberty, endless homework, and high grocery bills. While we’re at it, let’s take the time to enjoy these stages since they’re fleeting and will disappear long before any of us want them too.

Cheri Swalwell is a wife, mother, and avid reader, but first and foremost she is a Christ follower. She has a degree in Psychology and has been blessed to be a guest on a variety of blogs including, Circle of Friends, and She is a regular contributor to book fun magazine. She loves to hear from readers on: Facebook:  Email: or Website:  (Has link to my blog) Twitter:  Cheri Swalwell

 Purchase Link: (paperback) ref=&tag=cheswaficfrot-20* for easy ordering. 

Please leave a comment for Cheri here after this blog posting for a chance to win: A 40-day Habit Between Friends–Because They Need You. Winner will be announced next Monday. Open to US and Canada residents.

Have a great week readers. If anyone will be near Wooster, Ohio this Saturday 3-23 I will be speaking at the Wooster Library on W. Liberty St. at 1:00. Would love to meet with some readers face to face.



When the words won’t come

Good snowy Monday, readers. I hope you all survived Super Bowl Sunday! I, myself, enjoyed the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial and the Dorritos’ goat! Before I forget, Shannon Vannatter interviewed me on her lovely blog this week. If you drop by her blog, read the interview, and leave a comment (on HER blog, not here…) you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Love Comes to Paradise. This book has just made the CBD bestseller list and has recently been released for e-readers. here’s the link to Shannon’s blog:   Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already done so, since I’ll be giving away 10 copies of Love Comes to Paradise on March 15th.

Every writer whether our contemporaries or long gone has wrestled for hours when they can’t string seven words together into a concise sentence. We doubt ourselves, our mentors, the process we thought we’d perfected, even the quality of beans that went into our cup of java. It happens to the best of us. And it will happen to all of us eventually. There is no one-size-fits-all solution since writers are as different as that shade of navy you’re trying to match. I can only give you my humble opinion to tuck into your first aid kit on possible cures.

When the words won’t come I see two possible reasons, both of which involve turning off and moving away from your computer. How many times have we fallen asleep in our easy chairs, but tossed-and-turned in bed for hours? If you get out of bed and put the TV back on, you’ll doze off by the next commercial. Same is true about trying to force creativity in front of your laptop. Once you are seated in a lawn chair or a booth at the coffee shop, consider the first reason your well is dry: You need more story. This happens more often for seat-of-the-pants writers than plotters, but even plotters can reach a lull when the action or romantic drama needs help from a subplot to thicken the stew. Ask yourself: What can come along to blindside your characters? What’s the worst thing they fear? Make it happen. Often writers concoct a thrilling opening and know exactly how to bring their story to a tasty conclusion. They might even have some plot twists in mind, but in long novels, not even the most devout “plotter” can pre-conceive enough scenes to keep the pace moving. Go where it’s quiet, where you can roll your eyes back into your head. Suddenly story ideas will flow faster than you can jot down on your Starbucks napkin.

I’ll give you reason number two next week…until then, stay warm!!!

Another chance to win a signed copy

Happy Thursday, readers. Goodness, I’m glad yesterday is over! I was sicker-than-a-dog with a summer headcold. But I feel 100% better today. I am such a baby when I’m not feeling well. Anyhoo, I wanted to post the link of a fellow writer’s blog. Trish Perry writes awesome woman’s fiction and inspirational romances. I met her in person two years ago, and she’s as sweet as her photo leads you to believe! Trish interviewed me in conjunction with the release of Living in Harmony. Please drop by and leave a comment on her blog (not here) for a chance to win a signed copy. Happy summer. Today I’m taking my writing outdoors. This weather will be gone before we know it.


Home Thoughts Welcomes Laura Hilton

Good Friday morning, readers! Today before I head on down to Holmes County for a book-signing I wanted to tell you about a great book I finished reading called Promised to Another by Laura Hilton. Laura is a super writer friend who lives in Arkansas and writes Amish Fiction, same as yours truly. Although Promised to Another is book 3 of the Amish of Seymour series, it “stands alone” just fine in case you haven’t read the first two. (book one: Patchwork Dreams, book two: Harvest of Hearts). This is a beautifully written story about a “love triangle”-my personal favorite in romances. I’d rate the book 5-stars! here’s the blurb:

Annie Beiler is an Amish school teacher. She was in love with an Amish man, Luke Stultz, but Luke left the Amish community during his rumspringa, but not without begging Annie to go with him. Now Luke is back, trying to win back Annie’s love. Joshua Esh may be Amish, but he has been bitten by the travel bug. He sees the opportunity to relocate fromPennsylvaniatoMissourias a way to satisfy his longing to see another place yet remain with people of his faith. Josh quickly notices the beautiful Annie, but Annie is slow to respond. With Luke in the picture, and Josh’s admission that he willingly left his district, will either man be steady and dependable enough to win the gift of Annie’s heart?

If you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Promised to Another, Laura has one little question for you to answer. Her hero, Josh, kept a big secret that came back to “bite” him.  Post your answer and you’ll be entered to win a free copy. Drawing will be in one week, Friday May 4th. here’s the question: Have you ever kept a secret from someone and had it come back to “bite” you?

Now I’m off the Good Shepherd bookstore in Berlin, Ohio for a book signing at 11:00. anybody in Amish Country today? stop in and say hello. on Saturday I’ll be at the Carlisle Inn in beautiful Sugar Creek. ahhhh spring in Holmes County…what could be finer?

Dont’ forget to post a comment to be entered to win Laura’s book and happy reading!!

Visit Laura’s blog at:


Here’s a contest to end all contests

Good Ash Wednesday, readers.

I just heard from my publisher, Harvest House, that they are running a contest on Faithful Reader and giving away 75 free copies of An Amish Family Reunion. that’s right–75 copies of my book! Price is right, no?? Go to this website and follow the directions to enter the contest. You MUST enter this contest from their website, instead of posting a comment here on my blog. (As much as I do love hearing from my readers…)  here’s the link:

Good luck to you all. And have a blessed day!

We have picked the winners…and here’s another chance to win

Good Friday morning, readers. I had such an astounding response to my recent contest, that I have decided to pick 7 winners, instead of 5 like I originally planned. I’m waiting on the winners to get back to me, then I’ll announe the names. The first five will receive my book and a Starbucks card and the other two will receive only a copy of An Amish Family Reunion. (sorry, I only bought five cards…)

If you didn’t get an email from me that you won, don’t worry. They’ll be plenty more chances. I’ve been giving away copies of my latest book on blogs for the past month and will continue to do so until I give away 50 books in all. For today’s chance, go to Trish Perry’s blog and read her post. (She’s a great writer of contemporary fiction, by the way, besides a very nice person!) At the end, post a comment to be entered in the drawing. That’s all there is to it. Have a lovely February day and here’s the link:


Many blessings on you!

Here’s chance number two to win!

Romance writer Shannon Taylor Vannatter asked me to tell the story of my real life romance and wedding. If you’re expecting something classy and memorable, you’d better look elsewhere. But if you’d like a good laugh, read the story, and it also will make your own wedding sound infinitely better. Don’t worry personal friends and family members…no names have been included. Leave a comment at the end of the interview to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of An Amish Family Reunion. I’m giving away a total of 50 free books during this promo period, so stay turned for more drawings. here’s the link: