From the Valley To The Mountaintop

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Today I am featuring an interview with author Tracey Jackson, who speaks about her new book, Lessons from the Journey: From the Valley To The Mountaintop. I hope her story of redemption can encourage you!

lessons from the journeyTracey Jackson is the author of Lessons from the Journey: From the Valley To The Mountaintop where she provides inspiring and intimates stories from a five year period in her life filled ups and downs. She warmly provides the tools (i.e. scripture and prayer) needed to help get her readers through the valley and onward to the mountaintop. Tracey is also a member of numerous community service based organizations in her native South Florida where she gives back on a regular basis.

What is a brief synopsis/the main message of Lessons From the Journey?

Every “not so good “event that takes place during one’s Christ walk is not meant to cause harm (even through it may seem like it). People can pull positive lessons from each trial they’ve gone through in order to help them navigate through the future trials that will come and not get stuck trying to re-learn what should have been learned earlier. 
Why did you feel called to write this book?

I’ve ministered to sooo many people who are “stuck.” When I say stuck I mean that while they were going through their own personal trials there was absolutely no personal growth. The same question kept coming up “Why am I still in this place?” Then I asked myself, “How does one come out on the other side of a trial and remain the same?” I wanted to use what I’d been through to help others embrace a trial as an opportunity to grow in the Lord, learn the lessons, and directly apply them to their own lives while being an inspiration to others.

lessons from the journey: from the valley to the mountaintopWhat is your personal story all about? Where did you come from and where are you now?

I came from a place where I wanted a “problem free” Christ walk filled with the fruits of blessings. When the problems came, I would whine like a baby. “Why me?” “Lord I thought you loved me” “If you love me, why am I going through all of this?”  It was in each and every one of those struggles I learned how to walk by faith as an adult Christian. Pieces of the former Tracey were left behind at every one of those situations so that a new Tracey could be developed and built upon. Where am I now? I’m applying the lessons that I learned in each of those situations, being open to new lessons and allowing the Lord to continue to shape and mold me so that I can be a help and inspiration to others.

Have you encountered a lot of other women struggling with similar situations?

 Of course. Unplanned changes and loss hurt for both women and men. I don’t want to leave our brothers in Christ out of the picture. We have our lives all planed out but things happen. I believe some women carry the hurt from past situations a little bit longer than most men. I’m hoping that the readers will see that I was able to identify the hurt, learn the lesson from it and keep moving.  The scriptures always point to moving but it also says it will rain on the just and unjust. Some people are still holding on to the umbrella well after the rain stopped. The umbrella represents temporary protection. God is saying, “let me be your permanent protection.” If women (as well as men) can embrace this, there can be the potential for some major breakthroughs that will lead to powerful testimonies that will help others.

Who is this book perfect for?

 This book is perfect for anyone needing some inspiration on how to get through tough times from a fellow believer who is “walking it out,” and knowledge to know how to continue the journey. We truly overcome by the power of one’s testimony.

What do you hope the book can do for those struggling?

My hope is that the book will encourage the readers to keep moving forward through the assistance of my own struggles, scriptures and prayers, but also teach that resilience is developed in those tough times. Trials don’t last forever but with God’s help, we can outlast each and every one of them.

What are some of your favorite scriptures or stories for those trying times?

Joshua 1:1-9 Joshua was tasked with the greatest trial: leading the people of Israel into the promised land. He had two choices: shrink back in fear and not trust the Lord, or go forward boldly on the word God spoke to him about always being there wherever he went. I’m glad he went with the second choice because I always go right to that passage when something comes up. God has already given me the territory. He has already given me the victory.

 Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them

 Psalm 84:11 The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

What is the most important thing you hope readers will take away?

I truly hope that they will take away the fact that trials are not meant to destroy us and in every one of those “not so good” moments, we can pull a valuable lesson from it that will help us to grow in our Christ walk. The book is all about identifying, learning and applying the lesson then moving on to the next journey.

 

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All images provided by Tracey Jackson.

This is a “feature post.” It’s important to me to provide great content for Devotional Diva readers while helping to promote Christian businesses, bloggers and authors. I take who I partner with very seriously, and all opinions are truly mine. You can learn more about feature posts and sponsorship on the sponsorship page here.

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Christian Books for Girls

scarlett gray joins the parade christian books for girls series devotional divaI know there are a lot of mamas who read Devotional Diva, and it seems like it can be quite a challenge sometimes to find appropriate books for Christian kids. I’d love to introduce you to a new series of Christian books for girls from Suzanne Stamboulieh.

Suzanne Stamboulieh on Devotional DivaSuzanne Stamboulieh is the author of the new Christian book series, Scarlett Gray. Each book in the series will be centered on a single Biblical scripture. “Scarlett Gray Joins the Parade” is the first of the series and reminds children that God has given them parents to guide them through life. Suzanne has a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Counseling. She previously worked as a therapist for her church. Suzanne lives in Mississippi with her husband Stephen, daughter Scarlett Gray, and their large, but lovable, German Shepherd.

Below is a short interview with Suzanne where she shares more about Scarlett Gray and providing good reading options for kids.

Could you tell me the basic story line of “Scarlett Gray Joins the Parade?”

“Scarlett Gray Joins the Parade” is a Christian short chapter book for young girls ages four to eight. It is centered on Ephesians 6:1 and reminds children that God has given them parents to guide them through life.

The story tells a tale of a young girl, Scarlett Gray, who can’t wait to attend this year’s Fourth of July Celebration with her parents and her best friend, Georgia. Scarlett Gray promises to follow her parents’ safety rules, but the excitement of the parade and her inattentiveness overcome her promise to obey the rules and she gets lost. She is not an actively defiant child, but her poor judgement in one instance illustrates how one bad decision can lead to another without you even knowing it. I think any child can relate to this!

How did you come up with the idea? Did you feel called to write?

As a homeschooling mother, I read countless books to our little girl. I purchase almost all of them at Goodwill for a quarter so it is nothing for me to purchase thirty at a time. I always try and scan the books as best as I can while I’m in the store (with a toddler in tow), but almost every time, when it came time to actually read them, I would realize that a good portion of them were not suitable material for our daughter. While many of these books were “best sellers” and very popular, they contained the words “dumb, “stupid,” “hate,” and other inappropriate words. As a mother, I know there will come a time when my child might say those things and need to be corrected for doing so, but I don’t want to feed it to her.

As a former therapist, I saw firsthand how outside influences greatly impact our minds, thoughts, beliefs and actions. Therefore, I think it is crucial that we as parents are vigilant in protecting our children. In today’s world, our children are inundated with negative messages and as Christian parents; I believe we have to work twice as hard to keep our children on track. I became very frustrated and disappointed with the material that was available for young readers. After expressing my frustration about the lack of Christian options for young readers to my husband, he strongly encouraged me to do something about it and write a book myself. And that is when the journey began.

I honestly don’t know if I have been “called” to write, but I will say that God has opened up doors that only He could, so I certainly feel that I am in His will and have His blessing. And although I wasn’t schooled in writing and it didn’t come naturally, I learned that with hard work and His help, it could be accomplished.

Why do you think it is important to provide faith-centered reading options for our kids?

I think our children are inundated with negative messages from every direction in life and they need to be reminded of what is right.  That is why I believe it is important to provide faith-centered reading options for our kids so that they have positive, Christian role models to look up to. Of course, they might have Christian family members in their lives that greatly influence them, but so many children emulate characters they see on TV or in books that they read, so I thought what better way to reinforce those good character qualities that parents want to teach their children and ended up writing a Christian children’s book.

My aim is to inspire young readers to seek God in their daily lives, and to honor Him with their choices. It is my hope that parents can confidently share my books with their children, knowing the message meets their high standards.

I believe this can help open the dialogue between parents and children about what might be an awkward topic for some to approach. I think many parents could use it to help open that door for discussion. And as a parent, I find that when I’m reading to my child, I recall Bible stories that I have since forgotten so I’m able to learn along with my child and other parents might also enjoy that aspect of it, too.

What could be next for the Scarlett Gray books?

The next book in the Scarlett Gray series will be on wise spending. Scarlett Gray Publishing is dedicated to publishing children’s books centered on God’s word, so it will also be centered on a Bible verse. If all goes as planned, it will be available in the early spring.

You can follow Scarlett Gray Publishing, LLC on Pinterest to keep up to date on books that are released!

“Scarlett Gray Joins the Parade” is available on Amazon.

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This is a “feature post.” It’s important to me to provide great content for Devotional Diva readers while helping to promote Christian businesses, bloggers and authors. I take who I partner with very seriously, and all opinions are truly mine. You can learn more about feature posts and sponsorship on the sponsorship page here.

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Demonstrating Your Faith (+Giveaway)

faith christian jewelry devotional divaI’m excited to share with you the first “feature post” on Devotional Diva!

FAITH Christian Jewelry is a family-owned and operated business that sells faith-promoting jewelry and gifts including Spirit and Truth, Bob Siemon, and many more.

 

Since we’re all about sharing your story on Devotional Diva, I asked Andrea from FAITH Christian Jewelry to share a little bit more about the people and story behind the business.

Who are the “faces” behind FAITH Christian jewelry?

The faces behind FAITH Christian Jewelry are just me and my husband Matt. He loves to geek out and build websites and I love to talk about religion. Therefore we thought what a great way to build a small store and have some fun. We have two kids who are the absolute joy of our life and are our inspiration for trying to build a small online store.

How did FAITH Christian jewelry get its start? How long have you been in business?

We have actually only been in business for a year. It was actually started as a hobby for my husband and I to do outside of our real jobs. As a stay-at-home-mom, I have been able to work on it a lot more and generate extra savings money we can put away every month. 🙂

faith christian jewelry on devotional diva

How has your business been a blessing to your family?

One of the biggest blessings to us has been the fact that we can continue to save for our kids’ college funds. This isn’t a business right now that will replace my husband’s job but it is nice to give us extra savings and perhaps a vacation every once in a while.

What kinds of items do you love to fill your store with?

My absolutely favorite items are the jewelry that help remind me to be strong when things aren’t going exactly to plan. Inspiring quotes and ideas are one of my absolute favorite things to look at online. One of my favorite rings to wear is my “Serenity to accept, courage to change, wisdom to know” Rom 8:28-30 ring. These are the types of pieces we love to carry!

faith christian jewelry kids heart cross
CROSS NECKLACE – CHILDREN’S KEY W/HEART

 

Why do you think it is so important to some people to be able to outwardly demonstrate their faith, like with jewelry, accessories and decor?

Not only do I think jewelry like this inspires yourself but it can also inspire those around you. When I see someone with a cross or another piece of religious jewelry, it helps me to know what they believe and that they rely on The Saviour as much as I do. But I think one of the best reasons to outwardly demonstrate your faith is to be an example to those around you. In today’s world it has never been more important to try and be an example of what it means to be a true follower of Christ.

FAITH Christian Jewelry is hosting a giveaway for Devotional Diva readers!

They’re giving away TWO $25 e-gift cards to the online store. That means there will be two winners. This giveaway is open internationally and will run for one week. I will contact the winners, but they will send the e-gift codes. All you need to do is answer the question in the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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I partnered with FAITH Christian Jewelry on this post and giveaway. It’s important to me to provide great content for Devotional Diva readers while helping to promote Christian businesses, bloggers and authors. I take who I partner with very seriously. You can learn more about feature posts and sponsorship on the sponsorship page here.

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