New book title reveal: Love and Other Mistakes

Jessica Kate's debut inspirational romance novel 'Love and Other Mistakes' will release in July 2019 from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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StoryNerds podcast and vlog are here!

Nerd out on books, movies and TV with StoryNerds!

The wait is over! If you’ve been following my Facebook page, you will have seen my building excitement over the launch of the StoryNerds podcast and vlog — and today’s the day!

At StoryNerds, my writing buddy Hannah Davis and I nerd out over the best books, movies and TV.

During the test phase of StoryNerds we released a series of short videos on our favourite fictional heroes and heroines, and now that we’re officially starting our new format, the first podcast episode is on Favorite Romance Novels.

The podcast is live now at Podomatic, and our iTunes/Spotify/Stitcher listings should be coming through soon.

So come, nerd out and share your hilarious GIFs with us over at StoryNerds!

 

Goodreads group!

Hey guys! Looking for new books/authors to read in the Christian rom com or contemporary romance genre?

Join the Goodreads group or view and vote on the list!

We chat about our favourite books and find new ones to share.

Browse the bookshelf to see the books we’ve already enjoyed.

You can check out the group here.

You can add to or vote on the list here.

Christian romantic comedy and contemporary romance Goodreads group

How to Break the ‘Thankful’ Cliché

Copyright Creationswap. Image by Kevin Carden.
Copyright Creationswap. Image by Kevin Carden.

How many times have I heard the phrase ‘be thankful’?

Approximately 6,359,345,101.

Yes, it is a great philosophy. Yes, it is biblical.  Yes, it’s a wise way to live. But do you want to know why I’ve never tried very hard to apply it?

Because by the time I say, “Thank-you God for saving me, thanks for my family, thanks that I have food and a house…” I feel like I’m three years old, I’m bored, and I don’t see the point of what looks like an exercise in stating the obvious.

I know I take these things for granted. When I was in India, (and that was only a 2 ½ week trip), I was instantly thankful for my Aussie house, food etc. But when I live in Australia every day, it is difficult to sustain excitement over things I’ve always had and am likely to (well, hopefully) always have in the future. The worst part is, God gets lumped in with those things I take for granted.

So how do I practice thankfulness without feeling like a living, breathing cliché?

I think the God part of it could be tied to the idea of ‘longing for God’.

It’s a thought that came up at Bible study on Tuesday. Our group is doing a study on the end times and it mentioned how some Christians long for God’s return so that they can spend forever with Him. And I thought, ‘Huh?’

Sure, I look toward heaven with pleasant anticipation. But it’s mostly for selfish reasons, like how everything will be awesome there. It’s not really because I long to spend time with God. And a few of my Bible study mates said the same thing.

So how do I cultivate a longing for God? I think that would have a big impact on the thankfulness thing, because if I long for God then I’m definitely not taking Him for granted.

So…how do I do it?

This isn’t one of those blog posts with answers. It’s one with a question. I’m asking you.

I have a couple of ideas I plan to try. There are some beautiful Psalms (today’s was Ps 63) that talk about the Psalmist’s desperate desire for God. I’ll read those and meditate on them.

And I’ll put a sticky note on my desk so that I remember God during the day and think to myself, “God, I love being with you and I look forward to being with You forever.”

But the plan doesn’t extend far beyond that.

So what about you? Have you ever thought about this? Do you have any ideas? What do you do to be thankful in your own life? Share in the comments below!

When Serving Isn’t What You Expected

 

PX 5

I learned lesson in serving on the weekend when I took part in a youth outreach event with Project X.

Well, it was actually more of an extension of a lesson that began in March this year.

While at an event called Simply God, God challenged me about my motives behind serving Him. One of the most challenging questions was: If my books never generate money or recognition for me, do I still want to put the effort into writing them?

We all know what the ‘right’ answer is. But honestly, my motivation diminished when I considered that scenario.

Then God presented the question another way: If I never land a publishing contract or a husband—two things I’d like to find in the next 10 years—will I still be as enthusiastic in serving Him?

I knew then that my attitudes would be challenged. However, it was all head-level at that point. On the weekend, I got a taste of it in practise.

I’m part of a group called Project X, and we held our second annual youth outreach event in the outback town of Roma last weekend.

PX3
JC Epidemic put on an awesome BMX and motorbike show.

It included freestyle motorbike riders, an X Factor competition, a gaming zone, a graffiti art zone, a girl zone and more. My job was in the girl zone, where I had prepared a creative writing workshop and brought in magazines and games, planning to chill out and chat with high-school aged girls.

In the lead-up to the event, there was a lot of talk about how teenage girls were a particularly vulnerable demographic in that area. We planned accordingly, and prayed every step of the way.

The even wasn’t supposed to kick off till 3pm Saturday, so we were pretty pumped when people started rolling through the gates at 2.45. The first few through the door were younger girls, aged between 4 and 8, so I plopped down at our nail painting station and started with them. We expected the older girls to arrive soon.

Within half an hour, the place was packed. But there wasn’t a lot of teenagers in sight. In fact, it seemed that we’d attracted every age group except girls aged 15-19. By the end of the day, I’d spent a couple hours simply asking, ‘Which colour glitter would you like?’

Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time with those little girls. They were adorable and told me all about their schools and siblings and glitter preferences.

PX 2
One of my fellow nail-painters.

But the day didn’t go quite the way I expected. While I knew I’d played my part in a larger movement (our group preached the gospel to hundreds that day), I had little contact with the spiritual side of it myself.

So at the end of the night, when my friends were on a total high about the conversations they’d had and things they’d seen, I … wasn’t.

At first, this bothered me. I journaled a little during church the next day (yes, I’ll admit I wasn’t really listening…) and God used that time to point out a few things that I’d momentarily forgotten.

PX
My friend Brooke, our little buddy Tom and me at the photo booth.

The biggest one was: serving is not about me! 

I’m not supposed to serve just because I want warm fuzzies or a spiritual high. I’m not supposed to serve because it makes me look holy or important. And I’m not supposed to serve just because it’s going to be fun. (Though it was a pretty fun adventure with my mates!)

I should do this because I want to obey God. I wanted to spread His message and hopefully be part of expanding His family. And I want to glorify Him.

At the end of the day, whether 1 or 100 people responded, we were successful if we fulfilled those three objectives.

And I think we did.