Friday, May 22, 2015

Pinterest Challenge ~ Launch Party ~ Catherine West invites you to both ~

 May 29th we're having an online Facebook Launch Party for Bridge of Faith, with lots of cool giveaways, which I'd love to invite people to that. The link to the giveaway entry form is this - 
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Inline image 1We're doing a Pinterest challenge where readers can create boards relating to Vermont and Bridge of Faith - 


Go back through the three posts Catherine West has shared this week. . .LEAVE A COMMENT on any one of them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Catherine West ~

I’m delighted to be on Joy’s blog again today!
When she asked me to share, I thought about a few things I’ve written over the past few months, and this came to mind. I hope you can relate.

Ever been stuck? Like really stuck. Like, there is no way I'm getting out of this alive, stuck?
Stuck, like tires spinning. No way out.
Stuck, middle of the night in a silent house, staring into darkness, mind spinning. No way out.

If you're not there now, you will be. Or you have been. We all get stuck eventually.

It comes in various forms, this being stuck. Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually.

Sometimes it's a slow climb, one little event piles upon another and then another and the cynicism creeps in and the walls go up and you're safe and completely protected in the cold and drafty castle you've built around yourself.
It's okay there. You can be alone. Nobody visits anymore. But sometimes unwanted guests show up. You want to pull up the ramparts and refuse them entry, yet you nod and move aside and let the baggage through.

Doubt and Fear. They're old friends. They know where their rooms are and they unpack quickly. You don't have to wait on them. They help themselves. Sometimes Insecurity shows up too and they have a real party. Because he's heaps of fun. And so you sit there, watching … watching as they eat away all your stores, drink up every last bit of determination you've saved to use for such a time, and you sit and listen as they talk about all the losers in the world and isn't it a shame they just can't get a break because they never will you know. And you, yeah, you know where you fit, right there with them, those silly fools they're talking about who actually thought … that they were good … and soon discovered otherwise. You watch and you listen and you take it all in and try to ignore that hard knot in your stomach that tells you all you have to do is get up and leave the room. You don't have to be here.

But … you're stuck.

So you stay.
Time ticks on, and yet, you stay.

And wonder how you got all the way back here.
Stuck, again.
Sometimes all it takes is one careless word. One look. One glance at a person who overstepped and went where they shouldn't have and you just cannot even stand the sight … and bam. Sometimes all it takes is that one memory. A longing. And a realization that things can never be exactly how we want them. And forgiveness? It's the hardest thing in the world.
We think it easy to compartmentalize. To put things into categories, separate and distinct. Yet everything lumps together in the end. If you've any feeling at all, each part of your life will eventually bleed into the next. And you'll look at that mess of melding colors on the paper and you'll say it doesn't matter because the painting was never going to be any good anyway. And so you rip it away. Say you'll start over.
Blank Space.
Whether it's a painting or a screen bereft of words or a soul stuck in muck so thick and so deep it seems impossible to escape - here's the thing
 - it doesn't have to be this way.
Ask me how I know.

Remember that time you visited a friend and you talked and talked and talked and then she said something so utterly ridiculously funny and before you knew it, there was laughter … laughter fills a room, fills a soul and starts to mend the broken. You need that.

Remember that time someone reached out and grabbed your hand and just held on? Maybe they prayed and oh, you didn't want them to because you knew that was it right there, your breaking point … but you needed to be broken. You needed to let the healing begin. So let it happen already.

And remember … oh, remember that time you did that really good thing? That hard thing that took years to accomplish, years of battling it out, fighting for it and believing in it when people said you should just give up … but you did it anyway. You did it and it's yours and … It. Was. Good. Really good. And it's okay to know that.
Remember ...
You can do it again. 
If you want to.
It won't always be this way.
So when I'm stuck, and I so often am, I reach back and hold fast to the memories of when things were good. When I got up and did the work and loved it. When I didn't question whether I could or not, I just did. I reach back to the time … maybe not so long ago … when I actually believed in myself. Do I want that again?

Like you wouldn't believe.
So sometimes getting unstuck takes work. Sometimes it is a reaching back, a prying open, a painful examination of what went wrong and why and was it really fixable and you just didn't try … sometimes you need to go back to move forward. Not always, but sometimes. And sometimes you don't. Sometimes all you really have to do … and here's the part where you can grin and maybe laugh a little because it is actually that simple … sometimes all you really have to do is move on. 
Maybe, all you really have to do, when Doubt and Fear and Insecurity throw a party and insist you sit there and listen to every awful word … maybe all you really have to do is get up. Get up and leave the room.

And slam the door on the way out.

My characters in Bridge of Faith have often felt this way. Stuck, with no way out. 

What about you? Ever been stuck? Let’s chat!

Leave a comment for Catherine today!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Cathy, glad to have you here this week. I understand  there's something more than your featured story - BRIDGE OF FAITH  you want to share with my followers?

Yes, Joy.
As you may have seen, I was able to announce my news this week, that I have signed a contract with Harper Collins Christian/Thomas Nelson Publishers, for 2 books. I'm super excited!!

Wonderful news! I am excited for you too ~ especially coming on the heels of this successful release of BRIDGE OF FAITH Good for you!

Joy's thoughts on 
                         BRIDGE OF FAITH

 Bridge of Faith is a compelling work of fiction. A strong and emotional moving story where both heroine and hero have much to overcome before they can be there for each other. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the writing, the characters, the depth of human growth. Catherine West is an author I'll be following as her next books come out.

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Allow me to introduce Catherine West ~                                       

Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine’s second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY’s and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards. Catherine’s latest novel, Bridge of Faith, is now available on Amazon.

When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at

INSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s latest novel, Bridge of Faith, is now available on Amazon.

Amazon link to Bridge of Faith -

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Two lives taken down different roads - one enduring love - one shot at starting over.

If only they believed in second chances.

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation.

            When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind.

Confronting his past was not in the plan.

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul.

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him.

They say you can’t go home again. 
Sometimes you don’t have a choice. 

Stop by tomorrow - WEDNESDAY for another post by Catherine West !

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Allow me to introduce, Edie Melson. I know Edie as an amazing writer, a social media guru, a wonderful woman of faith, and a mother of one of our American Servicemen. If your son or daughter isn't serving ~ you may know someone who has a son/daughter putting their lives at risk for the rest of us. You may want this for yourself or you may want to look into getting the book below as a gift for those parents/grandparents.

As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, Edie Melson lived this book before she wrote it. Edie understands what it is to face adversity and come out triumphant on the other side. Her years as a wife, mother, and ministry leader have given her a unique perspective to reach out
 to others facing the same struggles.
 She's the Military Family Blogger for, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook.

Joy in Adversity

I’ve come to realize that the seeds of faith begin their journey to the light, in the dark. As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, I’ve been through the painful process of blooming in adversity.

Neither I nor my husband come from a military family, so our son’s decision to enlist straight after high school caught us off guard. We weren’t ashamed or disappointed in him, although we were worried about where this decision could take him. But we could see his sincere desire to follow God’s leading in his life and knew that where ever this road led, God would see him through.

But the week I said goodbye to him as he got ready to leave for his first deployment in Iraq, all those thoughts of faith and how God would take care of him fled. I found myself engulfed in a terror so deep it colored every corner of my world a murky gray.

Throughout the last couple days I had with him, I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the last time I’d share a meal with him. As he posed for a picture with his brothers, in the back of my mind was the fear that this would be the last picture I’d ever have of him. All through that time, the what-ifs continued to crowd out the faith I thought I had.

Then he was gone—half a world away—fighting an enemy whose main focus was on killing him. It was during those deployments that I learned about darkness of the heart. I wanted to protect him, I ached to shield him from what I knew he was experiencing, but I couldn’t. So I did the one thing I could do. It became my course of last resort because I was at the end of my own strength.

I prayed.

And I prayed.

And I prayed some more.

I learned to take my overwhelming fear to the only One who could protect him. And I left my son in God’s hands. The prayers weren’t pretty. Often times they weren’t even words. They truly were the groanings we read about it Romans 8:26-27.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was like a seed, planted deep in the ground. I was surrounded by darkness, by rough, rocky soil, pressing in on all sides crushing the life from me. But through that incredible pressure, the shell of my own strength fell away, and I slowly began to push toward the light that I knew lay just beyond the darkness.

And my course of last resort became my strength, It became the first place I turned. Instead of praying in desperation, I began to pray in confidence. When the fears threatened to overwhelm me, I learned to lean into God, instead of turning in on myself.

The final harvest of that time of darkness is coming to fruition May 12, just after Mother’s Day. It’s a book of prayers for those with loved ones in the military, While My Soldier Serves. How I longed for just such a book during that dark time. Now God has taken my time of darkness and is shining it as a light for those who are also facing the incredible stress of having a loved one at war.

I can say with confidence, never doubt that God will bring a harvest of joy, no matter how dark the days you’re facing now.

I’d love to know how you get through the dark times and find a way to bloom. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

While My Soldier Serves

By Edie Melson

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.


This is one of the most timely books I've ever featured here at Journeys To Joy. I'm in the process of writing a Wounded Warrior story after months of research and interviews with those living the WOUNDED WARRIOR LIFE.

Thank you, Edie for your article here, your candidness about your personal experience as a military mom, and for rearing your son to become one of our own AMERICAN HEROES.
I'm praying for God's richest blessings for you and  your family!
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