He Restores My Soul

Dearly beloved readers,

Emmanuel Press and I have been working hard on a little project the last few months. It brings me great pleasure to share with you — Finally! — that we are collaborating with a host of experienced female writers to bring you a new book, He Restores My Soul, set to release in October of 2018.

He Restores My Soul is primarily a book of empathy and encouragement for the cross-bearing Christian woman. Utilizing the timeless, rich comfort permeating Psalm 23, each chapter applies the theology of the cross to a particular kind of suffering, pointing the reader to a firm faith in God’s promises and a resounding joy in His mysterious work of conforming us “to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).

Various topics addressed within the pages of He Restores My Soul include living the Christian faith in the public arena, carrying a child in the womb who is not expected to live, mothering while working, regretting an abortion, struggling against same-sex attraction, caring for aging parents, children leaving the faith, living with mental illness, suffering from depression and chronic diseases, and raising children apart from one’s own upbringing.

Who are the other writers, you ask? Follow Emmanuel Press and me on Facebook in the months ahead to learn more.

About Emmanuel Press

Established by Rev. Michael and Janet Frese in 2004, Emmanuel Press is a publishing house dedicated to producing works essential to confessional Lutheran theology, including theological books, liturgical and catechetical resources, and ecclesiastical greeting cards. Emmanuel Press brings together treasures of Christian literature, exceptional artwork, and a clear confession of faith. Learn more at www.emmanuelpress.us or contact directly at emmanuelpress@gmail.com.

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Dear Cookie


Dear Katie,

I just finished reading your 3 wonderful books. They are very hard to put down. I’m hoping you will take Emily to her baby’s birth. She was due in February, so I thought the book would tell the exact date. Are you planning on writing more about Pastor Fletcher and his flock? I just wondered where you came up with the names of your characters.

A sister in Christ,


Dear Cookie,

Cynthia Irene was born on February 18, 2017. She is a delight to her parents, though her sister Becky is still deciding whether or not to keep her. Regardless of affection, the entire family calls her “Thia.”

Some of my character names come from my imagination, some come from country graveyard tombstones, and some come from my heart. If you happen to recognize a surname in Bradbury, it is my attempt to pay homage to a family name that I hold dear. For example, the “Compton” in Mrs. Arlene Margaret Compton Scheinberg is my own personal stamp on my favorite character (Compton is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name), and “Alwardt” is a surname from my hometown that I happen to like very much. “Ebner,” however, I chose simply because of its meaning — “judge, arbiter” — and it helped me remember Evan’s personality and function in the story every time I wrote it.

Whatever the reason I chose a particular surname, I tried to keep the balance of etymology exact to that of a small Methodist town in south-central Illinois that inherited a bunch of German Lutherans toward the end of the nineteenth century.

At this point in time, I have no plans to write more books in the Anthems of Zion series. The residents of Bradbury showed me such generous hospitality over the last eight years, and I hate to overstay my welcome. I do hope to write more fiction books down the road, but that road most likely will not lead me to south-central Illinois. But wherever the road does lead, I sure hope to meet you on it.

Gratefully yours in Christ,



A helium balloon

There is a mild panic that grips the waking moments of an author in between writing books. I suspect it has something to do with living outside of a long-fought-for habit. Writing is largely a self-driven occupation, and an author spends months writing day after day to train the subconscious to perform. It feels wasteful suddenly not to be writing a book, as if the subconscious is a helium balloon held precariously between forefinger and thumb. It constantly pulls at the fingers, trying to evade any grip and catch a ride on the wind, never to be grasped again.

But five books deep into the matter, I know that this feeling is just a feeling. Writing another book is simply a matter of work — of stacking word upon word, hour upon hour, day upon day — until an entirely new balloon is inflated.

#WearTheRooster Bulletin Bloopers Contest Winners

All good things must come to an end.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the various #WearTheRooster contests over the past few months. I had such a good time listening to your songs, admiring your pies, reading your poems, studying your colored Cogburns, perusing your book reviews, and, especially, laughing at your bulletin bloopers. Thank you, also, to Concordia Publishing House for underwriting these contests with their awesome T-shirts.

While I am sad to see these contests come to an end, I am thankful that the reason for their conclusion is that the The Harvest Raise is ready to come out.

So without further adieu, allow me to congratulate the winners of our bulletin bloopers contest:

Best Body Part Blooper – Heidi Wightman

Best Tasting Blooper – Elizabeth Moline

BEST ALL-CAPS BLOOPER – Christine Mueller

Best Hymnal Blooper – Megan Davis

Best Parenting Blooper – Becky Amen

Best Dressed Blooper – Rachel Boothby

Best Blooper Compilation – Justin Williamson

Best Geraldine Turner Tribute – Michelle Hennig (and Elizabeth)

Winners, would you please send me your T-shirt size and mailing address via the contact page of this website?

And to everyone who participated in the #WearTheRooster contests, thank you for playing along. I can’t wait to meet up with you again in the pages of The Harvest Raise. See you on June 13th!


#WearTheRooster Contest, Round Six

This is the final round, yolks. I mean, folks.

I have so enjoyed our #WearTheRooster contests, but all food things must come to an bend. At least, these contests mist come to an end so that The Harvest Raise can be released on June 13, 2012. That’s not so bad, it is?

Our final contest is being helled in honor of the esteemed Mrs. Arlene Margaret Compton Scheinberg and her rad red pen. If you want to #TearTheWooster, you are going to have to post your favorite bulletin blooper on the interwebnets.

Here’s how:

(Zion Lutheran Church would like you to know that, for the sake of clarity, the following instructions have been edited by Miss Geraldine Turner.)

  • take a picture of a funny blooper you find in a church bulletin or simply write/create one of your own,
  • post your bulletin blooper on Facebook*, Twitter, and/or Instagram by Friday, June 2nd,
  • provide the following link in your post: http://books.cph.org/anthems-of-zion,
  • and use the following hashtags when posting: #WearTheRooster, #BulletinBloopers, #TeamArlene, and #TheHarvestRaise.

(Thank you, Miss Turner, for your faithful service.)

The winning bleepers will be chosen for their originality, hilarity, and harm. No, charm.

I wish you man blessings in this contest!

* If you have a private Facebook account, you will need to make sure the settings on your post are public for me to be able to see it.


#WearTheRooster Review Contest Winners


Bob and Cindy have chosen.

The winners of the #WearTheRooster review contest are…

Cindy’s Choice:

Bob’s Choice:

Congratulations to our winners! Would you please email me your T-shirt size and mailing address via the contact page of my website?

Also, thank you to everyone who has written reviews of my books over the past several years. That is one of the most helpful things a reader can do for an author, and I am greatly grateful.

We are nearing the June 13th release date of The Harvest Raise. Only one #WearTheRooster contest remains. Stay toned. I mean, tuned.

#WearTheRooster, Round Five

review |rəˈvyo͞o| verb [with object]

1 examine or assess (something) formally 

write a critical appraisal of (a book, play, movie, etc.) for publication in a newspaper or magazine 

survey or evaluate (a subject or past events)


If you want to be the next one to #WearTheRooster, you will need to write and publish a review of House of Living Stones and/or The Choir Immortal on one or more of the following platforms:

Concordia Publishing House’s website:



If you have already written and published a review on one of these sites, never fear. Your already-published reviews still count as submissions. However, if you want to up your chances of winning, write a completely new review and publish it on a different site. Multiple entries (of different material) will be considered, as well.

What’s the criteria for winning? Simply, please the author’s parents. That’s right, Bob and Cindy Roley will be choosing their favorite reviews–one for each book–on behalf of their daughter. I happen to know that one of them is highly influenced by humor, the other by sincerity.

Happy reviewing, and be sure to post your “critical appraisals” by Friday, May 19th!



#WearTheRooster Coloring Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who took the time to #ColorCogburn! I’ve never seen so many vibrant, varicolored cock-a-doodlers. I would like to wallpaper my kitchen with them.

Honestly, every rooster was so distinct in character and style that I had trouble choosing favorites out of the feathery flock, but in my humble (and subjective) opinion, these are the standouts:

Best Feet – Lucia Daenzer

Best Tail – Amanda Korthase

Best Middle School Rooster – Jack Brown

Best Teenage Rooster – Joanna Leckband

Best Series of Roosters – Charlotte Poyer

Best Russian Folk Art – Leah Koch

Best in Show – Christa Grabske

Congratulations, winners! Will you please send me your (adult) T-shirt size and mailing address through the contact page of my website?

If you want to #WearTheRooster, never fear. We still have two more contests to go before The Harvest Raise releases on June 13th. Look for an announcement soon regarding the next contest, and prime your typing chops.


I mean, c’mon. Look at Christa’s shading.

#WearTheRooster Contest, Round Four

May I introduce you to Rooster Cogburn? He plays an important role in The Harvest Raise.


It’s time to get out your colored pencils, markers, crayons, charcoal, and paint, Bradburians, because if you want to be the next one to #WearTheRooster, you are going to have to #ColorCogburn.

Here’s how:

  • download the free coloring page here,
  • have your way with it using your coloring utensil(s) of choice,
  • post a picture of the finished product on Facebook*, Twitter, and/or Instagram by Friday, May 12th,
  • provide the following link in your post: http://books.cph.org/anthems-of-zion
  • and use the following hashtags when posting: #WearTheRooster, #ColorCogburn, and #TheHarvestRaise.

All ages are invited to participate, though be forewarned: there are only adult-sized T-shirts available as prizes.

Happy coloring, Bradburians, and may the the most striking rooster win!

* If you have a private Facebook account, you will need to make sure the settings on your picture-post are public for me to be able to see it.

#WearTheRooster Poetry Winners

Alas, my heart and brain concur
That every rhyming word did stir
The blood within my small-town heart,
So much that I must now impart…

…the winners of our #WearTheRooster poetry contest!

Best Metaphor – Kristi Leckband

Best Trilogy Tease – Jane Jensen (via Mrs. Leckband)

Best Car Song – Alex Klages

Best Rhyme Scheme – Cambria Stone

Best Family Verses – Eliza Askins (and children)

Congratulations, poets! Please, send me your mailing address and T-shirt size via the contact page of my website.

Look for a colorful (hint, hint) announcement regarding the next #WearTheRooster contest tomorrow on Facebook.