Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Guest Blogger Angela Ruth Strong

Erica here. I am so honored to have my friend, Angela Ruth Strong here on the blog. Please give her a warm welcome!



A Writer’s Retreat I’ll Never Forget 

By Angela Ruth Strong


This weekend my writing group rented a house and spent the weekend plotting our novels for the next year. Usually we go up into the mountains of Idaho but because of my breast cancer diagnosis, my nurturing friends decided to stay in town so we’d be close to a hospital should I need medical attention. 

This looks like they might have had TOO MUCH fun! :)


We had a great time, and I honestly believe their help in plotting A Mug of Mayhem will make it the best book yet in my CafFUNated Mysteries. I’m also thoroughly invested in their amazing manuscripts. 



Between plotting sessions, we decorated cakes to look like our book covers, dressed up in wigs to look like our characters, and we sang worship songs. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year, and this year did not disappoint. 

Such artistry!!!! I love it!


But leading up to this weekend, I was really bummed that my blood counts were too low for my weekly chemo treatments. That meant my chemo would be pushed out at least one week, and I couldn’t be sure it would end there.

My husband suggested that perhaps God allowed this to happen so my brain fog would clear for the weekend retreat and I could have to more to offer in our plotting sessions. I pouted at first, but then I chose to believe that with God as the author of life, He’d plot my story in just this way. 

Look at these cutie-patooties! :) 


Such an idea goes along with an article author Betsy St. Amant sent me about "grace denied" and "grace supplied."

Basically, God knows we grow through our struggles, so He allows the bad stuff to happen just like we do to the characters in our books. This could be considered grace denied. For example, God allowed me to get cancer.

But here’s the important part. Within the circle of grace denied, God supplies the grace to endure. In this situation, He gave me an intermission from chemo so that I could fully get the most out of my retreat. He gave me what I needed to overcome the same way authors do for our characters.

When I first found out that I had breast cancer, I was instantly surrounded by the support of other survivors. They all said the same thing: “Welcome to the best club you never wanted to be a part of.”

None of us wanted to go through this. We would have avoided it if we could. But in our moments of weakness, in our circle of grace denied, we truly have to learn to look for the grace God will supply. And because of that, we grow stronger and have more to offer others.

Hopefully you never join this club. But like the character in any book, we all have our own struggles and opportunities to grow. Wherever you're at today, whatever grace you’ve been denied, I encourage you to look for the grace supplied.

This is your story. Make it a good one.

Strong by name, strong through grace!


Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK.



Just in time for Valentine's Day, Angela is giving away an autographed copy of A Cuppa Trouble! 

Here's a bit about the story:

Can a couple of baristas chase down a car thief without spilling a drop of their favorite drink?

Plans for a Valentine's Day grand opening of a small town coffee shop go awry when the first customer is killed. Evidence points toward the victim being mixed up in a car theft ring, but shop owners Tandy and Marissa have reason to believe he was framed. An assortment of suspects--from a pink-haired heir to Tandy's charming ex--all seem to know a little too much about grand theft auto.

Without approval from either their boyfriends or the gum-chewing FBI agent in charge, the shop owners go on stakeouts, plan stings, and pursue justice in a high-speed car chase. If they don't find the killer soon, it might be more than their love lives in trouble. 

If you'd like to be entered to win, please leave us a comment. We've all been touched by this terrible disease. Encourage Angela on her journey, give a shout out to someone you know who is walking the same path, or post a remembrance of someone you love who battled cancer. Tell us about Grace Supplied during a time of Grace Denied. 

39 comments:

  1. Angela, welcome to Seekerville and congratulations on your growing success. What a wonderful thing.

    And I am so sorry that you're facing the big fight against an insidious disease, but I love the support you're getting. That's a story in itself, isn't it?

    Thank you so much for being here and hanging out with us today.

    I brought coffee.... and bagels. Nice chewy ones, because good chewy bagels are a wonderful thing.

    And one more thing, the retreat sounds amazing. I'm so glad you guys did it!

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    1. Ruthy, I am so in the mood for a blueberry chewy bagel! :)

      Doesn't that retreat sound like it would fill up a girl's heart?

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    2. Thanks, Ruth! The cancer community is strong and people are amazing. <3 If you like chewy bagels, you would have loved the homemade sourdough bread one of my writer friends brought to the retreat. We ate SO well.

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    3. I would have loved that bread.... Food is a wonderful moment to share, isn't it? And when it's like-minded creative people, that's the best.

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    4. And a chewy blueberry bagel with cream cheese.... Mmm.....

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story here, Angela, and much love and prayers to you on this journey. My nine-year-old neice is a leukemia survivor, my dad is a lymphoma survivor, and my mom is in the midst of a month-long waiting period to find out if she has kidney cancer. It is an awful disease, but our family has learned a lot about God through it all. We have seen His faithfulness and drawn closer to each other every time. So, yes, cancer is rough, but have we been blessed through it. Also, yes. Our family's motto for the last seven years has been Our God is Bigger Than [Leukemia, Lymphoma, etc.]

    And congrats on the book. It looks like my kind of read!

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    1. And Ruthy, hand over one of those bagels. That's one thing we just can't seem to get right here in the Midwest. It's the thing I miss the most from when we lived out in DC.

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    2. Glynis, your family has really been tested! I'm so glad that God is near to you through this, and that you are drawing strength from Him!

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    3. You know. <3 Hugs to all the survivors in your fam, and I pray your mom is cancer free. Thanks for your support.

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    4. Glynis, ain't it the truth???? I have a bagel recipe that comes out like old-style Jewish bagels but they take a long time to make... still it's absolutely worth it. And finding a bagel shop that does enough business to bake regularly and not have them get stale is a trick... Bagels are such simple food... and so satisfying.

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  3. Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable enough to come here today and share about this disease. I am so grateful that you are able to rely heavily on God during this period. I really love how God works in our lives when we allow Him access. Prayers that His healing arms surround you.
    I love how your husband gave you some insight. Mine does the same with me. I feel blessed that God directed us together.
    How wonderful that you have a group of women like this that care enough about you to stay in town if needed and you can all have so much fun together. A blessing.
    My mom went through lung cancer. I didnt think it was possible, but moms faith grew even stronger. And when I look back, so did mine. But through this the most amazing thing happened, my little sister who rejected God, came to know Him because He put just the right words and timing in moms life. She is gone now, but my sister and I can talk about the Heavenly realm openly now. God blesses us richly when we voluntarily come to Him. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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    1. Oh Lori! What a wonderful thing that saving grace came to your sister through your mom's open faith during her trials. Only God is big enough and good enough to take something as awful as cancer and use it to shine His light into darkened hearts!

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    2. God doesn't waste a thing. I've actually never felt more loved. I have so much to be thankful for in the midst of this. And it sounds like your mom brought a little of heaven to this earth before she left it.

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    3. Well, your sweet words made me cry, Lori.... What a beautiful story to share. God bless you for the courage to do it.

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  4. Angela, I was so touched to read about your writer friends having the retreat near home for your needs. I bet next year y'all will be back in the mountains! What a great group of gals! :)

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. God does provide all we need and is so faithful.

    Cuppa Trouble sounds so fun!! :)

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    1. Missy, I love it when God's women support and love on each other as only God's women can! :)

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    2. They took such good care of me. My story would not be so hopeful without all the love and support I've received. God is good.

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  5. Angela, what a beautiful post. The idea of grace denied and grace supplied resonates with me. God has a way of refreshing our perspectives, doesn't He?

    I am sorry cancer is a part of your story. I so appreciate the authentic way you shared about it here. My mother had breast cancer, and my MIL is dealing with it for a second time.

    Many years ago, I felt grace was denied as my Hubs and I walked through infertility for a number of years. It was a painful time, but it was a season where God revealed so. much more of Himself becuase I came to the end of myself. He eventually gave us two boys through adoption. I never want to walk those years again, but I wouldn't trade the work God did through it.

    I am praying for you today, Angela.

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    1. Jeanne, isn't it wonderful how everyone's story is precious and intricate and filled with grace?

      I wish God didn't have to bring me to the end of myself...or rather that getting to that point didn't take so long with so much heartache before I was ready to listen and learn what He had.

      I'm stubborn like that.

      Sigh.

      Good thing God is patient in addition to being good.

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    2. Thank you for your prayers. Infertility would be a tough one. I'm so glad God supplied grace and two little boys who needed you more than you knew at the time. <3

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story, Angela. I'm glad you have such a supportive husband and friends. I will pray for your healing as you go through this cancer journey.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Your book looks good!

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    1. Sandy, I'm with you. I love the connection Angela has with friends and how her husband is supporting and helping her.

      God's people, doing God's work. :)

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    2. Thanks, Sandy! It's a blessing to have each other.

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  7. Thank you for being on Seekerville today, Angela!

    Your writing retreat sounds like a wonderful time full of blessings for all of you. What a great place to plot stories in the midst of such loving fellowship!

    Cancer is a terrible disease, but no one has to go through it alone. By sharing, you've enlisted a whole troop of prayer warriors! Thank you for the privilege of praying for you!

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    1. Jan, doesn't that retreat sound great? I love the cover art decorating. How relaxing and fun! A wonderful way to celebrate and push away the cares of this world for awhile!

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    2. Thank you for your prayers. I've been so blessed by all who've gone out of their way to make me feel loved.

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  8. Angela, thanks for sharing your story.....you are an inspiration to us! I've prayed for you since hearing of your diagnosis and will continue to do so. I've enjoyed some of your books and would love to read this one. Blessings on you!

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    1. Oh thank you, Jackie. <3 I'm inspired by you all. If you don't win A Cuppa Trouble, I will have it on sale for a 99 cent download over Valentine's.

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  9. Angela, thank you for sharing your experience so honestly. The retreat your friends planned exudes the love you all share. Decorating book cakes sound so fun!

    Thank you for being a shining example of a positive walk with Him through the rough times. I admire your spirit! “Within the circle of grace denied, God supplies the grace to endure.” This is so true! And a beautiful concept to remember when we are challenged by life’s trials.

    At 85 years old, my mother had always been a strong and healthy woman, so when she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, all the family was in shock. Grace was denied when the cancer treatments had no effect. She died two months later. But the grace provided was short time of suffering before she was welcomed in heaven. The memory of her amazing life of courage, service and blessings comforted us. God supplied us with grace.

    You have been on my prayer list since November. I celebrate your continued healing and look forward to reading many of your books. With cheers for friends and writing retreats!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sherida. That would be a shock to lose your mother so quickly. It sounds like she left behind a beautiful legacy.

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  10. Angela you’re on my prayers every night for healing, strength, and the continual support of friends and family. You’re an amazing and strong woman 👩. Many blessings. My sister beat it 10 years ago and is in remission from stage 4 breast cancer. God is good and will carry you by his grace.

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    1. Thanks, Leann. So many have had it worse than me, including your sister. She's an inspiration. Thank you for your prayers.

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    2. Leann, what a breath of hope you offer. Thank you so much for being here!

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  11. Wow. That's a beautiful way to look at things. And that retreat sounds beyond fun!

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  12. Praying for God’s healing touch. Our family has walked the road with God’s Grace and Mercy. The retreat sounded so fun. Blessings on you.

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  13. Angela - thank you for sharing your story. Our family has been touched by cancer like so many others and it's a challenging road to walk. My MIL had breast cancer two years ago and if anything, it made our children pray more for her and bombard her with questions about why she doesn't love Jesus. :)
    I'm so glad your husband encouraged you to go to your retreat! It looks like it was a blast - lots of creativity going on. :)
    I've heard a lot about your books, but I confess I haven't read one yet. Please enter me in the draw. I'd be so happy to receive a copy since your books are saved on my online wish list already. :)

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  14. Angela, I'm so sorry I missed this yesterday. What an inspiration you are. I can fully embrace everything you've said here. God doesn't promise us perfect, painless lives. But He does promise to be with us and never leave us. I can't imagine going through this life without Him. Hugs and prayers.

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  15. I have many family members who have faced cancer and dear friends who have also. Most if them are Christians but a few aren't and I can 't imagine not having God to lean on. God Bless You🙏🙏🙏

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  16. Prayers coming your way sweet Lady!

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