Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?
I always say I am a gypsy and when I married my husband, he gave me roots. My father was a pastor, and we lived in four different states since my birth. I feel blessed, however, with that life because I was able to experience a variety of cultures throughout the United States. There are definite differences living in the eastern part of the U.S. versus the midwest. Our extended family was scattered throughout as well so I was able to enjoy the west and southern states as well.
I have been telling stories in my head since my childhood. My sister started the tradition to keep me quiet in the early summer mornings before my parents would wake up. Then I continued it during long bus rides or whenever I was bored and needed a little entertainment but didn’t have a book with me to read. I never considered myself a writer, however; just someone with an active imagination. It wasn’t until about six years ago, after I had written one book for fun and had started another but set it aside when life got busy, when I asked God to show me what His plan was for my life. I wanted to make a difference for Him as well as do something I was passionate about. Four years later, He clearly told me, “Finish your book.” I argued a little bit as well as reminded God I wasn’t a writer, but ended up just choosing to obey. I have been loving the journey ever since. There is so much to learn and I have since written another book that will be my first fiction novel that I present for publication. The one that God had me finish is safely in a file on my computer but needs a lot of work. It is definitely what one would describe as a very rough draft.
How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?
As I stated earlier, I was privileged to grow up in a home where my father was a pastor and so I witnessed what a relationship with God was like from an early age. I remember one particular rainy Saturday afternoon. I had been fighting with my sister and even though the specifics of me sitting in my room are lost in my memory, I distinctly remember talking with my mom about wanting a relationship with Jesus and saying the sinner’s prayer, feeling a difference when I said, “Amen.” I have been growing in my relationship with God ever since. I pray that I’m modeling for my children what it means to have a relationship with Jesus on a daily basis.
Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?
I actually have been blessed by God to have two devotionals published with Mantle Rock Publishing. The first: A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Taking it to the Next Level was published in November 2012 and A 40 Day Habit Between Friends: Because They Need You was published in December 2012. These are compilations of various blog posts I had written previously and after much encouragement, chose to make into a daily devotional. My prayer is people will be encouraged in their relationship with Jesus Christ after reading these devotionals, that they will want more of Jesus and will see that you don’t have to be perfect to be a Christ follower; in fact, He doesn’t want perfection. He is in the business of using ordinary people for extraordinary purposes, through His strength!
How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?
I blog twice a week. You can find my posts on my website, my blog itself, as well as on my Facebook author page. I have a true passion for marriage and children, keeping the family strong. I absolutely love working with children and believe very strongly in keeping a marriage strong as that is what will grow strong families. My blogs cover marriage and parenting issues, but also spiritual issues that anyone can relate to, no matter what stage you are in life. Just every day struggles that every day people struggle with: Fear versus faith, grace, love, whether or not God gives hardships or allows them to name but a few topics that have been tackled.
I love to read. I read all kinds of books: My fiction loves include Amish, contemporary and historical romance, suspense, medical, mysteries, and women’s fiction. Any genre that deals with relationships and digging deeper into tough subjects are what interest me. I also love books that tell the story from more than one point of view. I love getting into the minds of several of the characters to truly see the big picture. I have a degree in Psychology so figuring out the why behind the reason fascinates me; in real life and in my imagination. I am reading Candace Calvert’s Grace Medical series currently and loving it as well as reading the second book, Poison, by Jordyn Redwood. I just finished reading Mary Ellis’ second book in the New Beginnings Series and am thoroughly enjoying Sharon Srock’s two books, Callie and Terri. I could go on and on with more authors I have been introduced to through the ACFW and feel privileged to get to enjoy the fruits of their talents.
I also read a lot of nonfiction. I just finished reading What a Difference a Mom Makes by Dr. Kevin Leman; The Way of the Wise(also by Dr. Leman); Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh; and am getting ready to read Grace Like Rain and Wavelength by Jeff Petherick and Karl Nilsson. I love reading books that challenge me in my relationship with Jesus as well as encourage me to take it to the next level as a wife to my amazing husband and mother to my wonderful children.
Wow, and I thought I read a lot, I think you have me beat!
Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?
In 2006, we were happy to find out we were unexpectedly pregnant with a third child. One day shy of the 12-week mark, we lost the baby in four short hours. I was devastated. That was December 2006. February 2007, after God prompted me to begin a fast for our family, my husband became very ill. Without too many details, those two tragedies occurring so closely together could have derailed our faith and the strength of our marriage, but instead, through the grace of God, we are stronger today than we were in 2006, and I thought we had a great marriage then. It has been seven years and God has since blessed us with another “planned by Him bonus baby” in 2009, truly a blessing for our entire family. And, my husband is now pursuing a new career in nutritional health and wellness in order to help others who have had health issues that are frustratingly not completely diagnosable by modern medicine.
What Satan tried to use to divide us or create a cavern between God and my family has instead been used as a blessing. Even though I didn’t consider myself a writer, I promised God when I had my miscarriage that “someday I would write the book I so desperately wanted to offer hope to me while grieving the loss of our child.” God reminded me of that promise in 2011 and in January 2013, I typed “The End.” I’m waiting on Him to determine the next step, but it feels good to fulfill not only a promise to God but to offer hope to others who are walking the path I found myself in 2006, a journey no one wants to experience.
Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?
Our family verse is Matthew 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.” We have clung to that promise for seven years as I truly believe God will heal my husband to better health than he had before he got severely ill. However, we trust God with that verse for everything in our life. We never know what God’s answer is going to be, (Yes, no, or maybe) but we have the assurance that with God, all things are possible so we need not fear but instead just continue to walk in faith and obedience.
Where can we find you on the web?
You can find my blog at: http://journeysfromtheheartofawifeandmother.wordpress.com
My Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/cheri-Swalwell
My website is: www.cheriswalwell.com
My email address is: clSwalwell99@gmail.com
Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?
Thank you for the honor of being interviewed and a guest on your sight. My day job is as a medical transcriptionist so I have had a lot of practice typing other people’s words. That’s what my writing is: God is the One who supplies the content; I’m just His typist. And as with any typist, all mistakes are solely mine.
Love it, Cheri. Thanks so much for sharing with my readers.