Win a Kindle Fire! Go Places Giveaway

Last month, I went to Egypt. This month, I’ve got a trip booked to Sudan.

Not in real life. In books.

I confess. My husband James and I very much wanted to travel extensively in real life this year. Our bucket list destination later this fall was going to be Paris. We planned to check off some of the typical places like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe as well as Monet’s gardens and maybe Versaille. But we also wanted to explore some lesser-known but no-less-breathtaking places like Mont Saint-Michel.

Since currently all Americans are banned from traveling to Europe and new Covid19 cases are soaring, it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll get to make this trip this year. But that’s okay. We’re currently brainstorming possible places we can visit closer to home, which have already included Beech Mountain, the setting for my next novel.

Here’s the good news: Whether we can’t travel because of Covid19 or our budget, we can go anywhere we want through reading. And that’s why I feel this giveaway is so important. Because even if we can’t go there right now, we can still live vicariously through words.

Reading as an adventure

Reading is a life-long adventure that takes you new places and teaches you new things. And the best part is: You choose the destinations and the curriculum.

Reading is a life-long adventure that takes you new places and teaches you new things. And the best part is: You choose the destinations and the curriculum. @khogrefeparnell

Although I enjoy reading nonfiction in several genres, my favorite reading hands-down is fiction. Some people think fiction is a waste of time, because isn’t it all “made up”? Yes and no. Sometimes, settings are fantastic, but they can also be realistic. Although characters are imaginary, they’re often grounded in real life experiences and struggles. In other words, fiction presents real life and reveals truth about people. I’ve learned incredibly valuable life lessons from characters who never actually lived and breathed.

I mentioned “traveling” to Egypt and Sudan earlier. Here’s a sneak preview of my latest read and my upcoming one. I’d encourage you to connect with me on Goodreads where I share about all my latest travels … in fiction.

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

My takeaway: Our lives don’t always play out the way we imagined, and yet, if we trust God in spite of our disappointments, He will make way for His best (even if it wasn’t our first choice).

Long Walk Home by DiAnn Mills

I can’t wait to start this one! Here’s the first part of the excerpt from Amazon: As an Arab Christian pilot for a relief organization, Paul Farid feels called to bring supplies to his war-torn countrymen in southern Sudan. But with constant attacks from Khartoum’s Islamic government, the villagers have plenty of reasons to distrust Paul, and he wonders if the risks he’s taking are really worth his mission.

A giveaway for you

This month is back-to-school for many, and it certainly doesn’t look anything like school seasons of the past. If you’re a student, yes, you will still have assigned readings, but those shouldn’t be your only readings.

This fact goes for adults as well as teens. I’ve known adults who hated reading because they associated it too strongly with education (or work), but when they discovered the freedom of choosing what they read, everything changed.

Maybe this Kindle Fire will do that for you. Or maybe it will become a gift for someone. Or maybe it will become your car companion. Hello! The Fire’s Immersion Reading feature is better than sliced bread.

How do you enter?

It’s super easy. Click here or the image below. You can enter one way or more than one way for multiple entries.

A few considerations:

  1. You must be over 13 years of age to enter.
  2. You must have a US address. (Sorry to my international friends!)
  3. I’ll pick the winner using my app’s random generator and will notify the winner via email. (The winner’s name may also be posted on this site and/or social media for marketing purposes.)
  4. While this contest may be shared on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with these entities.

The giveaway runs now through August 31, and I’ll announce the winner the first week of September.

What would you do with a Kindle Fire? Where is your next reading destination? Share in the comments!

~ Kristen

Win a Kindle Fire! Go Places Giveaway by @khogrefeparnell

Dreaming Isn’t Dangerous. Doubt Is.

If you told me a few weeks ago that I’d be planning a spontaneous trip to Italy in a month, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d probably have laughed and then sighed, Wouldn’t that be nice?

Truth. I really am planning a spontaneous trip to Italy next month.

Let me back up the story. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a colleague and landed on the topic of travel. I told her how much I admired her working from Italy last spring, and that in my dreams, I’d do the same thing some day. I shared how my next novel takes my heroine to Italy and that seeing those places first hand instead of through research would be amazing.

She replied, “Well then you have to go! I’m planning a trip soon. Want to come?”

I hesitated for only a moment. Although some logistical questions ran through my head, my answer was yes.

She came back to me a few days later with a more concrete plan and a question: How serious are you about going to Italy? 

If I remember right, I told her 88% or some random percentage like that, because once again, there were some work details that had to be approved. (And then there was the matter of begging someone to watch my cat Ness, who has a reputation for not being the best house guest.)

But guess what? That elusive 12% worked out. I might just have the best boss in the world, and I do have the most amazing family, because they agreed to keep Ness from starving.

As I tackle the next challenge of packing only a backpack, I see a few takeaways I hope might encourage you.

Focus less on obstacles and more on the prize.

As you read my story, you probably noticed the times I hesitated. Caution raised a flag. What ifs popped in my head. If I hadn’t investigated those questions and pursued the possibility, I might still be sighing to myself, Maybe one day.

I think the same is true in our Christian lives. Sometimes, God calls us to an opportunity, and we spend more time stressing about all the reasons it won’t work instead of realizing all the ways it very well could.

I’m learning that dreaming isn’t dangerous. Doubt is. After all, Jesus never criticized people for having too much faith. He chided them for having too little (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31).

How much we miss when we doubt! But when we dream and allow God to shape those dreams, possibilities often unfold in ways we could never have imagined.

Dream bigger and expect great things.

Maybe life jades us a bit as we grow up. As children, people tell us we can be whatever we want to be, but the truth is that life has many gatekeepers that prevent some of those dreams from coming true. (Sorry, kids, but only so many people can ever be president.)

However, we shouldn’t always conform to what’s reasonable or realistic, because sometimes, God delights in impossibilities. After all, Jesus turned water into wine. Peter walked on water. Paul turned from persecuting the church to boldly proclaiming the gospel he once sought to destroy. The Bible is full instances that defy logic or even nature itself.

You may say, Sure, but that’s the Bible. That’s not my life. Perhaps instead of focusing on what seems impossible, we should start risking, start daring. I like what my pastor said Sunday on the subject of taking risks for God.

“The problem is not that we dream too big. It’s that we dream too small.”

– Pastor Ken Whitten

Choose adventure over comfort.

I confess. I like my routines, things like 8 hours of sleep, a cup of coffee in the morning with my quiet time, fresh laundry, and a clean house.

Travel hacking with only a backpack isn’t going to guarantee any of those things and will likely stretch my comfort zone. But that’s a good thing, right? Because which would you rather be: Home and perfectly comfortable or sleep-deprived in Italy? Allora. (That’s Italian for “um,” I believe.) Yeah, 100% the latter.

The Christian life is something of an adventure, too. We can content ourselves with our church and devotional routines, or we can step out and try something that might seem a little scary. Maybe you’re not sure what that might be. I’m not either. But we can pray about it, and ask God to show us how He’d like us to step out in faith. Perhaps the answer will surprise us.

How might God want you to dream bigger? 

~ Kristen

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Dreaming isn’t dangerous. Doubt is. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)