Behind the Scenes with Staci Stallings and To Protect & Serve

Behind the Scenes with Staci Stallings and To Protect & Serve

by:  Staci Stallings

On “Abiding in Him”

It always amazes me how there is a story and then the stories that happen while I’m writing the stories. Oftentimes I learn as much from one as from the other.  That was certainly true of “To Protect & Serve.”

Now first of all, you have to know that writing about firefighting was WAY out of my comfort zone.  Ovens scare me.  In fact, I didn’t light a match until I was married, and once I nearly burned my church down trying to get a small candle lit.  So this is not a story I would ever have envisioned me being called to write.

Second of all, this story was not my idea.  You see, I was writing a different story, and when I write, I find people who look like my characters (often celebrities) and I print off pictures of them. I also make a soundtrack of music for each book that I write.  Well this particular book featured a guy from a 90’s boy band that I liked at the time.  And I was happily writing that story when a friend who had taken a deep interest in my stories and how I write them happened to be talking with me about my new story.

I showed her the footage I had of the group and the pictures…. and she proceeded to “fall in love” with one of the other guys in the band.  No matter what I did from that point on, she was like, “That’s nice.  When are you going to write this other guy’s story?”  UGH!  She kept it up so long that one day as I was driving to get my kids from school, I said, “Well, God, if I was going to write this other guy’s story, what would it be?”

And God literally dumped the whole story on top of me.  That’s weird.  Most of the time He gives me bits and pieces and I have to do a lot of trusting along the way that He knows where we’re going with this.  Not this one.  It came almost fully formed.

My first obstacle was the firefighting thing.  So when I got home and started writing on this one, I realized I was going to have to do some actual-actual research because I knew NOTHING about fighting fires.  One day on the way home from somewhere, I drove by our local volunteer fire department station house, and on a complete whim, I turned in there.  Not usually an out-going person, I went in, introduced myself, told them I was an author and I was writing a story about firemen and could they answer a few questions.

Within 20 minutes I had five firemen (I know… I have a rough job! 🙂 following me around, showing me the trucks and the ladders and all of the equipment, the suits, the boots, the gear.  It was an interesting hour and a half!

Then I went home and the story just came tumbling out.  However, there was another obstacle.  The main character, Jeff, was like a turtle when it came to talking with his love interest, Lisa about his job.  This frustrated her and me!

All of this occurred prior to 9-11.  When that happened, it took me awhile to start writing again, and one of the Bible verses that started showing up was John 15:4 “Abide in Me and I in you.” I was beginning to learn deeply just what that meant–that I was to trust God even when I couldn’t clearly see where any of this was going.

So I wrote the story that came to me whether I understood it or not.

About four months later, the post office changed our address for no apparent reason and flatly refused to deliver things with the old address on them.  So I stopped getting magazine subscriptions.  I had tried to get the address changed on my subscription for Time, but it was not working.

Then, one day I went to the mailbox, and here was my magazine–with the old address on it.  It was the Man of the Year issue featuring Rudy Giuliani.  In that issue was a picture of a firefighter taken in the stairwell during 9-11 and accompanying that picture was an article about this fireman’s wife.  In it, she talked about how the firemen don’t talk about work with the wives and how hard that can be.

Right then, I fully understood “Abide in Me and I in you” because I had written a fully-developed character just from what God had given me that perfectly fit what a character like him might be like–and I didn’t know it until after the fact!

God is so cool!

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CrossReaders Book Review: Simply a Homemade Clean by Lisa Barthuly

CrossReaders Book Review: Simply a Homemade Clean by Lisa Barthuly

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Title: Simply a Homemade Clean

Author: Lisa Barthuly

Rating: Five

About the Book

Author Lisa Barthuly asks, “Would you like to rid your home of commercial, toxic products but don’t want to pay the price for the ‘all natural’, ‘organic’ products that line the shelf? Learn to make your own! Create everything from your own laundry soap, to homemade dryer sheets, antibacterial spray cleaners, potpourri blends, fabric softeners, calendula salve, homemade ‘Vaseline,’ handcrafted Eucalyptus Chest Rub…even tips for the outside of the homestead and much more!”

A must have book for those looking not only to simplify, but to cut that grocery bill down, create a healthier environment for our families, and revive the art of making our own!


What a handy book to keep around! Lisa Barthuly has written a good sense dialogue, understandable – and as Lisa affirms herself – not always easy to formulate, but healthy and effective to the needs each formula addressed. The listing of contents impressed me at how effortlessly each chapter could be found by only a few descriptive words in the title. It was fun to see the pictures she added at the beginning of each section.

As I enjoyed reading the recipes, my nose began to pick up the scent of those old products used by my mother, grandmother and the old-fashioned way they were used. The soap “Fels-Naptha” was mentioned several times and I could actually smell that wonderful fresh aroma of clothes and bedding being washed in that product, hung on a line outdoors. What a refreshing bed it made to sleep in that night. (Sigh)

Before Lisa ventured into making her homemade recipes, she thoroughly researched labels and information about the products she was buying and using on her family. She expressed shock that these products were on store shelves and started cutting those products out of their lives and learned how to make her own products for every kind of personal use and household cleaning with natural God made ingredients. Ms. Barthuly also included vivid warnings about using certain commercial products together, like “NOTE: Never combine chlorine bleach with ammonia, vinegar, or lemon juice. Extremely toxic fumes will be produced!”

The skin is our biggest organ and everything you put on it or around it gets absorbed INTO it. I added this sentence as a separate paragraph, because of its utmost importance of why we should possibly reassess what we are putting next to our skin and into our systems altogether. Every page of this book was educational, inspirational, and informative of the “art of natural” – and I made many notes. The cost differences between the commercial and homemade products is astounding.

The fascinating subject of essential oils and how they should be used is new to me and a definite must on my “gotta learn list.” Oh…and the things one can do with vinegar in a thousand different ways, no less than baking soda, borax, herbs, and potpourri made from flowers from your garden. Don’t forget to collect those old spray bottles, canning jars, etc., because you’ll need all of this equipment to make everything from killing mold to freshen vegetables, from smelly feet to bad breathe.

Lisa Barthuly’s enthusiasm and belief in what she writes is clear and enlightening. My own enthusiasm grew with each page and new idea to try. She wrote some very easy and simple hints so perhaps you wouldn’t be frightened away from learning the “old-new” remedies to keep your family safe from possible life threatening diseases and illnesses the manufactured products might cause. She wrote timely true facts from researched and well written information that should be made aware to all. Lisa has made a lucid example of herself through her ways of saving money as well as mentoring good health. Lisa has my admiration and respect for caring enough about others to write about seeking God’s ways in each area of your everyday life. Already I have recommended her book to family and friends, and will continue to do so in my community, my place of worship, and in conversations. Most of all, in sharing what these examples will do for others – I will prove that one is never too old to learn!

[easyazon-link asin=”B0089UCOP2″ locale=”us”]Check out A Simply Homemade Clean on Amazon![/easyazon-link]

This review was submitted by: Barb Shelton – please visit her website at BLESSED BY GRACE and PASSING IT FORWARD

Jody Hedlund – Christian Author Interviews

Jody Hedlund – Christian Author Interviews


Welcome to Christian Author Interviews. Enjoy our interview with Jody Hedlund, an award-winning historical romance novelist, in this episode. Listen in via the video or audio and share your thoughts in the comments. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below and share this interview with your friends!

Listen to the audio here:

About Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund Author

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher’s Bride and Unending Devotion. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her latest book, A Noble Groom, just released.

Follow Jody Hedlund
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Books Mentioned in the Interview

The Doctor’s Lady

The Preacher’s Bride

Unending Devotion

Rebellious Heart

A Noble Groom

Enter to Win a Paperback Copy of “A Noble Groom”!

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Christian Author Interviews is hosted by Shelley Hitz of Crossreads and Body and Soul Publishing.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads bloggers!

Richard Blackaby – Christian Author Interviews

Richard Blackaby – Christian Author Interviews

Welcome to Christian Author Interviews.  Enjoy our interview with Richard Blackaby in this episode.  Listen in via the video or audio and share your thoughts in the comments. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below and share this interview with your friends!

Listen to the audio here:

Books Talked About in the Interview

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 [easyazon-image align=”center” asin=”1590529421″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]

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About Richard Blackaby

Dr. Richard Blackaby is the president of Blackaby Ministries International where he works with his father Henry and brother Tom. He is an author and a popular international speaker. Richard is married to Lisa and they have three amazing children: Mike, Daniel, and Carrie. Richard has a Ph.D. in history. He loves reading biographies and hockey. He works with leaders in the home, church, and business community, helping them develop their leadership to higher levels. Richard also co-authored the revision of “Experiencing God” and speaks often in churches and to Christian organizations.

Follow Richard Blackaby
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win An Autographed Copy of “Unlimiting God” by Richard Blackaby!

[easyazon-image align=”center” asin=”B003FCVF5E” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″][easyazon-link asin=”B003FCVF5E” locale=”us”]Unlimiting God: Increasing Your Capacity to Experience the Divine[/easyazon-link]

Enter below to enter the giveaway below:

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Christian Author Interviews is hosted by Shelley Hitz of Crossreads and Body and Soul Publishing.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads bloggers!