Belonging, Christian faith, Christian Writer, Connected to God, God's faithfulness, God's protection, Holy Spirit, Lessons from life, Loving Jesus, The Word of God, Valuable to God


It is well over a month since I last posted a blog. I have been busy and in a good way. In the last month I have organised and co-hosted a very successful Christian Writer’s Retreat, and finished two book manuscripts, both of which will be published this autumn. But the last week has been dominated by just one thing. Well, one puppy, to be exact.

Image of a small puppy, white with black facial markings, sitting on a small plaid blanket

Puppy Supervision

Those of you who have followed my blog know that we had a dog called Monty, who was a unique character, and was my companion for the last few years when I was stuck at home by myself for a great deal of time. We lost Monty in January, and we weren’t sure if, and when we would replace him. We actually got to appreciate the freedom of not having a dog to tie us down. But then we met out neighbour’s litter of puppies. And we fell in doggy love.

Image of a small puppy asleep in itd bed

Effie came home to live with us a week ago. She is not Monty. She is a Jack Russell cross, as he was, but she is dainty and sweet, and generally well behaved! So far! She has brought much love and laughter into the house. But her needs have meant I have had little time for much else but puppy supervision. Except for when she is sleeping, as she is now…


We are trying to train Effie. She is responding fairly well. She has intelligence, but is also beginning to display some terrier attitude. The really lovely thing is that, even after just a week, she has attached herself to us, and to me in particular. She follows me about, and loves cuddles, and comes to me when she is unsure of new things or people. She knows I will feed her, and settles down to sleep when I tell her it is time. It made me think about how God deals with us.


Now of course we are not dogs. We are His beloved children ( I John 3:1) and those whom He delights in (Psalm 147:11, Zephaniah 3:17). I delight in Effie, even when she misses the training mat, or chews the corner of a book. So God doesn’t change the way He feels about us dependent on how well behaved we are. His love for us is unconditional.

Like I want the puppy to learn what is good for her and what is not, so does God want us to learn. He has given us His Word, and His Spirit to help us. Like I do with Effie, God sometimes has to step in with a ‘No’. He moves to direct us away from unacceptable behaviours that can lead us into trouble. We know what it feels like to feel the check of His Spirit convicting us. God also lovingly provides all that we need – food, rest, safety, the feeling of being accepted and loved.

A Love that can be trusted

Image shows the front cover of a book, entitled The Bride: will love's power turn betrayal into belonging? The picture is of a medieval couple holding hands, surrounded by a floral design.

Some of these themes are explored in one of the books I am having published this autumn. The Bride is all about how God loves unconditionally. And how that love has the power to transform lives and heal hearts. I write fiction, but I write out of my own experience of God. I have come to understand that I have a Father who loves me unconditionally, but who wants the best for me. I know that He is the Lover of my soul, my place of safety and the one I have learned to trust.

Just as a certain little dog is learning to trust me.

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022, and her third novel, ‘The Bride’, will be published on 20th October 2023.

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here

Belonging, Book Review, christian fiction, Christian publishing, Christian Writer, Faith, God in control, New Author

BOOK REVIEW: ‘To Belong’ by Judith Galblum Pex

I have never visited Israel. It’s been a long held dream to do so, and maybe one day that dream will become reality. I hope so.  I would love to walk in the steps of the prophets and patriarchs, and especially of Christ Himself. But I know that it is possible to have a romanticised view of The Holy Land. Israel throughout it’s history has been a place of conflict and clashes of culture.  A land unsure of its identity. It is no different today. But if I never get to visit Israel at least I can thank Judith Galblum Pex for taking me there with the words of her novel.

Front cover of 'To Belong', showing a white woman holding two black children in her arms

The need to belong

To Belong tells the fictionalised story of a mother, Tamar, a Messianic Jew, and her husband, Steve, a Canadian immigrant. They live in the Israeli city of Eilat; Tamar a nurse and Steve a Diving Instructor. Within their close community of family, friends and neighbours we are introduced to Hungarian Holocaust survivors, an escapee from strict orthodoxy, modern day Jews struggling to live out their faith, and those genuinely seeking Jesus. We also meet Sudanese refugees that have fled the war in their own land to find refuge in Israel. The author has lived in Israel many years herself, and her understanding of the different beliefs and cultures that have to exist together, and clash so often, in a land that is a draw to so many different nationalities and faiths, is clearly demonstrated.

Tamar, the main character, carries her own scars from a childhood separated from her parents in a Kibbutz school. What she wants more than anything is a big family of her own. Here she hopes to find her fulfilment and her place of belonging. Her prayers are seemingly answered when she comes across two sick and abandoned Sudanese children in the line of her work . Following the leading of God, she and Steve take in the children, adding them to their family of two young teens. To Belong tells the story of how Tamar and Steve, their children and wider family, welcome Mary and Joey into their lives. It is a story of highs and lows, and learning to trust God through it all, and the children flourish, until the day that Tamar’s dream of a having them forever is seriously threatened.

A well told story

Judith Galblum Pex tells the story well, and we get emotionally involved in the lives of her characters. She also introduces other individuals who are searching for their own sense of belonging. Tamar’s sister who has tried running away from her parents faith. Yossi, the young man scarred by his orthodox upbringing. Estie, drawn to this Jesus loving family and a western boyfriend, worried about offending her Jewish parents. The plight of the Sudanese refugees is also well told. It made me go away and read up more about how Israel dealt with the refugees that flooded in across their borders.

photograph of the beach at Eilat, showing blue sea, white sand and palm trees, with mountains in the distance.


But I think the thing I loved most about ‘To Belong’ is the authors setting. Eilat is described so well, it’s spectacular beaches, coral reefs and marine wildlife. The mountains, wadi’s and deserts that surround this oasis. The heat and the flash floods The warm sea to swim in and the beach to relax on. The people, the tourists, and the lifestyle. If I ever do get to go to Israel, Eilat will definitely now be on my itinerary!

Thank you Judith Galblum Pex for opening my eyes to better understand a people and land that I already hold close to my heart.

About the Author

Photograph of the author, Judith, on the beach at Eilat.

Judith Pex was born in Washington, D.C. and lived there until she was 18 years old. She lived 3 years in Alaska and then spent a year backpacking through Europe before landing in Israel in 1973. Judith fell in love with Israel, the Bible, and John from Holland (in that order).
     After marrying and living with John for a year in the U.S., they immigrated to Israel in 1976 and have made it their home since then. They have 4 grown children, 10 biological and 4 foster grandchildren.
     Judith and John have been running a hostel/guest house/ drop-in centre for 37 years called the Shelter Hostel, and John is the pastor of the non-denominational, multi-cultural Eilat Congregation.
You can find out more about Judith here:

To Belong by Judy Galblum Pex, published 1st Sept 2022 by Cladach Publishing. Is available to purchase via in paperback and kindle editions, or direct from the publisher at

Joy Margetts is a blogger and a published author. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021, and her second ‘The Pilgrim‘ in July 2022. Her books are works of historical fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life; stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing, and links to purchase her books can be found here

Belonging, Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, christmas, Faith, Forgiveness, Grief, Seasons of life


Christmas is coming! I know, I’m beginning to panic a bit too – it’s less than a month to go and I don’t feel in any way prepared for it! I am however praying that this Christmas will be a good one; a celebration of family and fun, a ray of light in the dark winter days, a time full of joy and hope. It will be wonderful, yet again, to tap into the true meaning of Christmas and look beyond the festivities to the One who came to bring the joy and hope, and dare I say it, fun!

I love Christmas. I treasure the memories of Christmases past and truly look forward to this one, especially as it is my first as a grandparent! But for many, Christmas isn’t a time for celebration, and may not carry those happy memories. For many, Christmas is a stark reminder of loved ones lost, of childhood traumas, of heartbreak and of the relentless passing of the years. It can be an acutely painful and lonely time.


Front cover of the book, Talking to Calippa Cumberland

Chick Yuill has drawn on that reality in his latest novel, Talking to Calippa Cumberland and I am absolutely thrilled to have been included in the blog tour. It all starts one Christmas Eve in 1976. A small child shopping with her mother in a department store hears the tannoy announce that there is a little girl lost and crying for her parents. For 3 year old Lori Bloom that lost child stays in her heart and imagination. The name she thinks she has heard is ‘Calippa Cumberland,’ and Calippa becomes her imaginary friend, someone she can talk to and confide in, someone who perhaps understands her. Because the truth is that Lori Bloom is herself lost.

As chapter follows chapter we follow Lori’s life through a snapshot of subsequent Christmas Eves. We journey with her into her teens and into adulthood, as she discovers painful secrets, faces betrayal, suffers heart-breaking loss, and makes life choices with complicated consequences. All the time she is confiding in her faceless friend, Calippa Cumberland. All the time searching for someone who understands and someone she can finally, fully trust.


Back cover of the book, Talking to Calippa Cumberland

The book is utterly compelling. I read it in almost one sitting. Chick draws Lori’s character so well, and describes the things she goes through sensitively and convincingly. It is not a maudlin book, but it is real and raw in places. The story brings tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat, but also the odd smile and nod of understanding. It covers subject matters that are not uncommon, things that many of us can relate to in some degree. You find yourself rooting for Lori, hoping that she will ultimately find what she is looking for.

She does find good friends, and one in particular has a lasting and positive effect on her. Not to divulge any spoilers. Let’s just say things definitely get better for Lori, and she comes to terms with much of what life has thrown at her in a deeply pleasing way.


I was unsure at first of the device Chick used to let us hear Lori’s deepest thoughts. Is it strange to have an imaginary friend, even in adulthood? Is it strange to write notes to them pouring out your soul? Well as one of the characters in the book says…

 ‘every night before I sleep I have a conversation with someone I can’t see, who many people tell me is a figment of my imagination and whose existence I can’t prove…’

What Lori is doing, is what many of us do in praying and journaling. Except of course, for those who know Him, Jesus is no imaginary friend. Talking to Calippa Cumberland is Christian fiction, and the message of the gospel is there subtly throughout, but is never forced down your throat. I found myself yearning for Lori to meet the one person she could completely trust and pour out her thoughts, fears and feelings to. The One who could make the lost child feel found again, and forever secure.

The book set against a Christmas scene


I loved this book, and Chick writes so well, especially as he convinces us that he knows what it feels to be like a woman with definite female issues to contend with! And I salute his encyclopaedic knowledge of Christmas Number Ones! I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially seeing as Christmas is just around the corner. This book would make a fabulous gift to anyone who loves a well written and beautifully told story based around Christmas. And perhaps is also a book not just for Christmas…

photo of the author


As a special offer, Chick is offering readers of this blog, a signed paperback copy of the book for the discounted price of £9.00. To avail yourself of this kind offer, and to bless the author, contact him via  before 4th December and quote the code joysblogg

Talking to Calippa Cumberland by Chick Yuill, was published by Instant Apostle (22 Oct 2021), ISBN 1912726483, RRP £9.99, and is available from all the usual places.

Belonging, Book Review, Books, Christian Marriage, Christian Writer, Faith, Forgiveness, God's faithfulness, Healing, Lessons from life, Seasons of life, Thankfulness


I love reading new books by new writers, who like me have been brave enough to put their writing out there. Which is a very scary thing, believe me. I especially love books that are very definitely inspired by God, with a great faith message, that is lightly handled and wrapped up within a gripping fictional tale.

All Saints? Is one of those books and I am very happy to recommend it. I’ve seen it described as Christian chick lit, but I wouldn’t label it such, as it is such a good observation of everyday life, that I think it would appeal more widely. If you have ever been involved with church, if you have ever had to deal with real life challenges and heartbreak, if you are a man or woman with questions about faith, then you will find things to relate to in this book.

Clever Title

All Saints?’ is a clever title. It refers to the Parish Church that sits at the centre of the tale, but as the story also follows three Christian women connected to the church, it explores just how saintly each really is. Of course the Bible might describe all believers as ‘saints’, but how we live out our lives is often far from deserving of the title, and that is normal! Sophie is the church minister’s wife, juggling handling a difficult adopted toddler and also trying to support her husband in his role, whilst being a good friend to the others. She also has deep wounds related to her struggle with infertility that resurface when her friend Hayley announces that she and her husband are also unlikely to be able to conceive naturally. Hayley is desperately unhappy and makes a decision that has devastating effects for all of them.  Lucy is single, and feeling bypassed, calling out to God for a man to love her. It seems God has answered her prayers. Her journey is heart-breaking.

Raw and real, and relatable

All Saints? is raw and real in places, shocking even, but it is also heart-warming, as the bonds of friendship, and the love of God, see these three friends, their partners and families work through their issues together. That it is set around a church, works brilliantly.  For anyone like myself, who has grown up immersed in church life, the different (odd) people that make up the congregation, the funny little incidents, the frustrations and the joys are all so recognisable. The green cup/blue cup mix up made me laugh – I’ve seen something very similar happen myself, and can even picture those ‘church’ cups and saucers. The open day where half the village come because it’s free – and none of them actually then come to church as a result, had echoes of many ‘failed’ outreaches I’ve been part of. The rich parishioners who think they should run everything, including the minister, but would rather raise money selling jam than donate money themselves to repair the pot-holed driveway, also made me smile knowingly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, reading it in a couple of days, and becoming quite invested in all of the main characters. It does cut quite close to home at times, but also talks about faith matters in a gentle and non threatening way.

Well done Ellie Carter on your debut!

*Romans 1:7

Ellie Carter has walked the path of infertility. She and her husband are now blessed with two adopted children. If you would like a personally signed copy of All Saints? please bless the author by contacting her direct at

She is offering the book at a discounted price of £7.00, including postage, to anyone who contacts her as a result of this post.

All Saints? was published by Instant Apostle on 19 June 2020, ISBN 1912726211, RRP £8.99

Acceptance, Belonging, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Healing, New Author


I love ITV’s ‘Long Lost Family’ –  a show about reconnection and restoring of broken family relationships. It’s definitely one where having a box of tissues handy is advised! Some of the stories are heart-breaking – young mothers forced to give up babies, siblings separated through no fault of their own, long held feelings of guilt, shame, abandonment, loss. The reunions are always wonderful. Especially when the reconnected families look so similar, or speak or laugh in the same way. Heart-warming stuff.

I’m thinking a lot about families at the moment. The easing of restrictions has meant that we can reconnect with long lost family members of our own. This weekend we have travelled south to attend a wedding celebration and we will be seeing family members in the flesh, some of whom we haven’t seen for two years or more. Not quite a lifetime of separation, but it will certainly be great to reconnect and catch up with them all. I am so thankful for my biological family, they are all so cherished.

Another family I am grateful for is the long lost family I didn’t even know I had, until the beginning of this year. In January I made the bold move of joining a zoom call with a group of writers I had never met before. I had found the Association of Christian Writers online, and joined up, but this was new territory – actually introducing myself to a group of real faces, and as an actual bona fide writer. I discovered a family there. These were people who knew what being a writer felt like, who had the same joys and frustrations as me, knew the pitfalls, had experienced the highs and lows. I was so warmly accepted, and now some of those people are really dear friends. One of them, Maressa Mortimer, is hosting us this weekend in her lovely holiday home, and it is so good to finally meet her in the flesh. Another, Wendy H Jones, has opened many writing doors for me, one of which was inviting me to contribute a chapter to an anthology for writers. Creativity Matters: find your passion for writing, is available to purchase now. Exciting times!

One thing that does upset me when watching ‘Long Lost Family’, is the way individuals talk about ‘feeling empty inside’, as though something is missing, disconnected, incomplete. They are looking for long lost family members in the hope of filling those voids, healing that emptiness. I wonder if they really do truly find that missing piece?  

It’s true that we all need that sense of belonging, that sense of identity – who I am, where I come from, how I fit in. We can get a measure of that from our biological families, and that is wonderful. We can also get acceptance and a sense of belonging from groups of people who share our passions and beliefs. But a part of me, a big part of me, knows that however good our human relationships are, that void can persist. That uncertainty as to my identity can easily be triggered if I base it on how well I am accepted and loved by those around me. I have learnt, and relearnt, over the years that true acceptance, belonging, and identity can only come from God my Father. After all, He knows absolutely everything about me, He made and designed me as I am, and yet STILL loves me unconditionally. If I take my sense of who I am, from who He says I am, then, in Him, I am never disconnected, never abandoned, never alone, and never lost.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.’                                                                           Isaiah 43: 1 NKJV

I have loved you with an everlasting love; 

Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here