Coffee Shop Devos Review +++ GIVEAWAY

Today, I’m happy to have my friend Tessa Emily Hall on my blog to celebrate her latest release, Coffee Shop Devos. Read more about the book and the author below, and hang around until the end of the post for a giveaway!  

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I struggled as a teen to find good devotionals. Either they lacked quality writing, or they were fluffy, lacking any teaching. I yearned for someone to help me through the teen years and not just, “make me feel good.” 

From lessons on God’s never-failing love, seasons of life, trusting in God’s plan, to transforming the trash and living to our greatest potential, Coffee Shop Devos is a pick-me-up that any young lady can glean encouragement from. And you can enjoy it all over a steaming cup of coffee made from one of the recipes featured in the book. 



There’s something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend–engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?

Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer. Along the way, you’ll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage–regular or decaf–to enjoy while you read. And don’t forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos

Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated–almost as though you’ve shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.





Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teens they’re not alone. Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of Tessa’s first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House in 2018. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website:


Click on the link below to enter the giveaway.


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From the Ashes ~ An OYAN Summer Workshop Reflection Post

I started out writing this post as a summary of what I learned last week at the OYAN workshop. After all this is a writing blog, right? That’s what would make the most sense for me to share.

I had my notes beside me and my fingers on the keys and the words wouldn’t come.

I thought something was wrong with me, but while I stared at my computer screen, God laid on my heart what to blog about this week.

To be honest with you, I didn’t want to share it, because it felt too personal. But God kept pressing on my heart the need to share it with you. So here we are.

Days before I was to leave for workshop I lost a loved one. Someone who ever since I was a young girl would give me a Coke and start spinning a tale and set a spark to that deep thing within me that loved telling stories.

But it was more than his loss that left me aching. Over the past two years I’ve lost other family members and I’ve felt at a loss as to why. I wasn’t angry at God, but I wanted to know why, why couldn’t my family get a break?

I was thrilled when I discovered the theme for the summer workshop was From the Ashes. I have long loved the story of the Phoenix. The idea of a creature rising from the ashes, into something beautiful and new has long held a special place in my heart.

There are countless stories and songs of being reborn from the ashes; the riddle of Strider from The Lord of the Rings, “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North. Doubtless we as a culture are enamored with the story of the Phoenix. I have even heard one pastor say that when we accept Christ as our Savior, we rise from the ashes of our past life into a Phoenix , into something new, beautiful, and pure. 

In the immortal words of Aslan, things never happen the same way twice, and I didn’t go into this workshop expecting to be changed as I was last year, or the year before that. I knew a core-shaking awakening wasn’t what I needed.  All I knew was that I was exhausted, mentally and physically. And that I was hurting. 

Instead I got to campus way too early looking for something to cling to that was beautiful. So I sat there, afraid I was annoying everyone, wondering, waiting, watching, in that calm before the storm, in that silence when everything waits with bated breath to catch a glimpse of what’s about to happen.

And I found wonder and beauty in a sweet girl named Jenna who has become a dear friend. It was Luke, Christina, and Adrienne, who are some of the dearest people I know. 

It was the small everyday moments that were sparks to my ashes, those moments that come and go so fast you almost don’t notice them. 


It was the joy in giving away Apple Butter

It was sitting outside on the grass talking with friends.

It was getting notes in my journal.

It was being in a circle of friends.

It was walks to the secret playground and pretending we were ordering burritos.

It was sitting in a hallway reading excerpts, making them sound like a romance read.

It was getting soaked by sprinklers at midnight and the screaming that ensued.

It was Mr. and Mrs. S just being themselves, pouring out the love they have for us.

It was watching a friend lead a class and getting a free book out of it.

It was a gift from a mother who took care of me that week.


Since coming home from the workshop with my health seemingly in tatters, those moments are still my sparks to ashes. And with God by my side, maybe I can rise from these ashes of grief and despair into something beautiful.



The Road Through

And though where the road then takes me,
I cannot tell

The Last Goodbye by Billy Boyd


We all travel paths, roads, in our lives. Some may be rocky, others even.  The paths may lead through rough terrain, or a small forest. We may have friends with us on our walk, or we may walk alone.

But sometimes we walk through a Mirkwood.

A forest of deceit, of darkness, of loneliness.

We tell ourselves to stay on the path, that this will end soon, but still we wander.

And become lost.

There seems to be no end to the far-reaching forest of Mirkwood.

The Road Through was the theme at the OYAN Winter Workshop, and I’ve been thinking for days what I would blog about. What did I learn exactly? Last year’s workshop helped me reclaim my lost joy. But nothing this year hit me in the face with, “this is what you learned, or needed.”

I had to dig deep, and as I write this, I think I know what it was I learned.

My life has been a hurting mess since August. Yes, I had joy in my writing, but it never completely eased the ache. When I stepped away from my computer, away from my fantasy world, reality hit me like a punch in the gut.

A giant crack of Mt. Doom that had my heart bleeding down the middle. And I just wanted it to be over.

I share Thorin’s sentiment when he screamed “Is there no end to this accursed forest?”

But I was reminded at this workshop that I’m not only loved by friends, but by Jesus.

Mr. and Mrs. Schwabauer and Mark and Teckla Wilson make Jesus seem so real, like He’s right there beside me, holding me in my physical and emotional pain. Letting me cry on His shoulder. The night of the questions and answers the four of them made me feel like He was in the chair beside me, holding my hand, squeezing it tight.

I know people have problems more drastic than I do, and I’ve wanted to reach out, but my pain had left me feeling numb. My well of compassion was dry and rocky.

Jesus is pictured as Aslan in Narnia, a large lion who gave directions, advice, and wisdom. When I was nine and saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, that is what I thought Jesus must be like.

That large lion whose mane I can cling to, who will shield me and protect me from the dangers of Mirkwood.

Who can guide me back to the path.

A path that will lead out of Mirkwood.

His paws will walk beside me, His gentle voice talking to me.

If we run into giant spiders He won’t let them touch me.

If we meet Smaug He won’t let him touch me.

Till we reach the other side, to the sunshine and green hills. To the shining stars that no darkness can touch.



I traveled many roads to get to the Winter Workshop and I learned that my road through Mirkwood will end.

Because I have friends who love and pray for me.

Because I have Frodo’s journey to inspire me.

Because I have Aslan.

Because I have Jesus.

And that is how, one day, I can step through my round green door and say,

Well. I’m back.


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