Posts Tagged ‘Carrie Schmidt’





Soul Restoration
by Carrie Schmidt


What do you think of when you hear the word ‘restoration’?  Thanks to Chip & Joanna Gaines, I bet a lot of us think of a home restoration. And shiplap.

Maybe you think of an old photo that was damaged but has now been repaired. An old clunker car now gleaming like new. Or maybe a reputation being restored after it’s been dragged through the mud. A family reunited, old wounds slowly healing, forgiveness and grace extended. A season of life best forgotten, now redeemed in the Hands of your Savior.

In preparation for this post, I refreshed my memory on Robin’s beginning of the year post about restoration. And you know what? That little stinker took ALL the Bible verses on restoration! 😉

I nearly despaired, y’all.

BUT WAIT! I found one… one that sneaked by her, one that nearly sneaked by me.

It’s a little phrase tucked away in the most familiar Psalm in the Bible – “He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:3, NIV)

I think so often we rush over that part. At least I do. But let’s camp here for a minute.

In the context of the Psalm, this phrase is reflective of Jesus as our Shepherd. As the One who leads us beside still waters. And then the One who leads us in paths of righteousness. And right there in the middle – between the peaceful water-sitting and the righteous walking – is the restoration of my soul.

Do you notice anything about the first part of ‘restoration’?


How about the word REST?


While ‘restoration’ is Robin’s word for 2018, ‘rest’ is mine.

I’m a busy gal. I read a lot. I blog a lot. I do freelance writing for a couple of magazines. I have a part-time job that becomes full-time depending on the time of year. I have family responsibilities, too. When do I rest? Not often, I gotta admit. I sleep, sure. When I’m not caught up in a book. But resting? When I ignore the responsibilities that are demanding my attention and just sit at the feet of Jesus? Or even just sit in a relaxing bath? It doesn’t happen very much.

But I know it needs to. After all, He leads me beside those still waters so that I’m in a position to allow Him to restore my soul. Because, you see, walking down paths of righteousness, doing stuff in Jesus’ name, won’t be effective long term unless I have embraced the rest He offers before the path, during the path, and after the path.

Why? Because I’ll burn out. I’ll become cranky instead of grace-filled. I’ll become anxious instead of embracing the peace that passes understanding. I’ll be doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. And while Jesus leads me to the still waters, I’ll be trying to figure out how to build a bridge and move on to the paths of righteousness. Soul restoration? Who has time for that?!?

Can you see Him bemusedly shaking His head at me? Or maybe at you too?  (rem: oh, yesss…. )

For such a little phrase, it sure packs a punch. “He restores my soul.” When was the last time you let Jesus restore your soul? When you let Him renew your strength? When you made time to just rest in His grace?

And while we’re asking questions and shaking our heads at each other, what do those still waters look like?

I think ‘still waters’ can take many forms. What brings me peace may send you into a panic. And vice versa. But there are a couple of consistent trademarks.

  1. Time in God’s Word.
  2. Time worshipping God

Notice the key word there? Yep. The worst four-letter word I know. TIME. There’s never enough of it, is there? And that’s why ‘sacrifice’ is also a key step in soul restoration. Because Jesus can lead us beside the still waters but if we don’t take the time to notice them and let them nudge their way into our soul? There won’t be much restoring going on.

A sacrifice of time – with Jesus, by the still waters – will put you well on your way to that renewal of your soul. Even if you just sit there with Him, letting His Presence wash over you. Even if you just put on a playlist of songs that point you to Him … and maybe sing along. Even if you just read one verse and reflect on it all day. Because you’ve given Him your most precious commodity – time – He will give you restoration of your soul.

Are you weary? Are you overwhelmed with life? Would you just love a nap? I’m with you. I get it. And so does Jesus.

Do a quick google search for ‘Jesus went away by himself’ and you’ll find a bevy of Scripture references that show us that He made soul restoration a priority. Don’t miss that. JESUS made soul restoration a priority. The Son of God. The One who was there when the world was spoken into existence. THE Word. He knew how important it was to REST. A rest from labor, yes, but it always involved prayer. His time of rest was intentional – to restore His soul.

(I confess, I don’t know exactly how that worked with Jesus. I’m a blogger. Not a theologian. Lol.)

If you get nothing else from all my ramblings today, please get this: When you sacrifice time to sit beside the still waters (figurative or literal) with Jesus, HE RESTORES YOUR SOUL. Guaranteed. Every time.

Rest and restoration so often go hand in hand. So go ahead. Get some rest. Your soul will thank you.


What about you? Where do you most need rest in your life?

GIVEAWAY: One commenter will win this cute ‘He Restores My Soul’ mug from Seeds of Faith Designs on Etsy. (US only. If for some reason mug is no longer available when winner is selected, a comparable substitution may be made with winner’s approval.)


Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at












#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Carrie Schmidt, Rest, Restoration


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Stories come to me in different ways. Sometimes I “get” the gist of the story, sometimes I get character names. Sometimes I get the title first.


When Seasons came to me, the first thing I got was the names, and then the story titles. I therefore knew the series would then be Seasons. And I eventually got to the setting. I first thought it was current day, set somewhere north of here, somewhere that seasons are markedly different. Somewhere they get snow.


But as the story started speaking to me, I knew that a) it was not current day, but set in 1912 and 1913—very concise timeframe compared to my first series—and b) it was set in South Carolina.


“The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.

It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.”


When I get into the flow of a new story, I first see a vision of what the town is like. Then I go to Google maps to find a town to, er, borrow. And Lake City seemed just perfect. So I printed me a nice little map of Lake City…

… zoomed in…

… and promptly drew all over it.

Looks kinda like a spider web, doesn’t it?


Saisons is a crossroads town, with a statue of René Armand Dubois (1572) and a fountain in a quintessential town square in the center. A quarter of the town—and at least that much of its wealth—is owned by the Dubois family. Two other families, the Fontaines and the Marchands, also were part of the founding fathers of my little town. Ashley Santee, the Marchand estate is to the north, and Bastille House and Vineyards belongs to the Fontaine family.


I drew up a list of common places and businesses in a town and named them. The little red numbers on the map is the key to where each business is. They may never show up in the story, but in my mind, I know what’s there when Mercedes or Scarlett walk down Weatherbie Road or Tarleton Street.

The logistics, though, of Lake City didn’t fit some of the directional details and I moved the town a bit further south. It now sits on the Edisto River a little south of where Branchville is.


But what I had the most fun with—my interior interior designer voice—was designing the houses! I drew a floor plan for Saisons House (and later for Alés House, Mercedes’ townhome) so as I described clandestine meetings in the study—or in the secret room—tea in the parlor or dances in the ball room, I could see it all.

This is a fairly close representation of how I see Saisons House. (In the real world it is Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC.) Can you imagine how oppressive the heat would be in that tower in the summer?


Saisons house is designed as above, and functions as Downton Abbey. The Dubois family were not so strict with the rigors of protocol, but servants were expected to use the belowstairs entrances.


Inside the formal entry was a sweeping curved stair.

And that door there? The one that’s just cut off? That leads to Monsieur Dubois’ study—where the entrance to the secret room is oh-so-cleverly disguised!

There are, of course, also the parlor and music room







The dining room.

And the ballroom.

There was also a small chapel and loggia.


The grounds were a botanical feast, with angel oaks and magnolia trees.



There are cottages that were former slave shacks, and the barn and stables. The paddock, and of course, the fields of sugar cane and tea, the signature Saisons Plantation crops.



I hope you visit Saisons soon, and get to know Mercedes and her friends. The Long Shadows of Summer released just last month. Of all my main characters, Scarlett’s story most closely correlates to my own though not a true parallel. The Tilting Leaves of Autumn is her story and releases in November. Pearl has just gone MIA and The Silent Song of Winter will tell you why when it releases in February of next year. And finally, Simone, in a way the main character of the series, answers the last of the clues and questions in The Whispering Winds of Spring, in May of 2018.


And be sure to visit Carrie at http://readingismysuperpower.org/2017/09/20/guest-post-giveaway-robin-e-mason-tours-fictional-town-saisons/ to enter the giveaway!









#BLOGWORDS, Guest Post, Reading is My Superpower, Carrie Schmidt, The Fictional Town of Saisons, Plantation, French Heritage, Downton Abbey, Gone With the Wind

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Mother’s Day has come and gone now.

And if you’re like me, the day is always a little bittersweet.


On the one hand, I love the chance to celebrate my Mom because a) she’s awesome and b) we’re great friends as well as being mother and daughter. This year, we attended a high tea just for something girly and fun!

On the other hand, I’ve been married for nearly 17 years and have no children. Given my age and my health issues, it is almost a certainty that no one will ever call me “Mom”. Except my dog Zuzu, of course, but she doesn’t really count 😉

I adore my nieces and nephews (a total of almost 10 now between my husband’s side of the family and my own) and I have fully embraced the “cool aunt” title, promising to always have gum. (To date, none of them have asked me for a piece of gum. But when they do, by golly, I’ll be ready!)

Still … being called “Aunt” doesn’t quite complete the heart like “Mom”, does it? And so Mother’s Day for me is always a bit painful in spite of the sweet. Maybe it’s the same for you. Or maybe your children are grown and gone and never with you on Mother’s Day. The ache is still there, either way, isn’t it?


Maybe what makes Mother’s Day bittersweet for you is instead the loss of your mother. Whether too soon or after a life long-lived, I’m told that ache never quite goes away either. Especially on days where everyone is treating their moms to special dinners and flowers and hugs. You would give anything to give (and receive) one more hug from your own mother, and so – while you enjoy the accolades from your children on Mother’s Day – you feel like something is missing. Like someone is missing.


If at least one of these scenarios applies to you, then today you may still be feeling the sting of the bittersweet. The emptiness of wanting to belong – to a mother or to a child – and having no one to belong to. Our hearts were created to never say goodbye (to people or to dreams), so it’s no wonder they break with every cruel reminder of this broken world.


May I encourage you, my sweet girlfriends?

God sees. And He cares. He loves you so tenderly.

You already belong to Someone.

Did you see those last few words? “You are mine.”


I can hear you though. The words forming right now on your lips. “Yeah, that’s great and all… but belonging to God isn’t the same as having my mother back. Belonging to God isn’t the same as having a child of my own.”

I know. I get it. I do.


But Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be missing your mother, missing her hugs, wanting the kind of relationship other daughters have with their mothers.

And He wants to draw you close and whisper these words to you –

He has not left you alone, my sweet friend. He longs to bless you beyond your imagination.  He takes great delight in you.


And Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be longing for a baby, for a child to call you “mom”, for a prodigal son or daughter to return home.


Listen, dear kindred heart. He is whispering words of purpose to you –

You may not have children that are physically or legally your own. But He longs to fill your heart – and your arms – to overflowing all the same.

And sometimes… in His great graciousness … He brings together someone who needs a mother’s hug with someone who longs to be a mom. As empty arms slip around empty hearts, both become curiously full.

A portrait of grace. A reminder of belonging. A glimpse of heaven.

A promise that one day all the sad things will come untrue.

And all hearts will be full forever.



Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at http://readingismysuperpower.org








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Carrie Schmidt, Zuzu, Cool Aunt, Mother’s Day, You are Mine, Portrait of Grace



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