What motivated you to write this book?
As a women's ministry leader, I love creating Bible study retreats with engaging themes. My fellow ministry leaders and I share a mutual love for chocolate and God's Word, and one day I said, "That's it! The perfect combination!" I was inspired to create a Chocolate Life women's retreat in our home church.
As I searched the Scriptures and researched this sweet topic for the retreat Bible study, I was intrigued and further inspired! The imagery, while delightful and delicious, also served to introduce timeless truths from God's Word, beginning with His grace for us in Christ. God guided me through His Word, providing depth and direction. Women responded with great interest, and I was encouraged to begin writing devotions related to the topic. A Chocolate Life devotion book was published by CPH in 2012, and meanwhile, women across the country requested that I present this chocolate-themed, grace-filled, Christ-centered message to them.
As the Lord continued to open doors and momentum for this topic continued to grow, I desired to dig deeper into the Word and expand the devotions and the study further. My editor presented me with the exciting opportunity to create an eight-session Bible study book (yes, this book!), so that many more women may be touched, encouraged, and fed by God's Word, as presented in this sumptuous chocolate "package." To God be the glory!
What will readers find in the Bible study that they didn’t find in the devotional?
In each savory session, a Chocolate Sampler quiz serves to break the ice for group study and provide a teaser to the topic that follows. A Memory Morsel encourages readers to commit Scripture to memory. Topics touched upon in the devotional are explored more deeply; Take a Bite questions provide opportunity for personal reflection, while Dig In questions lead to meaningful Scripture study. Every session includes a Chocolate Fun Fact and a special Chocolate Recipe, tied to the topic of the session, along with a Chocotivity—a hands-on group activity that offers fun and fellowship while providing a tangible, tasty means of reaching out to share God's rich grace with even more women!
What’s the message for the reader?
Every reader will receive the message of God's rich, sweet, extravagant grace. Whatever life brings her, she can savor God’s endless supply of mercy and forgiveness, lavished upon her in Christ. He forgives every one of her mess-ups, failures, and flaws, and fills her with sweet faith in her Savior.
What do you hope will come from those who dig into Living a Chocolate Life?
I hope that every reader will find joy in her study time and personal reflection time, alone and with sisters in Christ. While the study may tickle the reader's taste buds, I hope she will delight in the rich food (see Isaiah 55:2) of God's Word even more, receiving a new or renewed fervor to dig into Scripture and savor each one of God's precious promises. Because each session focuses on one aspect of life as a Christian woman, the reader gets to explore what it means to live a chocolate life in a number of ways, looking at her life in light of God's grace. My hope is that she'll more deeply understand and integrate God's Word into her daily life, growing in faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What’s your favorite chocolate recipe?
While it's very difficult to pick one favorite, I think the “Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies” recipe (see Session 2) tops my list! Gooey and crispy, filled with chocolate-bar shavings and semi-sweet morsels, this cookie calls my name on a regular basis.
What are you working on now?
I have just wrapped up the manuscript of a Christian-living book written for mothers of daughters, called Raising Godly Girls. (Released by June 2015) This spring, I plan to begin an expansion of my retreat theme, “A Woman of Joy” (based on the book of Philippians), into an eight-session Bible study.
Have you ever said “No more chocolate!”?
No, I can't say that I have. In fact, I don't recall ever tiring of chocolate. In any form. Ever. (Is that even possible?!)