GIVEAWAY: Simple Things

Gwen Smith Blog, Giveaways, Priorities 206 Comments

Happy Friday! I always love guest post and GIVEAWAY DAY! Don’t you? Today I’m honored to introduce you to my friend, SUZANNE SCHAFFER.

Fun story. Suzanne’s hubby Wayne is an old buddy of mine. And when I say old, I mean OLD. He and I became friends in our teens. We went to church camp and youth retreats together. All kinds of fun church events! And we hung out, laughed with, and worshiped with a great group of kids. Wayne was always quick with a smile and warm like the sun. He loved Jesus and was all about living to serve God. When he became a pastor no one was surprised. Least of all me. So years after college, when we were all married and ministering, I got to meet his young bride, Miss Suzanne. And I can sum it up simply: Wayne chose well. Her pure heart and genuine spirit won me over the minute I met her. I just know you are going to love her too.

From her new book, SIMPLE THINGS, here’s Suzanne Schaffer…


Simple Things

It was a perfect day, Natalie scribbled into her journal. Spent the afternoon on the porch with the kids who didn’t fight. Enjoyed a picnic dinner complete with fresh-squeezed lemonade, hubby’s famous steaks on the grill, and a big piece of chocolate cake I didn’t have to share. The phone didn’t ring and the only visitor was the mailman when he brought my Amazon order.

Good thing she wrote it down because here comes tomorrow.

Natalie’s full coffee cup fell and shattered, staining her white capris. The kids were hangry and they wanted grandma’s chicken soup, only grandma lives several states away. The house looked like Toys ‘R Us vomited, and the baby shower gift she bought on Amazon was one of three the mom-to-be received.

Welcome to real life.

I have a plaque in my house that reads, “Just when I was getting used to yesterday along came today.” While everyone wants happily ever after, real life plays out like the scene above, perhaps not all in one day, but I’ve lived enough to see this time and again. As Christians we were led to believe life would be different. Our days wouldn’t be messy. Life isn’t a fairytale and it sure isn’t glamorous.

Even the people we emulate in the Bible went through hard times, though we don’t see it written down. We see an overview of their lives, not their every day. Why is it hard to believe we share so much in common with them? If someone were to write an outline of your life what would it say? Would it repeat the mundane or highlight the extraordinary?

I’ve told my husband my tombstone will read, All she ever wanted was car lashes, because he refuses to buy them for me. But that isn’t reality. I want my life summed up as, She was faithful to God and she delighted in His faithfulness to her… because even on the messy days He has always been there.

Life with God doesn’t mean a carefree existence.

We live in a crazy world with godless people. With Him by our side we are able to navigate reality without losing hope. He provides peace in the middle of real life. When things are scattered and chaotic God is a steadiness we can trust. He is constant and unchanging in a motionless world.

We can overthink the Christian life.

People and ideas get in the way and blur our focus: live to please God, love Him, love people, and share His love with others.

There isn’t much we can change in our world but we can influence our little corner of it by how we act and react.


“As you read [Simple Things] it’s my hope that you find rest and laughter, learn from my mistakes, and grow in your walk with the Lord. Let’s rediscover the simple things in a world where everything is complicated.”


Hurray! Hurray! It’s a Giveaway! Congratulations to our two winners: Dawn Kauffman, Joan and Kim Whitfield

Suzanne is giving away THREE copies of Simple Things:
Becoming a Godly Woman in an Ungodly World!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:


#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on Monday, August 14th, so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US and Canada readers only.}


Suzanne Schaffer is wife to a pastor and mom to two adult children and one brown dog. She is a lover of all things 1940s and can usually be found with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. She believes life is too short for mediocre food and will spend extra on good chocolate. Her sense of humor gets her through the hard times of life and she laughs freely at whatever comes her way. Suzanne lives in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. She’s been writing most of her life, mostly to appease the urge to get the words on paper.

Simple Things is her first book. Visit her online at

All proceeds from this book go directly to Convoy:Women, A division of Convoy of Hope that teaches women in third world countries how to provide for their families. They provide the training and the women do the work. They also give them hope through Jesus.




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Comments 206

  1. I’ll be 71 yrs young this year, and I can hardly wait to laugh, laugh, and laugh. This is what has kept me married 50 years to my hubby Andy, and seems we do laugh quite a bit at silly things.

  2. I am an avid reader and at this time of my life, I am on a spiritual journey to help me grow in my faith. I am absorbing all true information and would love to add your book to my library. Thank you!

  3. This sounds like an awesome book…certainly timely with all the turmoil oyr world is in. What a blessing it would be to win!

  4. I am starting my journey and much needed relationship with the Lord. I have been running for so long, thinking how could anyone really love me and that he died for me. Your book sounds that somewhere, I would love to help me in this LIFE CHANGING JOURNEY.

  5. Sounds like an amazing book we all need to read. Would love a free copy! If I don’t win this will definitely be put on my list of books to but (Will probably be put at the top of the list). Thank you Girlfriends In God for having this as your guest post.

  6. I’m a single Mom and need to be reminded of the Simple Things. Life gets stressful, trying to provide for my 11-year-old son and me, this book would be a refreshing thing to read and contemplate.
    Thanks for the chance to win and God bless you!!!!!

  7. This is a very generous gift that you are giving. Whether I win the book or not, it would be a wonderful read to read to the ladies of an upcoming ministry. I am currently studying with an biblical mentor on how to be a godly woman because this is a totally different lifestyle than that of which the world tells us to live. But I am also able to see what a life with God can truly do for us. He is amazing, and He truly brings amazing, breath-taking blessings, all we have to do is listen and obey. Thank you for your generosity.

    1. Hi Laura, it is my dream to have Simple Things used as a study book for groups. I’ve shared my heart in this book and hope that women can learn from my example (both the good and the bad). Thanks for dropping by.

  8. I have enjoyed reading my emails from Gwen and I know I would really enjoy reading a book from one of friends, of course she has many friends, including me 😊 thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

  9. I would like to thank you and Suzanne for the opportunity to win a copy of Simple Things. I would like to read it and then pass it on to a friend. Shared the giveaway on Facebook and Twitter.

  10. This is so needed for today’s women ~ trying to maintain our integrity and “femaleness” is complicated to say the least. Thanks for putting your thoughts down on paper for the rest of us to enjoy!

  11. Amazing how quickly everything changes. One day its pretty decent and the next as if a tornado came through. We cannot expect to be exempt from trials and troubles even if we are believers. We must prepare in advance with the word in our head and hearts and keep going. Like the old song says, ” I beg your pardon, I didn’t promise you a rose garden.”. I would enjoy reading this book just to remind myself once again.

  12. this sounds like a really good book, I need in my life, facing the trials, storms and trials of just daily living trying with all my might to stay positive in a negative existence, being disable, living totally alone, no friend, no family, just lonely, I truly love receiving daily messages from GIRLFRIEND IN GOD it is a must for me, because the struggle is all to real, and the valley is insufferable, but I keep trying to hang on to the slender thread of faith I have left. the more things I receive to boost my faith, the more I want.

  13. I love and live the comment I was getting use to today when all of a sudden tomorrow came along. I know that he s paraphrased. But it is my life. Love it!!!!

  14. This is a book I would love to get for my sister. (Of course I would read it first!) She hasn’t been a Christian for very long & is struggling with the fact that “bad” things still happen in her life. This would be a really helpful & encouraging read for her. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  15. Dealing with health issues and being disabled is tough and depressing. God is always there to help me daily. I would love this book because it would help in dealing with the difficulties in life!

  16. As a struggling pastor’s wife, I feel that this book would be encouraging and uplifting. It would be a blessing to receive! ❤️✝️

    1. What a wonderful way of reminding us of our everyday life and reminding us of our life in Christ. At the end of your day you are able to see things more clearly and h o w God was there and give thanks

  17. This sounds like a wonderful book. I love the authors bio. She captured my attention with the “lover of all things 1940s and can usually be found with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other”. This is spot on me. LOL! I would love to win her book. Any book that teaches you to be close to God is a must.

  18. Sometimes there are few too many chocolates to save my day, but I know that Christ is the answer and sometimes we all need “good” chocolate (I agree Suzanne) and a good book to read when the world sends rain on our days. Here in Louisiana it is what I like to call the rainy season (summer humidity rain showers daily). . .so a good book will refocus my view. Much love and blessings to the author and it’s readers! <3

  19. How very true! I am reminded of the phrase I spoke just yesterday “today is not a dress rehearsal”. We think if we had the chance to have a “do over”, it would be so awesome. But would it? I met Gwen in the Chicago airport one day when our flight was delayed. See what happened there? The flight was delayed ( bad) but I met Gwen (awesome!). Thank you for your practical way of helping me see that ALL things really do work out for good and to slow down and enjoy the journey! Blessings to you!

  20. Reality! Every day is a blessing and we should treat it as one.. in my “upper” years 😀, I have learned or should say I am working to learn not to fret over “spilled milk”. As a perfectionist, it is so hard. I loved your introduction to your book and wou l d love to have one. Thanks for the offer!

  21. I love it. It’s so true. Perfect days are few and far between. My faith in the Lord is the only thing that gets me through the days of craziness & messiness. I am 64 years old and have been married to my husband, Ricky, for 42 years. My two daughters are grown & I have two beautiful grand-daughters. Nothing is perfect. But, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think the messiness & craziness brings me closer to God because that is when I need Him the most & depend on His guidance & strength to get me through to the next phase of my life.

    God bless you!

  22. Would Love to win this book…sounds like something I need….I overthink for sure the Christian life and need that reassuring of the simple things…don’t sweet the small stuff…and i think this book would do just that for me 🙂

  23. Even though we’re empty nesters on our way to retirement (can’t get here fast enough for all the things I have planned!), “Good thing she wrote it down because here comes tomorrow.” Some days are calm and peaceful, some not so much. But while I’ll enjoy reading the book, I know some other moms who need it more than me. I’ll be looking for it in the store.

  24. Each day starts with me sitting on my back patio, reading my Missal and other inspirational readings (such as this blog post), and praying prayers of thanksgiving and petition. Some days roll along smoothly, some not as much, but I f el truly blessed no matter what.

  25. Thank you for graciously sharing copies of your book! I so enjoyed the excerpt here and would be blessed to receive a copy! I am sharing to my social media as well!

  26. Love how you talk about the messy things bringing joy. Without the bad we don’t see the good. I’m often surprised as a fairly new Christian when others say that Christianity shouldn’t be hard. Really? Did Jesus not say take up your cross? Did He not say we will be hated and persecuted because he was?

  27. Not sharing that chocolate cake is a rare treat, (I know!). I think I might like some car lashes as well. Thank you for letting the lord use you, and in such a humorous way. laughter is good for the soul. I will try to laugh more this year,

    1. Crystal, laughter has been a gift from the Lord. He has graciously shared it with me and it helps me daily. I hope you can find more to bring you to laughter. I always say, laugh at me if you need to, just laugh!

  28. Ahhh! It is is always refreshing to be encouraged by others who also struggle with (a host of issues); a
    Great reminder …… that we need Jesus, every moment of every hour !

  29. I absolutely LOVE this message. Why are the simple things the hardest? LOL. My husband and I were just talking this morning that life changes so fast. As business people we are always thinking and many times living in the future. But today is what we need to enjoy. While in a difficult valley now, our conversation this morning was how grateful we are for what we’ve learned from difficult times. Even surviving through the loss of a child… at least we got to raise that child and love on him for 24 years… well, TMI for my comment, sorry. But your post was a wonderful message for me today. Thank you.

  30. Oh my! Are there simple things? Morning coffee should be simple, along with time with Jesus. When you are a pastoring family and your husband’s phone goes off like this: ‘woohoo! Somebody done sent me a text message’ at 7:30 in the morning at a decibal that rattles the windows…you know that simple just became anything but. Prayer requests & needs are all around us and then I realize how simple it is to pause & pray. Just like that. Would love to have your book to add to my library!

  31. I sure could use this. I need a pick me up. I’m a Christian since I was 9 and I’m 50 now. Gods been with me though the darkest times of my life so far. But it never seems to end. I don’t get excited about life anymore. I just don’t. What’s the sense? Not very often something good happens in my life. And when it does, it’s over shadowed by something negative and steals my joy. I wish I can find joy. 🙁

    1. Every morning there is something to celebrate. You’re alive, the sun rose, the day is full of adventure. Wait expectantly on the Lord, offer your life to be used, He will fill those moments for you.

  32. I have been a Christian since I was 15 years old. I have been married for 66 years and I can heartily attest to the fact of good times and bad times. The Bible tells us that God does not change, so why do we tend to think He is against us in the bad times.. My long years of knowing Him has taught me He is always with me, no matter how dimly I can see Him.

  33. Hello! Looks like a wonderful to book for my own soul and those I do Biblical Counselling with. Whomever wins will be blessed! 🙂 THANKS for what you do for the glory of our Saviour, Gwen!!!

  34. I can totally relate to this story. Ive been striving towards a simpler life but it’s a daily effort-no coasting!

  35. I loved reading this little excerpt from her book. I won’t hold my breathe in terms of winning, as that rarely occurs in my world. But thank you for sharing.

  36. I would love to read Suzanne’s book as I believe in Simple Things and there is definitely not enough chocolate in the world 🌎 😊

  37. What a blessing to read about the Simple Things in life! Many times, it seems when it rains it pours, but when you have the simplicity of life, one knows that what ever happens on our plate, we always have God! He will get us through the tough times! Can’t wait to read Suzanne’s book!

  38. It’s so hard to make things simple in this complicated world we live in. I always enjoy reading someone’s perspective on how we can put God first.

  39. This book sounds so refreshing. I love that you help us to remember that we have a Savior, He is so good. Looking forward to reading this book. Thank You for sharing the gift God has blessed you with.

  40. Yes!!! Simplicity is the key which opens the door to peace, praise and provision of rest and joy; knowing that God has a wonderful plan for our ordinary as he leads us into His extraordinary. Bless God and bless all who follow Him!!

  41. What pleasant story motivating me to get back on track with our faithful Father. So many times I just keep moving thinking I’m gaining and making progress in life as long as I’m not doing anything wrong, but that is not what and how I should live. I only live because He lives and I’ve taken that for granted long enough. Thank you for these bright reminders! I look forward to reading this book. Thank you!

  42. Although we strive to make things simpler we tend to complicate things. We forget that want doesn’t want things or activities, he wants our hearts. This is an awesome reminder 😊

  43. Although we strive to make things simpler we tend to complicate things. We forget that want doesn’t want things or activities, he wants our hearts. This is an awesome reminder 😊

  44. This book sounds just what I need. I remember the days of my children being young and thinking “when will the chaos end?” Now, they are mostly adults . Somedays, I wish the chaos was still there because its on those days we receive the greatest blessings.

  45. The bigger picture is that No Matter how messy things get, God will always be going before us to help clear the spiritual clutter.. In reality if this path is clear then all the other STUFF ( our physical reality) will fall by the wayside in comparison..

  46. No truer statement has been written, and it came right out of the pages of my life recently. I’m a Grandmother raising my two Beautiful and Handsome grandchildren after the death of my Beautiful Daughter Amanda two years ago. In the later part of May this year I had a total knee replacement surgery on my right leg. It went great for the first 3 1/2 weeks and then the infection set in and I went in at exactly week 5 for the second surgery to clean out the infection. Going good again for 3 1/2 more weeks then another infection being treated by antibiotics. Finished the antibiotics 3 days ago and calling the surgeons office today because infection is still here. In the midst of all of this we’ve started a new church because of lack of care from our church of almost 9 years during the surgery and follow up. Praise God that He is always there caring for us because people truly can disappoint us. GOD NEVER does!!! Praying for strength and endurance in the trials. In Christ’s love and blessings Miss Rusty

  47. . Having God in your life makes those days when you just want to explode can bring you a peace like nothing else can.

  48. Simple things. The words remind me of what i always imagine God expects us to do. Just the simple things. Kindness. Goodness. Mercy. Etc it brings us a reminder of how we should live our life now,by simply appreciating the simple things.

  49. Life is messy and we will never be totally organized and prepared! Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to calm our own spirits and the knowledge that we are not actually controlling things but One much more-no fully capable- is in control!

    Thank you both for your ministries!


  51. Perfectly said Some days are perfect and the next things go wrong But just work on your little corner of the world

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