First Wild Card Tour ~ Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Carol G. Stratton

and the book:

Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted

Lighthouse Publishing (March 21, 2012)

***Special thanks to Carol Stratton for sending me a review copy.***

Carol Stratton has written for several publications, including InTouch magazine and Kyria. She is a contributing writer for Forsyth Woman magazine and has been published in two anthologies, Writing so Heaven Will be Different and Extraordinary Answers to Prayers. She speaks to women’s groups such as MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and at national writers’ conferences. She attended Capenwray Bible School in New Zealand. Carol and her husband live in North Carolina and have four children and two grandchildren. Her website,, helps women who are relocating.


When your entire life drives off in a moving van, it’s easy for doubts to flood your mind. Will I ever be organized again? Will I find good friends? Will my children like their new school? Carol Stratton has experienced twenty-two moves and counsels others seeking stability in a culture of change. In Changing Zip Codes, Carol helps readers explore the fun of new possibilities, the magic of new friendships, and the excitement of fresh starts. With humorous stories and biblical insights, Carol reminds us God is in the midst of every move, leading us to new beginnings.


As the moving van drives off, you have a knot in your stomach. You ask yourself, “Are we moving to a better place? Will my children like their new school? Will I ever make friends?” As a twenty- time mover, I understand the fears and excitements of relocating and have grown a passion to help families who need to change their zip code. My new book, Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted is a forty-day devotional to encourage anyone who need to change addresses or find community.

Product Details:
List Price: $11.95/ $4.95 Kindle Edition
Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing (March 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984765557
ISBN-13: 978-0984765553

My Review:

I’ve moved a lot in my lifetime, for the most part always within the same city, so my community never really changed. Until the BIG move happened. We knew that a move would be best for our family, but little did we know that it would be to another country!

So when my husband took a job in the United States – we packed up everything we had in Canada and headed south over the border. And for 12 years we’re still know as “the people from Canada.” We like it here, we’ve become American citizens, but honestly, when we first moved, it wasn’t at all what we expected. Canada isn’t that far, we speak the same language, are in the same time zones, but culturally – it came with a learning curve.

This was a big change for us, we knew no one, new job, new neighborhood, new church, well pretty much new EVERYTHING. I could have REALLY used this devotional book then as in those early days my husband often came home to a whimpering mess of a wife. But what do you know, it may not be too much longer and this book might serve its purpose in my life anyway, as another move to a new community may be on our horizon.

As I anticipate doing this move thing to another state where again we know no one, new neighborhoods and new churches, it doesn’t seem as isolating as it did the last time I moved. And that’s due in part to this devotional book.

I’ve already read through it once, and it opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on how to become part of a community and church body when you’re the new one in town. My family and I are going to benefit from this greatly when we are transplanted in our next zip code. I recommend it greatly to anyone who has recently moved and feels alone or to anyone that will be moving to a new community in their future. If you put into practice the wisdom this seasoned mover lays out in the pages of this book, you probably won’t feel lonely for long!


Day 1
Chains that don’t chafe…

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Philippians 1:12-14 NIV
Chains are chains for one reason—they keep one object tied to another. We understand their usefulness with inanimate objects whether it means securing bicycles to a hitching post or keeping a gate locked at night. But when we feel bound to our circumstances, imaginary chains become a point of frustration. Perhaps one spouse is tied to selling a house while the other has to move ahead to start a new job or a married couple has been called to the mission field and they need to sell their house to help fund their ministry. Maybe we feel imprisoned in an area we don’t like but because of situations with family and jobs, we are not free to leave.

When writing how his imprisonment had given him opportunities to share his faith, the Apostle Paul refused to fight his chains. History tells us that every four hours Paul was chained to a new prison guard and many became believers. The Bible tells us that as a result of what happened to Paul, the gospel was advanced.

Seeing our life chains as a way to anchor us to God, helps us stop chaffing against them. Those miserable, weighty iron links that seem to hold us down might be necessary to make us stop and do something we might not have done otherwise. When we are stuck in one place with few options, God often does his finest work. Being pinned to one place gives us time to think about our lives, to pray more, to communicate with others in our current community, and spend quality time worshipping our Lord.

God might even have a special project for us that we wouldn’t have seen while flitting around in our previous life. A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves unemployed while trying to sell our house. Fourteen months of showing a house in a down market seemed like an eternity when we wanted to move on, but I have a 70,000 word novel to show for my time of house arrest.

Are you bound to your present circumstances? God may have you anchored for a reason. Look around you. Is there someone God wants you to befriend in order to share the good news? Release from anxiety often comes when we respond to our current situation while looking for opportunities to make good out of it.

When we quit fighting our chains, we may find a greater purpose in wearing them.
Day 27

Southern fried speaking
Why don’t you understand the language I use? Is it because you can’t understand the words I use? John 8:43 God’s Word Translation
“Call the police.”
Now I can panic a bit, but when the oil change attendant waved for me to pull up and said, “Call the police,” I hesitated. Did I hear him right? I whipped out my cell phone assuming the previous customer just drove off without payment. Of course I’d be happy to nab that greedy driver who’s not paying and making the bill higher for the rest of us. I rolled down my window to talk to the young man.
“Looks like someone drove off without paying. Or maybe worse, but I figured you look pretty calm for having just been robbed.”
The man shot me a confused look.
Now I was puzzled. “Didn’t you just ask me to call the police?”
“No, ma’am, I just said, ‘Pull up please.’”
I could almost hear his thoughts: “Dumb Yankee…can’t even understand English!”
I’m afraid I had to agree.
Sometimes it seems like God’s plans for us are also lost in translation. It’s as if He is speaking Japanese to us and we just haven’t learned the lesson. Should we move here or stay put? Should we put our children in public school or home-school them? How large a mortgage should we bite off? All these questions are important and we want to hear God’s will for our lives. But fretting seems to keep us from hearing what he wants for us.
As you and I adjust to a move, we need to remember that God wants to communicate with us. James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God for it and he will give it to us generously. It might take time to translate into your circumstances, but we serve a God who loves to translate his truth into our lives. Today, believe that whatever decisions you are wrestling with, He will have an answer.

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