About Christy Brunke

Welcome, friends! I’m blessed to be a mom, a pastor’s wife, and the bestselling author of the fictional book, Snow out of Season. But my greatest claim to fame comes from being a child of the King. Because of that, I’m passionate about my family, unborn children, and God-written love stories. Though I used to live in China, now I love serving in ministry here in Maryland. Praying you’ll be blessed as you read my blogs, my story, and my award-winning novel!

Book Giveaway to the Person of Your Choice!

My second book, When Losses Become Legacies: Memoirs on Grief, God, and Glory, is now available! Click here to order or learn more! Read on to enter our book giveaway!

Accolades from Other Authors

When Losses Become Legacies autographed book giveaway contest“A type of resurrection awaits you in these pages.” ~Dr. Mollie Bond, professor, nonprofit professional, and author of Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation

“Brunke and Cowan guide readers through a deep labyrinth of life’s grief and gloom, up toward a horizon of hope—Jesus’ empty tomb. When Losses Become Legacies offers a touching anthology of tragedies, delivering a peace that passes understanding.” ~Eric T. Eichinger, senior pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church, Clearwater, Florida, and award-winning author of Lord of Legends and The Final Race

“Through true-life stories ranging from postpartum depression to grief associated with the loss of a relationship, a loved one, a dream, and beyond, these authors weave the silver and gold of hope and healing through Jesus Christ into otherwise dark and dismal landscapes. I recommend this jewel box of a book to anyone who has found themselves in a dark valley and in need of light.” ~Linda Brooks Davis, award-winning author of The Calling of Ella McFarland

“The personal and heartfelt testimonies in When Losses Become Legacies beautifully exemplify how to turn ashes into beauty on the difficult paths each of us must walk. Through poignant stories and steady reliance on God, readers will see how to let their lights shine in the darkness for the illumination of all.” ~Sandra Byrd, bestselling, award-winning author of The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional

Praise from Pastors and a Professional Counselor

“Brunke and Cowan have dared to engage our souls at the place where believers and doubters meet at the same agonizing intersection—suffering. Their writing urges us to look for the irreplaceable presence of Jesus on the difficult journey we each will eventually walk through in our seasons of personal pain and loss. Their words and stories are compelling and filled with hope as we find our footing on the solid rock.” ~Tim Simpson, pastor of congregational care, Greenridge Baptist Church, Maryland, and former president of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

“In their memoirs, Brunke and Cowan invite us to journey with them, bearing witness to grief and loss they have known. The testimonies are beautiful and sorrowful, inspirational and encouraging. Their losses are indeed legacies.” ~Nive Christodoss, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified clinical trauma professional at In Step Behavioral Health

“I recommend this book to anyone who is seeking hope in what may feel like a hopeless situation.” ~Dr. John C. Palmieri, pastor and coach at New Life Community Church, Chicago

Book Giveaway

Want to receive a free autographed copy of our book, mailed to you or the person of your choice? Follow the steps below for a chance to win!

Amazon logo1) Read our book by June 8.

2) Review it on Amazon.

3) Comment below by June 8.

4) Winner announced here on June 9!

“No Dog Daddy,” Angelina’s Winning Story

Angelina Brunke with her "No Dog Daddy" awardThis past fall, our seven-year-old returned from school wielding a flyer about the Young Authors’ Competition. For this contest, students could submit either a poem or a short story. Word count ranges varied by grade, and a winner would be chosen from each.

Angelina knew right away she wanted to enter the contest. That night, instead of reading before bed, she asked if she could start writing her story. Pen in hand, she started scribbling her thoughts in her journal.

In December, she submitted it. In January, she discovered she’d won first place in her school second in the whole county.

When I posted pictures of her and her award on Facebook, several people asked me to post her story. So, without further ado, here’s “No Dog Daddy.”

No Dog Daddy

Once upon a time there lived a little girl. Her name was Angelina, and her sister’s name was Michaela. They really wanted to get a puppy, but the only problem was their dad. He didn’t want a puppy. He said that it would be too much work.

So, Angelina and Michaela made a scavenger hunt for their dad. The clues took him all over the house and led to a picture of a puppy. But their dad still said, “No, maybe when you’re seven.” So, then they hung up pictures of puppies and wrote the word “dog” everywhere. They wrote “dog” on the door, on the railing of the stairs, on the wall, and in his office. They even wrote it on his computer screen. But their dad still said, “No, maybe when you’re seven.”

A few days later, it was Angelina’s seventh birthday party. At her party, her grandma handed her a piece of paper. Angelina didn’t know what it was at first. It had a picture of a puppy, a date, and the names of the puppy’s mom and dad. Then she realized that she was going to get a puppy!

Angelina started opening the rest of her birthday gifts. There was a puppy harness from her mom and dad, puppy bandanas from her aunt, and squeaky toys from her cousin. She was happy and excited. And then she realized that her dad agreed because she was seven now.

Mark Brunke with 9-month-old golden retriever puppy, ReillyAngelina, Michaela, and her mom wanted a boy golden retriever puppy. So, Angelina, Michaela, her mom, and her dad found a breeder but there weren’t enough boy puppies. So, they looked for a different breeder and finally found one with enough boys. So, they picked the cutest dog, and it was the right color.

It took a while until they got the dog they wanted, and they named him Reilly. And now, they sometimes call him Baby Boy, Booboo or Bubba. They play fetch, tug of war, and sometimes they cuddle with Reilly. Michaela sometimes runs around their house and Reilly follows. Their mom sometimes talks and sings to Reilly. Angelina sometimes hugs Reilly for five minutes straight. But the one who cuddles and plays with Reilly the most is “No Dog Daddy.”

When Losses Become Legacies: Coming Soon!

When Losses Become Legacies Christy Brunke Kristina Cowan

For the last six years, people have been asking, “When’s your next book coming out?” I can finally say, “Soon!” When Losses Become Legacies features nine memoirs–creatively told–about grief, God, and glory. In these true stories, modern-day saints meet suffering, their Savior, and–sometimes–the supernatural.

Check out the back cover blurb by my friend and co-author, Kristina Cowan:

Sooner or later, we all lose someone we love. Maybe the person closest to us. Maybe early in our lives, or theirs. Loss and grief have immeasurable power—to draw us into darkness or deliver us into a higher purpose.

For those who follow Christ, loss will, ideally, point us back to the cross and its redemptive edge. If we’re willing to tread on that edge, it’s where we often meet our legacy.

In When Losses Become Legacies, Christy Brunke and Kristina Cowan share profound stories of personal loss. The path through tragedy differs for each mourner. Yet the Christ-follower encounters a universal truth: Our Redeemer doesn’t unravel the mystery of suffering. Instead, he lights our way through it.

It might feel like a dimly lit, confounding stretch of time. As we persevere, we scratch the surface of God’s love for us and tap into his endless reservoir of hope. Our character grows. Sharpened by scars and rooted in faith, we just might find our enduring legacy.

Endorsements

So far, we’ve been blessed to receive six endorsements from authors and pastors. Here’s one of our favorites:

“Do you remember a moment in life where it seemed that you couldn’t breathe, that the hurt was overwhelming, when the emotional pain was strikingly real? Most of us tend to hide in those moments, and perhaps hide from those moments for the rest of our lives. Kristina Cowan and Christy Brunke explore those areas we try to avoid in When Losses Become Legacies. Through their gentle and kind spirited authorship, they reveal in seasons of loss how God brings to life things that are hidden. A type of resurrection awaits you in these pages.”

—Dr. Mollie Bond, professor, nonprofit professional, and author of Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation.

Want to know when our book is available? You can sign up for blog updates, my newsletter, or both here.

Snow Out of Season: The Story behind the Story

From time to time, people ask me when I decided to become a writer and how I came up with the idea for Snow Out of Season.

My Earliest Muses

Christy Brunke named after Catherine Marshall's Christy novelWhen I was born, my parents named me Christy after the bestselling novel of the same name. You might say Catherine Marshall and her famous heroine were my first muses. (Tweet that!)

But as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading, especially fiction.

As a little girl, I was always dreaming up stories. I remember going into a patch of woods near our house and pretending I was the queen of a small kingdom.

In sixth grade, I won a short story contest and started dreaming of penning novels and memoirs. But first the Lord led me on other adventures.

I completed a bachelor of arts in English and moved to China to study Mandarin and teach at a university. Then I returned to the States to attend seminary, direct school musicales, and work at a church.

As a teen and young adult, I longed for a God-scripted love story.

I devoured books like Elisabeth Elliot’s Quest for Love and Passion & Purity. Realizing my Creator knew me better than anyone, and knew every man as well, I asked Him to choose my husband. And He did. Mark complements me perfectly and has been an incredible blessing to me and many others.

But when my mother-in-law was pregnant with him, her circumstances would have led many women to have an abortion. I started wondering what my life would’ve been like if she’d made a different choice. What if Mark had never been born?

The Significance of a Single Soul

What’s the significance of a single soul? How far does one life reach?

In Psalm 139, King David says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

You knit me together in my mother's womb.

A story grew in my heart, one I felt compelled to share. I wanted to speak about this issue of life in a way that readers could experience its impact. I wanted to teach these truths through a story, so I could reach more people with the message.

So began Snow out of Season, the dual stories of two women of two generations who struggle with the same questions. Is the child each carries worthy of life? What will it cost to keep the child? What will happen if each decides not to?

These are questions women across our country have wrestled with for 44 years. Since Roe v. Wade, 60 million unborn children have died in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I want you to pause a moment and take in that staggering number.

The number of Americans we’ve lost to abortion is greater than all the Americans we’ve lost in all our wars. That includes the world wars, the Civil War, and the Persian Gulf War, not to mention all the others.

In my novel, I attempt to give faces to two of those 60 million unborn lives. To help readers feel the significance of each lost—or saved—unique person. (Tweet that!)

An Impossible Dream

However, 98 percent of books submitted to publishers get rejected. And only 16 percent of traditionally-published writers were able to debut with their first book. Most wrote at least one novel before finally being able to get the second, third, or fourth published. Did this story even have a chance?

Two-year-old Michaela Brunke with baby sister Angelina BrunkeDespite the odds, I decided to pursue that long-delayed dream, knowing the faithful One who had called me was the God of the impossible. To learn how to write fiction, I took classes, attended conferences, and joined critique groups.

In 2014, my second daughter was born on June 10. Meanwhile, the deadline for the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest was September 10. Between round-the-clock diaper changes, plus caring for my two-year-old, I finished my story and submitted it.

The next month, I was shocked to learn the Christian Writers Guild had closed. Was the Operation First Novel contest cancelled too?

A Desire Fulfilled

The following month, New York Times bestselling author Jerry Jenkins decided to continue the contest under his own name.

Jerry B. Jenkins Clarice G. James Christy Brunke

Me and Clarice James with bestselling author Jerry Jenkins.

That December, I discovered I was one of eleven semifinalists.

The next month, at the Writer to Writer conference, Jerry announced I won third place. Snow Out of Season—that original story that wouldn’t let go—would be published!

From March to May, in-between moving, starting a new ministry, and trying to sell our house as well as buy another, I revised my story. Then I worked with Carol Kurtz Darlington from Mountainview Books to hone it more. Finally, my novel was off to the copyeditors and typesetters!

Snow Out of Season

Bestselling author Sandra Byrd read an advance review copy and said, “The story caught me with characters so real I feel I might see them on the street, and it held me with breathtakingly clever story telling.”

Snow Out of Season novel by Christy BrunkeLibrary Journal gave it a starred review, calling it an “astonishing tale with a gratifying ending,” and named it their Christian Fiction Debut of the Month.

In January 2016–a month after it’s release–the Kindle version topped Amazon bestseller charts.

But what is this bestselling, award-winning novel about? Two pregnant women, separated by time, each face a decision that could change the future—and the past—forever.

Read the synopsis and the first chapter here! Already sold on Snow Out of Season? You can order it for yourself or a loved one here.

Boundary Building for Sensitive Souls

Boundary Building for Sensitive Souls and Selfless Givers

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

Do you have the biggest heart around? Does your sensitive soul sometimes work against you? Is boundary building a foreign—or frightening—concept?

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged here. Click here to discover why. I’m writing today to encourage you to attend Boundary Building for Sensitive Souls and Selfless Givers! 

This fun, uplifting, and interactive workshop is hosted by my friend Renée Burkett. My husband, Mark, and I will also be speaking. Mark your calendars for this Saturday, September 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m!

Join us for the entire three-hour Facebook live event or just drop in for a module or two! Either way, you’ll receive tools and tips to create a healthy, balanced life. Discover how to choose well, keep your yeses in check, and live happier in your wonderful, others-focused life.

Boundary Building Modules

Renee Burkett Boundary Building for Sensitive SoulsToo Many Yeses Got Me in Some Messes

If your sensitivity to the needs or wants of others makes you a go-to for listening, caring, and saying yes—even to your own detriment—get tools and build boundaries to create better life balance.

Mark Brunke, Youth Pastor at Greenridge Baptist ChurchA Million Choices and a Million Voices: Choosing My Next Step

Whether you feel overwhelmed by options, pressured by the expectations of others, or stuck waiting for a sign, decision-making can be crippling.  If it’s hard for you to discover your own opinions and then give them a voice, you’re not alone.  At the end of this session, you’ll have tools to process the choices ahead of you and step forward with confidence in the real world.

Christy Brunke, author of Snow Out of SeasonBaby Steps to Meet Your Biggest Goals

Do you dream of starting a blog, writing a book, or remodeling your house? Whether your aspirations are practical or imaginative, finding the time to pursue them can be problematic. Learn how to break your big goals into baby steps to make them achievable, even amidst a busy life. After this session, you will have the tools you need to start turning your dreams into reality.

Renee Burkett Boundary Building for Sensitive SoulsStaying True to Your Inner You

Like chameleons, we can easily morph for others. Our inner sensitivity and compassion are gifts. And they can be a gift for us too! At the end of this module, you will recognize—when chameleon opportunities come—how to stay true to you.

Schedule

  • 1:00: Too Many Yeses Got Me in Some Messes (with Renée Burkett)
  • 2:00: A Million Voices and a Million Choices: Choosing My Next Step (with Mark Brunke)
  • 2:30: Baby Steps to Meet Your Biggest Goals (with me)
  • 3:00: Staying True to Your Inner You (with Renée Burkett)

This event is perfect for teens and adults as well as tweens with a parent. Ready to join us? Sign-up for this free event here!