Guest Post + Giveaway: The Heart of Belonging by Pepper D. Basham, author of Just the Way You Are

Belonging. What does that mean? I think in each of us, there's this innate desire to "belong". Be it in school or at work or even at home or amongst friends, our heart wants to belong somewhere. I'm thrilled to have one very very talented author friend here today to chat about "The Heart of Belonging".  Please welcome, Pepper D. Basham!

The Heart of Belonging

In Appalachia, immediate family means somethin’ a whole lot different than mom, dad, and siblings.☺When we talk about our ‘families’, we usually mean uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, and occasionally a few extras thrown in as engrafted in for good measure. Maybe some of you know what I’m talking about. 

I grew up in a family my granny would affectionately call a ‘herd’ or a ‘gang’, which meant you had a whole host of people involved in your life…for the good, the bad, and the crazy. I got tons of advice, loads of ‘guidance’, a great deal of teasing, and a whole lot of love. Within this wild and unique group of individuals I called ‘family’, I felt an undeniable sense of belonging. 

I think that’s why so many of my books include this theme in them in some way or other. 

It’s a truth universally sought after…to belong. 

Whether we’re that middle-schooler longing to be a part of a certain group, the orphan craving a home, the single seeking a spouse, the loner yearning for a community, and all sorts of other variants in between, our hearts desire that cozy corner of being loved just as we are. 

Why is that so important?

Even from before time began, God showed the importance of belonging in his very person – the mindboggling existence of the Trinity. God is in a constant state of fellowship and community as the Father, Son, and Spirit – so if He finds such pleasure and importance in it, why would WE?

Remember in the creation story! What was the ONE thing God said was ‘not good’? Adam being alone. So God, in his great love, created Eve so that together, with God, they would create a beautiful and perfect fellowship of belonging. 

What does this belonging provide?

At the heart, it provides a safe-haven where you’re loved in the middle of all your messy brokenness. Who doesn’t want to know they have a place to go when life cracks, shatters, or explodes? Right?

What’s the old 1980s Cheers theme song? (My dad used to LOVE watching that show)

Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
And they’re always glad you came; 
You want to be where you can see, 
Our troubles are all the same; 
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

At the heart of this song (and even the television sitcom) there was a longing for belonging. ☺

We have that, you know? God, in his infinite love, provides the ultimate belonging through His love, but because He ALWAYS does more than we expect, he gives us opportunities to ‘belong’ with others in our lives too. Knowing we’re His first, is the primary belonging

“Our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Augustine of Hippo stated about our relationship with God

But God’s shadow is often shown in our human relationships of ‘belonging’…and we usually find more than one community of belonging too.

There are places like our families, our churches, friends from school, friends from work. I’ve found a particular community among writers and readers.

In my contemporary romance novels, in particular, I love bringing out this theme. Belonging. Being loved in the middle of your mess. 

I enjoy showing a community of people who want to usher in the straggler or hungry heart, because we were MADE to community. We were created to belong.

What about you? Have you read a story you enjoyed that showed the theme of belonging?

About Pepper Basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. 

TO CONNECT WITH PEPPER:  website │ blog  facebook │  instagram 

About Just the Way You Are

Title:  Just The Way You Are
Series: Pleasant Gap Romance, Book 1
Author:  Pepper D. Basham
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release Date:  April 6, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance? 



(1) Winner will win an ebook of your choice of one of Pepper's novels
(and trust me, any of them will be GREAT!)
Open Internationally!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery



  1. Thanks for this post.It sounds like a good book. And I always enjoyed watching "Cheers" :)

    1. Leslie, JTWYA was such a fun book to write about family, forgiveness, and second chances. My other contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, really shows the need for 'belonging' - as does the second book in that series that's coming out in November!

    2. Leslie, it was a FUN BOOK! I still love that opening! Check out my review to see how much I loved it!

  2. Belonging...yes, one does not want to feel like an outsider. And even though I know I belong to the family of God and am His child, I still want to belong to a group of people who accept me just like I am. Thank you for sharing.

    1. God's hands and feet in our lives are other people :-)

    2. Ditto Anne. It's still a little difficult the hurt I've felt in the past of but I'm reminded of Who I belong to and what true belonging is and it soothes my soul. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks so much for welcoming me as a guest today, Annie!! I'm so thankful for you!

    1. Pepper! Anytime! You know I love you and your books lots!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Trisha! You're such an encourager!

    2. Thanks for stoping by Trisha. Have a blessed week!

  5. I'd love to read Pepper's newest book, Just the Way You Are! I really enjoy contemporary romance.

    1. Here's hoping you can get your hands on it, Heidi!!!

    2. You'll love it Heidi! Lots of luck! Hope you'll get to read it soon!

  6. Beautiful post, Pepper! Most of the time, I feel that I'm on the "outside looking in". I'm so excited to read JTWYA.

    1. Thanks Caryl! I know what you mean. I felt that way in the past and still do at times, but God had chosen us to belong with Him! Isn’t that happy news?! Have a blessed week!

  7. Enjoyed the article and can identify with the feeling/concept of an extended family. I grew up in the same somewhat rural county my mother's family moved to as "pioneers", so to speak, in the 1840's.

  8. I'd like to read The Penned in Time series

    1. O, you won't be disappointed! One of my favorites!

  9. I would love to read Just The Way You Are! I definitely relate to the entire post about belonging. Sometimes there are seasons in my life where I have a stronger tribe of friends that I belong with than others, but I know I always have my family and Heavenly Father. Thanks for the reminder Pepper!

  10. I would love to read the Penned in Time series, but I am so interested in Just the Way You Are...because, England! Beautiful cover, intriguing mystery--I'm in. Thanks for the post and the giveaway!

    1. hahah. Right?! How could we pass up England?!! hahah.

  11. I have read Second Impressions (novella) and really enjoyed it. I would love to read Just the Way You Are. I've heard good things about it.

  12. I love my church family because of the feeling of belonging I get! I'm interested in reading Just The Way You Are, thanks for the giveaway chance!

  13. I loved a Twist of Faith and Just the Way You Are!


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