Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Key to Everything Coming Soon

Those of you who follow One Ringing Bell know I have a nonfiction book, Faith in the Fashion District, releasing on August 23rd from Crosslink Publishing. Congratulations to Elaine Crunkleton, who won the advance copy last week.

Amazingly, I also have a novel releasing digitally in September from Anaiah Press, The Key to Everything (print version will be available in a short while). Tomorrow, Anaiah is having the book cover reveal on their blog as well as a post from me about the book. So, stay tuned. I’ll link HERE to the post when it’s available.

Thanks for following and many blessings.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How God is never late (and a giveway)

Elaine Crunkleton is the winner of the giveaway this week. Congratulations!!! For the rest of you, more opportunities to win coming soon. Please sign up to follow my blog so you don't miss out.

The countdown is on―thirty days until Faith in the Fashion District releases on August 23.


I wrote a bit HERE about what led me to write the book when it first released, but as Paul Harvey used to say, here is the “rest of the story,” or at least part of the rest of the story.

At writer’s conferences, when I ask folks what they’re writing, most say, “I’m writing a book about me.” Memoirs are coming up now in the market, but that's not what I wanted to write. There’s more here on this blog about me than anybody would want to know. What would the book theme be anyway?

Yet, I find myself with a book about to release that is in part, a memoir.

How did that happen?

I’ve written here of our 7000 mile cross country trip with our family in the summer of 2001 and how formative it was in all our lives. That summer I was struggling with a call to write, to do something more than continue to fill up my closet with those journals I’d kept since I was eight.

On a mountaintop in Montana where my husband was the speaker at a family camp, I received a word that seems something of a bookend to what is happening now.

 “‘Beverly,’ I heard the worship leader call one evening as I was leaving a meeting. He approached me, ‘I sense God is saying that you’re afraid to go after what God is telling you. I believe he’s encouraging you to do it afraid. And that he will confirm whatever this is to you.’

That night in a dream, I saw a nonfiction book, and the title was from Matthew 7:7, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’”( from High Places, in the Dream Summer series).

I left the camp believing I had been given a divine directive and began to ask God for that book, sure it was going to happen in a short time.

In the intervening years, there have been many articles, devotions, screenplays, short compilations, and novels, but no actual nonfiction book. At times, the vision for it seemed to grow more and more distant. Along the way, I often struggled with fear of vulnerability and of failure. And then just before God gave me the idea for Faith in the Fashion District, I went through a year of almost being shut down creatively. 

I meet starry-eyed writers who believe they’re going to get a contract for a first draft of a manuscript they’ve penned, and I have to walk that fine line of wanting to encourage them but at the same time speaking the truth in love. Their journey is usually going to involve many more drafts, more manuscripts, and more time.

Last fall, sixteen years after God gave me that word on a Montana mountain, I signed a contract for a nonfiction book. It has taken longer than I could have possibly imagined to get here.

The book I never wanted to write turns out to be a book God planned all along. I sometimes get concerned it will be viewed as fluff, not serious writing because of the subject, yet it is the story of how God helped me live out my faith in an environment that was apathetic and even hostile to Christianity.

In Revelation 12:11, we find these words, “They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness. They weren’t in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ.”

Faith in the Fashion District is my bold witness, and I pray it is not the story of me being in love with myself but in love with Jesus and that it will help others live out their faith, as well.

Sometimes, it’s a long, long road from vision to realization. If you’re there, my heart and prayers are with you. I don't know if you find this post encouraging or discouraging, but take heart the Bible says, “God is not late with his promise as some measure lateness” (The Message 2 Peter 3:9). Persevere in your calling from God without regard to how long it takes to reach the goal.

In my life, the fulfillment of one of God’s never late promises means August 23, 2018.

I’ve received a few advance copies of Faith in the Fashion District, so I’m having my first giveaway. I’ll have several more giveaways here before the book’s actual release date. The giveaway includes a book, a famous maker New York motif scarf, a bracelet (made by my daughter) of vintage 80’s and new beads plus a New York motif tote bag (not shown above). If you’d like to be considered, just make a comment here or on Facebook and one name will be chosen at random. I’ll post the winner at the top of this post and on Facebook. The drawing will take place this Friday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. If you don’t win, try again next week.  Spread the word. 
The book I never wanted to write turns out to be a book God planned all along. (click to tweet)

Persevere in your calling from God without regard to how long it takes to reach the goal. (click to tweet) 

HERE to buy Faith in the Fashion District.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Comforting words for distressing times

A thunderous crash sounded outside my friend, Tina’s house. The booming noise was so loud, she even wondered if a plane went down. She ran out and discovered a car had crashed into her brick mailbox. Thankfully, the driver was okay, but the collision sent bricks and car parts flying as much as sixty feet away from the point of impact.

Yet, a nest in an unused paper box landed intact still with the spent egg inside.

I’ve been thinking about that fragile nest, how it was unharmed amid so much destruction.

Sometimes, we scan the landscape of our lives and in every direction we look, it seems as if one event could send circumstances spiraling into a cacophony of destruction.

Life can feel so transient and fragile. That’s because it is.

A single happening can cause the dominos to fall for what seems like infinity.
We find this verse in Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

As the delicate nest held together amid the flying bricks, the God who was before all things―holds our circumstances together, no matter how hard or devastating the impact we experience .

Take special note the verse does not say some things, a few things, or one thing; it says ALL things hold together in Him.


Comforting words in distressing times.

Occasionally when I write a post, I sense that it is maybe even for one person. I had that sense when I wrote this piece. If that's you today, know God has you in the palm of his hand.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yes, Mister Rogers, I’ll be your neighbor

Oh, if only I could.

Jerry and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor last week. Like most everyone else who has seen it, we squalled.

One of the most poignant moments for me was when ten-year-old quadriplegic Jeffrey Erlanger  appeared on the show and he and Fred Rogers sang It’s You I Like to each other. Evidently, Erlanger had no idea they’d be singing that song and just jumped in with Mister Rogers. I remembered seeing the episode with my own children. But my memories are not just from seeing it with my kids. I watched Mister Rogers as a child and found the show a peaceful oasis in a quagmire of ongoing difficult circumstances in my life.

He was my neighbor then and I was his. When life seemed to be going off the rails, I could count on him for thirty minutes a day to have a quiet soothing voice and speak helpful words either as himself or through puppets like Daniel Tiger. The show didn’t skirt around topics like assassination, racial injustice, and divorce but dealt with them head on.

Mr. Rogers helped me, helped us deal with the hard things in our lives.

In an interview apparently done before the turn of the century, Rogers said he believed the biggest challenge in the new millennium would be to “make goodness attractive.”
If we consider the media offerings today, we would have to agree. I have had my fill of meanness, lewdness, snarkiness, and sarcasm. But I have not despaired, because I see people like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Tim Tebow, and my favorite author, Jan Karon, who are using their platform for good, who are eschewing a public appetite for crudeness and choosing a higher road. We expect those in the ministry to do this, but there are those in athletics, in entertainment, in publishing, in education and everyday folks who have chosen to spend their lives doing what Rogers hoped “make goodness attractive.”

I think of my sister, Tammy, who spent thirty-one years in early elementary education and consistently demonstrated goodness to those children in her classroom. I am thankful there are many others like her who are dedicating themselves to that endeavor.

The children’s class I lead at church recently finished a series on the fruit of the spirit. We developed a fun talk show type format for the series and when we were to discuss goodness, we invited our friend Randy for an interview. Randy spends a lot of time helping with a local food ministry. The kids loved hearing about the ministry and some have even volunteered there. To me, Randy makes goodness attractive in his life. That’s why I wanted to interview him.

Fred Rogers is gone and seeing the movie made me realize how much we lost when he passed. I miss him, but I’m grateful for the people I know who exhibit goodness. Rogers’ challenge is before us. How will we, how will I make goodness attractive to those in our/my sphere of influence? We can’t, unless we do it the same way he did and allow God to work out His fruit in our lives.

Thank you, Fred Rogers for a lifetime of living above the fray and showing us what being a neighbor and goodness really look like.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Galatians 5:22).

Check @Beth MooreLPM on Twitter as she and her worship leader, Travis Cottrell sing, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” So fun!!

Rogers’ challenge is before us. How will we, how will I make goodness attractive to those in our/my sphere of influence? (Click to tweet).

Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers .
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Celebrating, remembering, and sacrifice

I recently came across this quote from American poet, Carl Sandburg. “Whenever a people or an institution forget its hard beginnings, it is beginning to decay.” Engraved on a plaque in the Cox corridor of the U.S. Capitol, these words serve as a reminder of how much sacrifice was involved in the origins of our country.

Thomas Paine penned in December of 1776, “These are the times that try men’s souls.

David McCullough in his book 1776, quotes Charles Peale in describing Washington’s troops camped on the shore of the Delaware River that dark December, “. . . they looked as wretched as any men he had ever seen. One had almost no clothes. ‘He was in an old dirty blanket jacket, his beard long, and his face so full of sores that he could not clean it.’ So ‘disfigured’ was he that Peale failed at first to recognize that the man was his own brother, James Peale, who had been with a Maryland unit as part of the rear guard.”

As McCullough notes, General Heath would write, some of the men were “destitute of shoes that the blood left on the frozen ground, in many places, marked the route they had taken.”

For this among so many other reasons, it is an amazement this tattered group would overcome enemy soldiers camped on the other side of the river. McCullough again, “. . . only four Americans had been wounded, including Captain Washington and Lieutenant Monroe, and not one American had been killed. The only American fatalities were the two soldiers who had frozen to death during the night on the road.” The Americans took 900 prisoners.

Yet, they couldn’t have known that in order to secure freedom, there would be seven more long years of war with estimates between 25,000 and 70,000 American casualties.

Hard beginnings, indeed.

In a later battle according to McCullough, a Revolutionary officer would write of George Washington, “I shall never forget what I felt . . . when I saw him brave all the dangers of the field and his important life hanging as it were by a single hair with a thousand deaths flying around him. Believe me, I thought not of myself.”

Katherine Lee Bates captured this thought so beautifully in “America the Beautiful,” “O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved . . ."

This Fourth of July as we’re shooting our firecrackers, firing up our barbecue grills, and taking a swim, let’s take time to remember. Let’s not forget the hardness of it all, the bloody feet and ragged soldiers who laid down their lives: let's thank God for their sacrifice. In continuing to remember, we help preserve that for which not only they, but so many have fought and died.
"Preserve me, God, for in Thee do I put my trust" (Psalm 16:1).
(Written in a Capitol Chapel stained glass window depicting George Washington in prayer.)
Remember Faith in the Fashion District is now available for presale at many online retailers .

“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue—God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford
Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author  
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