Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Wood Stork and being all there

In my peripheral vision, movement in the marshsomething big. I braked the spinning wheels of my bike to a halt trying to be quiet, and flipped the kickstand down. Pulling my cell phone from the bike bag, I hoped the zipper noise didn’t carry too far.

I crept over to the marsh edge to see this big guy ambling along searching for breakfast.

A crab scurried in the wake of an outgoing tide and the three-foot tall bird snatched him up. Yum.

I didn’t have my bird guide with me, so I wasn’t sure who this was, but later determined he was a Wood Stork. My first sighting.

For me, it’s a treat to see what I haven’t seen before, to experience the thrill of discovery. I sometimes sense God saying, “What do you think about this creation of mine?”

“I think he’s great, God. How did you come up with this big guy and his lanky legs?”

In these kinds of moments, I usually sense God’s presence in a powerful way.

Beloved Elizabeth Elliot has said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”

When I can bring the spinning wheels of my life to a halt and get quiet, I often see amazing things, too, just like I did in the marsh that day. When I can be in the moment, instead of always plunging into or planning the next one, I make discoveries, sometimes things I have never seen.

God is really working on me in this regard. It’s been a lifelong struggle. I have an event calendar that is beginning to rumble a bit. Not too much, but enough so that I’m already struggling with being anxious over what’s on the calendar two months out. Really? Why do I do that, because while I am, I’m missing all that’s happening around me now?

Again, this has been going on a while, but I am determined to get into a place where I don’t waste the joys of now. It seems a tiny door I have to squeeze through, but really it’s all about letting go and letting God be God.

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

If you have a few moments on Thursday morning, Aug. 30, I’m being interviewed on Morning Coffee with Lori Duke Jones on WCHM.com at 7:05 a.m. We’ll be talking about Faith in the Fashion District.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Book launch and when you're needing mercy and grace

Two days away from the launch of Faith in the Fashion District, I’m giving much thought to this book launch process. 

It’s a conundrum, really.

Most of the writers I know who work in the Christian market believe God has called them to do what they do. We write believing God will use the words He gives us to make a difference in someone’s life, yet they only make a difference if people have opportunity to read them.

So, we try to do what is expected of us to market our work. None of us wants to do this, because those skills aren’t usually in our wheelhouse. We have to spend time to learn that part of the publishing process. Lots of time. Additionally, our introverted selves struggle in these marketing waters. We don't want to be seen as promoting ourselves.

That’s where I find myself here on the cusp of this book release.

Then I read something beloved author, Liz Curtis Higgs, said on Twitter this week. So thankful I was privileged to meet her a few years ago at the Christy Awards. She is such a lovely person, inside and out.


On twitter, she was discussing this whole platform and brand thing as related to authors. In fact she went so far as to say, “Words like ‘brand’ and ‘platform’ have no place among God’s servants.” I have been waiting years for someone to say that. Some agents won’t even speak with you unless you’ve already built a platform and possess 10,000 emails on your list before you have a book published.

She goes on, “My encouragement to writers and speakers is to focus on ministry and leave any platform-building to the Lord.”

Can you hear my applause, Liz?

“I believe with all my heart if we focus entirely on making Him known, He will open any doors that need opening.”

As I read, it was almost as if she were applying a healing balm to my heart.

She gave these instructions, “Proclaim His Name far more than your own. Trust rather than strive. Minister rather than market. The right attitude is indeed key. So are the right actions. I am a fellow struggler, praying for His mercy and grace on this.”

To hear that this woman with such influence struggles in this area helped me more than I can ever say. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Liz.

If you’re reading this and you’re an author, you know the challenge, too, so find hope in Liz’s words. Really, her words would apply to how we live our daily lives no matter whether we’re engaged in writing or some other endeavorproclaim His name, trust, minister, right attitude, and right actions.

Friends, mercy and grace for all of us, as we seek to live this out. It is a daily challenge, but I know God will be our guide.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done (Psalm 105:1).

“I believe with all my heart if we focus entirely on making Him known, He will open any doors that need opening.” Liz Curtis Higgs (click to tweet)

So with mercy and grace I say we’d love to see you at the book launch event for Faith in the Fashion District at Divine Salon, Spa and Gifts in Watkinsville, GA this Thursday, August 23, from 6-8. If you’ve already purchased a book online, just come by, say hello, and have a piece of cheesecake. We’ll have a couple of giveaways that night as well.

To buy Faith in the Fashion District HERE. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

When you're face down

Jerry’s cell phone rang and I heard him call our son in law’s name. My antenna went up, because I couldn’t think of a reason he’d be calling. I left the kitchen, and went to the den where Jerry was. As I stood in front of him, the smile on his face turned to a frown, and the word broken drifted from the other end of the conversation.

Adrenalin pumped, fear rose, and Jerry saw the concern on my face. “Hold on a minute. “ He took a deep breath and said, “Mari is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. A horse kicked her in the back and they think she has broken ribs. Don’t really know anything else yet.”

Our daughter, Mari, a longtime rider once on a university equestrian team has never suffered an injury despite a fall many years ago.

It only took a few minutes to grab our things, call our pet sitter, and take off. What should have been an hour and a half trip turned into over two-hours because of event traffic in Atlanta. We tried to keep up our hope with intermittent reports that Mari was talking and seemed to be doing well though in a lot of pain.

Later we found she had been walking a friend’s horse on a lead, when inexplicably the horse pulled away, turned, and kicked her in the back. She never saw it coming and had no time to react.

The blow sent her reeling to the ground while the horse tore off, running wild.

She tried to get up to keep from being trampled, but couldn’t.

Thankfully, others at the stable saw what happened, rushed to her side, got the horse under control, and called 911.

Of course, our big concern were head, back, and internal injuries, but tests revealed she had two shattered ribs and one broken one. As painful and awful as the injury is, we are grateful because neither the spine, head or lungs were affected.

Before we left the hospital, even through the pain, she was already talking about getting back to the stable. Though my heart goes pittypat at the idea, I knew she absolutely must go back. I was looking at the face of courage. She probably wouldn’t call it that, because loving horses is in her DNA. It’s part of what makes her the person she is. But it is courage.

In life, we may have experiences that feel as if we’ve been kicked in the backthings we never saw coming. We’re lying on the ground, concerned the pounding hoofs are headed back our way to finish us off.

How will we ever face the arena again?

It makes me think of something Dr. Brene’ Brown says. “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. But you cannot have both.”

If all we’re going for is safe, then the parameters of our life are going to get narrow.

This applies in to so many different situations, but since I write, I’ll use that as an example.

I speak with writers who have experienced rejection, and they decide they never want to submit their work again to avoid the pain. It does hurt when those negative comments come our way. A lot. I’ve been there so many times, I wouldn’t be able to count.

When you’re face down, there’s a big temptation to insulate yourself against experiencing the hurt again. I read recently that the difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the published one never gave up.  True for so many other applications as well.

If you’re face down from a blow trying to decide what you’ll do next, take a cue from our daughter. Decide now in the midst of the pain to face the arena again. Choose courage.

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take” (Joshua 1:9 The Message).

We’d love to see you at the book launch event for Faith in the Fashion District at Divine Salon, Spa and Gifts in Watkinsville, GA, August 23 from 6-8. If you’ve already purchased a book, just come by, say hello, and have a piece of New York Cheesecake. We’ll have a couple of giveaways that night as well.

To buy Faith in the Fashion District HERE. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

When God weaves the threads together (and giveaway 2)

One of the great things about being on the planet for a while is you get to see God weave the threads of your life together.

After ten years, I left the career I write about in Faith in the Fashion District to become director of a ministry to women in crisis pregnancy. When I was introduced to the board members, one of them was Vanessa. She would be a huge encouragement to me as I made the crazy transition from fashion buyer to ministry director. The entire time I worked there, she was one of our biggest supporters. She was also one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known, inside and out.

Fast forward more years than I want to count and Vanessa is still incredibly lovely. She is also a savvy business woman who owns a salon and spa which has a retail and online component. When I was thinking about where I might like to do the book launch for Faith in the Fashion District, I happened to be at her business and mentioned it to her. She graciously offered to have the launch there.

Back in the day, when Vanessa and I were putting together a charity golf tournament and raising money through concessions at Georgia football games, neither of us imagined (especially me) that we would one day be teaming up on a book launch for a book I had written.

But God not only imagined it, he put it together.   

The events of our lives are not some random, hodge podge of coincidences. God sees the end at the beginning. From where we sit, life may seem a mess, yet God sees the tapestry coming together.


 So, though I’m running through the wrinkle cream these days, there are advantages to seeing God’s masterful hand at work in the long term.

My friend, if you’re in a season of feeling your life is unraveling, take comfort in knowing that in God’s time, he can take that tangle of threads and do something so surprising, you wouldn’t have even dreamed it.  It may not be what you planned, but as dear Beth Moore says, “If God doesn’t give you what you ask, he’ll give you something better.” For sure.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)

We’d love to see you at the book launch event at Divine Salon, Spa and Gifts in Watkinsville, GA, August 23 from 6-8. If you’ve already purchased a book, just come by, say hello, and have a piece of New York Cheesecake. We’ll have a couple of giveaway’s that night as well.

Speaking of giveaways, I’m having another one here this week. Just leave a comment on Facebook or my blog and I’ll add you to the drawing. Once more, it’s a copy of Faith in the Fashion District, a New York motif scarf, a bracelet of vintage 80’s and new beads, and a New York motif tote bag. We’ll draw on Friday, August 10 at 5:00 p.m.

The giveaway is now over. Brenda Dixon is the winner. And because of an oversight with a few names, we drew again. Freida Thornton, you are also a winner. Congratulations!!

To buy Faith in the Fashion District HERE.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Key to Everything and "When you write more than you know"

As Promised, the cover reveal for The Key to Everything., which releases digitally in September with the print version following a short time later.

The Anaiah Press Blog hosts a post from me today where you can read more about this story which centers on forgiveness. Here for “When you write more than you know.”

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