Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit: Praise and Thanksgiving

Write your memoir to carry out these verses: 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list all the great things He has done?
Who can ever praise Him half enough?
Psalm 106:1-2

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving memories: Who spurred you on?

Thanksgiving is a time to remember those who have encouraged you, believed in you, and spurred you on.

It’s a time to recognize people who trained you, challenged you, and influenced the direction of your life.

At this Thanksgiving time, think back: Who taught you about integrity and hard work and self-discipline?

Who inspired you spiritually and modeled what genuine faith looks like?

Who helped you find your way through the dark—took you by the hand, kept you moving forward, step by step, toward the light?

Who inspired you to become the very best you, to become all God intended for you to be?

Look back over the years
and recognize that
God Himself placed those people in your life.
When they touched you,
they were reaching out in God’s name,
extending His hand,
smiling His smile,
speaking His words of hope and peace.

That’s one of the ways that He,
in His unfailing love,
leads His own.
(Exodus 15:13)

Who comes to mind when you read these words?

You have stories about those key people in your life,
and only you can write them.
Those stories are important.

Someone else needs to read those stories.
Through them,
God can use you to touch others,
to reach out in His name,
extend His hand,
smile His smile,
speak His words of hope and peace.

That’s one of the ways that He,
in His unfailing love,
leads His own.
(Exodus 15:13)

Connect your story with God’s story—
not as a hobby,
but as a ministry.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit: “Mourning and thanksgiving together”

Some of you are grieving this Thanksgiving season: This post is for you.

I pray Michelle Cushatt’s words will comfort you:

“Your grief doesn’t lessen your gratitude.
It transforms it.
Tears turn an ordinary, two-dimensional Thanksgiving table
into a complex and glorious altar.
Dying and living,
mourning and thanksgiving, together.
Holy, fragile, beautiful.”

And while you process all of the above during this Thanksgiving season, and when the time is right, consider writing your stories. Use your words, your thoughts, your discoveriesyour memoir—to do what MaxLucado says:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

On giving thanks: A remedy if you find yourself among the nine

If you find yourself among “the nine,” you can become “the one” by writing your memoir.

Confused? Read on.

On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus crossed paths with ten lepers—despised, cut off from society and loved ones, lonely, suffering, and desperate for healing.

They cried to him, “Have mercy on us!”

And he did. He healed them.

Then they all took off—we can imagine their joy!—but one man turned around, fell on his knees, and said thank you.

No doubt the man’s gratitude touched Jesus’ heart, but he couldn’t help but wonder, aloud, “Ten men were healed. Where are the nine others? Where is their thanks?”

Jesus seemed hurt, disappointed, maybe even stunned by their ingratitude.


How many times have you and I failed to thank God for what He has done for us? So often, when we get through something difficult or scary, we simply wheeze, “Whew!” and get on with life. Where’s our gratitude?

Could it be that we crush God’s heart when we fail to thank Him? That He’s disappointed at our ingratitude? Maybe even stunned?

Don’t be “one of the nine.” Be “the one” who deliberately says thanks.


By writing your memoir. Write it as a book full of falling on your knees in gratitude.

Your memoir can include all kinds of interesting, entertaining, humorous, and even wild and crazy stories about everyday stuff—

childhood escapades,
family times,
falling in love,
raising kids,
practical jokes,
health (or poor health),
death of loved ones,
answered prayers,
—and in all those stories, you can include gratitude and thanksgiving to God.

So, gather your memories and write your stories!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit: Your Thanksgiving stories

What stories come to mind when you read this verse?

Have you written them into your memoir?

If not, jot down a few notes to yourself
and think about them for a day or so.

Your mind will work on your stories while you rake leaves
and bring woolens out of trunks
and stoke up the fireplace fire.
Believe me, more and more details will pop into your mind.
Jot them down in your rough draft.

You still have time before Thanksgiving’s busyness begins
to write a rough draft of your stories.  

You’ll be glad you did,
and your friends and family will thank you.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Back to basics: What is a memoir?

Sometimes in the midst of writing our memoirs, we need to make sure we’re on the right track. That’s why from time to time we must remind ourselves what a memoir is.

A memoir is so much more than spinning yarns and passing on tales.

Since the genre of memoir confuses some people, let’s get back to basics: What is a memoir?

A memoir is not autobiography, which documents your life beginning with the day of your birth.

Instead, a memoir focuses on one segment of your life—a specific theme or time period.

You can write a memoir on a theme, like coaching Little League baseball, or volunteering, or foster parenting.

Or you can write a memoir about events that occurred during a specific time period, such as the three years you worked in a fast-food restaurant, or the first five years of parenting triplets, or your tumultuous college years during the hippie revolution.

Whether your memoir is based on a theme or a slice of your life, you’ll explore your topic in depth. And you’ll include only details that belong—only people and events relevant to your story.

A key component of writing a memoir is reflection. If you want to write a memoir, “reflection” must be your middle name.

Instead of simply recording facts about what happened on the surface, you must reflect: ponder, examine, muse, unravel, disentangle, and then make sense of it allput everything back together in the right order.

Reflect: Look back, go deep, relive key experiences and relationships. Inspect them all. Do some soul-searching. Reevaluate your experience.

Most would-be memoirists need to work on reflecting adequately because it takes time and it can be painful. Richard Foster observes, “The sad truth is that many authors simply have never learned to reflect substantively on anything.”

Reflect: Look for significance you missed in the past. Search for those profound lessons you overlooked years ago. Make time to discover insights, healing, and blessings that were there all along.

And notice what God was doing. Find His footprints and fingerprints—they’re all over the place.

I’m not suggesting we all have supernatural experiences to share, stories that would make the evening news and get tweeted around the world. Nor do I believe Christian memoirists need to mention God on every page.

Here’s my point: Whether or not you knew it at the time, God was with you during each event you write about—not just watching from afar, but working on your behalf, working out His good plans. Spend time discovering what He was doing, and from time to time, let your readers know. Discover the higher, wider, richer stories in your experience.

What was God doing as you see it now, in retrospect? Look for deeper lessons God had for you in the events of your memoir.

  • Looking back, what did you learn about yourself?
  • What patterns in your faith did you discover that you hadn’t noticed before?
  • What did you learn about God?
  • Do you now have a better understanding of God’s purpose for your life?
  • How did the experience change your life? What new person did you become?
  • How did the experience strengthen your faith for future challenges?

God can use your stories to help others—not just kids and grandkids, since not all of us have them—but also siblings, cousins, aunt and uncles, nieces and nephews, coworkers, church friends, neighbors, and even people you’ll never meet.

“As Christian writers,
we can rarely change the circumstances of others—
but we can change their outlook on life.
Every day the headlines proclaim more tragedy,
more bad news.
Every day we wake up to more heartache and heartbreak.
It’s easy to feel defeated. To want to give up. To lose hope.
That’s where the job of the Christian writer comes in
we need to constantly hold out hope
in this desperate world….

Christian writers: Do your job.
Be the light. Hold the torch of hope high.”

I think I've fixed the problem with links, but if not, I'll post them in the comments below.  Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit: Market your published memoir as a Christmas gift

If you’ve already published your memoir, remind people it’s a great gift idea for people on their Christmas list.

Books in general make good gifts, but consider promoting your memoir.

Marketing Christian Books* lists six reasons books make meaningful gifts:

  • Books don’t go out of style.
  • Books are affordable.
  • Books are life-giving.
  • Books are for everyone.
  • Books last.
  • A book is a gift you can open again and again.

Your story is important.* You might never know how much it can bless others.

“As writers we seldom know 
the impact our words will have. 
We might write an entire book 
and then learn 
that a single sentence 
made a difference in someone’s life or thinking.” 

Your memoir can do that.

So, remind your friends, fans, and family 
about your memoir 
and suggest it as a Christmas gift.

My new computer still doesn't work well with links so I'll list them below:

Marketing Christian Books: https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/market-your-book-as-a-gift-2

Alton Gansky:  http://www.altongansky.com

Your story is importanthttp://spiritualmemoirs101.blogspot.com/2011/05/are-your-stories-important.html