Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Finally! Amazon now sells my e-book! (and other good news)

Whew! It has taken close to three months but, finally, as of yesterday, Amazon is selling the e-book version of my memoir, Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir.

A special thanks to Barnes and Noble for selling both the print book and e-book from the very beginning, June 4. Because of that, I’ve been referring everyone to them.

Amazon has sold my print book since day one, but I had to fight one battle after another after another to get Amazon to (1) sell my e-book and (2) install the “Look Inside” feature.

Also, I want to share with you this endorsement from a special person:

I read [Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’sMemoir] over the weekend and had a hard time putting it down. 
At times I found myself laughing out loud, especially at some of the cute stories you include about your children. 
Other times I read through tears, imagining some of the heartache the Lomalinda team endured. 
Your writing style is engaging and descriptive. I also enjoyed looking at the photographs you included. 
Thank you for your Wycliffe service and for saying “yes” to God’s call on your life. 
Vicky Mixson, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA
I told you it was from someone special!

Also, many thanks to memoirist Kathleen Pooler who left a five-star review (!) at Amazon and Goodreads. Check it out at this link.

Thank you to everyone
for the nice comments you’re making about

I hope you’ll think about
doing what Kathy Pooler did
leave a review on Amazon,
Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, etc.

Reviews are like a much-needed
pat on the back for weary authors!

Check out Kathy’s blog, Memoir Writer’s Journey. Also, I encourage you to consider buying and telling others about Kathy’s excellent first memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse. Her new memoir will be released soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

“What made me think I could write my story?” How to stay on task

When working on any significant project, often obstacles pull us off track.

In writing your memoir—as a ministry, not a hobby—what derails you? What distractions lure you away?

Lots of things could entice you to say, “I don’t have time to write today. Maybe tomorrow.”

And before you know it, you’re turning the calendar page to a new month. And then to a new year.

And when you think about getting back to writing your memoir, you get discouraged.

You might even ask yourself, “What made me think I could write my story?”  

Sound familiar?

When that happens, we must refocus on the value of our stories. We must believe that our stories have importance.

One of the best motivators for me to write is this: I have learned some of the most important things in my life from other people’s stories. From them, I have learned about courage, hope, direction, healing, integrity, faith, wisdom, and understanding.

How crippled and lost I would be without those stories ministering to me. Like Proverbs 13:14a says, 

“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life. . . .”

The blessings I’ve received from other people’s stories inspire me to pass on my stories to others.

Another motivation for me is this: God tells us to share our stories with others, starting with our children and grandchildren and spreading outward from there. 

If you’ve been with SM 101 for a while, you’re well-acquainted with Deuteronomy 4:9 which tells us to always remember what we’ve seen God do and to be sure to tell our kids and grandkids.

And in Luke 8:39, Jesus said, “Go tell your family everything God has done for you.

When you finish writing your memoir and hand it to your kids, grandkids and great-grands, this is, in effect, what you’ll be saying to them:

“Come, children, listen to me.
Let me teach you how to honor the Lord”
(Psalm 34:11, CEB).

Bottom line: You will face obstacles—other activities will look soooo fun, you’ll have good tasks that you’ll need to do and out-of-town guests to entertain. You’ll get sick. Interruptions will arise, but don’t let them throw you off track for long!

Ask God for help. Pray for wisdom to refocus and discipline to reprioritize so you can keep on task and fulfill this responsibility He has given to you.

Pray Moses’s words, that your stories might bring refreshing, nourishing blessings to your readers:

“Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend as dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants”
(Deuteronomy 32:2).

And you can pray Lloyd Ogilvie’s words:

“Gracious Father . . .
I never cease to be astonished
that You have chosen to do Your work through me.
Remind me throughout this day
to yield myself in prayer
so that my mind is directed by Your guidance. . . .
I say with the psalmist,
‘. . . for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me’
(Psalm 31:3).”
(Lloyd John Ogilvie, Quiet Moments with God)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who is the real author of your story?

Last week we touched on the importance of avoiding preachiness in our memoirs, of avoiding coming across as holier-than-thou. People won’t respond well if we have a know-it-all manner, as if we’ve “arrived.”

Instead of preaching at our readers, let’s just humbly tell our stories.

Rather than drawing attention to how awesome we are, let’s show readers how awesome God is!

It’s not all about what you and I did, but what God did.

Henri Nouwen offers us this wisdom:

“I need to learn to speak well of the work God is doing in my life…, not with self-congratulation but with humble awareness of divine activity.” (Henri Nouwen, Discernment)

Think about two prominent men in the Bible, David and Paul. We tend to think of them as set-apart saints, but they were regular people like you and me—they really messed up sometimes.

Their lives were a mixture of faith and disobedience, spiritual success and failures, yet God used them in mighty ways and continues to use them to this day. It’s not so much what David or Paul did, it’s what God did.

Abraham is . . . one of the most important men in the history of the world,” writes Richard Peace. “What makes Abraham so important . . . is not his sterling character (which he did not have), his outstanding intellect (which may have existed but it is not mentioned), his charming personality (he could be pretty annoying), or substantial personal accomplishments (he has few, apart from his pilgrimage to the promised land).

“What Abraham is remembered for,” continues Peace, “is his faithfulness in obeying God’s call to undertake a long and demanding journey. It was not so much what Abraham did, but what God did. . . . In Abraham we see not so much a saint in action; rather, the faithfulness and graciousness of God. . . . In Abraham we see an ordinary man who is used by God, not because of who Abraham was, but because of who God is. . . .” (Richard Peace, Spiritual Storytelling)

Bottom line: Write your stories, not because of who you are, but because of who God is.

Praise the Lord . . .
Tell everyone what he has done. . . .
Remember all his miracles
and all his wonders
and his fair decisions. . . .”
Psalm 105:1-5 selected CEV

 . . . Our adequacy is from God. . . .
Therefore, having such a hope,
we use great boldness in our speech [or writing]. . . .
2 Corinthians 3:5, 12, NAS

Write your stories!

Depend on God to make you adequate for this awesome ministry.
Humbly use heavenly boldness in your writing.

God can use your story
to help others become all He intends for them to be.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Let's leave a spiritual legacy without getting preachy

I lost track of how many times my former pastor, Sid, urged us to leave a spiritual legacy for our children and grandchildren.

His messages made me want to holler from my back-row seat, “Amen! Everybody needs to write a memoir!”

One Sunday he reminded us of Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

. . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates.”

In other words, God gives parents a responsibility:

to teach children,
to encourage them,
to inspire them—
night and day—
to love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.

God gives grandparents such roles, too—see Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 6:1-2, and Proverbs 13:22.

In Psalm 127:4, Solomon said children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior.

That might be confusing, but Pastor Sid challenged us: “Put feathers on those arrows!”

That takes time, he said, and skill.

It takes time to sharpen arrows, and it takes skill to aim them so they hit the target.

When built well and aimed correctly, arrows fly straight.

You and I have a responsibility to invest in “arrow-making”—to equip and nurture the children in our lives so they fly straight and arrive at the right place.

One way to do that is by talking with kids and grandkids—telling them your God-and-you stories, “wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night” (Deuteronomy 6:7, The Message). In telling your stories, you’ll leave a spiritual legacy for your children and grandchildren.

But let’s be realistic:
Of the stories your parents and grandparents told you,
how many do you remember?

I have forgotten 95% of the stories my family told me.

You know where I’m going with this:

Another way to “make arrows” is by writing what you’ve seen God do in and for your family—writing it and placing it in the hands of your kids and grandkids.

Preserving your God-and-you stories in writing means even generations not yet born can read your book long after you’re gone.

In doing so, you’ll leave a spiritual legacy—for who knows how many generations!

One caution: Don’t preach! Refuse the holier-than-thou attitude.

No lectures.

No self-righteousness.

Let’s not be offensive.

Instead, let’s remember what Madeleine L’Engle said:

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”