2017 - The Year of Impossibilities

I’m so excited about what happened to me in 2017. I published my first book. Yes, really! It’s for sale right now on Amazon. Not only that, but I also published 3 more books in those 12 months. 

It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of years of writing and learning and more learning and writing before I published. I wrote a few novels and some outlines for nonfiction books and a children’s story. But none of them were published before 2017.

I did a lot of research when I decided to get serious about publishing all those stories on my computer. As I acquired information from a huge variety of sources, one course caught my attention more than the others.

You can read about how to publish on this helpful blog.

The course I took was free and motivating. It explained the steps very clearly. I was finally able to envision myself as a published author. It was so exciting. If you want to learn more about becoming a published author, you can take this free course bit.ly/2mC2oOS today.

Then I signed up (not free) as a student in a publishing school where I kept learning and interacting with other students until I learned enough from the course work and the experience of others in the course’s community to actually succeed in publishing a book.

For many unpublished writers, becoming a published author seems impossible. In Matthew 19:26, we find, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Jesus was answering the question “Who can be saved?” However, when God says that all things are possible, he means exactly that.

While raising kids, I paused my writing. I wrote when I could, but always after everything else was done. Later, I started writing again in the hope that I would push past all the barriers that held me back from publishing for the last two decades. 

Through it all, I held steadfastly to the belief that I could put a product in the marketplace and earn some money. The plan was to produce a book that would be beneficial to my readers. So in 2016, I wrote Heroine: Rising to the Challenge, a nonfiction book for women. In a few short months, I edited and formatted it, and I bought a book cover.

I published that book in January of 2017. 

The struggle of self-publishing taught me a lot. The book in my hands was proof that I could actually create a book that other people would pay me real money for. So I continued the struggle to produce a novel. 

I picked one of the novels I had almost completed, worked on structure and setting, and completed it. In an effort to make sure my novel was the best it could be, I hired a writing coach to steer me around the possible problems and help me avoid big mistakes. I hired an editor and a formatter to make the product look professional and to improve the book’s readability. 

Only eleven short months after my first book was published, I released my debut novel, The Promotion, as an ebook. 

God was the one who gave me the gift of writing, the stubbornness to keep at it, and the encouragement and support along the way. I knew God wanted me to keep writing, so I kept the giver of my gift in mind as I wrote. I wanted him to be proud of my work. 

Now I can celebrate my victory with joy and thanksgiving because I know the reason behind my accomplishment is God. 

Are you using your gift?

It’s important to remember what God wants you to do. He designed you and gave you gifts and abilities. He’s the one who makes all things possible for us.

Want to learn more about becoming a published author? Take this free course bit.ly/2mC2oOS today.

Helping the Weak

I've posted an article on my devotional blog that encourages people to lend a helping hand to those affected by the recent hurricanes.  

Many who live away from the weather-affected areas are checking on friends who live along the Texas Gulf Coast and in Florida. They’re asking two things:

  • How can I help?
  • What do you need?
Both of those questions are appreciated by those who are overwhelmed with the new To Do list that they weren’t anticipating. 

During this time of need for so many people... Read this article on Seek God With Me.

The Vulnerability of Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail

At first glance, you’d think this movie is about winning. Joe Fox is Goliath, trampling down the weaker competition as we cheer for the David-style entrepreneur who dares to come against him. Although the female version of the David character does achieve a win in an unexpected way in the end, it’s not a David and Goliath fight at all. Joe Fox isn’t Goliath. 

Fox shows that he knows how to separate his business from his personal life until he realizes that his business has interfered with his personal life. When he begins to put a plan into action that would give him an enjoyable life away from the competitive tensions of work, he has to tread carefully through the transitions. 

Going from enemy to likeable acquaintance to friend is a hard journey. It takes vulnerability for that kind of a journey to have any lasting value. Fox has to make a fresh start and rethink his goal. If he wants a life he’s never had, he has to do something he’s never done. 

His humility was what gave Fox the opportunity to go from the man who has everything to the man who must get the one thing he wants most: forgiveness.

The War Against Mrs. Hadley, 1942

"The family enemy" is doing something to help her community, but Mrs. Hadley, played by Fay Bainter, won’t be a part of it because of unforgiveness. Her daughter falls for a man who’s not the kind of man her family expected her to marry, which makes Mrs. Hadley feel hurt and disrespected. 

Her family lawyer, played by Edward Arnold, helps her borderline alcoholic son get involved in the military because he needs a little guidance. Mrs. Hadley finds out that her lawyer’s intentions are not to conceal her son’s weakness and coddle him like she does, so she is outraged. When Mrs. Hadley gets letters from her son that he’s now friends with the son of “the family enemy”, Mrs. Hadley’s world turns upside down. 

Aren’t we all Mrs. Hadley at some point in our lives? We think everyone should cater to our plan and listen to our moaning. Mrs. Hadley proved that by trying to get her way, she only drove away those she loved. Building a home from close-minded selfishness and unforgiveness will leave anyone feeling lonely. 

Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. But in order to get to the happy ending, Mrs. Hadley has to humble herself and receive forgiveness from others.  

This movie is about giving from a place of humility. A gift from a humble heart is pure and beautiful. But any gift that is given out of an arrogant heart isn’t quite as lovely.

The Mask of Zorro, 1998

When the peasants need a fast-riding, swashbuckling, acrobatic hero, Zorro comes to the rescue. Anthony Hopkins’ Don Diego de la Vega, known to the peasants as Zorro, chooses to give his time and ability to defending the defenseless. But he can't always do it alone, so when two boys help scatter the enemy, so Zorro thanks them by giving one of them his necklace.

The two boys grow up and one dies. Antonio Banderas plays Alejandro Murrieta who takes his dead brother’s necklace and sets out for revenge. Diego finds Alejandro too drunk to win a fight and notices his necklace. Alejandro agrees to be taught by his hero, Zorro.

The story of the two men is the passion of the movie. A father without a son, and a son without a father. An older hero training the new hero. A master preparing the student for victory and for honor.

Alejandro tricks his way into Diego's mortal enemy Don Rafael Montero’s mansion for a party where Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character, Elena, falls for Alejandro. His dance with Elena is one of the best parts of the movie. Sure, he does a lot of sword fighting – and he’s really good at it – but the dance is why women watch this movie.

I loved how the heroic qualities of both Zorros were displayed. They're both creative, caring, and brave. And they show a sense of humor. But the thing that stands out is a sense of generosity. Both men were able to move to a better place and live in peace, but they chose to give their time and talent to serve the peasants. Both men risked their lives because they valued the lives of the people.

The fire in Alejandro’s eyes made this movie. But I loved Sir Anthony Hopkins’ acting, too.

Noticing the Humility of Teamwork

In this world’s current climate, it’s important to focus on what we can do to help others. When things seem to run amok or spiral out of control, we can put our heads together in humility and show some teamwork. Together, we can brainstorm ways of making our communities better.

I’ve noticed that most heroes aren’t victorious alone. They recognize their need for a team, and that takes humility.

You and I can be as helpful as heroes and heroines in our communities when we strengthen our humility and respectfully serve others.  

Speaking of humility, I have good news! I’ve posted the third part of my humility series on my Seek God With Me blog. Start HERE with part one.