Friday, October 29, 2010

A Grandmother's Love

I loved to watch this grandmother with her three grandgirls. She was a special lady. My fondest memories are of her smile as she talked about her granddaughters or something she had created just for them. She was so very creative and could sew and knit. Well I think she could make just about anything she set her mind to do. They love sporting whatever she has made them too! They just beam when they tell you she made it!

More than anything I loved that they knew she loved Jesus. She just had the awesome opportunity a few days ago to watch her oldest granddaughter follow Jesus in baptism. Only God would know that five days later she would enter into eternity.

Lydia also had a deep love for her children. I was able to observe the mother / daughter relationship the closest. They often attended cooking classes at our church together. They were together a lot. I know her son and daughter are going to miss her more than words could every express.

I loved Lydia's sense of humor and again her contagious smile. She was also a lady who kept going. At times I know she didn't feel well or it wasn't always easy to be out and about- it didn't stop her. I will miss her being on the back row of Cooking Classes. I will miss hearing what she did and didn't like or rather what her daughter didn't like or try! :) Oh how, I'll miss seeing her with her little granddaughters around her. I am also praying for their little hearts- what an incredible sadness this brings.

My heart is so very sad ....especially for her family. How very thankful I am of an everlasting home in eternity Christ promises for all who will:

Admit they are a sinner

Believe that Jesus is God's son

Commit our life to Him.

I love you Lydia and I am glad I get to celebrate in Heaven with you!

Please pray for my sweet friends as they walk through some very difficult days ahead. First Baptist friends............. let's be the hands and feet of Christ to this precious family.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Workshops at the Conference

Well today concluded the Southeastern Christian Writers Conference . It was another good day. The workshops I attended today were Beginning Basics, Part I by Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress, Writing for Children by Alexandria LaFaye and How to Submit a Manuscript by Rick Steele. It was also encouraging to her another keynote address by Cecil "Cec" Murphey.

The first session was very informative by Lettie. She talked about needing persistence in your journey to have an article or book published. She gave extremely practical advice on how to get started. I have had the privilege to meet Lettie through our work on the Cleveland Christian Discovery Museum . She always inspires me. Her life story always touches me. As I sat and listened to her share how she began writing for publication, tears came to my eyes. Her 19 year old handicapped daughter, on her way to what would become her last drive to the hospital, asked her if she would remember her when she was gone. Lettie wrote her a letter to her daughter, which later was published, about all the ways she had changed her life. Lettie is an amazing writer.

As the tears welled up in my eyes, I began to really think about how some life experiences have forever changed me. I so wish I had keep a journal during those times. Several published authors talked about keeping journals this weekend.

I just told my husband that the Lord has placed Lettie in my life and although I don't see her often, I wish I did. She has really impacted my heart in ways I can't even put into words.

The next session I attended was on Writing for Children. This class was taught by an award winning author and Lee professor. She has also been attending First Baptist Church. It was neat to see her "at work". It is not often I have the privilege to see parents from my ministry in action. She did a wonderful job. It wasn't actually what I was looking for because I want to write to a much younger age group and she writes for older elementary children. However, I learned so much. As a part of her teaching us about dialect, writing narratives, setting, etc. she read portions of her books.............. one in particular I can't wait to read myself. It is Stella Stands Alone by A. LaFaye.

The last session I attended was by Rick Steele with AMG Publishers. Not only was his session extremely helpful but also very practical. Even as a newbie I followed his workshop. I will say I have always realized writing is a big job BUT never realized all there is on the business side of writing. I walked away a little overwhelmed.
I also met some new friends - I already told you about Hannah. I had the opportunity to talk with her over lunch today. Her outlook on life is inspiring and her smile is contagious. I also had the opportunity to meet Shelly who is a PhD student at UGA. I so enjoyed connecting with her over lunch and hearing about her dissertation and her mission work. I also loved hearing about her sister who serves overseas in missions.
I also met a couple who I hope to be able to get to know more in the future - The Vanderpools. I have read about them in the Cleveland Daily Banner. Pete and Joyce Vanderpool are active in several organizations here in Cleveland- not to mention Pete is Santa Claus. I was able to talk to Joyce about getting involved in the Cleveland Storytelling Guild. Currently I have a conflict with their monthly meetings but hopefully can attend soon.
Well, for a first experience I had a great time. I learned a whole lot. I have decided I need to spend some time praying about how to proceed with what God has laid on my heart to write. You see what He has impressed upon me to write for children is not your traditional book. It will take God paving the way for me to even have the opportunity to do the research for writing this book. It's out of my comfort zone and unconventional but I know one day several years ago He told me to write it. I really put it away because it is "out there" and to me really funny (God has a wonderful sense of humor you know!). However, yesterday in the shower of all places- God whispered to my heart again that He really meant for me to do this and He would provide a way in His time.
I learned last night that when you write a blog- you are a published writer. You see your written words are out there. I also realize that for the 3 or 4 of you who read this I have put myself out there and it is no longer something I can ignore. Please pray for God's timing and direction.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Writer's Conference

As you read the title of this blog you maybe asking why would I decide to write about a Writer's Conference. Glad you asked! Tonight I attended the 1st Annual Southeastern Christian Writers Conference. It is being held tonight and tomorrow at a church in Cleveland. The focus of the conference is called - "Beyond Barriers: Writing for Maximum Kingdom Impact".

Now, back to why I am attending this conference. Over a year ago I shared with a new found friend- Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress that I wanted to write a book for children. She recommended I attend a writer's workshop. Several of those were in the summer and I was unable to attend. Actually, summers are pretty busy in my line of work and so I thought I'd never get to venture down this path. Until Lettie sent me info on this conference. Despite still being really busy from our church's move AND Fall Festival 9 days away- I took the plunge and decided to attend.

I am glad I attended. Not to mention it was very informative tonight but I ran into several people I know AND I met some new people. I had dinner with a lady from my church who is writing a book and I was encouraged and impressed with hearing her journey. I also was very encouraged and challenged by talking with a new friend Hannah. Much to my surprise I also ran into Jennifer Mathewson Speer. It was great to see her smiling face and hug her neck. I have attended several Women's Ministry events including a retreat where she was the speaker.

Tonight we heard incredible songs glorifying God from the Voices of Lee. The keynote speaker was Cecil Murphey. Mr. Murphey or "Cec" is best known for bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He spoke about "writing well means you must live well." He shared about being real and authentic in your writing. He says that although you must go in depth and share from your heart that also means we will learn things about ourselves that we don't necessarily like about ourselves. Murphey shares that "a good writer touches your emotion on some level" and you should "open your self up so your writing truly comes from within." He also quoted Danish theologian and philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaaard- "Life can only be understood backward, but must be lived forward." As I pondered that statement, I realized how true that really is. Often it is only after a trial, tribulation, challenge and the blessings of life that I truly see the "BIG" picture of what God is teaching me. The ability of looking backward is an incredible gift but oh the living it forward is where the "rubber meets the road". That is where it is hard stuff. Hard but good.

My favorite thing Mr. Murphey said all night is how "the more he tells someone about who he is, the more that person responds." Think about it. Isn't that so true. I think of those in my path who openly share with me. They share their life, their kids, their joys, their hurts, etc. I am naturally closer to these families. This is what doing life together is all about. It is one of the beautiful things about being a part of God's family.

Breakout sessions followed the main session. I attended Internet Writing and Publishing a book. The evening was emceed by State Representative Kevin Brooks. The Bradley High School - Bears Bistro provided an incredible dinner. It is an amazing program at a local high school that teaches students all about running a restaurant. They learn every aspect - cooking, cleaning, business, etc.

I look forward to what tomorrow brings and eventually I will share that the children's book I want to write is actually what I feel God told me to write several years ago. Pray I will be obedient to Him. Obedience often requires us to step out of comfort zone and this is most definitely the case with this venture for me. We had to identify barriers for us in writing. My top three are - fear, lack of time and poor grammar (which you have most likely already noticed)! Will you pray for me as I follow this path?