Interview & Book Give-Away with Author & Speaker Cindy Sproles

Many of you already know my dear friend, Cindy Sproles, editor of ChristianDevotions.us. As a matter of fact, many of you have been published by her! You can read Cindy’s full bio below, but today I’m thrilled to introduce her newly released book, New Sheets.

Be sure to leave a comment for Cindy and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book! (And don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!)

First, let’s get started by telling us about your new release, New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be.

New Sheets is a thirty-day devotional/inspirational book. The truth is it took thirty years for God to refine me into the woman I knew I could be. And by the way, I’m still being refined.

When I went through a divorce and moved back to my home, I came back with more than I left. I returned to Tennessee with two boys under the age of three and a broken heart. It took years to look through the rough times and find the good. But I came at it with the mindset, “God has a plan. I’m gonna learn.”

New Sheets were the flames of the fire I walked through. It was the defining and refining moments when God taught me.

I hope New Sheets will be one of those books women lay next to their bed and refer back to through their lives. If one woman can step over my broken rung because of the book, then it’s done its job.

New Sheets is a unique title. Tell our readers the story behind the book.

I’m excited about New Sheets. I came up with the idea for it in 1984, but every time I tried to write it, I found I wasn’t “seasoned enough.” I wasn’t aged enough, hadn’t matured enough, to write it with authority and hindsight.

I’d gone through a divorce, moved back to Tennessee with my two babies to start over. I brought only what we could move in a 6 ft. section of a semi. I had no car, no money and no job. But we (the boys and I) had one another and once we got to Tennessee, we had my family.

At first I kept a journal to help me through the rough spots of divorce. Then one night I turned down the comforter and realized I was still sleeping with the man who’d divorced me…or at least sleeping with his memories on the same bed sheets I’d had while we were married. No wonder I cried every night and couldn’t sleep.

It was time for something new. A new start. I couldn’t afford a shopping spree…I could barely buy groceries! But I saved quarters in a mason jar until I had enough money to go to Wal-Mart and buy a set of sheets. The brown and pink paisley set in the bottom of the sales bin was scary, but they were new. Crisp. Wrinkle-free. They were cheap muslin, kinda scratchy, but to me they were like silk. And when I put them on the bed it was like a new page in my life.

So after that, every new turn in my life brought a new set of sheets. I’d throw out the worn ones and turn the corner with a set of new ones. To this day, I send new sheets to friends who’ve gone through major devastating life changes.

Each set of new sheets marked a time in my life where God stoked the fire under me, hung me over the flame and refined me like silver. By the time I hit my 50’s I could look over the prior thirty years and say with confidence…“I’ve matured. Refined. Learned.” Hence the book.

We know a little about Christian Devotions. Tell us why your and your ministry partner have dedicated so much time to new authors.

Christian Devotions is really the brainchild of my ministry partner, Eddie Jones. The long and short of it was God impressed ChristianDevotions.com on Eddie’s heart, but the ChristianDevotions.com domain name was already taken, so he purchased ChristianDevotions.us. God’s timing is perfect because the .us is what we are…all our writers, editors, designers, hosts are us. Not Eddie and Cindy, but us as in a family. It was perfect!

I was already writing devotions so Eddie asked me to populate the site with my devotions. I did, but then realized Eddie wasn’t writing on his own site, so I pitched He Said, She Said devotions to him and those devotions actually launched the readership of the site.

We stepped out on faith, started attending conferences and inviting writers to have their first shot at publication. We’d been on the receiving end of rejection letters and we’d sat at conferences and read through some of the awesome material that was rejected. So we asked God, “Can we make a difference? Can we help others shine?” God said yes and Christian Devotions began to flourish.

Then in the middle of the economy crashing, God called us to open a traditional publishing company. Other publishers called us crazy, but we said yes, believing that when times are hard, God doesn’t tell His people to retreat. He tells us to ADVANCE. That became our battle cry.

Our writers feel they were called to a writing ministry. And we’ve seen the more we help, the more God allows us to help. It’s a joy to publish their devotions and now their books. Our reward is in seeing those authors come to us and thank us. We always reply, “Don’t thank us…thank God. We’re just the vessel.” Christian Devotions is a 501c3 non-profit. We tithe a portion of every dollar given to the ministry because it is what God calls us to do.

You’re published in newspapers and also in a couple of compilations, and you and Eddie Jones have the He Said, She Said book, but New Sheets is your first solo book. How does that feel?

Honestly, I’m excited, like a giddy 6-year-old in a 54-year-old body. When I saw the book cover, I was brought to tears. It’s been a long time coming. Not because of learning to write, but because of God teaching me about the rough spots in life, so I could teach others.

From the time I was in elementary school I took second place in everything. When I got to high school, my track coach nick-named me Consistently Second Cindy and it stuck. So for me to have a solo book is like crossing the finish line for the first time…as a winner.

Any closing advice?

Writing advice…hum…the Little Engine that Could. The process is hard and as the economy grows tighter and tighter, publishers choose fewer authors. Many close up shop and quit. But God didn’t call His people (His writers) to retreat when battle loomed, He calls us to ADVANCE! So advance. Practice. Chug, chug, chug just like the little engine.

Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Rejoice in all things.” Learning to rejoice in every situation takes skill and faith. That’s where God refines us. So thank God and then buy yourself a set of new sheets when the storm is over. It’s a fresh start, new, crisp, and comfortable. New Sheets…new day…new start.

Bio: Cindy Sproles is editor and co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries and co-director of Writers ADVANCE Boot Camp. As the co-author of the popular He Said, She Said devotions and book, her devotions are published widely in newspapers throughout the eastern United States. Cindy is a teacher at Christian Writers Conferences, a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference, a speaker for women’s conferences and retreats, as well as a contributor to CBN.com. The mother of four lives in the mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and one son. Visit Cindy at www.christiandevotions.us or a www.cindysproles.com.

Thanks for joining us, Cindy. And friends, don’t forget to leave a comment and you might win a book!

Blessings,
Vonda

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  • CONGRATULATIONS CINDY~ Can’t wait to read it.
    Hugs.

    • Hi Liz, great seeing you! Hope you have a blessed Christmas!

  • Cindy, Your book sounds as refreshing and comforting as new sheets. I’m thankful the Lord brought you through your divorce to the other side victoriously.
    Love ~ Danie Marie

    • Thanks for stopping by to encourage Cindy, Danie !

  • Sarah Meece

    Cindy, I can hardly wait to read your book! And, I LOVE the title–very creative and extremely fitting for the story. Great job!!!

    • Fitting…like snuggly, fitted sheets? Hahahahaha! Sorry, just couldn’t resist. 🙂

  • Mary Brawner

    Looking back on a time of recovery and immaturity I would “sort the laundry”. One friend asked one time, “Who does your laundry, Mary?” I knew, by sorting and placing things in an order, it was God. What I was not mature enough to say to my friend was God sorts, pulls and tugs until I get to better understanding.
    Cindy, your book will benefit so many. Thank you. Congratulations. Mary

    • Thank you for your kind words for Cindy. I know she’ll be encouraged by them, Mary!

  • I love the idea of “new sheets” and what that represents. It’s amazing how something fresh changes your perspective.
    Thanks, Cindy (and Vonda)!

    • So true, Susan. Yes, fresh can change our perspective…for sure…

  • Lill Kohler

    What a wonderful concept. I love the idea of changing sheets for each new step in life. Something we should all do.

  • Erin E. McEndree

    Thank you, Cindy. I am in a refining season right now. I know I can be more than I am and I can’t wait to read your book to help me advance in my walk with the Lord. I know my problem: I try with my own strength. God is helping learn that does not work! Hard lesson. I think your book will be a great bed-side read!

    • Erin, I think that’s a struggle we all have–trying to work in our own strength. And yes–it doesn’t work!

  • Dee Dee Parker

    Cindy,love the book title and love every bone in your body.Counting the days to Boot Camp. Love you Miss V.

    • I’m counting the days, too, Dee Dee! I get to see some of my favorite people!

  • I love the “new sheets” idea! I tossed out a bunch of stuff when I recovered from a surgery I had in 2008. It’s amazing what something fresh will do for your perspective. Thanks for sharing your story, Cindy!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Susan. I have to admit, I’d never thought about throwing out sheets until Cindy told me about the concept of her book. Brilliant!

  • Ethel Lytton

    Cindy is very inspiring. I look forward to reading ‘New Sheets’. Such a great idea on how to turn a corner in your life or as a signal to step out in faith to a new life. I plan to buy more new sheets! Thanks, Cindy.

    • Hey, kinda makes you wish you were in the sheet-selling business, doesn’t it? Thanks for joining in the conversation, Ethel!

  • Judith Robl

    Nothing like fresh sheets to give you a good night’s rest and a fresh start for the morning. Wonderful illustration of God’s love. Thank you, Cindy and Vonda, for a great interview.

  • Carol Weeks

    Cindy, I love the title and I love the story behind it. God works in small things as well as big things. For Him to show you what new sheets could mean to you shows how much He wants to be a part of every single part of our lives. Thanks, Vonda, for this great interview.

    • How kind of you to encourage Cindy with your sweet words, Carol. 🙂 Thanks!

  • cynthialottvogel

    Cindy, congratulations on your new book. How exciting! I just bought a new pair of sheets and was all excited by them….ain’t nothin’ like new sheets! I can well see how they can strike a note of change. I pray blessings on you and success for your book,

    • Hi Cynthia, thanks for stopping by and encouraging Cindy. 🙂

  • Cindy’s words are always encouraging. Thanks for the post and congratulations on your book!

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thank you Sally. I’m waiting on more devos from you girl.

    • Hi Sally! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging Cindy. She does so much to encourage others!

  • Nan Jones

    Vonda, thank you for interviewing and featuring one of my favorite people. Cindy, congratulations on New Sheets. I absolutely love the concept behind your written words. Your selflessness and faithfulness to obey God in all things has been a source of inspiration to me. Thank you for that. As I continue to recover from some major health issues, I often think of your diligence to give to others. Hopefully, prayerfully, I will see you at Boot Camp once again. Can’t wait to laugh with you and Vonda. Both of you are a hoot 😀

    • Cindy Sproles

      We wait to laugh too…Boot Camp is awesome. And Vonda will be teaching with us. Hope you and others will join us Feb 1-3 at The Cove in Asheville for Boot Camp 2013.

    • Boot Camp–YES! Can’t wait to be there with Cindy AND with you!

  • Beth Fortune

    Love the title, the story behind the title, and the lady who wrote this needed book! Each one of us has had times when we needed a fresh start as God continues to refine us. Thanks Cindy for sharing what God has taught you through the years and for showing us His faithfulness to you. Thanks Vonda for having Cindy on your blog 🙂
    Beth

    • Cindy Sproles

      🙂 Thanks Beth….Hope to see you at Boot Camp.

    • Beth, I totally agree about the title, the story, AND the lady! 🙂

  • Cindy Rooy

    Hi Cindy! I miss seeing your smiling face. Congrats on your solo book – the first of many. I hope to visit the area again soon and get another hug from you! Keep up the good work…

    • Cindy Sproles

      WE miss you too. Christmas?

    • Hi Cindy! What a joy to see your name. Hope you’re enjoying your new home. Would love to see you at Boot Camp! 🙂

  • Cathy Baker

    Cindy, thank you for this inspiring post — and book (I’m reading it now). I too was once a single mom with two little boys and can relate to your journey. Thank you (and Eddie) for Christian Devotions. God is using you in amazing ways to touch people’s lives, including mine. God bless!

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thank you Cathy. I’m thrilled you’re reading the book. Post a review on Amazon when you’re done and encourage other to buy. A portion of the proceeds are going to Hope House, an organization that provides encouragement, housing and teaching for unwed, pregnant moms. It’s an awesome group.
      The more we sell, the more we give to Hope House.

    • That is the truth, Cathy. I can’t even begin to imagine how many lives have been touched because of Cindy, Eddie, and ChristianDevotions.us!

  • Sandy Quandt

    Cindy, thank you for being transparent, and for allowing God to use you, not just through your work w/ Christian Devotions Ministries, but also through New Sheets. There are many of us healing from broken places. May your book be a salve for all who read it.

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thanks so much Sandy. Your words are encouraging to me.

    • Beautiful blessings on Cindy and her book. Thank you, Sandy!

  • apple blossom

    would love to be included in this devotional thanks for the informative post.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

    • Thanks for stopping by, AppleBlossom. You’re in the running!

  • Congrats, Cindy, on your first solo book!

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thanks so much Cheryl.

    • Hi Cheryl! Thanks for your encouraging words. 🙂

  • Marcia Gaddis

    Cindy and Vonda, I feel like I was sitting here with you both, having this conversation over our morning coffee. What a great interview!Cindy, thanks for your transparency and humor. I, too, love new sheets, and have learned to “iron the wrinkles out of old sheets” as I move through the changes in life. I downloaded the book a few weeks ago and plan to get on it soon. Thank you so much for writing it! I LOVE the cover!!

    • Cindy Sproles

      Hot chocolate….We need hot chocolate. 🙂 Thanks Marcia. Nothing like fresh new sheets.

    • I love the cover, too, Marcia. AND the words inside it. 🙂

      Wouldn’t it be great if we were sitting across from each other, with a cup of coffee?

  • So encouraging, Cindy! Thank you~~

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thank you Julie.

    • Hi Julie! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Megan Vance

    Hi Cindy, I was fascinated to hear about your story and how you came to write your book. I too have been working on a book and it has taken me years to write it. It is based on 40 Psalms of David, someone who exemplified a quality in each one of them, put together in a book, with questions, timeline, further sources and so forth. Right now I am having it edited and looking for a publisher. But you are so right about God working inside you as you write. He has to work things in you first. It is quite painful at times. Your book sounds wonderful. Blessings in Jesus’ name to you.
    http://inchristalone-byhismercy.blogspot.com/

    • Cindy Sproles

      Never rush a good thing. We often get in a hurry to finish a book. But God’s timing is different.

    • Hi Megan! What a joy to see your name pop up! Glad to hear about your book. Keep us posted on how it’s going. 🙂

      • Megan Vance

        Thank you Vonda, I will. Also, thanks for visiting my blog!

  • Deb H.

    Cindy, what a great title. I share your heart in the experience of divorce and wanting to grow(!) through life’s seasons. I rejoice with you for what the Lord is doing in your life and through your pen. I am entering a stage of deep reflection (brought on by weighty words in Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love about the “mist”ness of our lives and making it all count for Christ). Your thoughts resonate deeply with me along those same lines. May God bless you with continued favor and open doors for the glory of His matchless Name. :0) Deb (http://echoingfaith.blogspot.com/)

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thank you so much Deb.

    • Beautiful blessing, Deb. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. 🙂

  • Catherine L Young

    Hi Cindy, it’s been a few years but I remember our time in Philly together with fond memories. Congrats on your new book, you deserve it. Praying for your continued success. Blessings. Cathy

    • Cindy Sproles

      Hi Catherine. It has been a while. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Cathy, I’m glad to see you’ve had the joy of meeting Cindy, too!

  • Marilyn Nutter

    Thank you Cindy. You are an encouragement–both in accepting my devotionals for publication and every morning when I read others in my inbox. Marilyn Nutter

    • Cindy Sproles

      Thank you Marilyn. We love to have you send us your devos for the site.

    • And I’ve certainly enjoyed reading your devotions at ChristianDevotions.us!