Category Archives: Announcements

The Christian Writer’s Den Auction is Over

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

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First Deadline is Tonight! (For the Complete Auction Package Only)

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

 

Hello, Friends.

Just a quick note to remind you that bids for the Complete Auction Package must be submitted by tonight, Monday December 4 at 12midnight ET. Please note this deadline is ONLY for those who want to bid on the entire contents of the auction. (If that package is purchased, the auction will then be closed.)

The deadline for bids on the other two large packages, the Writing is Fun Workshop Package and the Christian Writer’s Den Package, must be submitted by Tuesday, December 5 at 12 midnight ET. If one or both of those packages are purchased, the auction will then consist of only the items that WERE NOT included in the package(s) that were sold.

The final deadline for the remaining items in the auction is Thursday, December 7 at 5pm ET. Please remember that you can go ahead and bid now on the individual lots. If the large packages aren’t sold, your bids on the individual lots will then be active and bidding will continue on those items.

If you haven’t already, please be sure to read the complete instructions before bidding. It’ll make the process much easier! Here are the updated instructions.

Bidding is open only on the December 3 blog post, so click here to bid. 

 

Remember, there’s no bid too small to start your bid. Also be sure to contact me if you need to discuss a longer payment window for the larger packages.

Please feel free to email me at vondaskelton@gmail.com with any questions. I’m happy to discuss anything!

Hugs,

Vonda

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Important Update: Christian Writer’s Den Auction Details

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

 

Wow! Oh, how you have blessed me with your words of encouragement and validation at the news of my retirement. You make me feel so loved! I’ve been reminded again why it was so difficult to announce the move into my new season of life.

But as many of you have said, seasons do change, and those orders to stop and rest are as much a part of His plan as are the original marching orders to go and do. Your words have brought me a new level of peace and confirmation. Thank you.

And thank you to those who have already shared the auction with others. I’m confident there are writers and speakers out there who could benefit from this opportunity. I appreciate you taking the time to help them hear about it.

When you share, would you please use this updated page instead of the original one?

Auction Update: (The complete instructions are located below this update. Be sure to read the instructions so you’ll understand the bidding process.)

As I mentioned in the initial post, I expected there would be some necessary clarifications after announcing the auction. And there are. First of all, in order to make the offered items easier to locate, today I’m reposting the available items/packages here on this page, along with any current bids on them.

Also, as questions came up yesterday, I added a few explanations into the original post. For that reason, I’ve reposted all the instructions at the bottom of this post. But if you’d rather just read the clarifications, here is a summary of the explanations/added info:

1. To make it easier to follow the auction, this update post will now become the current auction site. I will continue to monitor the original site and will move any bids over to this post if they’re placed on the original page.

2. A question has come up about a longer payment window for the larger packages. That is certainly something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Simply email me at vondaskelton (@) gmail (dot) com and we can discuss possible options.

3. All items will be transferred with a simple contract.

4. I’ve added more detail to some of the item descriptions. They are listed in the items offered in the comments.

5. Please note that items/comments with longer descriptions may be abbreviated with a clickable SEE MORE note at the bottom. Be sure to look for the note on longer posts and click in order to see all the information.

6. There are 10 auction offerings, but with so many comments, you may not see all of them if you don’t watch for and click the LOAD MORE COMMENTS bar as you scroll down. Be sure to click on that note or you will miss out on items that are included in the auction.

7. To place a bid, you must hit REPLY to the specific item I’ve posted. Follow up questions must also stay in the thread under each item.

8. When you place a bid and I respond with APPROVED, that simply means your bid is noted and recorded. Others may continue placing bids on those items until the posted deadline.

9. Please note that there are three separate deadlines. This is necessary because some of the items are listed both individually and in the larger packages. This allows the purchase of a package to be complete as advertised and associated items will then be removed from the auction.

10. If a package is not sold by its deadline, the package will be removed from the auction and all associated items and their bids will then be active.

11. Bidding is open for all items until their deadline, whether a single item, small package, or large package. You do not have to wait to see if a package sells before bidding on items that are also part of a package. (Clear as mud?)

12. The deadline for the Complete Package of all items listed in the auction is Monday, December 4 at midnight ET. 

13.  The deadline for the Writing is Fun Workshops Package and the Christian Writer’s Den Package is Tuesday, December 5 at midnight ET. 

14. The deadline for all other items is Thursday, December 7 at 5pm ET.

And if you haven’t read the full instructions below, please do so before bidding. It’ll make the process much easier.

Complete Instructions

General instructions:
1. The auction is open to all writers and speakers. It’s always more fun with more participation, so please feel free to share the Auction post with any writers, speakers, and groups you know.
2. Remember that while some items are appropriate for writers of any level, others are best suited for experienced, published writers and speakers. Be sure to read recommendations before bidding. If nothing specific is mentioned, the item or package is appropriate for anyone.
3. The auction will be online only and will be held here at the Christian Writer’s Den blog.  It will close December 7 at 5pmET.
4. If you’re not already a registered commenter at the Christian Writer’s Den, you’ll need to register. There is no charge to participate and you will not be automatically added as a follower.

How to bid:
5. Each item/package will be listed separately in the comment section of the Auction Blog post. You may place a bid by hitting REPLY directly under the specific item/package you want to bid on. Please do not try to bid by placing a general comment or by replying to other bids or other comments.
6. A bid is only approved if it is written as a REPLY under a specific item/package.
7. I will reply to your bid by stating APPROVED. That simply means I see your bid and have noted it in my records. It does not mean you have won the item. The winner will be the highest bidder at the deadline.
8. Bids will be accepted in the order of posting.
9. General questions that will be of interest to all participants may be posted in the general comments.
10. If you don’t mind using your name to bid publicly, simply post your bid as a REPLY to the specific item or package you’re bidding on.
11. I’ll be at the computer continuously from 9amET to 12midnightET each day except Sunday. You’re free to bid on Sunday if you would like, but bids will not be marked as APPROVED until Monday morning.

Anonymous bids:
12. If you’d rather make an anonymous bid, simply email me at vondaskelton (@) gmail (dot) com with your real name, your preferred bidding name, the item you’re bidding on, and the amount of your bid. I’ll post it for you publicly using your bidding name and the time of your email. Please note that other bids may come in between the time you email your bid and when I note it and post it for you.
13. If you must make an anonymous bid during the night hours, it will be added when I get back to the computer the next morning.

Packages vs individual items:
14. IMPORTANT NOTE: Some items are also offered as part of a package. The packages will be offered for a limited time, as noted in the post. You may go ahead and bid on individual items while the package bidding is still active.
15. You may bid on individual items and packages from the beginning; however, an acceptable package sale will eliminate the possibility of individual sales of items included in the package.

Reserve minimum bid:
16. ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: A reserve is placed on the three major packages: The Complete Package of all items in the auction; The Writing is Fun Workshop Package; and The Christian Writer’s Den Package. This means that if the highest bid doesn’t meet the undisclosed minimum amount set prior to the auction, the package will be withdrawn from the auction and will not be sold as a package. Any bidder who has placed a bid on these larger packages but does not meet the reserve will be contacted with more information prior the deadline.
17. If the package isn’t sold, the bids for individual items will be put into effect at that time and bidding will continue until the end of the auction. If the package sells, the associated individual items will be withdrawn and those bids will be cancelled.

Payments:
18. If you place a bid, you are verifying that you are prepared to fulfill the commitment of your bid, should you win it.
19. At the end of the auction, the winner of each item/package will receive a Request for Payment through PayPal and will be responsible for completing the sale at the bid price within 24 hours. With PayPal, you can pay by credit card or through a PayPal account. (See added item, #20 below.)
20. A question has come up about the option of a longer payment window for the bigger packages. That is certainly something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Simply email me at vondaskelton@gmail.com and we can discuss it. Thank you.

Contracts:
21. All items/packages will be transferred with a simple contract.

Ready to join the fun?

Thank you again for your interest in this auction. I hope my years of work will bring a financial blessing to those who participate, making your writing journey more productive and easier to navigate.

After all, the goal of the Christian Writer’s Den has always been to encourage and celebrate writers and speakers!

With love and appreciation,
Vonda

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The End of My Season and the Beginning of Yours: Christian Writer’s Den Auction

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

 

Welcome back to the Christian Writer’s Den!

Hello, friends. My goodness, we haven’t talked in a long time. A lot has happened since my last post almost a year ago, and today holds one of the biggest announcements of my life. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to see what’s going on and what it could mean for you and your writing and speaking journey!

Change is in the air

It’s with lots of excitement and a little sadness that I announce my retirement at the end of this year. I’m excited for more time with my sweet hubby and family, but wow, I know I’m going to miss you—my writer/speaker family. After all, many of us grew up as writers and speakers together!

Some of you know that Gary and I have been caregiving for several years, and believe me, we wouldn’t take back those years for anything. It’s been an honor and a joy to care for those we love. But after much prayer and seeking wisdom from professionals I respect, I recognize it’s time for me to transition into a (hopefully) simpler life.

Although ministry seasons change, we know that ministry never ends for those of us who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. I’m confident that I’ll honor Him best by honoring by family.

The end of my old season could be the beginning of your new one

Yes, there’s a little sadness with this announcement, but I’m thrilled to share the opportunity this could mean for you. After talking with several wise friends, I see that my change in season could be a positive change for you and your ministry as well, helping you move forward in your own call to write and speak.

As I looked back on my own journey, I realized that I’ve been doing this writing and

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

speaking thing for quite a while now. I started speaking in 1997 and although I wrote my first book in 1993, I wasn’t published until 2002. That’s over 20 years of writing, speaking, encouraging, and making others laugh. That’s 20 years of classes, keynotes, workshops, school programs, blog posts, challenges, domain names, and endless ideas. I would love to see those creations bolster the writing and speaking careers of others, like you!

How will that happen, you ask? We’re going do it with a Christian Writer’s Den Auction of Speaking and Writing Resources . . . and you’re invited to join in! These resources of writing and speaking programs, domain names, rights to become the seller of my downloadable workshops, blog content, and much more will be offered to writers and speakers. All who are interested may participate through the online auction, right here at the Christian Writer’s Den.

General instructions:

The auction is being announced today and will be immediately open for bids. Here’s how it’ll work:

1. The auction is open to all writers and speakers. It’s always more fun with more participation, so please feel free to share the Auction post with any writers, speakers, and groups you know.
2. Remember that while some items are appropriate for writers of any level, others are best suited for experienced, published writers and speakers. Be sure to read recommendations before bidding. If nothing specific is mentioned, the item or package is appropriate for anyone.
3. The auction will be online only and will be held here at the Christian Writer’s Den blog, on the post dated December 1, 2017. It will close December 7 at 5pmET.
4. If you’re not already a registered commenter at the Christian Writer’s Den, you’ll need to register. There is no charge to participate and you will not be automatically added as a follower.

How to bid:
5. Each item/package will be listed separately in the comment section of the Auction Blog post. You may place a bid by hitting REPLY directly under the specific item/package you want to bid on. Please do not try to bid by placing a general comment or by replying to other bids or other comments.
6. A bid is only approved if it is written as a REPLY under a specific item/package.
7. I will reply to your bid by stating APPROVED. That simply means I see your bid and have noted it in my records.
8. Bids will be accepted in the order of posting.
9. General questions that will be of interest to all participants may be posted in the general comments.
10. If you don’t mind using your name to bid publicly, simply post your bid as a REPLY to the specific item or package you’re bidding on.
11. I’ll be at the computer continuously from 9amET to 12midnightET each day except Sunday. You’re free to bid on Sunday if you would like, but bids will not be marked as APPROVED until Monday morning.

Anonymous bids:
12. If you’d rather make an anonymous bid, simply email me (vondaskelton@gmail.com) with your real name, your preferred bidding name, the item you’re bidding on, and the amount of your bid. I’ll post it for you publicly using your bidding name and the time of your email. Please note that other bids may come in between the time you email your bid and when I note it and post it for you.
13. If you must make an anonymous bid during the night hours, it will be added when I get back to the computer the next morning.

Packages vs individual items:
14. IMPORTANT NOTE: Some items are also offered as part of a package. The packages will be offered for a limited time, as noted in the post. You may go ahead and bid on individual items while the package bidding is still active.
15. You may bid on individual items and packages from the beginning; however, an acceptable package sale will eliminate the possibility of individual sales of items included in the package.

Reserve minimum bid:
16. ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: A reserve is placed on the three major packages: The Complete Package of all items in the auction; The Writing is Fun Workshop Package; and The Christian Writer’s Den Package. This means that if the highest bid doesn’t meet the undisclosed minimum amount set prior to the auction, the package will be withdrawn from the auction and will not be sold as a package.
17. If the package isn’t sold, the bids for individual items will be put into effect at that time and bidding will continue until the end of the auction. If the package sells, the associated individual items will be withdrawn and those bids will be cancelled.

Payments:
18. If you place a bid, you are verifying that you are prepared to fulfill the commitment of your bid, should you win it.
19. At the end of the auction, the winner of each item/package will receive a Request for Payment through PayPal and will be responsible for completing the sale at the bid price within 24 hours. With PayPal, you can pay by credit card or through a PayPal account. (See added item, #20 below.)

20. A question has come up about the option of a longer payment window for the bigger packages. That is certainly something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Simply email me at vondaskelton@gmail.com and we can discuss it. Thank you.

Contracts:

All items/packages will be transferred with a simple contract.

Ready to join the fun?

Thank you for hanging out with me as we muddled through the details. I’m sure there’ll be a few bumps along the way as we get started, so I’m asking now for your grace!

I hope you’ll prayerfully consider participating in this opportunity. What a joy it’d be for my work to continue to help writers and speakers succeed! After all, the goal of the Christian Writer’s Den has always been to encourage and celebrate writers and speakers.

I continue to pray the Lord’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: CWD Changes, Kudos, MoGo7000, & Who Won $100?

newspapersIt’s a full day of announcements, so let’s get started with the Kudos!

In the busyness of the Christmas and New Year holidays, we only had one reported success to celebrate:

Carol Guthrie Heilman (NC):  Carol received a contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for Book 2 in The Adventures of Agnes Series. Congrats, Carol! And I know everyone wants to see Book 1, so here’s the direct Amazon link to Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar.

Congratulations on your second contract in the series, Carol. I hope there are many more contracts and books to come!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Who qualified for another MoGo7000 entry?

Congrats to these friends who wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in the month of December:

#23: Amanda Everett – 13,049 words
#24: Tim Suddeth – 8,200 words

Congratulations, Amanda and Tim! It’s hard to get much done in December, but you two made it happen!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

100 dollars PixabayAnd now, drumroll, please! Who won $100 cash in the 2016 MoGo7000 Challenge?

The winner is:

Tim Suddeth!!!

Wow–Tim I couldn’t believe it when your number came up! Congratulations! I guess that just shows us that you don’t have to enter every month to win the prize! Tim is $100 richer!

Hope you have fun spending it, Tim!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Changes at the Christian Writer’s Den…vonda-speaking

I hope you know how much I love and appreciate each of you. With a gazillion blogs out there, I’m honored you would spend time with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Many of you dear friends have been with me since CWD began in 2008 . . . the same year my caregiving responsibilities began . . . the same year my third and fourth books came out. I’ve not completed a book since.

A lot of years have passed. I realize I’m getting older and I do have a few more books I’d like to write. So, after spending focused time with the Lord and seeking wisdom from my writing mentor, I know it’s time to take a break from weekly blogging and social media. In order to focus on my writing and family responsibilities, I’ll plan to post about once a month for an indefinite amount of time. I’m also limiting my social media participation in order to be in better control of my writing time.

Please know this isn’t a permanent change. I want us to stay in touch! In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue working on your own projects as well. Just think what we all could achieve if we could focus on writing this year!

Thank you again for your friendship and encouragement. I’ll look forward to meeting up again in February!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts in 2017,

Vonda

 

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Call-Out for Kudos & MoGo7000 & Who Won Crickett Keeth’s Book?

Megaphone announce Pixabay

(I’m sorry for the delay. I created this the week of Christmas and was shocked when it wasn’t delivered to my Inbox Tuesday morning! I finally sat down to rewrite it, but the more I thought about it I KNEW I had written it.

I was write, I had written it. But guess where I found it . . . in the bowels of the archives, dated January 3, 2016!)

It’s Time to Share Kudos of Your First Successes of 2017!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Has something exciting happened recently to start your new year off right? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who MoGo’d in December?mogo

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in December, you will receive one last entry for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your December results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in December. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2017 challenge has begun! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. But remember, this week’s reporting is for the month of December 2016 only.

All words written beginning January 1 will apply to the 2017 MoGo7000 Challenge, so get started now and you could have 12 chances to win next January!

Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner of the 2016 MoGo7000 cash prize of $100!

The Gift of Rest cover Crickett Keeth~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And who won a copy of Crickett Keeth’s new book, The Gift of Rest?

The winner is . . .

Judith Robl!

Congratulations, Judith! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Crickett will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, you know you still need this book. And as I write this, it’s on sale for only $8.38 or $2.99 for Kindle! So here’s a direct Amazon link to The Gift of Rest. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New year’s blessings as you face the blank canvas of 2017. What will your canvas show at the end of the year? I pray mine will show only what was God-led. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos & A Baby Really Did Change Everything

newspapersLet’s start with this month’s kudos!

Congratulations to these Christian Writer’s Den friends who’ve been working hard and making things happen!

1.  Kristi Woods (OK): Praising God for two online published pieces in November on ibelieve.com: Why I Urge My Children Not to Follow Their Hearts and Three Ways to Keep the Spirit of Thanksgiving Alive All Year.

2.  Johnna Stein (GA): Part 1 of my fictional end of WWII story “The Iron Cross”was published
in Cricket Magazine for Kids ages 9-14 this month. Parts 2 & 3 will come out in 2017.

Way to go, Kristi and Johnna. So proud of you for your hard work and accomplishments!

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Your first Christian Writer’s Den Christmas gift

During the Christmas season, it has become my Christian Writer’s Den tradition to post this beautiful video and the life-giving words it proclaims. I’ve done it now for several years, and each time I hear it, I still get chills and my eyes fill with tears.

When Jesus was born, everything was changed.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the beautiful images from the film, The Nativity, and listen to the words of this powerful song sung by Faith Hill.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:11-14 (KJV)

During this blessed Christmas season, I’m especially thankful a Baby changed everything for me. And He wants to change everything for you, too.

I was lost but now I’m found! Hallelujah!

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,

Vonda

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Call-out for Kudos & MoGo7000 Results and Who Won Sue Badeau’s Coloring Book?

fireworks PixabayCalling All Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–-to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you. Everybody’s welcome to share.

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Did You Work on MoGo7000 in November? (And remember, your NaNoWriMo words count toward MoGo7000!)

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in November, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your November results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in November. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday).

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, you can still qualify in December! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project by December 31 and you’ll be in the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Color Cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~00 Front Cover Bubbles Butterflies

And who won Sue Badeau’s coloring book?

Cathy Baker!

Congrats, Cathy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and your book will be on its way!

And I know many of you want your own copies of Sue’s book for kids who have experienced trauma and the adult book for those who love and care for traumatized kids. You can make a difference!

To get your own copies, click here for Building Bridges of Hope for adults and here for Bubbles and Butterflies: A Calming Coloring Book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for joining me today, sweet friends. And thank you for all your words of encouragement and prayer support as Mother continues her healing. She has now moved to assisted living and is doing much better–Praise God! Today is the third of four doctor appointments I’m taking the moms to this week, so it’s another packed schedule.

But with each week that goes by, I realize more and more what miracles we’ve received with both our moms. My mother-in-love will be 93yo in January and still lives in her own home with the help of us kids, and my mother could have easily died from complications related to her fall. What a mighty God we serve!

Blessings as you rush through this Christmas season as well. I pray for those of you who aren’t receiving a miracle this Christmas, or your miracle is the gift of a loved one at the feet of Jesus. I’m praying for you today.

Christmas blessings to all as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver.

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Andy Lee

Andy Lee 2016Dear friends, thank you for your grace as my blog posts aren’t on a consistent schedule right now. And thank you, too, for your kind notes, emails, and prayers as my mother continues to heal. Today she will see her new room at the assisted living and tomorrow she officially moves in. She’s so excited!

I’m excited, too, and it’s not only because of Mother’s progress. I’m also excited to share Andy Lee’s new book with you! Andy and I met years ago, I believe it was at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. It’s been a joy to watch her put in the time and attention it takes to be a serious writer, and it’s been a joy to watch her career grow! Today we’re going to focus on her new book, A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called. Don’t you love that title?

Be sure to leave a message for Andy and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Welcome, Andy. I know you wrote this book in part to inspire and empower women who have been called to ministry. What are some of the inner obstacles women may have to overcome when choosing to answer God’s call for their lives? What obstacles have you had to overcome?

Oh my, so many obstacles! The enemy of our lives is threatened by us, and loves to discourage us in our calling. A huge obstacle is comparison. That’s why I wrote this book. If I compare my speaking, teaching, writing, mothering, cooking (which I’m not a fan), decorating, gardening (which I don’t do), cleaning (which I don’t want to do), etc. to my friends’ and virtual friends’ cooking, writing, speaking, mothering, etc. I’m sunk. Comparison throws a blanket of discouragement over my soul, and I want to quit. I fight comparison by admitting my imperfectness and thanking God for the opportunities He puts in front of me everyday, and I ask for grace to do my best for Him, not for Pinterest or Facebook or the writer of the year award.

For women called to preach and teach and perhaps pastor, there will be many obstacles. All I can say is, “Trust God.” Trust that He will open and close the doors. Go where He leads. Know that He is creative with His calling. It may not, and probably won’t, look like you envisioned when you first knew He was calling you into full time ministry.

Finally, don’t despise small beginnings, the hidden places. God’s economy is not ours, nor is His timing. Live and serve right where you are with the people He has put in your life. They may be smearing jelly all over your television with chubby fingers. Pray for grace. Kiss those fingers. Thank God for today, and use the hidden places, the small beginnings to grow deeper into Him. Practice His Presence. And practice your calling right where you are now.

Powerful truths, Andy! We tend to read Bible characters as flat, unrelatable characters, distant from us because of time and cultural differences. How do you hope your book helps modern women to better connect with the Marys of the Bible?

Oh . . . this is such my heart. Yes, they were from a different culture and spoke a different language, and they lived so long ago, but I am convinced that all of the biblical characters, men and women, dealt with the very same heart issues we do today. We see it easily with Peter and Paul, but for some reason, the “good girl” biblical characters have a holy glow when we read their stories. This detaches them from us which distances God from us in our hearts because we don’t think we could ever serve Jesus as they did. It’s that comparison thing again. But when we find someone who can relate to our struggles, we are no longer threatened by them. Camaraderie encourages us and draws us closer. I also think that once we connect with the Marys’ human hearts, the thousands of years, language, and cultural barriers disappear, and the Bible becomes more real and applicable for today.

I love the way you incorporate the Bible’s original languages, Greek and Hebrew and even Aramaic, into your study of these women. Your book gives great pointers on simple, non-intimidating ways anyone can add this kind of study to our own Bible reading, even without a Bible degree. What does it add to our Bible study when we explore the original languages?A Mary Like Me image

Oh my goodness, it adds LIFE to our Bible study when we study this way. It is incredible. My husband says that my goal is to turn everyone into a Bible nerd. It’s true, but only because digging under our translation has brought so much excitement and joy and life into my walk with God. Nuances have been lost in translation that can be discovered by word-studies, and exploring the ancient language also brings a fresh understanding into familiar scripture. If the Bible seems dull or hard to understand, you’ve got to try studying this way. You’ll never read the Bible the same, and you’ll find the truth of Hebrews 4:12, “The Bible is alive and active . . . .”

You use the Marys’ experiences to address deep topics like grief and mental illness, with stories from your own life and ministry. How can an encounter with the Marys in the Bible help Christian women who are grieving a loss, or wrestling with mental illness?

It goes back to camaraderie. You aren’t alone. We find comfort when someone shares what we’re going through. It also takes out some of the power of the grief or depression when we realize someone else knows our pain. But what I really hope the reader sees in these stories is how Jesus interacted with these grieving, mentally ill women. He was loving, caring, and desired to heal them. He cried with them, and He understood their human heart. What kind of God does that?

You write about dreams and callings and how important they both are as well as how to distinguish between the two. What advice do you give the writer whose dream for his or her book to be published hasn’t happened yet?

Keep being faithful to what He has called you to today. Again, don’t despise the hidden places, the small beginnings. Minister, tell your story, right where you are—on your blog, in the live Facebook video you feel the nudge to do, or over coffee with a neighbor. Seek God’s face daily—that means worship Him intentionally whether you feel like it or not. If there is an ache with the dream to be published, it is a calling from the Lord. Trust His timing. Seek His will for your writing. Go to conferences, blog, and attend critique groups. Be open to all projects He has for you. You may have to set the first book aside to pitch the second and see it in print first. That’s what happened to me. My second book was published before the first, but I view this as a double portion blessing from the Lord. He loves faith. Remember, His economy is not ours, nor His timing. It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Don’t give up.

Thank you for being with us today, Andy. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next!

And friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for Andy. You could be next week’s winner!

Bio: Andy Lee loves to teach about Jesus, and she loves to help people dig deep into the Biblical languages. She is a Bible teacher, retreat speaker, blogger, mom to three grown children and a kitty named Hank, and wife to Mike. She’s the author of two books: The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG 2015) and A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood 2016). Andy broadcasts the Bite of Bread on Facebook every morning Monday through Friday at 8:20 ET, and she encourages faith and study on her blog Daily Grace found on her site www.WordsByAndyLee.com. Join Andy on her blog and daily broadcasts to learn how to dig deep to live fully.

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/andy.lee.1069

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Taking Some Time Away to Care for My Mom

MOM Pixabay

As most of you know, my mother took a terrible fall on August 21 and her life has been changed dramatically. We praise God for His protection of her life, but she still has some hard days ahead.

In light of these ongoing needs, I’m finally accepting the fact that I simply can’t keep up with everything right now. Please know I love and appreciate each of you and your words and notes of encouragement and prayer.

In the meantime, you won’t be far from my thoughts and prayers as well.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance!

Vonda

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