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 â€“ 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, Iâ€™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, â€śGod has a plan. Iâ€™m gonna learn.â€ť
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 itâ€™s done its job.
New Sheets is a unique title. Tell our readers the story behind the book.
Iâ€™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 wasnâ€™t â€śseasoned enough.â€ť I wasnâ€™t aged enough, hadnâ€™t matured enough, to write it with authority and hindsight.
Iâ€™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 whoâ€™d divorced meâ€¦or at least sleeping with his memories on the same bed sheets Iâ€™d had while we were married. No wonder I cried every night and couldnâ€™t sleep.
It was time for something new. A new start. I couldnâ€™t afford a shopping spreeâ€¦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. Iâ€™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 whoâ€™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 50â€™s I could look over the prior thirty years and say with confidenceâ€¦â€śIâ€™ve matured. Refined. Learned.â€ť 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 Eddieâ€™s heart, but the ChristianDevotions.com domain name was already taken, so he purchased ChristianDevotions.us. Godâ€™s timing is perfect because the .us is what we areâ€¦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 wasnâ€™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. Weâ€™d been on the receiving end of rejection letters and weâ€™d sat at conferences and read through some of the awesome material that was rejected. So we asked God, â€śCan we make a difference? Can we help others shine?â€ť 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 doesnâ€™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 weâ€™ve seen the more we help, the more God allows us to help. Itâ€™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, â€śDonâ€™t thank usâ€¦thank God. Weâ€™re just the vessel.â€ť 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.
Youâ€™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, Iâ€™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. Itâ€™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 timeâ€¦as a winner.
Any closing advice?
Writing adviceâ€¦humâ€¦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 didnâ€™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, â€śRejoice in the Lord always. Rejoice in all things.â€ť Learning to rejoice in every situation takes skill and faith. Thatâ€™s where God refines us. So thank God and then buy yourself a set of new sheets when the storm is over. Itâ€™s a fresh start, new, crisp, and comfortable. New Sheetsâ€¦new dayâ€¦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 womenâ€™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!
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