Friday, November 27, 2015

Karen Wingate: The True Meaning Of "I Can"

Everyone's Story warmly welcomes author Karen Wingate. Though I have yet to meet Karen face-to-face, I want to! She is someone to admire: strong despite what others may perceive as weak, courageous, optimistic, energetic, and most importantly, someone who loves her Father as much as He loves her. In this week of the American holiday of Thanksgiving, please enjoy and reflect on Karen's inspiring words--I know they've uplifted me! Both Karen and I look forward to hearing from you.


As someone with a severe visual impairment since birth, I’ve lived my life by one rule:

Never say the words, “I can’t.”

Any person with a disability or a minority ethnicity has to work twice as hard to be half as good. Get busy.

This philosophy worked for many years. I’ve accomplished far more than my rehabilitation teachers thought I could. Early on, I learned to bring God into the equation. Often I saw Him provide and use me in ways I could not explain by human standards. In spite of what He did, I failed to call on Him enough. It was more, “I can do this. I’ll call you if I get into trouble.”

In recent years, my favorite verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)” became my nemesis. I grew tired of the struggle, always having to do everything everyone else did, always needing to be a step ahead so I could prove the power of God. I became weary of the “all things.” If I wasn’t doing it or if I didn’t think I could do it, I must not be trusting God enough, my lifelong mantra told me. Was it ever acceptable to say, “I can’t?”

I’ve had a long publishing career, but not the joy of a published fiction book. I’ve completed three novels and have come so close to a contract/ No cigar. No celebration with chocolate either.

Karen and two Russian students when Karen
served as a short-term worker at a
Bible training center in Southern Austria.

A week before I attended a writers’ conference, I was ready to give up on this writing life. Why was I going to a conference that wouldn’t take me any further? Too much was stacked against me and I don’t have the strength to keep fighting any longer.

I threw my reasons at God. I’m visually impaired, remember? I’m a pastor’s wife. My husband, who suffers from chronic back pain and diabetes, can hardly manage when I’m gone. Moreover, silly me had written an edgy novel and had the audacity to sign up for appointments with two of the largest CBA publishers in the business. Whatever was I thinking?

“This is impossible,” I told God. “If you want me to publish a book, You’ll have to do it. I can’t.” The Bible stories of David and Gideon came to mind. “Just call me Gideon,” I muttered at an elevator wall when I first arrived at the conference.

Then I walked into Allen Arnold’s continuing education class, “Writing On The Wild Side.” He distributed spiral bound notebooks, saying he had penned a separate message for each of us on the front flap, praying that God would direct each statement to the person who needed those particular words.

My inscription read. “Nothing is impossible with Me. Let’s do this together.”

Did the instructor have a thing about Lowe’s Home Improvement tagline?

Unlike Lowe’s, God provides the resources of His strength, the guidance of His wisdom, and the partnership of His labor. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NIV).” Rest. Oh, sweet rest. It’s available if I agree to do things His way in His time.

That verse I had come to dislike? Catch those words. It says, “I CAN do all things.” It doesn’t say, “I MUST.” If I’m joining God’s partnership, He chooses what He wants me to do. I don’t have to do it all. I do what He asks me to do. Each day, I convene with him for His daily assignment. If He wants me to get that book published, He’ll take care of it. If He wants me to be the only one blessed by its words, that’s His choice. If He wants me to spend a week writing blogs and magazine articles, or stop my editing to pray with two women from my bible study group, I do that instead. I don’t have to get it all done. Whether I finish everything on my to-do list is His decision, not mine. I do my best with what He has given me and leave the outcome to Him.

I walk in God’s strength. I must also walk in His wisdom.

“Lord, help me hear Your voice. Help me choose wisely.”

Karen's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Can you relate: Writing frustration led Karen Wingate @kwingate715 to ask God what He wants her to do? (Tweet This)

Karen Wingate @kwingate715: living and overcoming a #disability when it comes to #writing. (Tweet This)

Ever cry that God’s asking the impossible? Visit Karen Wingate @kwingate715’s on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Karen Wingate wrote Christian education curriculum for nearly thirty years for Standard Publishing, the Salvation Army, and Rainbow Publishers. She has written over 300 articles and devotions for both adults and children. Now she has turned her attention to fiction writing and loves to write about the history of the places where she and her husband have ministered. Karen and Jack have two grown daughters. One serves as a U.S. Army optometrist and the other is a university TESL instructor. Karen keeps up with her blog at Grace On Parade, writes a column for her newspaper, and as the Lord leads, is working on her fourth novel.
Places to connect with Karen:

Please note:

--I will soon launch a specially designed website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Linda Yezak: Is My Work Worthy, Lord?

Everyone's Story welcomes author Linda Yezak. Linda snagged my attention with the word "cat" and I'm glad we connected. Linda joins us this week with heartfelt and candid words that's not easily spoken about from writer to writer or for that matter, from writer to reader. I applaud Linda for sharing this with us. We'll be interested in knowing whether you can relate. And do check out Linda's lovely BookGiveaway. Both Linda and I are looking forward to hearing from you!

Linda is offering 1 copy of her novel, THE CAT'S LADY'S SECRET, to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, November 27th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment (you may choose to use the Contact Me form to privately send me your email address--the form is in the right-hand sidebar on the blog's main page, toward the bottom).

How I Learned To Like Where I’ve Been Planted by Linda Yezak

Recently, I attended a writers conference at a Baptist university in Texas. The town may be small, the college may be small, but the speaker and guest list included some heavy-hitters in my field. Cecil Murphey, who ghost wrote both Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story and 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper, the preacher who is the subject of the story. Don Piper was there, also. James H. Pence, singer, artist, and author of Terror By Night, the story of the brutal murder that took the lives of the Caffey family in 2008, an event that hit all the major news outlets, because it was Terry Caffey’s daughter who masterminded the murder along with her boyfriend.

I got to visit with these authors and others personally, aside from attending their classes. I couldn’t help being a tad bit star-struck and more than a tad bit jealous. I write romance and women’s fiction, fun little stories intended more to entertain than to deliver a deep message.

I want to be one of the authors who delivers a deep message.

One of the things that struck me during the conference was the number of times someone would tell me of the horrible things going on in their lives or awful things that had happened to them. Some were already turning their traumatic tales into devotionals or non-fiction books or fact-based fiction in hopes of helping someone else in similar problems. How beautiful to be God-led to help others.

I’ve never wanted to write of the things in my past. I’m fine with them buried where they belong. Perhaps that makes me selfish, I don’t know, but I’ve never felt a calling to write about them. And for that, I am truly thankful.

Although I enjoyed every minute of the conference and the entire experience of spending a couple of days with peers, talking of the one thing we all have in common, I came home under a cloud of sadness. I want God to use me like He apparently does those other authors. I want to be a tool for Him, to glorify Him, to help others realize how precious He is.

But I write romance and women’s fiction. Fun little stories intended to entertain.

I wrote about the conference on my blog, 777 Peppermint Place, leaving out all the specifics of my doubts and disappointments, mentioning only that I had a lot to pray about. And I did spend quite a bit of time in prayer–everything from is my work worthy, Lord? to am I being arrogant to want more? to am I even doing what You want me to do?

Self doubt is a wicked thing. It steals your confidence, leaves you questioning your very worth as a person sometimes.

But God is so amazing in His love. He uses His children to uplift each other and to deliver His special messages to us. How precious is He and our siblings who call themselves by His name?

The very day I posted about the conference, one of my friends, a dear sister in Christ, typed this in the comments:

Feeding the Poor

Feeding both body and spirit – complimenting someone, listening, caring, writing stories that feed the heart and mind with God’s love.

See that? “Writing stories that feed the heart and mind with God’s love” is feeding the poor, both in body and in spirit.

Authors of Christian romance pen not just stories about love between a man and a woman. We write about a love that is to be treasured and based on more than physical attraction. We write about hope and forgiveness and second chances and first loves and last loves and long-lasting, till death do we part love. We provide a glimpse of what the marital relationship should be according to God’s greatest scheme and gift–a relationship that keeps God at its center, loving and being loved in return.

There’s far more to it than that, of course, but really–how can you beat that?

So, let me introduce myself: I am Linda Yezak, blessed to be an author of Christian Romance and Women’s Fiction.

Linda's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Everyone’s Story: Meet @LindaYezak, “blessed” to write #ChristianRomance and #WF. #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

@LindaYezak: #Writers, can you admit your self-doubt over the stories you write? (Tweet This)

@LindaYezak: #Writers, how is God using you and your writing? Are you content? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Over twenty years ago, after a decade of life as a "single-again," author Linda Yezak rediscovered God's love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God's gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda's novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

Places to connect with Linda:

Please note:

--I will soon launch a specially designed website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Glenys Nellist: A Completed Story

Everyone's Story gives a big welcome to children's book author, Glenys Nellist. I'm always excited when an author has a special flair in appealing to children's hearts and my guest this week, Glenys, is a marvelous gem of such talent. If her beautiful storybook doesn't alone appeal to you, please check out her uplifting words below, let alone Glenys' amazing book trailer, which I consider is a work of art! With the holidays not far off, please consider leaving a comment for Glenys to win her book LOVE LETTERS FROM GOD. Both Glenys and I look forward to hearing from you!

Glenys is offering 1 copy of her children's book, LOVE LETTERS FROM GOD, to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, November 20th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment (you may choose to use the Contact Me form to privately send me your email address--the form is in the right-hand sidebar on the blog's main page, toward the bottom).

The Story of Half a Book by Glenys Nellist
It’s summer 2010. My first children’s book manuscript sits on a shelf. Half finished. Gathering dust. It’s been there a long time.
And it would have stayed there, had it not been for my husband.
Where’s your book? He asks one day.
Oh, that. It’s on the shelf.
Because it’s a waste of time, that’s why. Who gets to write a children’s book? Who gets to write a children’s book and have it published by Zondervan?

I had started Love Letters from God several months before, inspired by the beautiful words of Sally Lloyd Jones, as I read her Jesus Storybook Bible.

Glenys and her husband

Every morning I would eagerly grab my pen, pour out my soul on the page, and be swept away by the beauty and mystery of the creative process. What began as an empty, blank sheet of white was somehow filled with life.

On those mornings, I think I knew how God must have felt when, from a desolate void of nothing, came a wonderful world of everything. It was good.

Then I stopped.

I stopped because I had a visitor one day. I never saw him, but I heard his voice whisper in my ear as he tapped me gently, but persistently, on the shoulder.

What are you doing? he asked. You can’t write a children’s book. You’ll never get it published. You’re wasting your time.
I listened to that voice. It was hard not to. Obediently, I put my half-finished manuscript on the shelf, where it sat. For a long time.
Enter David, my husband, whose middle name is Encourager.
Glenys, do you believe that God called you to write that book?
The answer to that was easy. I had known the truth of that since the very beginning.
Do you believe God wants you to finish it?
The answer to that was easy too, even though I didn’t want to say the word.
And then David says something I will never forget. It’s simple, and silly, and utterly life-changing.
Well why would you not finish it…
What would have happened if Noah had only built half a boat?
One of the reasons I married David is because he could always make me laugh. I laughed at the thought of all the animals falling off a half-constructed boat, and the impossibility of such a vessel floating. But even though I laughed, that silly statement was exactly what I needed.

I pulled out that half-written manuscript, blew the dust away, picked up the pen, and began to write. The rest, as they say, is history.
Love Letters from God would be published, four years later, by Zondervan.
And I think about all those abandoned manuscripts, half-written, lying on dusty shelves, in hope-robbed rooms, and how God cannot possibly publish half a book.
I think about Jesus, and what might have happened if, half way through his ministry, he had given up. But he didn’t. He completed fully the work to which he was called, until finally, one day, he was able to say:
It is finished.

And wasn’t it only when Jesus had finally finished, that God could really start?

**God wasn't quite done with Glenys' children's book idea… her newest book is Little Love Letters From God. This is a toddler, board book version, containing 8 rhyming Bible stories, 8 little love letters, and 1 big message--God Loves You! It's available for preorder: Amazon

Glenys' Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Meet @GlenysNellist, #Children’sBook author of Love Letters from God. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
#Writers: Have you an abandoned manuscript collecting dust? See what @GlenysNellist did. (Tweet This)
Have a heart for a child who’d enjoy a storybook about love letters from God? Visit @GlenysNellist. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio: 

Originally from England, Zondervan author Glenys Nellist is a writer with a passion for God, her family, and children’s ministry. Love Letters from God, a heart-warming, lift-the-flap book for 4-8 year olds, is the first in her Love Letters series. Glenys lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband, David.

Places to connect with Glenys:


Please note:

--I have a title change for my novel coming soon from Elk Lake Publishing: Always With You.

--I will soon launch a specially designed website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!

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