Lisa is offering one copy of her new release BENEATH A NAVAJO MOON to one randomly chosen commenter--US residents only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 18th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!
Trailer for BENEATH A NAVAJO MOON:
What I Learned from a Christmas Cactus by Lisa Carter
What I Learned from a Christmas Cactus by Lisa Carter
My grandmother loved Christmas cacti. Her house was filled with them in a range of pinks, whites, and reds. A Christmas cactus is thus named because they usually bloom around the holidays. My grandmother died over twenty years ago, but sprigs of her original cacti were rooted into thriving plants today devotedly tended by her daughters and granddaughters.
A friend of mine has a family Christmas cactus that is 75 years old. It’s huge. Visitors and family members alike monitor its vitality and continued longevity. Maybe a Christmas cactus isn't important where you live. But most Southerners have a Christmas cactus story—and associated beloved family member—among their treasured memories.
What I’ve learned about life and God from a cactus:
To consider the legacy I will leave.
With a cactus, you must be careful not to over or under water. You stick your finger into the soil of the plant to test for moisture. You must examine the plant’s surroundings. Humid environments require weekly watering. Dry climates demand watering every 2-3 days.
In the same way, God looks at the soil of my heart. He is able to provide just the right amount of whatever He deems I need.
To trust the sunshine and the rain from God’s hand.
During autumn, the cactus should be watered less frequently to achieve maximum bloom. I stop watering my cactus mid-September. The key to beautiful flowers is: proper lighting, correct temperatures, and limited moisture. During daylight hours, my cactus remains in indirect light, but at night for a period of 12 hours I exile the plant to the darkness of an interior bathroom. And amazingly, after the plant endures these months of seeming unending drought—about Thanksgiving, buds begin to appear. Followed by radiant blooms come December despite harsh conditions.
Sometimes God allows a period of drought in my life. I feel like I’m sitting alone in the dark. But I’m never alone. And if I place the situations of my darkest times upon the altar of obedience and praise, times of refreshing come.
Often, I bloom the brightest after a season of drought.
Cactus should be pruned about a month after blooming to encourage branching out. I, too, usually can anticipate a pruning after a season of blessing and/or productivity. I do not relish this; but know to expect it. Though it hurts, pruning promotes new growth. And without it, neither I—nor the cactus—will ever achieve all we are capable of becoming.
Don’t fear the pruning.
Cutting off sections of cactus and planting into new soil can propagate entirely new plants. The blooming possibilities become exponential.
Be intentional in propagating growth in those around me.
Several years ago, God put it on my heart to get serious about this secret dream of writing I’d had since I was a child. In fact, He compelled me to take the stories that had been swirling in my imagination and write them down. That story became Carolina Reckoning. Aloha Rose was the result of a God-ordained reunion and in March Beneath a Navajo Moon released.
Sometimes people stop reaching for their dreams because of fear of failure. Yet I am the living proof that there is no expiration date on dreams. Rather in my life, God carefully orchestrated my experiences with the proper season and planted me at a place that would bring Him honor through my writing.
But the best thing about my cactus—
My Christmas cactus—started with such love by my grandmother and now carefully nurtured by me—sometimes blooms again, unexpectedly at Easter, too. Kind of how I want to live—as a repeat bloomer who blooms wherever God plants me, in all the seasons of my life for His glory.
As the holy season of Easter approaches, I pray whatever growth cycle in which you find yourself that you will dare to dream, consider your legacy, step out of your comfort zone, be intentional, and bloom gloriously for Him.
Questions for Lisa:
When I prepare for an interview I like to explore an author’s website in search of a quote. Your quote fascinates me: “Always there has been an adventure just around the corner—and the world is still full of corners” (Roy Chapman Andrews). Do you seek adventure, or enjoy adventure vicariously through your characters?
I’ve been blessed to have been a part of some amazing adventures in my life, including working behind the Iron Curtain (I’m dating myself) with the Underground Church and almost getting kidnapped in Morocco. I once had an English professor tell me I could make visiting the restroom a thrilling adventure. So I do a little of both—seek adventure out and create adventures through my characters, too. I still believe the greatest adventure of any we can experience is the journey of faith—oh, the places you’ll go, to quote Dr. Seuss.
Some writers are amazed by life lessons their characters teach, others are amused by word choices that come to mind that they’d never use unless in writing. While you write, do any pleasant surprises pop up that make the journey fun?
I am a discovery writer. I cast my characters with a face (usually a well-known model or actor). I know the situation and conflict of the beginning. Most of the time I know what happens at the end. The middle is usually murky. I begin writing and as I get to know my characters better and better, I just let them “have their head.” They always surprise me with where they take the story. I’ve learned to pay attention and hang on during the ride. It’s fun and humbling as the story/spiritual arc comes full circle.
For fun: if you were marooned on a desert island with three of your favorite authors (or perhaps the ghosts of past authors) whom would they be and why?
Lisa's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Everyone’s Story: author Lisa Carter shares lessons of life and God from a cactus. (Tweet This)
Lisa Carter: Why does God let a season of drought in your life? (Tweet This)
Visit with Lisa Carter, an author that proves there’s no expiration on dreams. (Tweet This)
Win #BookGiveaway of Lisa Carter’s Beneath a Navajo Moon. (Tweet This)
Lisa Carter shares her own journey of faith regarding the sufficiency of the cross and His grace in her life. She is the author of two romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning and Beneath A Navajo Moon; and Aloha Rose, a contemporary romance in the Quilts of Love series. Under a Turquoise Sky releases August 2014. She and her husband have two daughters and make their home in North Carolina. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, quilting, and researching her next exotic adventure.
Places to connect with Lisa: