Friday, October 10, 2014

Jennifer Slattery: The One Word That Counts

Everyone's Story welcomes back Jennifer Slattery, who is now appearing as a debut author in full-length fiction. Jennifer, warm congratulations on your novel BEYOND I DO. I know this is just the beginning of many more heartwarming stories from her! I've had the pleasure of talking with Jennifer in a lovely phone chat, learning that Jennifer is a sincere, thoughtful, and most caring woman. It is no surprise that these traits are evident in her reflective blog Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (link below). This week Jennifer shares with us a peek at her novel BEYOND I DO as well as her thoughts about the one single word that matters. Both Jennifer and I are looking forward to hearing from you.

Blurb for BEYOND I DO:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

For your reading pleasure, a peek at Jennifer's opening:

Used by Permission. Beyond I Do: A Novel, by Jennifer Slattery (New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL) 

Ainsley’s stomach churned as she eased into the Whispering Hills Apartments’ parking lot. Broken beer bottles and other trash littered the ground. A few tenants had draped sheets across their windows. Other windows were boarded up. One was busted in, shards of glass held in place by silver duct tape. 
Please tell me this isn’t where Marie Nelson lives.
Ainsley compared the address Deborah had given her to the rusted numbers on the complex in front of her. This was the place. And from the looks of it, the very place Ainsley shouldn’t be, at least, not alone.
Her phone chimed, making her jump. She glanced at the screen. Her fiancé’s number flashed. Cutting her engine, she answered. “Hey, Richard, what’s up?” She shoved her purse and computer case under the passenger seat.
“Where are you?”
 “Doing a favor for Deborah.  Why, you need something?” She grabbed her pepper spray from the glove compartment.
As if she hadn’t talked about the woman countless times over the years. “Deborah. Eldridge, the one who told me about Christ.” And kept her from going completely insane or spiraling into rebellion when Ainsley’s home life fell apart. “Sometimes I wonder if you ever really listen.”
A pack of muscular and hard-faced men gathered around a navy pick-up watched her, causing her already queasy stomach to cramp. There were four of them, two dressed in black with thick chains draped across their neck. The largest was covered, neck and arms, with tattoos. She looked away, suddenly acutely aware of her shiny Honda Accord and department store garb.
Oh, Lord Jesus, please keep me safe.
“That Deborah. Right.” A keyboard clicked on the other end of the line. Richard was probably working on final edits on his book. “Now I remember. So you’re in Smithville?”
“Not exactly. More like…” She scanned her surroundings again, her gaze lingering on a used diaper decaying on the ground ten feet away. “More like… the Admiral Boulevard area.”
 Richard made a choking noise, as if spewing coffee. “You’re where?  Please tell me you are not in the crime center of Kansas City.”

**BEYOND I DO is currently available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99.

One Word That Changes Everything by Jennifer Slattery

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to rise to new challenges while others appear to do all they can to avoid them? And why is it some press on after failure, even sustained failure, while others bounce back like little boys on pogo sticks?

These are the questions my father asked me during a conversation one day. And now that I’m grown, now that I’ve seen some of my dreams come to pass, I’ve begun asking these same questions. Because like my dad, I want my child to succeed and to find the fulfillment that comes from reaching her full potential. And as I contemplate this, I’ve come to realize “success”, in whatever field, is made up of many necessary ingredients: perseverance, diligence, pursuit of excellence, resilience, dedication . . . confidence.

And a healthy amount of risk taking. 

Courtesy Google Images
I suppose we all have areas of weakness that keep us from living up to our full potential. Insecurities that hold us back. Bad habits that steal our productivity. But I can’t help but wonder if at the root, our greatest hindrance comes from fear.

When the recession hit and 1.2 million Americans lost their homes, my daughter began asking about recession proof jobs. She was only twelve, an age when you or I were still dreaming of being baseball players, actresses, or rock stars.

Luckily, my husband and I helped her get past this, not by assuring her of tomorrow, for we all know another recession, or war, or epidemic, could hit at any moment. (Sounds a bit eerily familiar, doesn’t it?) Nor did encourage her to dream bigger. Rather, we reminded her of the power of the Dream Giver.

Because ultimately, God decides who “succeeds” or fails, though His view of success is much different than ours. But when we adopt His view, everything changes.

We change. Or more accurately, we surrender ourselves to His change within us. Understanding and accepting God’s definition of success, in my opinion, encourages the growth of all those character traits I listed above.

For you see, God’s definition of success is quite simple: obedience.

This means, every hurdle and setback is actually a chance to shine. To please our Heavenly Father and to sense Him saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

When an obstacle hits, rather than getting frustrated and longing to quit, we’ll turn our eyes upward as we pray about the best way to overcome.

When “failures” come, and they will, we open wide our hearts to receive the instruction only God can give.

When the journey feels long, arduous, confusing, and uncertain, rather than allowing the uncertainty to paralyze us we can turn it into an opportunity for spiritual stretching.
And this is when something beautiful happens. Once we boil everything down to obedience, we place ourselves squarely in the Father’s—the dream giver’s—hands.

The only One able to equip us for that which He created us to do.

This was what I found, anyway. When I first sensed God calling me to write, I grabbed hold of that dream with both hands, stressing over every rejection and setback. But once I made it about obedience, everything changed. I loosened my grip and focused on being the best writer I could be.

A funny thing happened. Once I relinquished control, the doors I tried to barrel through began to open.

And it stirred my heart to praise, which is the only proper position for a redeemed, transformed heart.

You can read Jennifer's previous Everyone's Story's post, When God Has Other Plans, here.

Jennifer's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author Jennifer Slattery: do you rise to new challenges or avoid them? (Tweet This)

Jennifer Slattery on Everyone’s Story: One Word That Challenges Everything. (Tweet This)

Jennifer Slattery asks: Do you and God define success differently? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it on the Amazon link below.
Places to connect with Jennifer:

To read a free 36-page excerpt of Jennifer's BEYOND I DO visit here.


  1. I've often wonder how two people can have the same thing happen to them and one come out stronger and the other doesn't. And I don't have an answer. Great post and your book sounds great!

    1. I've always thought it depended upon: bio-chemistry (one's makeup), one's childhood exposure to life and resilience to bounce back to upheavals… or not, one's reactions to the good & bad breaks in life, and most importantly, one's faith beliefs.

  2. I've thought on this a lot, too. Though I know there are a fair number on nonChristian overcomers, I do believe faith plays a big roll. I also think supportive friends and family members helps.

  3. Wonderful post and just what I needed to hear. It's so easy to get caught up in worldly definitions of success. Thank you Jennifer and Elaine!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Autumn. What I needed to hear today was that this blog reached someone's heart… and I'm glad it found its way to you. You made my day bright.

    2. I'm so glad today's post encouraged you, Autumn, and you are so right! For me, it helps to pray Psalm 19:14 often, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, my Rock and my Redeemer." Through this prayer, I am asking God to align my thoughts and heart (which includes my desires) with His. :)

  4. Obedience. Thanks for bringing such a clear perspective on success, Jennifer. And the better we know God, the easier it is to trust and obey, in the easy and in the hard times.

    1. Nice to see you again, Janet. I took a walk earlier in the brisk autumn air and reflected on these very points.

    2. Amen! And thanks for popping in and for your encouraging words. :)

  5. Jennifer, I've never heard a better definition of success! Thank you for reminding us that obedience should always be our first, last, and ever-present goal. Congratulations on your debut novel!

    1. Kathy, thanks for visiting last evening.

      I love my guests!

  6. Hi, Kathy! Thanks for the encouraging comment. :) Blessings!

  7. I'm thrilled for you and this next step in your writing journey, Jennifer! Many blessings!

    1. Welcome to Everyone's Story, April! I'm so excited to see you here!

    2. April, thank you so much for stopping in and for celebrating this step with me!

  8. Jennifer, what a beautiful post. I so appreciate the reminder to make this writing journey about obedience. Like you, I stepped into the journey fisting each dream with both hands and striving. I'm learning God just wants me to go with His leading. It's at a slower pace, but it's been a more pleasant journey since I began making it about obedience.

    Your book sounds great!

    1. Jeanne, I'm so with you. I look back and now see that the beginning of my writing journey's focus was in the wrong place: where I wanted to go and not where He wanted me to go... and what He wanted me to learn. I really believe that it is taking me a while because I have a lot to learn!

    2. Jeanne, I'm so glad you found my post encouraging. :) It sounds like you are walking closely with God. That's awesome and the best place to be. :)

  9. Thanks, Jennifer, for your week-long appearance on Everyone's Story. You've received viewers from all over the world and several lovely comments. I hope this blesses you with encouragement to continue to write the stories of your heart and to give others hope.

    Blessings to all.

  10. Elaine, thanks so much for having me! I always love visiting your blog! :)


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