Sara is offering 1 copy of I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS to 1 randomly chosen commenter, worldwide. The winner will be announced here on Friday, September 25th 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).
Excerpt from I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS:
From I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS by Sara Goff
Ava descended the concrete steps into the seasonal smell of brewing garbage, worn by the subway like a signature scent. Her blouse stuck to the sweat beading down the center of her back. Waiting for the train, she dug her cell phone out of her Prada tote. Password: josh.
With his mother micromanaging the wedding, there had hardly been any need for a maid of honor, until now. The line rang. “Come on, Maggie, pick up.”
“Hello, lovely!” Maggie’s voice brought immediate comfort, while little Melanie babbled like a hidden brook in the background.
“You two sound happy,” Ava said.
“Melanie just woke up from her nap. Listen, Ava, if you keep postponing my dress fitting, I’ll be holding your train in my bra and underwear. Now, unless stretch marks are the latest fad at weddings, your guests do not need to see mine.”
“Sorry. I just haven’t been able to focus on it, but that’s not why I’m calling. Maggie, I want Josh’s love spelled out. Is there something wrong with that?”
“Yes! Tattoos are way too permanent! Crochet it on a pillow or something. A pillow you can keep forever or sell at a garage sale. Seriously.”
“No, I’m talking about personal vows. Is it wrong that I want Josh’s feelings written out? Is it wrong that I want words I can return to…when I’m having doubts?”
“Oh.” Silence. “Whoops!” A loud clatter came through the phone. “Sorry about that. My darling Melanie grabbed the phone out of Mommy’s hand, didn’t she? I no longer decide how long I talk on the phone. Okay, so…doubts?”
What Do Our Role Models Have in Common? By Sara Goff
Are you working toward a long-term goal? Is anyone showing you the way? Our inspiration might be our own hope for change, or it might be faith based, or sparked by another person. Whatever the inspiration, our success is determined by how long we can hang on and the encouragement we receive.
I had a strong desire to make a difference in this world. Early on, it was only a daydream. In 2010, I started a charity called Lift the Lid, which gives long-term support to underprivileged students in order that they will achieve a meaningful education. The funds we raise go towards the well-being of the children, meeting their educational, physical, and spiritual needs, our primary focus being writing and self-expression. I believe everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard.
Lift the Lid hosts a writing competition at each of the schools we sponsor. This year at Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya, I asked the students to write about a special role model in their lives, someone who inspires them to dream, to try harder when the work becomes difficult, and to have faith when they've been deserted by family and friends. A role model, I reminded them, helps us to keep going when the road ahead isn't clear.
As I read their essays, I could see the girls following the lead of hardworking, experienced, influential women, while holding on to their own ambitions: to pass their exams, to find a good job, to rise out of poverty, to make a name for themselves, and to give back, helping others to achieve their dreams.
Here are some examples of the women who inspire them:
Mother Teresa gave up possessions, embracing poverty in order to serve the poor and suffering.
Oprah Winfrey worked hard to prove she's someone special after years of bullying in school.
An aunt makes sacrifices and faces criticism when she takes in the young girl writing the essay and fights for her education.
I started to think of my own role model, my mother, an English and drama teacher prior to her retirement, a church organist and a fiddler in a folk band to this day. Did I mention her black belt in karate? Still doing that, as well. While I was growing up, she clung to her love of music and practiced her various instruments daily, but took the time to share her creative spirit with me.
There's a similarity between these inspiring women that might help us to become role models to others: They hang on fiercely to their calling, but they also let go. They let go of possessions and low self-esteem. They let go of criticism and fear. They embrace the spirit that moves them, and they share it with the world.
Do you have a role model you'd like to acknowledge? Has anyone ever told you you're a role model? One of the girls wrote about the vegetable lady at her local market. "I admire her very much because of how she was serving her customers in a kind and positive language." You might be surprised to discover that while pursuing your own goals, you are also being a role model to others. Hang in there!
Sara's previous Everyone's Story's feature:
Sara's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Meet @sarajohannagoff, debut author of I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)
Author @sarajohannagoff: Can you be a role model? (Tweet This)
Everyone’s Story: Author @sarajohannagoff on The 2 Keys to Success (Tweet This)
Sara Goff recently moved to Connecticut with her husband of 14 years and their two sons after living in Sweden and then London for six-and-a-half years. I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS, her debut novel about figuring out life and finding love in New York City, was released September 15th by WhiteFire Publishing. A part of the proceeds from the book will go towards her educational charity Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Visit www.lift-the-lid.org for more information on the charity.
Places to connect with Sara:
Very much enjoyed her interview and reading about Lift the Lid ministry. Her debut sounds like a fun read. abilene_nana(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
Ann, as always, I love seeing you here. Isn't Sara a true blessing in her ministry?!Delete
Thank you, Ann! Lift the Lid has taught me heaps about being inspired and inspiring others. I hope you get the chance to read I Always Cry at Weddings!Delete
Yes, yes, yes, Sara. "They hang on fiercely to their calling, but they also let go." Giving our dream, our goal back to the Lord is sooo hard sometimes but He loves it when we do and will often give it back to us and more.ReplyDelete
Wonderful to have Sara on Everyone's Story, Elaine. Sara and I connect on our ICFW blog.
I wasn't aware of "Lift the Lid" - congratulations on being such a blessing to these young girls. I love the role model example of the vegetable lady - too often we look to the "famous" for inspiration when it can be found next door or down the road if we open our hearts and look for it.
Made my morning, Sara and Elaine.
Ian, I agree with you in everything you say, so much that if I were to comment I'd just echo you. I won't since you've said it so well!Delete
One thing I do want to muse over though is my fascination over the time difference on this planet: you sent your comment in approximately 11 AM your time, reaching me at 8:58 PM the previous evening, and here I am posting it the next morning, which of course is your 9 PM tonight. Very full circle. Forgive me--stuff like this boggles my mind.
Regardless of the time, it's always a pleasure to see you!
So great to hear from you, Ian! I'm amazed by what I learn from the students Lift the Lid supports: resilience, acceptance, gratitude, perseverance, an effervescent curiosity . . . Little do they know that they're my role models!Delete
I really enjoyed the interview with Sara. I can remember calling my fifth-grade teacher when I was 31 and thanking her for the things she taught me, especially those things that had nothing to do with school.ReplyDelete
Wow, Pat. I'm sure you made your teacher's day(s). What a lovely gesture to do.Delete
You made my day begin on a wonderful note when I saw your comment this morning, knowing where you are and that you took the time out to visit. I am so touched and grateful. Hope you're having a wonderful time.
Thank you for sharing how you called your fifth-grade teacher, Patricia! That's something we all should do. My fifth-grade teacher, Sister Ann, once gazed out the classroom windows in the middle of a lecture and pointed to the big elm tree waving in the wind. That's how we see God, she said, the wind moving the branches and leaves. I'll never forget it.Delete
Enjoyed this interview, and reading about positive story. Reading about inspiring women that might help us to become better role models to others. gmfuhlman27 (at)gmail (dot) comReplyDelete
Thanks for visiting, Gail. I agree. It's so refreshing to learn of a positive move in this world rather than the usual horrible. Speaking of role models, Sara is truly one.Delete
Hope to see you again.
I'm glad you enjoyed reading/thinking about role models, Gail. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you get to read I Always Cry at Weddings!Delete
Wonderful you are making a difference, Sara, with Lift the Lid.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your debut novel! The excerpt is intriguing.
Thank you for introducing me to a new author, Elaine. :)
Kathy, I've known Sara for a few years now and have met her a few years ago at an ACFW conference. Her writing is as lovely as she is!Delete
I'm glad you visited.
Thank you, Kathleen!!! Any encouragement for a new author is welcome! :)Delete
Loved the blog post.ReplyDelete
linderellarAT yahooDOT com
Linda, welcome to Everyone's Story. I'm glad you were uplifted by Sara's feature. You're in the drawing.Delete
Hope to see you again.
Thanks for stopping by and entering the giveaway, Linda! I hope you get to read I Always Cry at Weddings! Ha! I hope ALL the entrants get to read it! :)Delete
Sara, I'm so excited for this release of your debut novel! I remember you talking about it on Lit(erally) Speak(ing), but even more, I remember your passion for Lift-the-Lid. You are truly a role model yourself. I was so impressed with your story and all the times you stepped out in faith.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this opportunity to win a copy of I Always Cry at Weddings.
Your visits here, Patti, always make me smile. I'm glad Sara's feature has touched your heart.Delete
Hi Patti!!! So nice to see you here. :) Now that I'm back in the States (Darien, CT, actually) I'm nostalgic for our interview, when I chatted with you over the airwaves from the top floor of our London flat, looking out the paned window, to my right Kensington High Street, to my left regal Holland Park.... How time flies! Hope you're well, and if you don't win a copy of I Always Cry at Weddings, I'll send you one!Delete
"You might be surprised to discover that while pursuing your own goals, you are also being a role model to others. Hang in there!"ReplyDelete
I love this quote! How we persevere affects those around us. A long time ago, a friend said to me, "I love your writing." I'm sure she didn't think a whole lot about that moment, but it fed my writer's soul for years.
Thank you for this inspirational post.
Susan, Sara makes us all re-thinking: we never know who we will influence, for better or worse, and perhaps that's why we must always wear the armor of the One who is our forever role model.Delete
Thanks for stopping by!
Susan, I know exactly what you mean. A little encouragement can make all the difference. That is why I started Lift the Lid. I believe it doesn't take much to change a life.Delete
Congratulations on your debut novel, Sara! Love your book cover! I've had many mentors, in different areas of life. Some in writing. Some in music. And most importantly, some in my Christian walk. In fact, I had lunch with one of my favorite friends and Christian mentors last week. Thank God for those He sends to help lead our way. Thanks, Elaine, for hosting Sara!ReplyDelete
Always nice to see you, Kathy! And just think of the influence you might have had on your mentor/friend last week, as well as all along. Relationships are thankfully a 2-way passage.Delete
Thank you, Kathy, and thank your for all the Tweets, as well! Like you said, it's amazing how God works. People appear in our lives, seemingly from out of nowhere, to pick us up, dry our tears, and move us onward. It has happened so many times for me, you would think God employed an army to keep me on the right path! :)Delete
You know, Sara, just maybe He DOES employ an army of protective guardians for each of us. Wow! I look back at a few situations in my past and I know that if it wasn't for Him I'd be snuffed out of the picture, physically and/or mentally. But the visual of each of us having an individual army around us floods me with a calming warmth.Delete
Sara sounds like she has lead an interesting life! I would love to read her debut novel.ReplyDelete
Patty, thanks for visiting! If you'd like to be entered in Sara's BookGiveaway offer, please leave your email info in another comment, or send me the info via the "Contact Form" located on the right-hand sidebar.Delete
I hope you get a chance to read the book, Patty! Thanks for joining in the fun. :)Delete
Sara, what a wonderful week on Everyone's Story, and that's because of wonderful you! Thanks again for being such a great guest! And, for encouraging all of us to reach out to others and to think reflectively who has been a mentor to us as well.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the great BookGiveaway of your debut novel (I love writing that--so happy for you!!), I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS. The winner of Sara's novel is…
Ann E. Happy reading, Ann! Both Sara and I will contact you via direct emails.
Blessings to all.