Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Resolving to Make the Minutes Count by Sowing God’s Word

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The Sower

This picture, called The Sower,  has hung on the publisher’s office wall throughout Ambassador International’s 40-year history.  It is taken from the Parable of Jesus where the man sows the seed of Salvation and it falls on different types of soil. Dr. Lowry, Ambassador’s founder and publisher, has always felt that this is the calling and heart behind Ambassador: to sow God’s Word and reach the world through the books that are published. Derick Bingham says it best in his book North of Shadowlands, “The potent power of the seed of the Word of God is actually, when you muse on it, eternal in its influence. So, sow it, Christian, sow it. Don’t go through your day without scattering some of it in the corners only you can reach” (Pg. 41-42).

Dr. Lowry chose this excerpt from Minutes Matter because the focus of this book is on time and what we do with it. This book helps us see how important it is to use our time here on earth to bring glory to God. Let us muse on these words as we begin this new year:

“525,600 minutes in a year. 36,792,000 minutes if you are given 70 years, and 72,048,000 minutes if you’re blessed with 80! ‘The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.’ -Psalm 90:10
Could you imagine at the beginning of our lives if we had the opportunity to check how many minutes we were going to live?

26,280,000 – 50 years
31,536,000 – 60 years
36,792,000 – 70 years
42,048,000 – 80 years

May I ask who wouldn’t check the 42,048,000 minute box? I mean, would anyone check less? But when you look at it as minutes, don’t all these choices seem like so many?
We must remember, however, the more days we are given, the more we will have to be accountable for over time. We all know this fact to be true, that none of us are guaranteed another minute. So why not strive to make each minute matter and every beat of our heart count? I wholeheartedly believe that as we begin to be good stewards of our days, we will be able to accomplish so much for the Lord because we are honoring Him with one of the most precious gifts we’ve all been given, time. So where do we begin?
Our days are busy, and without a plan, we will collapse at the end of each day and ask, ‘What just hit me?’
Ever been there?
I’m going to open a window to myself so that you can get a little glimpse of how I’m wired. I’ve been an organized person for most of my life, at least as long as I can remember. Being disorganized can drive me crazy. I’ve learned to live by to-do lists, and when I check something off, it makes me feel really good!
I know, kind of weird, huh? But how many of you can relate? Actually, when I do something that wasn’t on my list, I’ll sometimes write it on my list so that I can receive the pleasure of checking if off my list.
Some of you are laughing and some are relating to this. There are many benefits of being an organized person by your very nature, but the danger of needing organization in your life at every turn is that it can be hard to relax.
That is why the smartest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote this as well:

‘Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?
Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time?
It is good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other;
For he who fears God will escape them all.’ Ecclesiastes 7:16-18

In another version, it says the man who ‘fears God will avoid all extremes’ (NIV).

Minutes Matter

We must keep a balance in our lives as we use our time wisely in all that we do. We must begin our days asking the Lord to help us in all areas of our lives. In the following chapters, we will look at some practical ways to stay healthy within our personal lives, our families, and our place of work, in worship, in serving, and in play. There are various areas of our lives that we will explore to make sure we are making our minutes matter in this crazy pace we try and keep called life.
In whatever we do, my prayer is that we make our lives count for something or someone.”

Excerpt taken from Minutes Matter: Making Every Beat Count by K. R. Mele, Chapter 1, Pg. 13-15. To learn more about Minutes Matter, visit HERE.

As we carry on in 2019, may we use our minutes in ways that matter!

Guest Post: Busy Firefighters Teach Fire Safety, Too!

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Did you know this week is Fire Prevention Week?! In honor, here is a guest post from Firefighters’ Busy Day and Fraidy Brady Visits the Fire Station author, Maria Bostian.

As Firefighters’ Busy Day shows us, today’s firefighters have lots of important jobs to do. Not only do they train for emergencies, respond to calls, and fight fires; they teach people how to be safe.

This week, busy firefighters all across the county are teaching people about fire safety. It is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA), Fire Prevention Week which is a popular time for firefighters and families to talk about fire safety and escape planning. This week’s theme focuses on the importance of a quick response to a fire emergency. In home fires, deadly smoke and fire can spread in a matter of minutes. That is why it is important to develop a plan and put it in to practice. As the theme reminds us,

every second truly counts!Click To Tweet

Fire safety tips:

  • Having Two Ways Out of every room in your home may include using windows as exits. Windows? Yes, windows.
  • Make sure your family can open the windows in your home. Are they painted shut? Is heavy furniture blocking them so that someone can’t get out? If you find any hazard that prevents someone from opening their window, be sure to correct it as soon as possible.
  • Also remember that the door most often used, may not be the quickest or safety door to go out during an emergency. For example: If a fire starts in the front of the home, it may be safer to use the back door or a side door to get outside.
  • Where should you go once you get out? That place is called The Meeting Place. It should be a safe distance away from the home and should be where the firefighters can find you. It should be something permanent like a tree or a mailbox; not a car, a kiddy pool, or something else that can be moved or put away for the season.

Every Second Counts so create a plan and practice it often. At a minimum you should practice it twice a year: once during the day and another time at night.

Why don’t you make your plan and practice it this week? Think of it as your Fire Prevention Week homework! When you do, snap a photo and send it to us. Ambassador International would love to show others the steps families take to be “fire safe.” Help us saturate social media with pictures of meeting places, escape plans, two ways out, people checking their windows, etc. Together, we can remind others that EVERY SECOND COUNTS!

To learn more about firefighters and fire safety, download the free coloring sheets from Maria Bostian’s Firefighters’ Busy Day. And feel free to hop over to her blog at www.mariabostian.com for more escape planning and safety information.

The High Calling of Motherhood Blog Tour Day 1

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I was so glad that I was able to read The High Calling of Motherhood and am excited to introduce it to you today. This was a book that went straight to my heart. As “Mom” to a 7-month old son, I’m still knee deep in the midnight feedings, teething pains, sleepless nights, you-name-its, and am finding that motherhood can be hard. But alternately, I’m finding that motherhood is one of the most beautiful things I’ve faced to date. To watch my son learn and explore and to “see” things through his eyes, it’s amazing. And to add in the kisses and the smiles he reserves for mama – or the way he snuggles up in my arms and he’s content and happy. I love those moments. But sometimes, it can hard to see the beauty through the hard times and that’s exactly what The High Calling of Motherhood helped me do.

What stuck out to me most was Chimene’s discussion over Judea and Jerusalem and how we, as mothers, are supposed to focus on “our Jerusalem”—our mission field {and in this context, that’s my child}. Chimene explains it so well in the book and you should read it for yourself to get a full understanding of this concept, but in essence, Jerusalem was the home base for the disciples—even if they were to go into the world—and our home base is our family and our home. She writes, “Our primary mission field is home base, first and foremost. This is a gift and honor. We have been chosen to share Jesus with our children. We are chosen and called to preach the gospel, first making disciples in our own homes. Just think of the exponential influence this intentionality could have when our children begin making disciples of their own!” I love this concept of the ripple effect. It’s not a new concept and applies to so many areas of life, but when viewing it in light of raising my child to be a “World Changer” for Jesus, it’s such a helpful visual to have and I find it helps me have a better perspective.

Since I’m still knee deep in the baby stage, I haven’t had the chance to put much of that into practice, but I appreciate that I have this advice in mind now before heading into these prime child-rearing years and admit to highlighting a lot of points in The High Calling of Motherhood! It’s a book that I think I will reference many times over the next few years and a book I think is good for every mother to read—no matter what stage of life you’re in. There is SO much more covered in the book than what I covered in this introductory review, but I want to save some so you have a reason to read the book yourself! I’ll leave you with this, my favorite quote from the book that goes along with the previous concept: “The greatest place of influence is a mother in the home. If we can reach the mom, we can reach the family. If we can reach the family, we can change the world {emphasis mine}.”

You can pre-order your own copy of The High Calling of Motherhood at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ambassador’s online retail store  {use code “HighCalling” entered at time of purchase for a 10% pre-order discount}.

Don’t forget to enter The High Calling of Motherhood “Winner’s Choice” blog tour giveaway. One winner will be chosen and will get to choose between a custom made “World Changer” necklace by The Giving Keys {that is being unveiled at the Passion4Moms conference} or two tickets to attend the Passion4Moms conference being held in DC, May 5-6, 2017. Enter below!

Giveaway

The High of Calling of Motherhood Blog Tour Giveaway

The High Calling of Motherhood

Love Him Anyway Blog Tour Day 1

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LHA-BlogTour

 

As the Chief Operating Office of Ambassador International, I don’t get to decide which books we publish, instead I have the joy of helping our authors and their books as they make their way through the publishing process. One of my favorite parts of my job, though, is the proofreading that I get to do. It helps me keep up with what we’re publishing.

I am honored to be opening the blog tour of Love Him Anyway by Abby Banks and to share with you my heart on this book. Here’s where I have to fully confess first. When I first started the {proof}reading of Love Him Anyway, I found myself thinking, Why are we publishing this book!?!? {Sorry, Abby.} The second thought that trailed not too far behind was, How am I supposed to get people to buy this book?!?! {Again, super sorry about that, Abby}. You should have seen me. Here I was trying to work, and instead I was a sobbing basket case. I couldn’t read through the tears pouring down my face! But as sad as I was, I had been “sucked in” to the story, and I couldn’t stop reading. Abby’s writing was so raw and real, she hooked me in. I am fairly certain I finished this proofreading in record time! And I can honestly tell you, I’m glad I did finish it and it’s a story that I now highly recommend.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but as you can find in the book description, Abby’s son, Wyatt, was paralyzed at 7-months old. {I am sure this book was especially hard for me to read because I’m “Mom” to a seven-month old son}. But this story isn’t just about Wyatt—it’s about the entire Banks family, and for me, it was a story about Abby, a fellow mom. As I read Love Him Anyway, I kept picturing the face of my baby and thinking, What if that had been me? What if MY son had become paralyzed? And this point here is what I’d like to focus on. What if it had been my son? Or, what if, instead of watching the livestream of a 5-month-old’s funeral from my living room {like I did yesterday}, I was the mom that had to stand there in the church, brokenhearted at my loss. I’m fortunate to still have my healthy, happy little 7-month old boy with me today, but I’m not guaranteed that, not even for the next five minutes. My boy belongs to Jesus first and foremost, and what Abby taught me through her story is to trust the Lord through the good times and the bad. It’s easy to say this from this side of the mountain, but my prayer is that if I ever face a trial like the Banks family, that I’ll respond as they did and cling to the Lord and “find hope in the hardest places.”

I was moved by Abby’s strength amidst the turmoil, and while she calls Wyatt her hero, I call her mine. She admits that their lives aren’t always easy and that she doesn’t always respond as she should, but that’s just a part of being human, and the overall theme you’ll find in Love Him Anyway is that the Banks family loves and trusts the Lord, despite of and through the trials they face.

You need to know in advance that Love Him Anyway is a hard read, especially if you’re a mom, but it’s such an encouragement and I highly recommend it—not because I’m the Chief Operating Officer of the company that published it—but because I believe you’ll get the same lesson from it that I did: Life may be hard sometimes, but God is good all the time and you can always find hope in those hard places. And sometimes, we need that reminder.

Love Him Anyway releases February 21, 2017 in paperback at all major retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christianbook.com. You can also purchase Love Him Anyway through Ambassador International’s online store and use the coupon code “LoveHim” for a 10% discount. Lastly, you can enter to win a free signed copy below.

And if you’re local, you can join the Banks family at the Barnes and Noble at The Shops at Greenridge on March 18th from 10am-12pm for a book signing. We’d love to have you there!

Win a signed copy of Love Him Anyway!

 

No matter where you get Love Him Anyway, just make sure you have tissues handy!

 

And stay tuned for Day 2 of the blog tour at rebelbookreviews.blogspot.com.

National Bullying Prevention Month: My Bullying Story

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Ambassador author Laura Taylor’s book EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies teaches kids how to biblically combat bullying. This is the final installment in Laura’s three-part series on bullying.

 

I really wasn’t planning on writing a children’s book. I spent years telling stories to my own boys. One of my younger sons, Evan, was wild about the fantastic tales of Nutty the Naughty Squirrel that I made up to help him go to sleep at night. Still, I’d never entertained the idea of writing a book for kids. I always wanted to write but thought my first adventure into publishing a book would be more along the lines of a women’s devotional.

Bullying-PinterestThat all changed about five years ago. My two youngest boys, Evan and Ethan had gone on a trip and brought me back a stuffed otter. Otter’s happen to be my favorite animal so they surprised me with this sweet gift. We were going through a very difficult time back then. And I named that little, stuffed otter EE Otter (short for Evan and Ethan) and told them I was going to write a story about him.

I didn’t set out to write a story about bullies, it just popped into my head one night as I was trying to go to sleep. EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies. It had a catchy ring to it so I decided that would be the title of my first manuscript. That’s good, right? To have a title? At least it’s a place to begin. And being a physical education teacher I had to deal with handling issues of bullying as they arose. And, beyond that, I was actually dealing my own situation involving a bully. It seemed as if the timing were perfect.

It was a quick start. I found myself lost and falling in love with the Laurel Wood and all of EE’s little forest friends. The first few chapters came easily and I was thoroughly enjoying writing this story. Then I hit a snag. I just wasn’t sure where the story was supposed to go. EE had his bully encounter, but now what? I did know one thing for sure, that this book was to center around God’s Word and how children can apply His truths to any situation in their life because His way works. I pondered using David and Goliath for the scriptural part, but that seemed too overused. I read various passages of scripture but none seemed to be the right direction for my little otter to head.

At the same time, the situation in my personal life was escalating. I was receiving emails, calls, and text messages with insults and veiled threats and I was getting fed up and angry. Yet this bully always managed to fly under the radar. I wasn’t able to get help in stopping this and I was sick with anger and anxiety over it. There were times I prayed those imprecatory prayers like David where I asked God to just deal out His justice upon my enemy. And times I cried out to Him to heal my hurt. There were times I fired back with an angry email or text. Yet healing seemed to be so far away and so did the conclusion of EE’s story. It was New Year’s Eve and my husband and I were at church. Seated in front of us was a family that I knew had been through experiences similar to ours. I had listened as the mother talked about forgiveness and healing. It was then that God’s voice spoke to me sweetly and very clearly. “I said to love your enemies, to bless those that curse you”. I really wanted to pretend I didn’t hear that! “But I am afraid, Father.” I replied. “This person has caused so much pain and destruction in my life, in the lives of people I love, if I let down my guard I can’t protect them, I can’t protect me!” He whispered, “Child, I created mankind. I created you. I know how the heart works. I know how life is supposed to work. That is why I gave you My Word as an instruction manual. What I ask of you is because I love you and I know how to make things
work for your good. My Word says that there is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear. I love you perfectly, Laura. So if I tell you to forgive this enemy, this one who has hurt you; if I tell you to bless this one who has cursed you, then I am telling you out of my perfect love for you. Do you trust my Love?”

It was then that I relinquished my hurt and my control over this situation. I realized that God’s word was truly Life for my living. It wasn’t a book of suggested “How To’s”, it was the essence for living well, for living life as He intended and commanded for me to live it. Forgiving didn’t come easy and the bully is not gone from our lives. Forgiving has been and continues to be a process for me, but as I learn to trust God’s love more completely it becomes easier. And as I marvelled at God’s ways, I became thankful that His ways are not my ways nor His thoughts my thoughts! I was thankful that His love was perfect and meant I didn’t have to fear doing that which He asked of me! And, in the midst this personal growing process I discovered the direction that my little friend, EE Otter would need to travel on his own adventure in dealing
with those old bullfrog bullies.

I don’t know what bullies you might be facing. I don’t know how daunting the task of forgiving someone may be for you. What I do know is that you have nothing to fear by following the words of our Savior, by putting His principles of living and loving into action. Trust His love. It has never failed anyone yet! May you be blessed and find rest in His perfect, unending love.

National Bullying Prevention Month: A Chance to be a Hero

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Ambassador author Laura Taylor’s book EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies teaches kids how to biblically combat bullying. This is the second installment in Laura’s three-part series on bullying. The final installment can be found HERE.

Maybe you’ve noticed the way the girls turn their backs on her and laugh as she approaches her locker. Maybe you’ve seen the look of fear on his face as a group of athletes saunter up the hallway and one of them hollers, “Hey guys look who it is!” Chances are pretty good that , at some time, in some place, you’ve had a front row seat to a kid being put down, laughed at, intimidated, and hurt. In other words, you’ve seen bullying in action. And you did nothing. Maybe you were too scared to speak up. Maybe you didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Maybe you were already late for class and didn’t have the time to do anything. So it went on, one more time.

Bullying-PinterestAnd somehow you missed your chance; your chance to be a hero. That’s right! Yeah, like the one you used to pretend to be when you were just a little kid, cape and all. You know, the one in the movies and the comics. The one who stands up for the little guy. The one who speaks out against injustice. The one who does it, not because he’s trying to be a hero, but because he’s trying to do the right thing. Yeah, I know, he’s got all those super powers, right? And you don’t.

Yet the fact remains that you still have the chance to be a hero. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? You don’t have to have the cape and fly, be able to smash cars with your bare hands, or shoot heat rays out of your eyeballs. You just have to be you. Yep, you! The you who decides to stand on the heroic principles of right and speak out about what’s wrong. That’s it. All it takes is a commitment to what is right and the courage to stand up and speak out when things are wrong. Statistics (yeah, you maybe should have listened a little more in math class) say that bullies stop bullying 60% of the time when a hero like you intervenes. Think about that! Over half of the situations that occur where someone is being picked on and bullied actually stop! They cease when a hero like you steps onto the scene and speaks out about what is wrong. Now that’s heroic power in action! And, I don’t need to tell you that picking on someone is wrong. I don’t need to tell you that intimidating someone else is wrong. It goes without saying that posting nasty stuff on social media about someone is wrong; that hitting, hurting, or belittling another fellow human being for any reason at all is wrong ALWAYS!

You’re smart. You already know that stuff! But here’s the thing: knowing and not doing something about it, well that’s not smart. And like I said, you’re smart! And when you take what you know and apply it to what you do then you’re smart and strong! Sure sounds like the making of a hero, huh? And you know what else is cool? The more you stand up for others, the more you speak out against wrong, the stronger you actually become yourself! And what’s more, if Jesus Christ lives inside of you, then you’re already promised His power, His wisdom, and His presence when you choose to do the right thing!

So, the next time you see someone being picked on or bullied, stand up and speak out! Taking a stand and speaking out may look different than you might imagine. It may take the form of finding an adult that you can trust and ask for their help; or simply saying, “Stop picking on her!”; It may mean that you take the time to befriend the victim of bullying, or eat lunch at her table, or walk with him to class. A simple act of kindness can set off some serious ripples that can grow into waves that might just flood that whole school of yours!

Yeah, there are a lot of ways to stand up, to speak out against bullying, but you already knew that, didn’t you? Because there’s a hero right there inside of you! Inside of everyone of you! And how cool would it be if those who think your generation is just a bunch of selfish, mean spirited and entitled kids had to sit up and take notice because of the heroes, like you, who are choosing to make a real, everyday difference? How awesome would it be that you would be known as the generation of ordinary, everyday heroes who make an extraordinary difference and defeated, once and for all, the evil arch nemesis called Bullying!

National Bullying Prevention Month: Prevention Begins with a Change of Heart

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Ambassador author Laura Taylor’s book EE Otter and the Bullfrog Bullies teaches kids how to biblically combat bullying. This is the first installment in Laura’s three-part series on bullying. The second installment can be found HERE.

 

October is many things. It is the month that ushers in the beauty of Autumn. It is blazing treetops, football games and homecoming queens, Harvest festivals and Halloween. October heightens our awareness of the beauty all around and about us. It is celebration and transition. It is the month that slowly prepares us for change as summer’s heat passes and winter cold is on its’ way.

Perhaps that is why October is the perfect month for something else. As we celebrate the beauty of God’s creation and embrace the inevitability of change that October signifies, it seems only appropriate that October would be the month chosen to heighten our awareness of the need for change regarding a very important social issue. October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Bullying-PinterestI am sure you’ve heard the stories, read the headlines, seen the statistics. You probably even have a story of your own. It’s not like bullies are new. No, they’ve been around since mankind decided in his heart that he could live life better apart from God and His love. And that is the heart of the matter of bullying. I could quote statistics about the numbers of kids that are bullied every year, but statistics aren’t always accurate. I wonder how many kids go home to parents who bully them but never tell; how many women are bullied by a boyfriend or husband but dare not breathe a word; or how many students hide away in the bathroom during lunchtime but won’t speak up and tell who they are afraid of? The important thing isn’t the numbers, because in my estimation, just one person being bullied by another is one too many! What is important is that behind every statistic, every victim and every bully is a heart. A heart that holds hurt, insecurity, fear, anger, violence. A heart that needs to hear and feel the love of a people who reflect the love of a Savior who himself knew a thing or two about bullies.

Where do we begin to address the issue of prevention to such a pervasive enemy? We begin with ourselves, we begin at our own heart level. As the month of October brings on seasonal transition and change, what if we allow it to begin to transition and change some of the attitudes that assist a culture of bullying. What if we stop saying that it’s just “boys being boys,” or “ kids are just mean these days,”  or “it’s just part of childhood”? What if, instead, we embrace the truths, the unchanging truths that Christ taught and expects His own kids to live by? The Maker of our hearts knows every nuance of how our hearts work, how hearts are connected to actions. Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke chapter 6. He said that it is from the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks. Nowhere did He ever say it was okay for people to use their words or actions to bully someone. Never did He justify manipulation or intimidation. He never entertained the idea that bullying was some sort of rite of passage for children, or for anyone. Prevention begins with change. Change begins at the heart level. Change begins when we check our the temperature of our hearts against the heartbeat of His Word. When we hide His Word in our hearts and teach our children, grandchildren, neighborhood children to do the same. When we decide that He really does know what He’s talking about when He tells us how to live our lives, love our enemies, and take care of those around us that is when prevention begins!

As the cool autumn season is upon us and the transition from warm summer sun to cool autumn days has us heading to the closet for that favorite hoodie to ward off the chilly autumn morning air, why don’t we check and make sure that we’ve clothed ourselves in the wardrobe Christ commanded so that together we can ward off the chilly sting of bullying and let our hearts produce the warmth of His love?

“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love the perfect bond of unity” Colossians 3:12-14 (CSB)

Author Forum: How Do You Choose a Book Title?

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This is the fifth of a multi-part series by guest blogger Ivy Cheng tapping into the expertise of several seasoned Ambassador authors. The first post offered tips on dealing with writer’s block. The second post covered the influence other writers can have on your work, the third discussed managing a writing schedule within a busy life and last week’s post provided insight into starting a book project.

Although we always say never judge a book by its cover, it cannot be denied that first impressions are important. When you pick up a book, the first thing you see is a book’s title and cover. It is important to find a title that grabs the reader’s attention, makes an impact, and also reflect the book itself. That is a lot of expectations heaped on just a few words.

 

Juana M9781620202913-e1414700233650ikels – Author of Choosing Him All Over Again 

I was so honored to be a guest on Elisabeth Elliot’s radio program in 1997. We had begun a writing correspondence and she mentored me through her letters. She asked me to come on her program and tell our story. After we finished taping 3 days worth of programs, she said, “Juana, you know you are going to have to write a book. Call it, “Don’t Dump Him.” I was so busy with 4 young children, and my fourth child was born totally blind and partially deaf. Twelve years went by as I was a dyed-in-the-wool stay-at-home-mother and found motherhood absolutely a calling and delightful (nothing will ever surpass it, no book—no accomplishment—nothing. I left a six-figure income with Xerox in sales to teach my children at home. When we stopped home-schooling after 13 years, I began the manuscript entitling it, you guessed it, “Don’t Dump Him.” After I was blessed with an agent, we still kept the title the same as she shopped for publishers. We decided to reverse the title to make it a more positive statement flipping it to, “Choosing Him All Over Again.”  I’m glad we offer that alternative title, and in the end my publisher chose it. That honored my husband too, for he never liked, “Don’t Dump Him!”

 

From Driftwood to SapphireKathy Howard – Author of From Dishes to Snow and From Driftwood to Sapphire

That’s funny you should ask, because I have no process. Though they are not all published yet, by God’s goodness, I have written three books. All three were different when it came to finding a title. From Dishes to Snow was originally titled ‘The Little Red House,’ but that didn’t pop. Not until I was reworking a scene at the end of the book and the words just came out, did I realize that those words needed to be on the front cover as well. From Driftwood to Sapphire’s title came in the middle of writing it. I knew I wanted the sequel to have the same type of title, so I intentionally thought of driftwood and sapphire and did my best to work it into the story. The third novel’s title came before the first word was typed. Since it has not yet been published, I’ll keep its name a mystery for now. 😉 So, the process for creating a title? For me, there is none. The title shows up on its own time table.

Grace in the Middle

Wendy Duke – Author of Grace in the Middle

Choosing a title is definitely tricky.  I wanted the title to convey the message of the story, but also connect a stranger  to the story when he / she picks it up off of a shelf in a bookstore. I’m drawn to bold titles, lyrical titles, and memorable titles.  You want people to remember the name of the book when they talk about it or share it with others. And the title and cover have to tie so closely together; a strong or intriguing title with a cover equally as strong and intriguing is a powerful draw.

 

An9781620202692-197x306drea Rodgers –Author of The 20th Christmas

I always find that coming up with a title is one of the hardest parts of writing a book, what was your process for creating a title?

I really have no one to credit for my titles except God! Every other title I’ve come up with in my life was a struggle (and really terrible titles, haha), but The 20th Christmas were the words I saw when I opened my eyes after having the dream. A similar situation happened with Caged Dove–I was walking around my house with the laundry basket and that title just came to me. When I looked up Scripture about doves, I had chills–Psalm 55:6 fits my book to a T. I knew there was no better way to begin Caged Dove than with that Bible verse!

 

 

 

Are you ready to start writing your own book? Go and comment on our Facebook page and tell us all about it!

 

Author Forum: How Do You Start Writing a Book?

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This is the fourth of a multi-part series by guest blogger Ivy Cheng tapping into the expertise of several seasoned Ambassador authors. The first post offered tips on dealing with writer’s block. The second post covered the influence other writers can have on your work and the third discussed managing a writing schedule within a busy life.

I once had a friend who told me “everyone has a story, but not all of them can write it.” I think this is a very true statement. Everyone is unique in their own way, and everyone has a story to tell. However, not everyone has the time, patience, or skill to write their story. The ability to write an entire book requires intense devotion. It is a daunting task to sit in front of a blank screen and start writing a book. And so, we ask some of our authors what was the spark that made them write those first few words.

 

Juana M9781620202913-e1414700233650ikels – Author of Choosing Him All Over Again 

The short answer is it was a call from God. By that I mean, that I knew to write it was to be obedient to what He wanted me to do. Knowing that it was God’s will for my life with my husband’s full blessing gave me strength and endurance when the going got rough—and it did get rough. It took me a year and half to write the rough draft, another year and a half to get a Christian agent, then another two years to get a Christian publisher, and finally one year before I held the book in my hand. When the book finally arrived, I will never forget my husband’s prayer with me. We held the book in our hands, and he prayed that if one person could be brought closer to Christ or have a stronger marriage—just one person more complete in all the will of God—it would be worth it. So beautiful to hear the man that I left all those years ago to pray over Choosing Him All Over Again.

From Driftwood to SapphireKathy Howard – Author of From Dishes to Snow and From Driftwood to Sapphire

From Dishes to Snow was written after we decided to homeschool our girls. I wanted to do something that would share Jesus and hopefully make enough money to pay for the kids’ curriculum. I prayed over every writing day, never knowing what the characters would do or say. I had no idea what the plot would be, only that I wanted to use my family’s mountain house as the setting. As a child, I remember hiking, daydreaming about different stories involving our precious mountain. In 2013/2014, I was given the chance to daydream again, only this time, others were privy to those dreams as the story came alive on paper.

Grace in the Middle

Wendy Duke – Author of Grace in the Middle

Encouragement from other people motivated me highly, but I also just had a deep conviction that our story of pain and struggle could help someone else in their own difficult circumstances. I had flashbacks of sitting in doctors’ waiting rooms, alone and scared, and decided to write our story to help encourage people in the same shoes. This has been my greatest desire for this book: to help struggling families deal with the difficulties of having a child with an illness or other traumatic circumstances. King Solomon said our words have the power of life and death, and I wanted to use mine to speak life over people who need to hear life and light and hope.

 

 

An9781620202692-197x306drea Rodgers –Author of The 20th Christmas

My first book, The 20th Christmas, came to me in a dream. I’ve been writing stories since childhood and that had never happened to me before–but I started scribbling down what I remembered and a month later the manuscript was completed! My next book, Cage The Dove (coming this fall), was inspired by real-life events that I went through in junior high, so the story idea has been on my mind for over two decades. God gave me too many signs for me to put it off any longer.

Are you ready to start writing your own book? Go and comment on our Facebook page and tell us all about it!