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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week Forty-One: Tina L Scott

Try Not To Panic Over Intermittent Paychecks




“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”Matthew 6:25,26,27,33-34 (NIV)


One of the single hardest things for me to get used to as a freelancer is the feast or famine nature of the business. Some months I get several new clients and former clients come back to me with new assignments. Other months my phone doesn’t ring, my email brings nothing but spam and it’s easy to panic. How will I pay my bills this month, Lord? What am I going to do if I don’t have money in the checking account to pay the mortgage next week?


I try to budget, try to anticipate income probability for the coming months based on sound logic without being overly optimistic, and try not to make too many impulse purchases. But time and time again I come up short. There’s too much month left at the end of the money. How does one cope with the financial uncertainty and the pressure and stress of being self-employed, freelancing, or as I like to call it, overworked and underpaid?


Quite frankly, I don’t cope so well. It’s nerve wracking to always wonder where your next meal ticket will come from, how you’re going to pay for your daughter’s new shoes so she can join the track team with all her friends, and if you’re being overindulgent by treating yourself to cafĂ© latte with a friend.


Building a freelance writing business is about so much more than just writing. It’s about advertising and marketing, accounts payable and accounts receivable (and there are usually a lot more of the former than the latter), customer relations, networking; vision and goal setting; organizing and filing; and a whole lot more, and then it’s finally about writing. It’s hard enough to multi-task to the extent necessary, treat each client like they are special, maintain your sense of creativity, stay sane, and get a reasonable amount of sleep, without even thinking about your household expenses.
That’s where God comes in. When I just don’t have the answers, I turn to this favorite Bible verse and try to calm down.


I reason with my irrational self that God loves me far more than a
flock of birds, so He will also provide for me. I remind myself I do not have to worry; God told me so, and that worrying doesn’t help a thing. I stop and listen: for His voice to His word. And I start to trust the Creator of the Universe to supply all my needs, even though it goes against the logic of worldly thinking. I place my trust in Him, and I decide to exercise my faith in Him. Then I pray. And I sing songs of joy and praise and thanksgiving. I get lost in the music and the spiritual experience. I simply bask in the glow of His love for me, and I know everything will work out somehow, someway.


And do you know what? It always does.






Tina L. Scott is a full-time professional photographer who now writes in her spare time. She is married with two children and one granddaughter and lives in Merrill, Wisconsin. www.photographybytina.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week Forty: Nancy Richardson











Remedy For Deadlines and Pressure



“But those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)





When the pressure is on. The story is due. The words are few. Then it is time to wait on the Lord. Here it says, “...those who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength.”


You have been struggling to even write one more word. But then as you wait and take time with the Lord and wait on Him Words come. The words flow once again. It’s back, the inspiration. The thoughts come so swiftly you can not get them down quick enough. You are eager to write, eager to finish. You possess desire to share with others. The deadline is no longer tiresome because you know the source of your strength comes from Him.


Can you not feel yourself soaring as the eagle? A flight into the sky. Thoughts soaring right and left until you find yourself already inspired to write the next book. The ideas are fresh. The plot is daring. Hang on, the Lord is about to take you higher. For this is where the eagle flies.


Oh, the joy of waiting on the Lord. Oh, the freedom of not being weary. Oh, the feeling of not fainting. The pressure is no longer a problem. Why? Because you chose to wait on the Lord.






Nancy DuBose Richardson is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ and is living in Camden, Arkansas with my husband and one child, the last of six, left at home. After teaching Sunday School class for many years she wrote and self published a 30 day devotional called "Seek First.." for her class and friends. Currently, she is working on another devotional series called "At the Kitchen Table", and one dealing with choices which is yet to be titled.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week Thirty-Nine: Coleen P. Kenny

Who's In Your Tribe?


“Who’s In Your Tribe?” —McNair Wilson




A thought bubble rose above my head: They all are. Speaking at a Christian Writer’s Guild Conference, McNair Wilson defined a "tribe” as The Right Individuals Bragging Endlessly. The people who lift us up and support us along the footpaths of our dreams. Wilson urged members of the audience to find a few of these folks who will encourage us endlessly.


That afternoon I wrote my first piece of fan mail:




Dear Mr. Wilson,


I am blessed by a tribe who catch my energy and glow. No stifled yawns, no chiding nor laughter as I babble about my writing. Just people who forget I’m a Nurse Practitioner. People who ask for wedding and funeral poems. People who keep notebooks of my articles so they can say “they knew me when.” People who love me for and with God.
 

But the main thrust of Wilson’s message targeted the men and women who don’t have a tribe, whose spouses, families, or friends don’t support their hopes and dreams.


I thought about the people who surround me, the people I’ve collected like ornaments on the tree of my life. How did I get so blessed?


First, as Wilson advised, I make Christ the chairman of my tribe. (And for those whose spouses aren’t on their bandwagons, Wilson suggested staying for the next conference: a marriage retreat.)


Next, I wander like a nomad through the hearts of hiking buddies and Bible studies, and close friends and colleagues. I build communal fires of enthusiasm via email. I open the tent flap to my life, share my dreams, and give my Divine Muse all the credit.


Like a native storyteller, I spread word of publishing triumphs and conference kudos to a cadre of fans seeking good news in
this savage world. The lore of my accomplishments becomes
encouragement to other writers and those pursuing alternative dreams. Copies of my clips become a witness to His work.



Finally, modesty doesn’t stand in my way. Sharing this gift is my God-given job. When asked if they mind the smoke signals
that carry my news, the tribe’s overwhelming responses included: “Please keep sharing. It’s awesome to see someone pursuing
and reaching their dreams.”



“Your emails give me a boost in the morning. I’m always eager to see what God is doing next.”


The tribe grows.


Some members of this circle don’t believe my Divine Muse exists. Yet they read every word God publishes through me. One day I believe they’ll migrate to my camp for good.


So how do you make it happen?


If you have a tribe, writer, nurture it. Keep people posted and praying for you. If you don’t have a band of brothers (or sisters), create one. Gather a group who will love and support you for and with God. You have a gift. Honor it, honor Him, and honor those whose hearts your words will touch for eternity.







Coleen P. Kenny is a freelance-writer whose fans forget she is a Nurse Practitioner caring for the elderly. Positive Thinking, War Cry, and Believe! have published her articles, and twenty-five devotionals appeared in the gift book “Reach for Your Dreams, Graduate. The 2004 Writers Digest Annual Contest awarded her an Honorable Mention, and she completed the Christian Writers Guilds Apprenticeship in 2007. She is also a professional speaker and storyteller and can be reached at irishhiker@vcu.org




Monday, July 07, 2014

Week Thirty-Eight: Molly Noble Bull

 Writing with Sticks and Stones

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that
love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)




We have all heard the saying. “Sticks and stones may break
my bones. But words will never hurt me.” But is this a true statement? Do words hurt?
Yes. Words spoken in anger, with sarcasm or in a mocking
tone hurt. Sometimes our words harm others when that is the last thing
we want to do.


But did you know words also heal?

“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow
of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15: 13


When I sit down to write an email to someone, I begin by
writing out all the important things I want to say in my message.
Or I reply to what someone else has said by putting in my two
cents. Sometimes I present a need and ask for prayer. At other
times I simply report what I consider to be important facts I read
about or heard in the news.

Let us say that today I want to report something I heard in
the news. My message might sound like this.

Dear Sally,
You might want to tune in to the Fox News Channel tonight at
seven central time. They are going to interview a doctor who once
preformed abortions, but is now pro-life.


Love,
Molly


Often, at this point, the Lord steps in and reminds me to say
something personal to Sally, the one who will be receiving my
message. In other words, it’s time to send my words of healing,
encourage her or cheer her up. It’s time to go back and write
something between “Dear Sally” and “Be sure to tune in...” which
is encouraging or helpful.

Sally might not be able to watch the Fox News Channel that
night. She might have a previous engagement or not be especially
interested in the topic. But everybody needs encouragement.

Here is a sample of what I might add to my message to Sally.

Dear Sally,
Good morning.

I was so glad to hear your daughter placed in that swimming
match she entered last week. Tell her to keep up the good work.
And please know that I will be praying for you when you go
in to have your Mammogram on Friday. Since I always pray in
the name of Jesus, I think it means Jesus will be praying for
you, too.


You might want to tune in to the Fox News Channel tonight
at seven central time. They are going to interview a doctor who
once preformed abortions, but is now pro-life.


Love,
Molly


When you tell someone you will be praying for them, pray.
To do otherwise means you told a lie. I often pray for a person a
head of time. Instead of saying, “I will be praying for you,” I say,
“I just prayed for you.”

Remember, words can hurt even when you don’t use sticks
and stones to write them.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas, home of the famous King Ranch, where she and her husband live today. Both her father and her maternal grandfather were ranch mangers (real Texas cowboys) and she lived on a sixty thousand acre Texas cattle ranch for part of her growing up years. Molly and Charlie Bull have never been married to anyone but each other, and they have three grown sons and six grandchildren. All three of their sons are involved in ranching in Texas today. 

Molly has published with Zondervan, Love Inspired and Tsaba House, and so far, West Bow Press published her only non-fiction book.

Though Tsaba House is no longer in business, they published Sanctuary, and Sanctuary, a long Christian historical sent in France and England, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award in the inspirational category and also tied for first place in a second national contest for published authors that year. Gatehaven, Molly’s Gothic historical with a strong Christian message, won the Grand prize in the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript, and it was published in trade paperback and as an e-book in March 2014. Since then, Molly sold a Christian western romance to Elk Lake Press, and When the Cowboy Rides Away will be published in 2015.