Writer Wednesday: Carol James

Welcome author Carol James to Writer Wednesday!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

While I have always loved reading and happy endings, I never aspired to write. I majored in English education in college because I love grammar (weird, I know) and I believed that class would allow me to get to know the hearts of my students better than math or science.

I definitely was called to write. I was teaching part-time in a small private school when my husband suffered a health issue and lost his job. It was up to me to move out into the “real” world to support our family until he could get back on his feet. One morning I was sitting in our local park eating a Chick-fil-a chicken biscuit (some things are worth the calories), when God showed me some verses in Isaiah. Isaiah 43: 18-19

 

18 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

19 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I realized then that He would take this time in our lives and use it for His purposes and glory.

For about ten years, I tried various different ministries and activities, but nothing was the “stream in my wasteland.” Then my boss confessed to me that she was an aspiring author, and asked if I would edit her current work in progress for grammar errors. I did, and a little spark was lit in my heart. If she could do this, I could, too. We could be like C.S. Lewis J.R.R. Tolkien. When I put my first words on the paper, I knew this was it. God was calling me to write as a ministry.

What’s your pet peeve?

Oh, I r-e-a-l-l-y hate to say this, because it’s so unpopular in our relaxed culture. My pet peeve is tardiness. My father was a career Air Force officer, and his mantra was, “If you’re on time, you’re late.” I cannot remember a time when we were late for anything. We were always on time, generally early. This was drummed into me as long back as I can remember. I have come to believe that being on time shows respect for other people, and habitual lateness shows a lack of respect for another’s time and schedule. But, I will love you anyway, whether you’re on time or late.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I still remember the first writers’ conference I attended. One of the workshops was about crafting conflict. I’d only been writing for a couple of months. I was working—I was certain—on this world-changing, earth-shattering number one best selling novel. I sat down at the table, so sure the moderator would see the artistry of my writing and the magnificence of the plot. Right? When she started asking me questions about the conflict, the black moment, etc, I had no response. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. Obviously, I had a lot more learning and work to do before I graced the world with my work. LOL

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge is not to compare my work to that of other authors. It’s easy to compare my success, or lack of it, with contemporaries. I have to constantly remind myself that my job is to be faithful and obedient to the ministry to which I have been called, and the rest will follow. I may never write a number-one bestseller, but as long as my words minister to and uplift those who read them, I am being obedient. And it might be a life-changing book to that one person who needed to hear the message.

 How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

You know, as writers we have so much time, sweat, and emotion invested in our work, that rejections feel like someone telling you your brand new, precious baby is ugly. Rejections hurt, and I’ve been known to go to my husband and complain about how thick-headed that reviewer was, how he or she didn’t get it. How they don’t know what they’re talking about. But then, I take a deep breath and ask, why exactly did that person say that? Often, I can see the validity of the critique. Some of what started out as the harshest critiques have ended up being the best and those that taught me the most.

 What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

One of the most memorable moments I have experienced was after my first novel, Rescuing Faith, was released. It’s the story about a woman who’s husband has been unfaithful to her and how she moves past his infidelity and rejection. Not long after the novel was released, a gentleman at church came up to me and gave me a big hug. He said the book addressed exactly what his daughter was currently living through and that reading it had really ministered to and encouraged her. To me, that is success. That is my whole purpose for writing.

 What is your current work in progress?

My current work in progress has a working title of A Time for Singing. It’s a story about two people who have both been left at the altar and how they overcome those rejections. It’s set in an old Victorian Inn in a small Texas town. Several years ago my husband and I stayed at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Massachusetts. One of the most exciting surprises was discovering the Secret Drawer Society. The letters we found were sometimes fiction, but other times they were accounts of the writers’ life-changing experiences. I knew then, I would write a novel that included the SDS.

Bio:

Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one bestseller on Amazon.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

Website: www.carol-james.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/CarolJamesAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/caroljamesauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolJamesAuth  

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-James/e/B00IGMW2WI?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1573587965&sr=8-1

Latest book release: The Unexpected Christmas Gift, November 2019

Coming 2020: Season of Hope

Spatzle Speaks: Ponder This Novella Collection

My mom had this idea to have authors write a series of romance novellas based on Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (English Standard Version).  It became the PONDER THIS series because WHATEVER sounded too cavalier.

So with a little bit of encouragement, eight authors put forth their efforts and viola, a series was born. It releases this month with two novellas a week, but they are available for pre-order. It would be hard to review them all here so let me give you some highlights for each!

Whatever is True:  Everything About Us by Lisa J. Lickel

Contemporary Romance. Danny Winston wants it all, his dream job and the woman his heart desires, Shelly, who helped make his dreams come true. But things are falling apart and it threatens his future. Shelly isn’t sure she can quit California and move to rural Wisconsin. A horrible secret might ruin it all. Soon another enemy rises up to try to sabotage them, can love prevail when the truth is revealed?

Whatever is Honorable: Field of Forget-me-nots by Rachel James

Historical British Romance. Ana is about to lose her home when her patron dies. She is without home or fortune. Mr. Luke Renshow finds that Ana is an important part of the inheritance his aunt wishes for him. He agrees to a marriage of convenience but soon discovers that Ana is worth more than that. Can he swallow his pride and do the honorable thing?

Whatever is Just: To Complicate Matters by Linda Widrick

Contemporary Romantic Comedy. Angelica Dunn is a baker, and for some reason, when around Thaddeus Wright, a bit of a klutz. Thaddeus is drawn to Angelica, but his secret job with the CIA might just ruin any chances of a match between them.  When she leaves an embarrassing voice mail and tries to remove the evidence, the secrets mount and doing the right thing might lead to justice for criminals, but cost her a chance at love.

Whatever is Pure: Charlotte’s Dilemma by Susan Karsten

Regency Romance. Charlotte was a victim of a London scandal, but society blamed her. As a result, her parents banished her to a remote area to teach school. No family. No friends. A small cottage with barely the basic amenities. Life looked bleak until the school’s handsome patron took an interest in her. Any budding relationship is threatened by a new scandal that breaks around her again.

Whatever is Lovely: A Perfect Fit by Christine Schimpf

Contemporary Romance. Hannah is disappointed when her boyfriend doesn’t propose marriage. The relationship over, she vows to wait on God for a man and takes a new job teaching at a Christian school. She runs into Matt who is an attractive teacher and has a poor history of sticking with one woman. When the two of them meet they become friends determined not to be romantic, but things are about to change when Hannah’s old love comes to reinsert himself into her life.

Whatever is of Good Repute: Buttonholed by Anita Klumpers

Contemporary Southern Romance. A southern rivalry brings Manderley Jessup back to her Tennessee hometown where an old dual, a secret past crush, a forbidden romance, and a news crew are all raising up old ghosts from the past. Will her old rival, Abram Coventry work with her to overcome the issues tearing this town apart? Can a special, hand-crafted button design make a difference?

Whatever is Excellent: Lucy in Love by Kimberly M. Miller

Contemporary Romance. Lucy is doing well with her bakery and her family and friends are great. Her heart is broken over a failed engagement. When a music store opens next door she finds that the hunky guitar player in the band that runs the store, might just be a blast from her past. Henry has loved Lucy for years and when he meets her again he loses his balance. He used to be heavy and he’s lost weight and has been a magnet for the hot girls. Can and old flame be fanned into a new love? Could she trust a man again? Is the old Henry still there in spite of the current trappings of his success?

Whatever is Praisworthy: This Worthy Heart by Dixie Jo Jarchow

Contemporary Romance. Celestina’s romance with Jason is on the outs with a small stroke she’s suffered. No permanent damage but still, a threat to her happiness. As she works to win Jason back, an adorable puppy is dropped in her lap. Through a series of misfortunes, she develops a relationship with the hospital chaplain who talks to her of faith and disapproves of Jason. Cele is ordered by Jason to get rid of the dog. Can she have her happiness with the wealthy up and coming Jason, or does it entail the more humble pastor and a puppy?

 

Think on (Ponder!) these things.

My mom had a blast working with these authors to bring this series about and we both hope you’ll enjoy each and every one! I can’t pick a favorite although the last one does have a cute dog in it!

I give each book five bones because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Writer Wednesday: Gail Pallotta

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I’ve written stories for as long can remember, but considered it a hobby until I enrolled in a professional writing class in college. I realized then I could work on a magazine and make a living, so that’s what I did for many years. In the back of my mind I always wanted to write a book. Often when I wrote freelance articles about successful people, I asked the person I interviewed what inspired him or her. Many times they spoke of their faith in God. Most of the magazines took that out. I declared then that I would write books and put Christianity in all of them.

What’s your pet peeve?

As an author who is not computer savvy, I have so many responsibilities, especially online, that have nothing to do with writing that I barely have time to squeeze in time to write.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When my daughter was a baby, I answered an ad for freelance writing for a local magazine. The editor asked me to bring my portfolio to his office. I easily arranged for a baby sitter, but I didn’t have a briefcase. I rummaged through our belongings until I found a picnic basket a friend had given us for Christmas. I pulled out the fancy glasses and napkins and tossed in my writing samples. I was frazzled by the time I got to the editor’s office and was quite ready to sit down. I put the basket in my lap and the editor leaned over his desk and stared at it. “Are we having a picnic?”

I explained about the portfolio and ended up writing many articles for him for many years. My daughter eventually visited his office on her career day in high school, The day I met him I had rushed around so much and concentrated so hard on how to carry my samples, the picnic basket had become a briefcase in my mind. I was totally embarrassed when he jarred me back to reality.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Marketing.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I try to ignore them.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

It depends on how one measures success. I keep trying to improve my writing to make my books better, so I see my success as a time when I’ve nailed a new technique or when I understand what an editor or agent was talking about when they told me to change something. As far as books go, I’d say Barely Above Water is probably my most popular, and it is a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m working on a couple of romantic suspense books.

Bio: Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

Website: https://gailpallotta.com

Newsletter:  https://www.gailpallotta.com/mainphp.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore

Twitter: Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords (https://twitter.com/Hopefulwords)

Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/gailpallotta

Latest book release: Stopped Cold, a young adult sports mystery and an Amazon Best Seller in  Teen and Young Adult Christian Mysteries and Thrillers for one month.

Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina. Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Buy Links

Amazon – Amazon.com/dp/B07R7RHF5K

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stopped-cold-gail-pallotta/1117352035?ean=9781522398578

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Stopped+Cold+by+Gail+Pallotta

 

Meriwether High School, the fictitious  school in Stopped Cold, has its own Twitter page, Meriwether Christian @MeriwetherCS (https://twitter.com/MeriwetherCS). The heroine, Margaret, would love to have readers follow it.

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Kim McMahill

Welcome author Kim McMahill to my Writer Wednesday here! 

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

I’ve always loved to write. In a high school creative writing class, I wrote a short story. The teacher commented on my paper that with a little more character and plot development, I had a novel. I packed that paper around for years and eventually turned it into my first novel. While finishing my first novel and trying to find a publisher I started writing travel and human-interest pieces for magazines and piled up quite a list of credits. But when I really started writing fiction in earnest was when my husband started fighting wildfires. We lived in a remote cabin with no tv or phone and he would be gone for up to twenty-one days at a time which gave me the opportunity to really explore my craft, and I’ve been writing adventure and suspense novels ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

It’s not writing-related, but my biggest pet peeve is when I see someone who is texting while driving. It is one thing to endanger yourself, but totally unacceptable to endanger those around you.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I write action, adventure, and suspense. In Shrouded in Secrets, the adventures take place all over the world. When I wrote the book it never dawned on me that I might need to do a reading someday. Needless to say, it’s pretty embarrassing to not be able to correctly pronounce words in your own book.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge as an author is in marketing my work. I’m a bit of an introvert and technologically challenged, so promoting my work is not easy, especially in the age of social media.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has different taste in reading material. If someone doesn’t like my work, it doesn’t mean that no one will.   

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

By sheer numbers, Marked in Mexico has been by far my best seller, but the marketing arena has changed since then and the promotions that yielded good results don’t necessarily work anymore. I hope each book I write gets better as I learn and get more experience, so each time a book gets accepted for publication I consider that my best success.

What is your current work in progress?

I have recently submitted the fourth book in my Risky Research Series, A Measure of Madness, to my publisher. While waiting to hear back, I’ve started outlining book five.

Bio:

Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense and adventure fiction. Along with writing novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel story anthology. Kim currently resides in Colorado, and when not writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.

Blog: http://www.kimmcmahill.blogspot.comTwitter: https://twitter.com/kimmcmahill   @kimmcmahill

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KimMcMahillAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimmcmahill/

Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/849945.Kim_McMahill

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-McMahill/e/B007IK0EJW/

Latest book release: A Foundation of Fear

FBI Special Agent Devyn Nash is obsessed with taking down Coterie, a deadly group out to control the multi-billion-dollar diet product industry. The FBI’s plan to expose Coterie places Devyn’s best friend and her partner’s fiancé in the crosshairs of this ruthless organization. Can Devyn protect her friend and bring the coldblooded killers to justice before they strike again while distracted by injury, a sexist bully, and a long-distance relationship with a handsome Wyoming sheriff?

Lobbyist and Coterie assassin Sofia Wilks wants nothing more than to regain control of her life. Sofia knows Agent Nash is nipping at her heels, but the FBI agent isn’t the worst of her fears. She is drawn to a man who has the power to destroy her.

Writer Wednesday: Lillian Duncan

Please welcome author Lillian Duncan to Writer Wednesday! Let’s hear about her journey in writing.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I was forty and just like many other forty-year-olds, I felt something was missing from my life. One day I was watching a TV talk show and the guest said we should each write our own obituary. So I did. One of the things I put in the obituary that I was an author. That came as quite a surprise to me. But when I read those words something sparked on the inside of me, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What’s your pet peeve?

It depends on whether you’re talking about books or “real life.” If you’re talking about books and writing, my pet peeve is when writers use really obscure vocabulary just to show how smart they are.

If you’re talking about “real life,” I guess it would be people who talk softly. Because of brain tumors, I’ve lost all my hearing in one ear and a significant amount in the other. So it’s really hard for me to have a conversation with people who won’t talk up.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

As much as I love writing, I hate book marketing, especially promoting myself. It may be necessary, but it’s still something I struggle with.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Like all authors, I have speaking engagements. Like lots of authors, I don’t like public speaking. I realized that public speaking was part of my “job” and that I would either have to get over it or stop being a writer.

I decided to get over it. One of the ways I did that was to think of public speaking not as a speech but rather as a teaching opportunity. Having been a teacher (actually a speech pathologist but close enough) for many years, that made me more comfortable with the whole situation.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I don’t put a lot of stock in reviews, positive or negative. As a long-time reader, I know that reading is very subjective. What one person loves another will hate. So when I read negative reviews, I don’t take it personally. Every person is allowed to have their own opinion.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My book, Puzzle House, was a finalist in the 2018 Carol Awards. It didn’t win but it was a fun experience that definitely boosted my confidence as a writer. I’ve also had several bestsellers on Amazon as well.

What is your current work in progress?

At the moment, I’m stretching my writing muscles. I’m “trying” to write a YA novel that’s set in a future America where religion is banned. Notice, I said trying. Whether I’ll ever submit the book to be published remains to be seen.

Bio:

Lillian Duncan…stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem.

Lillian lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. In 2012, she was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors as a result of a rare genetic condition, Neurofibromatosis Type 2. Life ain’t necessarily easy with brain tumors, but God continues to bless her in all sorts of ways, including being able to write.

Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that show God’s love—and lots of action. OK—that’s two things. She believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word.

Website: www.lillian-duncan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lillianduncan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=lillian+duncan

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lillianduncan/

AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/Lillian-Duncan/e/B007NFPAE6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1489582766&sr=1-2-ent

Latest book release:

All I Want for Christmas is Johnny Rocker Dead!

Johnny Rocker believes he’s doesn’t need anyone or anything—especially God because after all he is a rock & roll god. When the floor beneath his feet crumbles—literally—he hurtles toward a different truth.

Since the death of Maddie’s family, she’s run from life and love and become the best bodyguard she can be. But, with God’s help, she’s ready to step out of her comfort zone and into a different life. When her boss asks—no begs—her to take on one last job, she finds it hard to refuse. Someone is trying to kill mega-star Johnny Rocker. It’s Maddie Cotton’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Even under Maddie’s protection, the threats continue. As Christmas approaches the danger escalates—someone doesn’t want Johnny Rocker to see the new year, and they are willing to kill Maddie as well. Johnny and Maddie will have to set aside their differences and learn to lean on each other and God if they want to see Christmas day.

 

Writer Wednesday: Penelope Marzec

Please welcome Penelope Marzec to Writer Wednesday! She’s written some fabulous books and I’ve had the honor of working with her on several of them.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I decided to be an author at the age of nine. That summer I wrote a book—in green ink on yellow legal paper and I illustrated it, too. In the story, the heroine came from another planet and could fly, which wasn’t a very original idea. However, the experience of writing enthralled me and I vowed I would eventually become a published author. Still, I didn’t want to suffer from starvation so I went to college and became an early childhood educator, which was a terrific job because I got to read and reread all my favorite children’s stories, sing songs, play, do craft projects, and teach the alphabet to lots of youngsters so they could grow up to be readers. Though I came home exhausted everyday, I wrote. It may have taken me longer to get published than some writers, but in the meantime I collected plenty of ideas for stories.

What’s your pet peeve?

I get very annoyed when someone who is not a writer informs me that if I want to be a famous author then I should write a bestseller. There are people who will not read books unless they are on the bestseller lists. They are missing a lot.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I’ve endured several embarrassing moments as a writer, but I suppose one of the most humiliating occurred at a conference. I intended to take notes at a workshop with my trusty iPad, but for some reason the keyboard wasn’t working. I fiddled around with several settings until several of the other writers in the room called out my name. I glanced up at the presentation on the screen. Somehow, I had tapped into it. I turned off my iPad and wished I had an invisibility cloak handy.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

When my daughters were younger and I was working, my most difficult challenge was carving out time to write. When my youngest joined the Explorers so she could become an EMT at an early age, I drove her back and forth twice a week so she could become certified. During her two hour lessons, I sat on the floor in the hallway writing. It turned out to be worth every minute of sitting on that cold, hard floor because I sold the book and it won an award.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Getting rejections never bothered me much. As a member of RWA and the local NJ chapter, I learned about the process of submitting and the odds of getting rejected. A rejection to me seemed more like a badge of honor—proof that I possessed the determination to carry on despite the obstacles. After all, some writers had far more rejections than I did. However, negative reviews hit me hard at first. I found it difficult to understand how someone could read my book and decide it didn’t measure up to their personal standards. Sometimes, I wondered if the reviewers actually read the book. They could be so cruel!

My writing friends helped me get over the hurt. One of them pointed out how some of our favorite books had gotten terrible reviews. When I looked up the reviews on many of my most loved classics, I was appalled. There’s no accounting for taste as the old saying goes. Now I treat negative reviews with far more aplomb.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Being published by Pelican Book Group has been the high point of my career as a writer. Before that, I went from one small publisher to another. Several companies folded and I was left with orphaned manuscripts. I consider myself very fortunate to be writing for a company with solid Christian values.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m still debating with myself what to use as a title for my current work in process, but I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s the story of a young woman who grew up in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey where nobody knew her mother was a once-famous, award-winning actress. When the young woman gets a job in New York City and helps save a man’s life, she is caught up in a media frenzy. One of her new coworkers comes to her aid, but his own dark secret will threaten them both.

Clear as Ice (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) by [Marzec, Penelope]Bio:

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore. She started reading romances at a young age and fell hopelessly in love with happy endings. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons in the Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award.

Website: www.penelopemarzec.com

Newsletter:  Sign up at http://penelopemarzec.weebly.com/contact-me.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/penelopemarzec/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/penelopemarzec

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Penelope-Marzec/e/B002BLQGA4

Latest book release: https://www.amazon.com/Clear-Ice-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07YSXW85Q

Seasons

I was sitting in church yesterday and my mind was churning. All kinds of thoughts about how much things had changed in my life.

Many of those changes are good. Wonderful. A blessing. My hubby Ben is top of that list.

Some of them are to be grieved. Seasons pass and life changes. We change. 

Community Church Fond du Lac WI Women’s Worship Team at Ostoff 2006 (?)

I used to be the lead singer for a band. I had the confidence at that time. I used to oversee all the worship programming at a church in Menomonee Falls, WI, as a staff position. I used to be a worship leader… and it’s been years since I’ve sung on a worship team at church. Now that’s not totally the fault of anyone else because I’ve not submitted to an audition for a team. There are many reasons for that but the biggest one: I lack confidence. Every time I’ve sung at church in the past few years I received shocked comments: “I didn’t know you sang.” When I sing in front of others (or play guitar) I’m hypercritical and so worried about my “performance” and struggle because I want to be worshipping in “spirit and in truth.” I find I do that better from the congregation, holding my hubby’s hand. He loves to hear my voice and if only God and Ben hear me, I’m fine with that.

Jonah’s Vacation, late 1990’s Milwaukee WI

I’ve not been asked to speak at our Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) group in years or any other event at church even though I have taught years of theology and even keynoted a women’s leadership conference at our church and possess a masters degree in Counseling Psychology. I coordinated MOPS and also led the Women’s Ministry for many years.

The fact is, if I promoted myself, I could probably speak at places – at my church and at others, or even sing, but one of the most vicious verbal beat-downs I ever received was from someone I looked up to in ministry. And it was all because I posted on Facebook about my writing, publishing, editing, speaking… you get the picture. Apparently, that made me evil, regardless of the fact that the most common things required of authors is to beef up their social media presence. I tried to a Matthew 18 kind of meet up for the purposes of reconciliation, but the person I had requested help from bailed on me. Time passed and I needed to accept that the perpetrator was someone I needed to disconnect from for my own health and well-being.

Now it feels like none of that happened. The band, the singing, the teaching… All gone in a poof of smoke known as…time. And I even fear doing too much self-promotion lest I encounter more abuse.

Oh, boo hoo. What a pathetic person I sound like!

Grief isn’t logical. I realized quickly that is exactly what I was doing – I was grieving. Grieving hits harder this time of year, sometimes out of the blue without me even realizing the date on the calendar. I should be able to predict it – but I guess I hope that maybe, just maybe, this year I’ll escape it.

I was wrong. But why do the above hit harder? It was all surface grief that covered over one major life event.

In late November 2003, I had a miscarriage.

Anniversary reactions are painful.

In December 2004, I gave birth to my daughter, appropriately named Joy Lucille which means “joyful light-bearer.” Lucille was my great-grandmother’s name.

Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning

Psalm 30:5b, Holman Christian Standard Bible

While her birth was something to rejoice in – her five-day hospital stay as we fought for her life – was not. Nor were the medical challenges that came later. For all that she’s healthy and a delight to my heart.

In November 2017 a judge hammered a nail in the coffin of a verbally abusive marriage. A relationship I had spent years grieving over so that one doesn’t have the same sense of loss to me. That was a relief.  God rescued me. He provided for me and my kids. He sustained me and I learned I didn’t need a man to have a good life.

I still wanted one. I still believed there were good men out there. I feared dating again. I kept my standards so high I shouldn’t have been able to find anyone that would meet my criteria. But God once again showed Himself. June 2018 I started talking with this great guy, Ben.

We began dating and it was amazing. Someone began slandering me to his family, but I quickly realized it wasn’t me personally that was the issue. It was anyone who would have won his heart. He’s worth that grief of those lies. He had to make a choice between maintaining a relationship with those people – or pursuing me. He chose me. And I’m so glad he did.

In December 2018 I married Benjamin. What a wonderful journey we’ve had so far. 

I’ll grieve my losses and be grateful for all that God has done to change my life for the better. It’s not all roses, and we still have challenges we face, but I’m blessed to have someone by my side as we face those challenges together. Someone to pray with me and for me. Someone who is proud to hold my hand and tell me he loves me. Not even a best-selling novel could beat that, or lots of adulation for singing or speaking anywhere. So I’ll let that go. If God wants me to do that kind of work He can make a way.

So I will grieve because the only way is to go through it. And I will rejoice in all God has done on my journey.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Be kind to yourself and others as we enter this season – underneath our smiles, many are struggling. 

Ben and me. December 2019