In Honor of My Dad's 87th Birthday

Today I have the distinct honor of sharing with you a message my mom Carolyn wrote about my dad Jim for his 87th birthday. May you be blessed by this as much as I have been. Mary

In Honor of Jim’s 87th Birthday
By Carolyn Freeman

Jim never brought me diamonds, rubies, and pearls. Instead he brought the priceless jewels of integrity, wisdom, loyalty, steadfastness, faithfulness, stability, and faith.

Jim never carried me to a spa/resort. Instead he bathed me in his love, he soothed me with his comfort, and he massaged away the hurts and pains of my life.

Jim never encouraged me to adorn myself with fine clothes and the latest in beauty products. Instead he clothed me with acceptance and encouragement and sought my inner beauty.

Jim never bought me a luxurious car to preen in. Instead he looked for safety and dependability.

Jim never built me a fine mansion with fine furnishings. Instead he surrounded me with the solid walls of simplicity and freedom from pride.

Jim never used flowery words and fancy phrases to express his love.  Instead he conveyed the essence of true love by his whole existence.

Jim never sought recognition for a life of quiet devotion and quiet service. Instead he kept his eyes on the needs of others and gave himself to meeting them.

God brought blessings to me, his family, and many by providing us the gift of a Godly man to head our family.  We are eternally grateful.

Mom and Dad watching a sunset.
Eating North Carolina BBQ and listening to live Blue Grass.



Grow Where You're Planted

I'll be the first to admit I like comfort. I like a soft bed, nice surroundings in my home and things like clean water. In the winter, I don't like to be cold and in the summer, yes, I like air conditioning. My definition of the good life is when things are going my way. But as a Christian, is that what God promises? No. He promises many things, but a simple, comfortable life is not one of them.

Paul, who murdered Christians before he became one, spent his life telling others of Jesus. There were times of prosperity and there were times of persecution and much suffering. He lived the last years of his life in jail, awaiting his trial. But listen to what he says.

Philippians 4:11 NASB
11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 

Paul had learned the secret of growing where he was planted. (Read that: where God planted him.)

So what does that look like? Well, here's what I want it to look like. 

I want to have a constant source of clean, cool water. I want to hear the wonderful noise of crickets, frogs and birds.

I want to feel the warm rays of the sun as it rises over the mountains.

But let's be honest. Sometimes this is what life feels like. Like we're drowning.

We may be surrounded by problems: emotional, physical, financial, spiritual.

And we may not see a way out and so we feel hopeless.

Or, this could sum up our life. We're growing in a little patch of dirt in the middle of concrete and hardness. And not only that, but we're right next to the air conditioning units.

We have to listen to their noise and feel the heat they put off. As if being sun-baked isn't enough.

But yet, there that tree is. And doing fairly well. Nice green leaves. Sturdy trunk. Protected from strong winds. 

And what about the crazy tree in this photo? Yes, that is a tree, hundreds of feet up in the air atop and abandoned smoke stack.

Why did it grow there? Because that's where it was planted. 

Are you getting the picture? God has planted you where He wants you to grow.

Maybe you're in a season of plenty. Maybe not.

Instead of asking God to remove the difficult circumstances you find yourself in, ask God to help you grow well where He planted you. Ask Him for the nourishment you need in your specific challenges.

He is where your contentment and strength comes from.

Ask Him to help you live close to Him, especially in the difficult times, to be content in Him. Ask Him to help you grow where He planted you.


Social Media Marketing, an Interview with Edie Melson

Edie is on a blog tour for her bestselling eBook, Social Media Marketing for Writers, How to Blog, Tweet, and Peep Your Way onto Amazon's Best Seller's List. And today she'll be hanging out here!
You can get her book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble for only 99 cents.
Remember, you don't have to own an eReader to read it. You can download either the Kindle or Nook software free to your computer, tablet or phone. I know it's hard to read fiction on the computer, but it's great to have a short reference book like this at your fingertips!

How long have you been writing/how did you get started?
I actually wrote my first book—long-hand—in 8th grade. It’s funny, I was looking back  through some of my old year books and several kids commented about me becoming a bestselling writer.

I began my writing career as a technical writer in the 80’s, then had kids and began writing again seriously as they grew up.

How did you get interested in social media?
It was a sink or swim situation. I got a job as managing editor at a Centered Mag, an online Christian Magazine for College age guys. Everyone I worked with was young enough to be my son—and social media is the only way to reach that audience. I had to become an expert or quit my job.
With my success came a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s become one of my passions to show others that social networking is NOTHING to be afraid of. Believe me, if I can do it, ANYONE can!

Why did you write Social Media Marketing for Writers?
This book wasn’t originally my idea. My publisher, Eddie Jones with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas came up with this idea. They are also publishing my devotional book, Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home, later this year. Eddie knew I taug
ht Social Media Marketing to writers at conferences all over the country and he asked me to send him my notes so he could evaluate the possibility of doing a book. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why is social networking important for writers?
Writing is all about building relationships—with readers, editors, agents, other writers—and what better vehicle than social media? It’s tailor made for writers. After all, we communicate best through the written word. And it gives us an unprecedented opportunity to connect with our readers.

I know your has lots of tips for writers using social media to build their platform and connect with their audience, but how do we find the time? How do you find the time?
I developed my schedule because I was totally overwhelmed. I felt like I was spending all this time on social media and not getting any writing done—which was the reason for starting the social marketing. I found the minimum I could do and still get results.

I’m very ADD and without a schedule I don’t get anything done!
Here’s an overview of my schedule on days when I’m home:
Most important, I only check email/phone messages 3 times a day. That makes a huge difference in my ability to concentrate.
I’ve found my best creative time, mid-morning, so I reserve that for writing. But here's how my day breaks down:
  • First hour of my day is spent on email and social networking.
  • Then I write until lunch.
  • After lunch, I check email, return calls and do about 20 min of social networking.
  • Then I work on editing assignments, rewriting, marketing, whatever is next on my list.
  • Then the last 30 minutes of the day is spent on email, phone calls and social networking.

That’s a rough estimation of my days—some work better than others. But this is the schedule that made it possible for me to publish over 700 articles in 2010.

Can you share some of your favorite writing quotes?
"Easy reading is damn hard writing" -Nathaniel Hawthorne
"I write for the same reason I breath - if I didn't I'd die." -Isaac Asimov
And my life verse -
Who knows, perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Esther 4:14

For those of you who don't know Edie, be sure to visit her blog. And don't forget to LIKE her book on FaceBook!


Striving for Excellence

Guesting for me today is Alycia Morales.  


  "Do you see a man who excels in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before unknown men."
~ Proverbs 22:29
Many times I've heard editors and agents mention how few writers pay attention to details and strive for excellence in their work. These writers produce their manuscripts, write an uninteresting query letter or proposal, and turn them in, expecting acceptance and publication. When they receive rejection, their poor attitudes continue in their follow-up correspondence, blaming the agent or editor for not accepting their work.

These same writers tend to be people who believe they've been given a gift to write and write well, but they refuse to put any effort into the details. Editing? That's for people who aren't gifted. Spelling? Grammar? That's what editors are supposed to fix before they print my story. Professionalism? Who needs that when you're as talented as I am?

The scripture says that a man who excels in his work will stand before kings. I am consistently working at presenting my best in every work I do. I desire to see my work published in hopes that God will receive glory each time it's printed. I want His word to go forth for all to hear (or read). I want people to know Who I serve. In striving for excellence in all I put my fingers to do on the keyboard, I have confidence that God will be pleased. I know it doesn't bring Him glory to do something with laziness and poor attitude attached.

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." ~ Proverbs 3:23-24

If we are truly serving God with our writing, we will write with everything in us, focusing on the Lord and His will, rather than the publishing dream. It's then that He can move and place us before the agents and editors and publishers and bring us into a publishing contract. 

If you're wondering why you seem to be stuck, ask God and yourself if you're doing all you can with excellence and if you're doing it for God or for yourself. Take the time to edit. Take the time to rewrite. Take the time to ask others if they enjoy your work. You may be surprised what can happen when you do!

Alycia Morales is a daughter of the King of Kings, wife to a wonderful husband, and mother to 4 children of her own and 1 who she accepts as my own. She loves Jesus. She loves to write. She loves to create. These things are that she lives for...

In addition, she is a great friend. 
Enjoy this post and check out her blogs:
Photo courtesy of Beate W.