Friday, March 31, 2017

Mole-Like Anonymity

I met Mary Connealy through ACFW and through my friends at the Writer's Alley.  She truly has a gift for writing romantic comedy. I laughed through the pages and couldn't wait to pick up another of her books.  So, I asked Mary to be my guest today

God Gives Seasons of Life

I am a big believer that God gives us seasons of life.

I couldn’t see it while I struggled to get published but now, looking back, I realize that God waited until exactly the right time in my life to let me be published.

I sat down to write a book, a full length novel, with the intent of getting it published, the year my baby, the youngest of four daughters, went to Kindergarten. 

I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published. At the end of that ten years, I had twenty finished books on my computer. That is; twenty full length romance novels. I had other, shorter works, Middle Grade novels, short stories, children’s books, novellas, even a few poems and songs, in addition to the novels. 

All that time I was writing along in what I think of as Mole-like Anonymity, I was seriously pursuing publication. It’s not like I was just patiently writing and expecting an editor to come to my door and say, “I’ve heard rumors of your greatness and I’ve been searching for you, please may I buy your book.”

It’s not like I would type up my story thinking with sublime confidence, “God will send my books to the right publisher at the right time.”

Oh no.

I was entering contests, querying agents, mailing partials into publishers, using my Writer’s Market Guide and my Romance Writers Report Magazine, to hunt down editors and agents and contest where ever I could find them.

Through all that writing and querying and rejection, I always got just enough encouragement to carry on. I was a finalist in a contest with the second book I wrote. I’d get a occasional request for a full followed by a ‘nice’ rejection.

I got some short plays published and made actual tidbits of money.

It all kept me going. 

When I finally sold, my first book, Petticoat Ranch hit the shelves in February and my baby graduated from high school in May.

I worked so hard promoting Petticoat Ranch. I did book signings and gave talks in any place that would let me in. Bookstores, libraries, churches. I attended conferences and went to ICRS. I was crazy busy hustling around selling that book. I had no idea just how demanding it would be. 

To me it was a light going on. The season of my life that I could devote to being a published author came when I had time to be a published author. I could give myself whole-heartedly to it without neglecting my children because they were grown.

I just couldn’t see this when I was struggling all those years. But I needed those years. I needed them to get my daughters raised and also to get a back list of books because, once Barbour Publishing bought my first book, they wanted more and more of them. I published nineteen books with Barbour in four years. Of those nineteen books, eight were already written. I would never have been able to keep up that pace if I hadn’t had those years to write all those books. And it was really good for my career to be able to say YES every time Barbour asked for another book. 

That was God’s plan. I try to remember that when I’m impatient with anything, not just writing. Wait on the Lord. Embrace and enjoy the season of life I’m walking through with Him.

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. She is the author of the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series: Out of Control, In Too Deep, Over the Edge, Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughters Trilogy. Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and two spectacular grandchildren.

To Contact Mary check out these places:

Thank you Mary for joining us this weekend

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: RightSeason

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Eyes in Petra's Canyon

Photo by Mary Vee

I walked through the path of Petra a week ago.

Petra is located in southern Jordan in the Middle East. At this time, Jordan is a dicey country to be visiting. On my trip, two military police escorted us--for our safety. Well, I could go on and on about my thoughts on that topic, but will save them for another day.

Today, the focus is on one carved stone on the path. 

No, it is not the famous one seen in the Indiana Jones movie. 

The story behind this rock I am showing you is powerful. It can make one weep and/or stir one to action. 

What rock has that power?

Our guide led us through the canyon path pointing and explaining. I highly recommend going with a guide, there truly is a lot that happened here. The guide was a Jordanian, well versed in the history of his country.

At the point where the first photo was taken, our guide continued around the bend and stopped. He turned to his left and called our attention to what was there.

Facing the people who would be walking out of this canyon was this statue. It was about five feet tall and as you can see from the photo had tones of red and sand colors.

Photo by Mary Vee
Our guide pointed out the eyes. The arrows show you where they are.

Our guide then pointed to the area where there should be a mouth. There isn't one.

Long ago, the people who lived in Petra tried to understand the sun, water, earth, etc. They thought the high mountains around them took the sun away at night and gave it back in the morning. 

They carved into the rock representations of the gods they thought existed. 

In this case, this image facing those leaving the canyon is there to say you are watched by the god represented there. Not in a good way.

Also note the the god does not have a mouth. This god watches but does not speak. Ooo thoughts of Dagon and Baal from the Old Testament popped in my mind when the tour guide said that.

How sad to live a life knowing the god worshiped would not speak to the people. I see the god also does not have ears, which would mean the god would not listen to the people, either. It only watches, ready to -- what? Punish? 

Such fear.

Such sense of not being loved, cared about. 

The longer I spent in Jordan, the more my heart ached not only for the people who once lived there but for the people who live there now as well.

There were many checkpoints. We could not have anything religious with us. 
  No Bibles. 
    No religious jewelry. 
      No words.

This desert country is dry. 

Much much more than physically.

If this stirs your heart, pray for the people of Jordan that witnesses of the Living God can go there and share the Way of Life.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: TheGodWhoLoves

Friday, March 24, 2017

Three Places

I knew John and Carole from my Bible College days. A few years ago, they had an opportunity to go to Israel with an organization.

Carole is my guest today. She said three places helped her feel connected to Israel. Here is what she chose to share with us today.

Three Places
by Carole

The Garden of Gethsemane

The garden of Gethsemane is at the foot of the Mount of Olives and is not open to the public. It is located in the middle a neighborhood across the alley from the Church of All Nations. You must be with a tour group that has permission from the church to enter.

The garden is a small serene grove of trees and pathways surrounded by a stone and rod iron wall. Once inside the walls, the hustle and bustle outside is transformed into a quiet where private thoughts, meditations, or sessions guided by pastoral teachers
can happen. There are stone benches and folding chairs. Places to listen to Scriptures read that were related to this place. 

Some gardeners harvest olives in one corner of the gardening while God's Word is read. It was harvest time, and obviously, a “working” garden, who-knew! 

To me, I just wanted to stay in the shade of the old trees for some quite time. Must be why Jesus came here…

The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is a great vantage point for seeing Old Jerusalem. History comes to life as one looks west across the deep and craggy Kieron Valley. Beyond the wall of the old city is the Dome of the Rock. 

Farther in, modern buildings for housing grow with the aid of giant cranes. 

Our guide tells us that faithful Jews throughout history have been buried on the Mount of Olives in anticipation that the Messiah will awaken them when He comes. 

The Apostles saw Jesus ascend into heaven here, and prophecy says He will return to this place. Since this is ground zero for Jesus’ return, it’s thrilling to say I’ve been there. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

The World Holocaust Remembrance Center

I’ve visited several Holocaust museums in my travels, but Yad Vashem in Jerusalem can rightly say it’s the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. It’s an amazing and unforgettable tribute to the victims. The Children’s Memorial is especially memorable. 

The tribute to the “righteous among nations” is an extensive garden of individual plants and trees for each person remembered. May we never forgot or repeat any such horror or desecration of life and hope, and may the righteous never lose sight of their mission to be God’s hands and feet in a broken world.

Thank you so much, Carole, for sharing the small piece of your trip with us!

This post has been brought to you by the one word:  3toRemember