Thursday, March 31, 2011
Lena, a very genuine thank you for the blog interviews you host. May God bless your spirit of sharing and may he multiply the effects of author’s words written for Him in 2011.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write because everywhere in everyday life I find that God teaches me or he reminds me about himself. I’m a teacher at heart, and I find nonfiction devotionals and study books an avenue of reminding Christians to shine.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day when I vowed to love David forever. (The next happiest when he returned from a year long stint with the army in Vietnam.)
I understand that. My oldest grandson just returned from his deployment. This time to Afghanistan. How has being published changed your life?
I think it’s humbling. First, to know that God entrusted me with stories, phrases, insight into scriptures, and venues to share with others. I’m still amazed that publishers think my words worth sharing. After all, they’re just what I call “farmscribe” words, down-to-earth, common sense, straight from this horse’s mouth.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Zondervan’s The Bible in 90 Days, so I guess I’m working on 66 books. I always have my bookmarks in several books at one time. These are the books I’m reading and re-reading right now: The Gospel of Ruth ~ Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James, Babes with a Beatitude ~ Devotions for Smart, Savvy Women of Faith by and Linda P. Kozar and Dannelle Woody, and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I have a copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett that I’ll start reading soon.
What is your current work in progress?
Since, I just finished A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment, I’m brain-twiddling to figure out what to offer up next. I have another devo manuscript almost finished: Tambourines and Tear Bottles (working title), and I want to write some more group study books. I’m looking over lesson series that I wrote and taught to women’s classes in the past; maybe I’ll work on rewriting those to a current audience. I’m also writing a series for my newspaper column in 2011 that could turn into a yearly devotional, taking them one verse at a time through the books of the Bible.
What would be your dream vacation?
Christmas in Bethlehem and then an extended tour of the Holy Lands.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I don’t write much fiction. Although A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment does have a chapter where part of it is biblical fiction entitled “Wait, Elizabeth—God Has a Surprise for You Too.” It’s about embracing contentment during our waits and how God’s answers are far superior to our wishes and wants. I do have a complete fiction manuscript, and it has a rural, small town setting because that’s what I know.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
A biblical scholar. My ancient copy of the Bible is strewn with question marks. And, I’d point to the first question mark I placed beside verses in the book of Genesis and say, “Start here….tell me what you’ve discovered that this means?” David Bivin in Jerusalem, Israe,l is probably my first choice. Or Paul Maier, NT scholar. I’m about to start his novel, The Skeleton in God’s Closet.
I've read that novel. You'll find it interesting and thought provoking. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
While I don’t collect teapots, teacups, and tea things anymore (just occasionally I will still buy something at a flea market), I really enjoy hosting people in our home: one or more for a meal, a grandchild, or a few women for a luncheon. Nothing stressful. Because I’m Martha-to-the-bone on some days, I keep meals simple, and do my best to invest my time in my guests.
Sounds like a place I'd like to visit. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Paperwork and little time. In our business I have many things of which to keep track. Did you know truckers with apportioned tags have to keep records, besides log books, of every single road they drive on, where they buy fuel, how much they bought and the price per gallon? That’s in addition to all the other records we are required to keep. At this stage in life we are also providing comfort and care to our aging parents—four of them in their 80s and 90s. How I overcome my obstacles: I’ve hired help with our business paperwork, and that alone gives me more time to meet my family’s needs. I’ve also dropped out of all outside organized activities because of my present circumstances with parents’ needs. The excellent thing about writing is that I can write at 10:00 p.m. or 3:00 a.m. Every day, I’m grateful for this outlet of expression which fits into the servant role God has called me to with our trucking business, parents, children, and grands.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
This hint comes via Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird she recommends keeping index cards in purse, briefcase, car, or in a jeans’ pocket, ready at all times, to write down keen thoughts, overheard conversations, sights, sounds, colors or textures. I’ve been doing this for years, and have found exact scenes and sentences to use my jotted hints. They remain fresh and bring vibrancy to dialogue or settings.
A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment covers topics such as worry, complaining, clutter, or how our thoughts contribute to discontentment. The book is designed for individual or group Bible study. Each chapter contains my study, thoughts, and anecdotes about the topic connected to learning contentment, eight study questions, two praise and petition scriptures upon which to meditate. Also, in each chapter I’ve included one personal essay from male and female Christians, who struggled with contentment and how they arrived at a better place.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Here’s the foreword and the first page:
I’m keenly aware of those times when total contentment settles upon me, when nothing niggles at my conscience causing unrest. I include in this list the nights when my adult children and their children rest safe and sound in their homes. They abide in their nests, as my husband and I do in ours. Add a soft rainfall, evidence of God tending the earth, and my night becomes ideal. Those circumstances come as close to perfect as nights on this earth ever could. Contentment sweeps over me. A sweet sleep descends.
But what about opposite days when life-glitches hobble me? Sometimes, it seems the smallest negative happening can topple a glass of milk into my day, soaking the seams of morning, noon, and evening, dampening what I thought would be a beatitude day, a blessed day. On those days, what causes my thoughts to turn from blessed to beat down? Can I ignore the spilled milk and go about my day contented, extending goodwill to others?
God wrote the ultimate Contentment Manual, so this study guide, A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment, serves only as a supplement. We’ll consider how biblical characters faced their ordinary days, their disappointments, and their triumphs. You’ll read first-person accounts of current believers and sidle up to their mishaps and successes to see anew how prayer, trust, and, praise undergirds contentment.
Journey with me and let’s discover what—or better yet—Who, nurtures contentment within each of us.
A STILL AND QUIET SOUL
~ Contentment ~
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
The psalmist’s reflections about quieting himself waltzed around in my heart for months. They slow-danced with questions about contentment, but the waltz faltered when I remembered the many difficulties in life. Soon, the waltz stopped completely, as I imagined contentment wrapping her arms around tragic events. How is it possible for contentment and tragedies to remain in rhythm?
Allow your mind to dwell on contentment for a week or so and questions will surface. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve experienced enough of life to know that learning contentment is worth the journey.
Consider the psalmist’s portrayal of his quieted soul:
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.cathymessecar.com/ or http://stainedlgasspickup.blogspot.com// or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cathy.messecar or Twitter: scribbler2854 or my co-authored Christmas blog. We post from July-December http://scrapbookofchristmasfirsts.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Cathy, for this interesting glimpse into your life.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.