Category Archives: Women’s Ministry

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Parting Words From The WORD…Waiting Before Working

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Okay, I admit it. I’m hardheaded, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Like when I first began my writing journey.

I was hardheaded enough to believe that editors were wrong and that I did have something worthwhile to say, even though I’d been writing for years and had nothing to show for it. After seven years and 63 rejections, I finally received an acceptance–I was a published writer! Since most writers receive 5-10 rejections and quit, I determined that hardheadedness was a real blessing for me as a writer.

But then there are the other times.

I want you to know that most I mornings I do start the day with the Lord. After all, I know that’s the best way to set the day’s course by His course.

But sometimes I’m too hardheaded to do what I know I should. On those days, I tell myself I just don’t have time.

Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with Jesus. There is nothing like starting my day with my Bible, my coffee, and my Lord. But with book deadlines, caregiving responsibilities, and a demanding speaking and ministry schedule, my hardheadedness sometimes convinces me that I just can’t stop and wait on Him.

I had such a day last week at the Christian Communicators Conference, where I was investing in the lives of women who are called to a speaking ministry. It was Friday morning, one of the most jam-packed days, and I’d had a short night of sleep. After getting a late start, I mentally rescheduled my quiet time to the evening and concentrated on my early morning to-do list.

The day went well, but it was late that night when I finally turned to the day’s devotion. My heart was broken by what I read. It was as if Sarah Young had watched me that morning as I put my time with Christ on hold. She called “waiting before working” an act of faith and ended with the promise that when we turn to Jesus for guidance, He enables us to do less, but accomplish more. I confessed the mismanagement of my priorities and belatedly waited on the Lord.

In order to be best prepared for whatever lies ahead, I need to commit each day to waiting before working. Looking at my to-do list through human eyes it’s easy to become hardheaded, thinking that I know more than my Father.

But by putting my waiting before my working, I give Him the honor He deserves and open myself up to His power. I may do less than I thought it required, but accomplish more that He has planned for me.

And even I’m not too hardheaded to see the blessing in that.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 NIV

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Verna Bowman

Verna Bowman headshotReaders, I’m excited to introduce my friend, author, speaker, and Christian Communicators grad, Verna Bowman, to you. Be sure to read her bio below, but for now, let me just say that Verna and I met at CCC in 2011 and it didn’t take me long to realize what powerful stories she had to tell!

As I told Verna, when I started reading her book, I had planned to read one story per night before I went to sleep–but I couldn’t do it! Instead, it was “Just one more, just one more.” I couldn’t stop! You’re gonna love her interview and her book!

And don’t forget to leave a comment for Verna and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

So, let’s get started! Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Verna. Even though I know much of your story, I don’t know how your writing began. When did you begin to write?

About forty-five journals ago! I love to record life in remembrance of what God has done. Scripture tells us to write it down on stones of remembrance so those that follow will know the goodness of God. My first intention was to compile the stories for my children and grandchildren as a legacy of faith because I feel it’s important to hand down to the next generation the reason we believe, to encourage them in their own journey.

However, for the past twenty-six years (really!) I’ve been attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. The director, Marlene Bagnull has been instrumental in developing and encouraging my writing. I’ve written for many publications and devotionals throughout the years, but finally came to the realization that I needed to write it in a book, not a journal.

I love Marlene Bagnull! As the first person to help me see that writing was my calling from God, she has been a powerful influence in my writing life as well. So what finally inspired you to write Crumbs Along the Broken Path?

Many years in Women’s Ministry brought me close to the heart of a number of wounded women experiencing some of the things I had. I wanted to encourage those who needed hope in seemingly hopeless situations. I created a blog, Encouraging Women One Story at a Time and the book came about soon after.

The book traces a personal path of rebellion, repentance, and restoration. In the middle of the road somewhere I began to take inventory of my life and saw that the good and especially the not-so-good were the very things God used to bring me to a deeper place with Him. I wanted to share it with others.

God’s most powerful blessing can be the brokenness we experience because of where it leads – to wholeness. It reminds us that we’re not the main character of our story.

“We’re not the main character of our story.” So true! What can you tell us about the book – what are some of the stories about?

This is a collection of short stories that tells of a faith struggle in the midst of a life interrupted by countless crises. It’s the difficult and the dark things that touch all of our lives in some way, although not usually condensed into one lifetime, as it has been for me. I once had someone tell me my life sounded like fiction. The stories are as real as God’s intervention in each one.

A few stories are special to me. . . . certainly the one about our youngest son’s unending journey with Crumbs Along Broken Path Verna Coverkidney failure, Journey of a Lifetime.

Also, If I Should Wake Before I Die, the story of when my husband suffered multiple strokes and cardiac arrest developing into a coma. He was pronounced brain dead and we were asked to remove the life support. After much prayer that helped me in a difficult decision, I told them I knew what God could do in seven days, and I would wait. The seventh morning he woke up! This also has seemed like an unending journey, but today he is a master woodcarver to fill in his forced-to-retire hours!

Another story has to do with our Bible study that helped us build another home similar to the near-by Amish barn raising, when we lost ours due to extreme medical bills. You won’t believe who God supplied in that labor crew!

What do you hope the reader will take away after reading your book?

Hope. Deep hope. We all face challenges but the hard things that touch our lives that seem unending, don’t have to last forever. We can see beyond the circumstances that shout in our faces when we learn to listen for the merciful whisper of a sovereign Father.

My book is simply journaled pieces of life. I end each one with a question in the hope the reader will discover a piece of his or her own story, because . . .

Everybody has a story!

You’re absolutely right, Verna! And it’s often through our stories that we’re able to connect with those who need to connect with Jesus. Thank you for your willingness to share the good and the bad with us, and pointing to the Savior who can heal it all.

BIO: Verna has over twenty-five years in ministry leadership inspiring women to a deeper relationship with God. Her passion is encouraging women through writing and speaking messages of hope. Her experience in leading Bible studies, teaching, mentoring, and coordinating retreats have provided opportunities to share God’s Word with women of all ages. Verna’s book, Crumbs Along the Broken Path, walks readers through her rebellion, redemption, and restoration by following scattered crumbs on her path that led to a deep relationship with the Lord.  Her stories can bring each one of us to a deeper understanding of how God uses tragic circumstances in our lives. Verna is a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference and a long time participant of the Greater Philadelphia and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences. She posts a weekly blog on her website Encouraging Women One Story at a Time. Her articles and personal experience stories have been featured in various periodicals and devotionals. She and her husband Jeff have four adult children and five grandchildren – all wonderful. In her free time she works as a medical secretary. Be sure to visit her website at www.vernabowman.com

So that’s it for today, friends. Be sure to leave a comment for Verna and you could win a free book! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner. 🙂

I pray God’s blessings on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Laughter is Serious Business

Photo courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve always had an innate sense of humor. From the time I was a little girl, I loved making people laugh, even if it meant making a fool of myself in the process. My dad educated me in the gentle art of humor through his Miss Carolina Bowler beauty award and his practical joking.

As a kid, it was only natural that I would participate in talent shows. It didn’t matter if I was singing and dancing with a construction-paper-faced broom or playing the part of a down-on-her-luck Queen for a Day contestant, my goal was always to win the audience with humor. And most of the time it worked.

So when I began my speaking ministry in 1998, it was only natural that I would entertain the audience by standing on my head during the introduction. After all, I reasoned, if I could make them laugh, they would be more likely to really hear the truth in my message.* And even though my techniques have changed (Believe me, I haven’t stood on my head in years!), the use of humor has been a constant ingredient throughout my ministry.

But when I decided to write a women’s book, I discovered what had worked well from the stage didn’t make the transition to paper. Brent Diggs in his post, The Secret to Writing Humor, says, “Nearly every tool of comedy is denied to the writer.” How true that is! The tools that had worked so well from the stage–timing, facial expressions, tones and inflections–weren’t available in written words.

That struggle led me to the study of humor writing. And even though I can’t share everything with you in this short blog time, here are some techniques to help you engage your reader through laughter.

  1. Set the story up well. Take the time to lay out the groundwork in a logical way.
  2. Use exaggeration. This is one time you want to take literary license through the use of hyperbole. The story is still true, but you just make it more. As I tell the school students in my Writing is Fun Workshops, take real life and make it bigger, badder, meaner, sadder.
  3. Apply the rule of threes. Even though it’s not officially a rule, we know there is melody in the use of threes. And there’s humor in the use of threes, too.
  4. And whether you’re using the rule of threes or simply telling a story, try to place the funniest word at the end of the sentence.
  5. Punch words and/or punch lines often work well.
  6. Write tight. When I initially write out a story, it’s a rambling story with all the details I normally include when I tell it from the stage. But in writing, I discovered it was best told in no more than half the spoken words.
  7. Use words that begin with hard consonants, especially the K sound.
  8. Use short sentences for more emphasis.
  9. Even in humor writing, be sure to listen for the music or cadence of the words.
  10. Rewrite…rewrite…rewrite.

I hope this list helps you in your goal of writing humor. And just to prepare you as you work on humor, I’ll close with these words of truth from the well-known humorist, Dave Barry:

“It’s hard to think of an ending. The beginning is really hard, and the ending is always really hard, and the middle part is also very hard. It’s just hard, hard, hard.” Dave Barry

*Disclaimer: If you attend the Christian Communicators Conference to learn how to begin or expand your speaking ministry, I can assure you, I will not be teaching you how to stand on your head. I won’t even recommend it. As a matter of fact, I’d rather we didn’t even talk about it at all…

(Photo courtesy of TinaPhillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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And since we’re talking about humor today, I just have to share one of my favorite funny videos, I Will Survive – Alien Song, by www.Navone.org. I was first introduced to this video by Alton Gansky when he taught a class at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, long before he was the director.

It’s only a minute. Go ahead. Enjoy!

Write on…and laugh!

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

It’s no secret Jesus was tempted. Thanks to the gospels, we know about His forty days with Satan in the desert. We know the evil one’s greatest glory would be to entice our blessed Savior into sin.

But did you know Jesus’ temptation didn’t end in the desert?

When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. Luke 4:13 (NLT)

Yes, Satan left Christ in the desert, but he didn’t leave Him forever. The scriptures say he left only because he thought he would have a better chance at another time, a future time when Jesus was tired or weary or facing a cross.

Christian writers and speakers are not immune to temptation. If anything, Satan tends to work doubly hard on those of us who claim the Name of Christ. After all, what could be better than exposing, humiliating, and condemning His followers?

Each of us is a prime target, complete with a bull’s eye circle positioned squarely over our hearts. And just like Jesus, our weapon is the Word of God, boldly proclaimed for all—especially Satan—to hear.

Do you know your weakness? Do you recognize those times you’re most likely to fall into sin? Whether you’re aware of them or not, you can be sure of one thing: Satan is.

I’ve discovered my weakest moments are when I’m rushed and stressed and trying to get things done in a hurry. Satan knows, too. That’s exactly why he’ll do his best to see that I can’t find my keys, choose the slowest grocery line, and get behind the little old lady who could have made it through the yellow light.

So now I’m learning to monitor my thoughts and attitudes when those rushed, stressed, overwhelming days come. And when that temptation is over, I remind myself that Satan is just around the corner, simply waiting for a more opportune time.

Praise God I have the scriptures to help me have the mind and heart of Christ…so I can be the hands and feet of Him.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Author/Speaker Pam Farrel, Are You Brave?

My goodness, you are in for a treat today! I’m leaving tomorrow for the third Christian Communicators Conference, this time held at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. But before I leave, I want to introduce you to my friend, Pam Farrel, best-selling author of over 37 books, the newest from Harvest House, Becoming a Brave New Woman. She’s had gobs of books that I’ve loved, but two of my favorites are Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti and Red Hot Monogamy (Yes, you read that right. Awesome book!)

But today we want to talk about her new book, Becoming a Brave New Woman. In this book, Pam helps women discover how to develop the courage they need to walk into their hopes and dreams. With plenty of biblical examples and practical insights, Pam reveals that nothing is more vital to becoming a brave new woman than knowing God intimately and looking at life from His point of view.

I’m thrilled to share this interview that will help you become a brave leader, author and speaker, too. And don’t forget to leave a comment for Pam and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of Becoming a Brave New Woman!

Q: Pam, when do you first remember needing to feel brave?

A: I was born into a chaotic home filled with domestic violence caused by my father’s drinking. As a preschooler I felt fear. However, early on Sunday mornings there was a cartoon created by the Lutheran church and it showed what a happy, healthy home looked like. It all centered around God. I began talking to God when I knew very little about him. But praying began to help me be brave—so I kept it up!

Q. When did you begin writing?

A. I wrote and illustrated my first book in second grade—and from that point on I was hooked! I fell in love with words, the writing process—even the smell of books on a library shelf!

Q When did your writing shift from your sweet little picture book that you created at age 8 to the more courageous writing you do today?

A. When I was nine, I realized I didn’t want to grow up and repeat the pattern of chaos that filled my home daily. My best friend, Kelly, invited me to her home and it was full of love, peace, joy (the fruit of the Spirit), and I wanted that kind of home! Then Kelly’s family invited our family to church, and there I saw what loves looked like. I wanted to know the author of love-God!

Q.  Share why you wrote your newest book, Becoming a Brave New Woman.

A. I have been a youth pastor’s wife, senior pastor’s wife, a Director of Women’s Ministry and speaker so I spend a lot of time with women: talented, smart, amazing women—but the trouble is, the majority didn’t see themselves that way! They were racked with fears of all kinds, shapes and sizes and when I boiled it all down, they were fearful because they didn’t have an accurate view of God, so they couldn’t see themselves or their lives from his point of view. 

Q. So how did you change that?

A. I decided to help them by taking them on the same journey as I took to become a woman of courage and confidence—I’d give them a better view of God! In Becoming a Brave New Woman I say, “There is nothing more vital, more central to our confidence than our confidence in God. I like to say, Show me the size of your God, I will show you the size of your courage: BIG God, BIG courage; BIG God, BIG adventure; BIG God, BIG opportunities; BIG God, BIG bravery!”

Q. The subtitle is “Step Into God’s Adventure For Your Life”. How do you tell women to do that?

A. Let’s apply my BRAVE method of S.T.E.P.ping into your adventure to the life of a writer:

S: Speak the Adventure- Tell your spouse, friends, family, or mentees what God is calling you to do. Speaking our dreams, goals and adventures out loud gives them wings! But even more powerful is to speak God truth over your life- that is where real courage is formed. That I why each chapter of Brave New Woman ends with Winning Words which is simply scripture , personalized, then strung together so a woman can pray it over her life or her friends and family can pray it over her too!

T: Team Up for the Adventure- A successful writer has a good team around her: mentors, other writing friends, and some practical help too. My books make deadline because my kids learned to cook!

E: Energize the Adventure- A writer sits-A LOT! But if we are going to keep writing we need good habits to live longer and stronger: eating the right foods, lots of exercise, and time outside in the sunshine! I love some of the studies I cite in Brave New Woman because we often don’t remind ourselves that a walk, a swim, a little dancing—and even some of what we call “Red Hot Monogamy” with your spouse can all release creativity!

P: Push the Adventure- Writing requires a brave heart. People will disagree with you. God might ask you to write on controversial topics. (I didn’t go to college with a goal of writing several books on sexuality!) But writing is when you see a need and you see God’s answer for that need so you grab hold of God and your computer and you write! The world desperately needs a message they may not even initially want to hear—but we must write it! And as writers we can help each other become brave. I am inspired by the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.” We must be BRAVE!

Vonda here: Thanks for joining us, Pam. What an honor to have you here with us at The Christian Writer’s Den. And friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for Pam and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! But you must check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Pam and her husband, Bill, are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise. Together they help people in all their most vital relationships by connecting love to wisdom. Their resources, books, and numerous free relationship building articles can be found at www.Love-Wise.com

Write on!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Conferences & Opportunities for Creative People

It’s Thursday, so let’s check out some conferences and opportunities for YOU!

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Don’t miss these upcoming conferences for teens, adults, and speakers.

If you haven’t figured it out already, conferences are the way for creative people to learn, grow, and connect with others. I can honestly say most of the good things that have happened in my career can be traced back to something or someone I met at a conference. Think of it as “getting your degree.” Yes, it takes time. Yes it takes an investment. But the return is worth it all!

1.  Upstate SC American Christian Writers Spring 2012 Workshop: May 12, 2012, Greenville, SC

2.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 16-19, 2012, Estes Park, CO

3.  Orange County Christian Writers Conference: May 18-20, 2012, Newport Beach, CA

4.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 20-24, 2012, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

5.  St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference: June 19-23, 2012, Grove City, PA

6.  North Texas Christian Writers Conference: June 22-23, 2012, Keller, TX (I’ll see you there!)

7.  AnAuthor World/The Writers’ Plot Conference: July 21, 2012, Furman University, Greenville, SC (I’ll see you there!)

8.  Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: August 1-4, 2012, Langhorne, PA

9.  Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival: August 11-16, 2012, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

10. Christian Authors Guild “Catch the Wave” Writers Conference: August 23-25, 2012, Norcross, GA

11. CLASS Christian Writers Conference: October 31-November 4, 2012, Ghost Ranch, NM

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Do You Know Some Creative Teens?

The Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival Intern program is looking for teens 16-18yo who are interested in acting, directing, producing, screenwriting, songwriting, singing, television or radio. This is their opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with those who can help them in their goals. I’m honored to be a co-director, along with Sarah Sumpolec, of the Gideon/Clash Entertainment Intern Program for Christian teens.

But you must hurry! The application deadline is June 1st! Tell all the talented Christian teens you know!

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Registrations are Filling Up for the August 2012 Christian Communicators Conference!

That’s right…the conference is in August, but with only 3 or 4 rooms left, space is already extremely limited.

Ladies, do you dream of having a speaking ministry? Do you already have a ministry, but want to grow as a speaker? The Christian Communicators Conference was created just for you!

The 3rd Christian Communicators Conference will be held at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina August 29-September 2, and Carolyn Knefely and I would love to have you join us!

But don’t take our word for it, here are some testimonials from the previous conferences:

“I’ve been to a lot of Christian conferences in my lifetime, yet CCC would prove to be the most rewarding and the most life changing.”
Glenda Mills, WV
http://GlendaMills.com

“The Christian Communicators Conference was an in-depth weekend of speaker training that was filled with encouragement, deep friendship, and love. It helped move my speaking to the next level…I feel more polished and confident as a professional speaker.”
Patty Mason, TN
Liberty in Christ Ministries
www.LibertyinChrist.net

“If you believe GOD is calling you into His service as a speaker, CCC is the very first thing you need to do. After PRAYING of course!”
Liz Cowen Furman, CO
www.LizCowenFurman.com

Feel free to contact me with any questions. You don’t want to miss it!

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Are You MoGoing?

You could write a book this year–AND win $100 in cold, hard cash!

That’s right! The MoGo7000 Challenge will help you complete a book and give you multiple chances to win money. For each month that you write 7000 new words on a book project, your name goes in the hat for the end-of-the-year drawing. Meet the goal three months this year and you get three entries. Meet it nine months and you get nine entries!

The good news is, you can join in any time…and it’s FREE!

Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page for all the details. And get to work! Next Thursday I’ll be asking for the April totals, which will be announced the next week. So what are you waiting for?

Write that book!

Write on!

Vonda

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Interview and Book Give-Away with Author and Speaker Patty Mason

It’s author interview and book give-away day and I’m so pumped to introduce my friend, author and speaker Patty Mason, to you. Patty and I met in May ’09 at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where her book, Transformed by Desire: A Journey of Awakening to Life and Love, won an award in the Bible study category. At that conference, Patty also attended my How to Develop a Speaking Ministry to Women continuing class at Blue Ridge and I later endorsed her book. Then, in January 2011, Patty participated in our very first Christian Communicators Conference at Lake Keowee, SC, and I can tell you, she’s an amazing speaker.

As you can see, Patty and I have developed a lasting relationship and I’m honored to be able to share her books with you today.

Be sure to check out Patty’s bio below, but for now, just take my word that she’s someone you want to listen to. 🙂

And if you’d like the opportunity to win a free copy of Patty’s book, just leave a comment below and you’ll be in the running! (Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.)

Thanks for being with us today, Patty. I can’t wait for the readers to hear your story. First of all, tell us about your newest book, Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs. Why did you write it? Who did you write it for?

Patty: Finally Free is my story—my personal battle with depression. In the book, I share how I got there—even to the point of becoming suicidal—to how I was instantly delivered from depression without drugs. When I first began to write Finally Free, I had other depression sufferers in mind. I know the pain of their anguish. I wanted to reach out to them and offer hope, to let them know they are not alone. However, during the months it took to write the book, many people approached me and told me how their mother, husband, friend, etc. was suffering. They were looking for answers because they didn’t know what to do to help those they loved. From these conversations I saw another need: To reach people who are living with a depressed loved one.

How difficult was it to write from both perspectives?

Patty: I know depression from both sides of the well. I know what it is to suffer, and I know what it is to live with someone who is depressed. About seven years after I was healed, my husband became depressed. Listen, I am not a doctor, so I do not share medical advice in the book. I wrote purely out of personal experience. I know what worked for me when my husband was suffering, so in the back of the book I share some practical tips, some do’s and don’ts, when handling someone with depression.

That sounds like a valuable resource. Would you share a couple of those tips with us?

Patty: First of all, be a good listener. Don’t judge or criticize how your loved one feels. Don’t say, “Oh, you’ll get over it.” That is what my husband would say to me. Prior to his depression my husband didn’t understand what I was going through, so he dismissed it as something I would “get over.” If someone has never experienced depression, they will not understand. However, when my husband began to experience his own trouble with depression, he apologized to me profusely.

Another good helpful tip is to get them out of the house. Depression suffers tend to hide from people and life, and a change of scenery can help. I took my husband and our three children on vacation for a few days, and that trip helped tremendously.

Although I’ve had down periods, like after the death of my daddy and while caring for my terminally-ill sister, I’m blessed that I’ve never suffered with lasting depression. Can you tell us more about what you went through? How did the depression start? Did you seek help? How did you find your way out of depression without drugs?

Patty: Disappointment and disillusionment caused me to fall hard into my well of depression. From the age of 18, I went on one pursuit after another expecting “people and things” to fill me in some way. By the time I was 35 I had everything. I had a husband who loved me, three beautiful, healthy children, a nice home and successful career, yet none of it gave me the sense of worth and satisfaction I was looking for. For a long time I wore the mask that told those around me I was fine and I had it all together. Outwardly I looked like I had everything, but inwardly I was dying. I didn’t want to admit I had problems, so I didn’t seek help at first.

Finally, once I figured out I couldn’t help myself, I began to seek help through family and friends. When that didn’t work, I turned to the medical profession, but I couldn’t find any doctors who would help me.

The most critical day came when I had come to the end of myself. Suicidal, I cried out to God to help me. “Only you can help me!” I told Him, “Please, help me!” Later that same day, God reached into my well of darkness and pulled me out. And when I came out of that well, I came out a different person.

What an amazing story of the power of our God! Since your book came out, I know your story has been told numerous times. Would you tell us about some of the places you’ve had opportunities to share your story of God’s healing grace?

Patty: Actually, I began sharing my story before audiences back in 1997, shortly after the healing took place. God has given me many opportunities to share it over the years at various conferences, churches groups, and workshops. But since the release of Finally Free, He has opened doors for me to share on numerous television and radio programs, including CBN 700 Club. My story has also been published in several magazines, on blog sites, and in books by other authors, such as Unshackled and Free and Recycled Women.

I’ve watched your video interviews and you do a great job of telling your story. I hope the readers will visit your website to find out more about Liberty in Christ Ministries and to check out your videos.

But now, let’s switch to writing. Tell us more about your journey. What are you working on these days?

Patty: My writing began at the age of nine when I won my first writing contest. From then on my mother would tell me, “Patty, you’re a writer.” My writing career, however, began 34 years later. I wrote my first book in 2003. Since then I have had the privilege to write five books, including two Bible studies. Transformed by Desire: A Journey of Awakening to Life and Love was released in 2010; then Finally Free in 2011.

I’m currently working toward publishing my second Bible study, Know That I AM God, and working on the video series that will accompany the workbook. In between all this, I’ve written several magazine articles and on various blog sites.

Writer’s conferences have played a big part in my developing career; as well as the guidance from my writing mentor, Doc Hensley, who I met at the first writer’s workshop. And as you said, Vonda, we also met at a writer’s conference—whoo hoo! You, too, have played a big part in my writing and speaking. What I have learned from you is priceless to me.

Wow, thank YOU for your kind words and for sharing your wisdom and journey with us. It’s been a joy to watch God bring glory to Himself through your faithfulness.

And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment below for Patty and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

Thanks for joining us today, Patty.

Patty: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my heart and my story of God’s healing mercy.

Author Bio:

Patty Mason is a wife and mother who found hope and healing when Jesus reached into her well of depression and set her free. From her painful past God created Liberty in Christ Ministries, a ministry dedicated to helping others find hope, healing, and freedom for their souls. As a speaker and Bible teacher, Patty continues to speak at women’s luncheons, events, workshops and conferences and has reached audiences all over the world through Sisters on Assignment, Christian TV, Salem Communication’s Light Source, WLGT Blog Radio Live, and CBN 700 Club.

Website: www.libertyinchristministries.com

Contact info: patty@libertyinchristministries.com

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Writing for Women

Photo courtesy of HealingDream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve had the joy of writing in a variety of genres and am looking forward to adding a couple of more in the next few years. In addition to my goal of writing a women’s fiction loosely based on my experience of caring for my sister during her terminal illness, I’m planning to try my hand at writing a screenplay based on the yet-to-be-written book.

And although the ideas excite me, they scare me, too. After all, I’ve already written a book for women…and I know what it takes. If you’ve ever considered writing fiction or non-fiction for the fairer sex (note I did NOT say weaker sex), you might want to consider what it will require.

1.  Transparency. If there’s anything universally true about writing for women, it’s that it requires transparency. Whether we’re writing fiction or non, we must be honest about our fears, doubts, and failures.

Were you mad at God? Admit it. Ready to walk out the door of your marriage? Let us know. Frustrated with a child’s choices in life? Join the crowd. That means you’re like the rest of us. It’s what you did with that anger and struggle and frustration that allows us to learn from you.

I’ve read books, and I assume you have too, where the writer is such an expert Christian that she can’t admit she struggled, and perhaps still does at times. I just can’t respect or relate to those kinds of books. Let’s face it, as Christians, we’re never going to get everything right here on earth. To present ourselves as one who has arrived is to present a lie.

2.  Writing about real life. Dirty diapers. Bills. Scrubbing toilets. That’s real life for most of us. And that’s what will draw me in to your story. Yes, if you’re writing fiction, you have the freedom to help us escape through the lives of the characters, but we still must be able to find real life feelings and emotions within those characters. I don’t know what it’s like to have a husband who cheats on me, but I expect such a character to respond in a realistic way. Even if we don’t see it on the surface, we must be able to identify with what’s going on inside her.

In non-fiction, the topic must be something that is real to your target audience woman. Write it real to the subject and she’ll be able to identify with you and your situation…and you’ll be able to help her.

3.  The ability to laugh at yourself. Laughter is a uniting technique that breaks down walls and draws the reader in, especially when we’re plopping ourselves out there for our readers. Writing Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe was gut-wrenchingly difficult because of the transparency, but fun because I was able to laugh at myself. I was able to take many of my foibles of life and use them to present spiritual truths. Women could see the scene, find themselves in the character, and apply God’s Truth to their own situations.

4.   A we’re-in-this-together voice. You should refrain from using the words “you should.” 🙂 You should, you need to, and you must should be used sparingly and in a way that doesn’t point the proverbial finger. Yes, there are times when you may need to say something using those words, but that shouldn’t be the voice of the book.

Instead, using phrases like we can, we must, and if we…then… takes away the pointing finger and replaces it with a warm hug. It’s a sitting-around-the-kitchen-table-and-sipping-coffee kind of statement. And that kind of statement will draw your reader into your story and allow her to benefit from your experience.

Writing for women isn’t easy, but it’s a worthy calling, and one that I’m honored to have received. I know many of you have, too. As my tagline says, I’m thankful God can take my messes and use them for His glory…if we let Him.

After all, God doesn’t waste any scars.

Half-price sale for Mother’s Day! Want your own autographed copy of Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe for half price? What about giving them as Mother’s Day gifts? Just contact me and I’ll send you a charge through PayPal for only $6.50 plus shipping ($2.50) per book. PLEASE DO NOT ORDER HALF-PRICE OFFER THROUGH VONDA’S STORE–IT WILL CHARGE YOU FULL PRICE!

Here’s a recent review of Seeing Through the Lies:

5.0 out of 5 stars You will enjoy this humorous, fun and thought provoking book, May 24, 2011
This review is from: Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe (Paperback)

You will enjoy this humorous, fun and thought provoking book. There are many principles to apply to your everyday life. The amusing and personal stories will encourage you to continue learning and growing in your spiritual quest. The chapter’s end with a list of Bible readings that apply to the information you have just studied. There are also questions to answer to make sure you have understood the principle the author is teaching.

One of the chapters entitled “I’m So Proud of My Humility” explains how pride will get you no where! Using scripture and personal stories the author encourages you to leave the worlds lie behind that says you deserve more then anyone else.

The chapter entitled “Fear and the Faith Factor” was a personal favorite. Following the principle of scripture you will learn how to make decisions not on fear but on prayer.

“When does Happily Ever After Begin?” is a hilarious chapter and includes wonderful insight on how to maintain a happy marriage. The author is very clear that happily ever after does not exist and is just another lie the world has lead us to believe.

This book is filled with excellent principles and easy to follow steps to shake off the lies of the world and center your thoughts on the Lord’s truth. I loved this book so much I gave away copies as presents for Mothers Day!

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Healing Dream)

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos, MoGo7000 & Christian Communicators Conference for Speakers

Yep, it’s the second Thursday of the month, so that means it’s time to party! Who and what are we celebrating this month? Kudos for writers, MoGo7000 qualifiers, and Christian Communicators Conference to train Christian speakers!

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Let’s Celebrate the Successes of These Christian Writer’s Den Friends!

These writers have something to celebrate…and we get to join in the fun!

1.  Barb Winters (IL): My devotion was published at Christian Devotions recently. You can read it here: Free-Falling Trust. Additionally, I have an article being published in a May edition of SEEK, a Sunday School paper.

2.  Laura Lee Groves (FL): Just got a copy of Always There: Reflections for Moms on God’s Presence. I contributed “From Guilt to Grace” for this MOPS devotional.

3.  Diana Leagh Matthews (SC): Diana started a blog, Where the Winds Blow.

4.  Liz Cowen Furman (CO): Liz has her own blog and is now writing for a Suicide blog. You can read her  Thinking about Suicide posts here. This is a great resource for all of us who may come in contact with those who suffer with depression and suicidal thoughts. She also is a humor writer at The Christian Pulse. Liz says, “And I’m frantically trying to finish my first fiction novel before CCWC this spring and reworking my pre teen series for the same! Eak. CRAZY but loving it!”

5.  Ellen Andersen (SC): I had a devotion published April 5 at Christian Devotions.

6.  Tracy Crump (MS): My story, “Pressure Perfect,” appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul
Family Caregivers
that came out in March.

Great job, writers! I’m so proud to share your successes at The Christian Writer’s Den!

And friends, don’t forget to check back next Thursday for a new list of writing opportunities, selected just for you! Many readers have been published as a direct result of something they saw on our writing opps. You could be next!

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And Who Has Another Entry into the Drawing for $100?

These writers have collected entries for the end-of-the-year drawing:

  1. Eddie Snipes – 36,372 words
  2. Cindy Patterson – 7,787 words

Do you want to write a book this year? Then check out the MoGo7000 Challenge. It’s free and you can join in at any time!

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The Christian Communicators Conference is Accepting Registrations!

If you’re a woman who’s ever considered developing or growing a speaking ministry, I hope you’ll check out ChristianCommunicators.com. It’s so much more than a conference. It’s also a community of like-minded women who love and support each other; it’s ongoing training, and the opportunity to get your ministry into the hands of event planners.

Our third conference will be held August 2012 conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, and we’d love to have you join us!

The all-inclusive package includes:

  • the complete 5-day training program with breakout sessions
  • 4 nights lodging in a beautiful 2-queen room with bath
  • 12 delicious meals from Wednesday dinner through Sunday lunch
  • a high tea with etiquette training
  • praise & worship led by La-Tan Murphy
  • a professionally filmed video of your presentation
  • snacks, access to the free yogurt bar and cappuccino machines, continuous access to coffee and soft drinks
  • handouts, notebook, and bag
  • reproducible ministry forms
  • give-aways
  • critiques
  • small groups
  • ongoing training and support after the conference
  • a one-hour phone appointment after the conference
  • promotional opportunities
  • the chance to make lifelong friendships with like-minded women across the country

This is an exciting week of learning, growing, and hearing from the Lord. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out the Christian Communicators Testimonial Page to hear from some of our graduates. And take a peek at this short video of Patty Mason and Ginny Dent Brant:

The Cec Murphey Scholarships have been awarded, but we still have room for YOU! However, space is limited.

Please feel free to contact me or Carolyn Knefely with any questions. We’d love to talk to you!

Well, that’s it for this week’s headlines. Hope to see you back tomorrow as we end our week with the only WORD that matters.

Write and speak ON!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos, MoGo7000 February Results & Cec Murphey Scholarships

Thursday’s Writer’s Headlines…

Yep, it’s Thursday, and that means we’re looking at the headlines. Read below to see who’s been blessed with writing success, who’s been writing away and is in the running for $100, and discover a scholarship opportunity for Christian women speakers!

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