Cooking and Writing

(I wrote this several years ago, but find the truth still applies…at least for me.)

Recently, a friend of mine warned me not to sit on my gift.  Just prior to that, she had asked me if I had written anything lately.  I hadn’t.  I haven’t felt inspired to write.  It was like I had nothing to say.

Last week I was going through emails and I came across one that was advertising next year’s Writers’ Market.  I remembered back to January of this year.  I had begged Nelson for an updated copy.  I told him that if he would buy it for me I would send out at least ten pieces to publishers.  He did and I didn’t.

In the past few months, I have begun to enjoy cooking.  Not long ago, Nelson posited that I was cooking to avoid writing.  Seemed ridiculous to me.  He had cooked most of our married life—mostly because he was very good at it, but also because I worked non-stop.  Now, Nelson is working long days and it just makes sense for me to pick up that responsibility.  I dove into the task by hunting for potential recipes and then began experimenting with combinations that I knew we liked.  I went quickly from having three recipes that my family enjoyed to a couple dozen.  It felt good.

This morning as I was washing the pot that I had made a really good soup in yesterday, I had an epiphany.  It was about cooking and writing. When Nelson and I got married I was afraid to cook.  I was such a novice that my mother-in-law bought me an illustrated cookbook.  My repertoire included macaroni made in a hot pot and peanut butter sandwiches.  To avoid embarrassment, I acquiesced to Nelson’s expertise and over the years discovered three recipes that I did well and stuck with those.  I was afraid to do any more than that because if I couldn’t do it perfectly I wouldn’t do it all.

What I realized as I stood at my sink scrubbing dishes was that Nelson was right in part.  I needed to cook so that I could write.  I hadn’t contacted any publishers with my writing because, though I knew I could write, I didn’t consider myself a writer.  Throwing myself into my cooking showed me that.  For years I had avoided cooking because I didn’t see myself as a cook and therefore I couldn’t.  It wasn’t enough to say that I could cook, I had to be the best cook.  I knew I was far from that so I didn’t, and wouldn’t cook.  This was reinforced by the ridicule I took when I tried to cook.  I was the brunt of many a family joke.  Why should I continue to prove them right and give them something new to laugh at?

My recent successes at cooking have forced me to rethink this.  I may not be a “James Beard Chef”, but I can cook.  Nelson has really enjoyed my newly found and developing love for being creative in the kitchen.  He raves about the meals and shows them off at work.  I’m not going to be Top Chef anywhere, not even in my kitchen.  That honor will always be Nelson’s.  But it’s not going to keep me from cooking and experimenting.

I still have a few months left in this year.  I will probably never win an award for my writing, but why should that keep me from developing my craft and sharing my thoughts?  The obvious answer is that it shouldn’t—and based on what I learned from cooking recently: it won’t!

Oh, and while I’m at it, I realized something else about my writing that makes it more imperative that I push past my reluctance to face rejection.  Recently while I was preparing for a retreat I led on spirituality and personality, I read that most devotionals are written by “N” types (think MBTI).  I mulled that over for a while and realized that is one of the reasons I feel so compelled to create a devotional series, one that is more appealing and appropriate for “S” types.  Not everyone relates to the intuitive style and needs to engage their senses more completely to engage them spiritually.  Maybe I’ve found my niche!

Purpose

(I wrote this during Lent in 2009. Even more true today)

For a while I thought I was depressed.  Life changed drastically for me when I lost my job.  In part, I think the trauma was due to the to the fact that I found my identity in what I did.  The challenges of the work gave me purpose.  I felt vital and alive.  Losing my job meant I lost my sense of purpose.

I used to teach groups of people how to write their mission statements.  We didn’t start with that.  We would back up and talk about finding their passion in life and for life.  When it came to putting that passion into a working purpose or mission statement, I would teach to the difference between a goal (short term) and a mission statement (life- long driving force).  A mission or purpose statement is something you can see devoting your whole life to.  It is true now and will be true in twenty, thirty, even fifty years.

Reflecting on this, I wasn’t really depressed.  I was just adrift and going nowhere because I had taken my eyes off the map.  I thought that without the job I wouldn’t be able to follow my purpose and mission.  I forgot that the job wasn’t the only vehicle to get me where I needed to be.  I forgot that the whether I’m teaching or cleaning toilets, it is the purpose or mission God has for my life that matters and he will provide me with the opportunities I need.  I forgot that it is God who gifts me and directs me to use those gifts.  

I was reading about John the Baptist in Mark’s gospel.  I don’t think there are many who would sign up for John’s job—especially if they knew how it was going to end for him.  Yet, even in the briefest of ministries, John paved the way by preparing the people for the emergence of Jesus’ life-changing ministry.

It reminds me of relief pitchers in baseball.  They will never pitch a whole game.  That’s not their job.  It’s not why they were hired.  Some of those guys will only throw a few pitches and the next thing we see is the coach headed to the mound.  Those couple of precisely placed pitches are what the reliever gets paid the big bucks for.  It’s their purpose.  

Now, dust off your imagination and try to picture this: your favorite baseball team has made the playoffs!  They did this not just on their bats, but because of their pitching.  But now that they’ve made it to the biggest games, the team’s relievers and closers have decided they want more playing time and have threatened to not play at all if they don’t get the opportunity to pitch a whole game.  How crazy is that?  How dare they hold the game hostage for their whims?

The apostle Paul, in his discussion of gifts, makes this statement: But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it (1 Corinthians 12:18, NLT).  Right there with the assurance that we all have a part, we’re told that we are placed right where He wants us. 

That’s why we really need to bloom right where we’re planted!

Prayerfully ponder: How’s the soil where you are? Are you focused on how you want to use your perceived talents? Are you more concerned with what you want than what God needs from you? Are you discouraged because you feel like you’re riding the pine and you can’t understand why God is wasting your abilities? Are you aware of what God’s doing around you so that when the time is right (God’s specialty) you’ll be ready to pitch your inning?

Wednesday’s Encouraging Word

Today’s word was suggested by my friend, Deborah Helm Liffick.

I want to apologize for not getting this out on Wednesday (1/6/21). I don’t know how your day went, mine was an emotional roller coaster. My husband had to return to Ohio. We had a wonderful visit. He also accomplished several “honey do” items that will make my stay here easier. But good byes (even for a few months) are hard.

Then there was all the insanity in Washington with the attack on the Capital. I was up until after midnight watching the news. I grieve the loss of life and the loss of our ability to engage in civil discourse. Accountability and consequences for deplorable and illegal behavior is a thing of the past.

But I had determined that I was going to establish a weekly post utilizing the encouraging words given to me by friends. I couldn’t allow yesterdays emotional obstacles to deter me from my goal.

So, here it is. The post. I don’t feel all that great about it, but the feeling may come as I build upon the weekly achievements and prove to myself I can finish this goal.

Hopefully that’s what we’ll see together.

Stepping Back on Goals

My mind is churning on creating goals. I’m feeling good about it and then I read this in my morning devotions: “Have you ever “gone out” in this way? If so, there is no logical answer possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, “ What do you expect to do?” You don’t know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually examine your attitude toward God to see if you are willing to “go out” in every area of your life, trusting God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in constant wonder, because you don’t know what God is going to do next (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, Special Updated Edition, edited by James Riemann).”

So I sat there on the floor of my bedroom wondering. Maybe I struggle with setting goals because I’m a very strong P on MBTI. (If you don’t know MBTI, that means I “fly by the seat of my pants.” This also describes my writing preference: I’m a ‘panster’ not a ‘plotter.’)

What if I’m not wired to map, plod, plan, or calendarize everything? Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know how to do those things. I can keep a calendar, sort of. I can function on a schedule—I have to work harder at it, but I can do it. I don’t like it. I feel confined, and like I’m not at my best. I resist and procrastinate until I have no option but to capitulate…so I do.

Serendipitous, free-floating, unscheduled, unplanned, unfettered. The very words make my heart happy.

I can teach others the steps to creating goals, and writing vision/mission statements. I can help them peal back the layers and really get to the heart and meat of their goals—who and how they want to be and function. But I suck at it for myself.

For example. Yesterday I mentioned in my worksheet the goal of riding my bike 50 miles a week. It’s a totally SMART goal. If goals were attractive to me at all. The problem for me is that as soon as I quantify and feel I have to measure up, bike riding loses all it’s joy for me. It’s a job. It’s something I have to check off my list and resent it. (Okay. Right now there are tears in my eyes as I think about this—I must be getting close to my truth).

That takes me back to the OC quote and something I talked about in my message last week. One thing. In the Bible there are 5 places where we’re told that God seeks one thing from us:

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Psalm27:4).

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Mark 10:21).”

“…but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:42).”

He replied, “whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see (John 9:25)!”

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Matthews George in an internet article (Five One Things in the Bible, mathewsgeorge.medium.com, April 4, 2017) shows how these 5 verses help us know God: Psalm 27:4 helps us know God through a heart of prayer; Mark’s verse helps us know God through a heart of surrender; Luke’s helps us know God through a heart of service; John’s helps us to know God through a heart of witness; and Paul’s directing us to a hear of ambition.

What if (I’m doing a lot of that right now…) my goal is to focus on having a heart for God and to do that I’m to incorporate prayer, surrender, service, witness, and ambition. And to do this intrinsically—to come from within instinctively and naturally. Instead of having x amount of goals ranging over an array of time, to live daily. Live with eyes wide open for how and what God wants to teach me, or use me. Then at the end of the reflect, thank, and rest.

Okay, I’ve meandered and pondered enough on this for now. More to come.

New Year! New You?

For several weeks I’ve been thinking about how I want to be different next year, how I want to be better, and what I want to bring with me into 2021.

Do you set goals or make resolutions? I used to. And they would last until about the third week of January. I know I can be disciplined and include routine in my life, but so many of the things I try to add just don’t stick.

So I began to dig into why. Why don’t they stick? Why can’t I pick goals I can achieve. Goals need to be SMART:


(I couldn’t find a graphic that included everything I wanted to put here, so I made my own—forgive the raw nature, but that’s how I’d teach it.)

Going back over this information, two words stuck out to me: relevant and attractive. This is probably where my goals failed. Realizing this reminded me of when I failed my oral exams for my M.Div. so miserably that they suggested we act as if the horrible showing never happened and schedule to do them again next time around.

Regurgitating information merely to demonstrate an array of facts didn’t work for me. How was I going to figure this out? Then without even knowing smart goals I realized I needed to find a way to make my accumulated knowledge both attractive and relevant.

At the time I was trying to figure this out I was engaged in the learning/training experience called Clinical Pastoral Education, CPE for short. Each quarter (I took 10) I had to identify my learning goals. What did I want to learn? What learning would enhance my skills and move me along in my long range plan?

The way this all worked out, I began to link my learning as being under an overarching theme. Everything began to fall into place, become connected, and make so much sense that when I went in the second time the committee commented on how confident and clear I seemed—two words that never would have described my first time before the committee.

Thinking of that brought me to my lightbulb moment. The goals I had been setting were goals I felt I should set. They were goals that had greater meaning to others than to me, so they were neither relevant or attractive to me, and therefore unsuccessful.

With this awareness, how will I set some goals for this year?

First, what is my appealing over arching theme? I landed on the scriptural call to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Here’s my worksheet so far:

So…I need a little time to live with these, but I’ll be back by Wednesday to let you know how this has developed for me.









































Part 2: Applying the Critique

(If you didn’t read the previous post, you might consider doing so…in case I can’t make this make sense on its own.)

Today has been a full day of blessed meetings, phone calls, and contacts…but also a day saturated with the awareness of growth. That’s all so exciting to me.

As I am typing this post, I feel lighter and hopeful. I have been able to shut the door on the negative messages I had allowed to permeate my thinking, mood, and actions.

My work with writing critique groups has been very helpful as I have struggled to understand the critique I received on my messages. Here are few important things I’ve learned about critique:

  1. When people are courageous enough to give you their perception, don’t ignore it. As weird as it may sound: it is a gift.
  2. As the receiver of critique, we have the opportunity accept or reject what is being offered. Prayerfully listening will assist in one’s ability to discern what’s best and truly helpful.
  3. This bullet may not apply to you, but it’s abundantly true for me: I do not need to be perfect. Perfection, or the expectation of perfection, can often limit our ability to grow. I will either be disappointed because I’m not measuring up, or feel defeated and just give up. My goal needs to be growth (process/journey) not perfection.
  4. There’s always something to be learn. When we stop learning, we stop living.

So how do I apply this learning from my experience with writing critique. Here’s what I know about myself.

  • I like writing devotions. I major in paring down the fat, leaving the nugget. So why should I be wounded that someone is saying I’m too long winded. Cut back on the fluff and make sure the treasure (main point) shines. Editing is our friend.
  • I teach a course to men and women preparing for leadership in the Church of the Brethren that focuses on Christian Education in the Small Church. I remember clearly telling the class that the message is not the be-all-end-all of the worship experience. Yes, I put enormous energy and study into crafting a message plan that builds on the full word of God. I give attention to my year plan and series of messages. I focus on the things that are distinctive to Brethren. I challenge myself. I listen to the Spirit. I’m sensitive to the needs of the people. But the message is just one part of the worship experience. I had forgotten this. The weight I put on the message and myself had become disproportionate. I don’t even like thinking about what it had become.

Here’s where it gets super exciting for me. The Enemy of my soul and ministry was winning while I was stuck licking my wound. Ugh. Nelson was right. I let it go on way too long. The great and wonderful news is: I’m back! I’m ready to grow. I have a new tool and I’m not afraid to use it—to the glory of God and the help of my neighbor.

Get ready church! God’s my best editor. Here come his treasured nuggets.

Brain Protection

I have learned to take critique. Thank you, Word Weavers. I have actually gotten to the place with my writing that I seek out the input of others to make me a better writer.

Sadly, this openness to input and constructive criticism had not reached other parts of my life.

Not long ago, the chairman of the commission I’m directly responsible to informed me that I need to cut back on the length of my sermons, and stick to my manuscript so that I don’t get off topic so much.

I love preaching. And I was under the impression after only glowing comments for the past four and a half years that the congregation was pleased with my style and delivery. I make a point of watching the crowd and thought I was reading them well.

Guess not.

I began to feel like I used to when I got job evaluations. The whole eval could be positive, but if there was one point where I perceived I received a negative “grade” that’s all I could focus on. And I always took it personally. That’s what coming from a shame-based family will do for you—at least it did for me.

I complied. I became a clock watcher. I finished in time for the closing hymn—whether I was done or not. I stopped short of saying, “Well, I can see we’re out of time…” I read the manuscript and held onto the sides of the pulpit to avoid walking away from the script and getting lost in my illustrations.

And I went home and cried every Sunday. And I sought solace in food.

Finally, this last week, my husband said, “Enough.” He went on to describe the disturbing depth of my funk, suggested a few options, and instructed me to pull out of my head.

In case I’ve never mentioned it here…I really appreciate this guy.

Then on Monday I pulled up several posts from my dear friend, Debby Berry. She’s going through a really tough time and is blogging some really powerful stuff. I plugged into her posts on Philippians 4:8 and what we need to be feeding our mind.

And a light came on in my brain. And it continued to shine brighter and brighter as I got ready for a bike ride. I remembered one of my favorite stories.

A long time ago, I read about a couple little kids who were going to ride their bikes. One kid showed up wearing his helmet. The other kid didn’t and he started teasing his buddy about his “baby hat.” The helmet wearer responded by asking why his friend’s parents didn’t make him wear one. His buddy had no answer. Helmet boy, shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I guess my mom loves my brain more than yours does.”

And I heard the sweet whisper of God: I love your brain. We need to work on your thinking.

Couldn’t argue with that.

So I put the bike on the rack and headed toward my favorite trail.

Half way down the road (flying down the interstate) I realized I forgot my helmet. I don’t ride without my helmet. Well, that’s not exactly true. This summer I got all the way (21 miles from home) to the trail and realized I’d left my helmet by the door. I opted to ride anyway, but the guilt each time I passed a child on their bike, riding with their parents, and wisely wearing their helmets, was huge. I kept wanting to shout an apology: “I’m sorry. I know I’m being a horrible example. Keep wearing those helmets kids!”

Right then, I decided I was stopping in at the bike shop near trail before I started my ride. I was hoping they rented helmets, or I’d be buying a new one. I got there at 9:40 and they didn’t open til 10. Wait? Absolutely.

When the door was unlocked, I went in and explained my dilemma and need to the owner who promptly handed me a helmet and told there was no charge.

And I heard that sweet whisper again: I love your brain. Ready to think better?

My favorite thing about riding is how close I feel to God as I pedal away. I found that to be especially true on this ride. I left my funk somewhere out on the trail. I came up with several creative options to my preaching critique—that’s what critique should do. Now we’ll implement them and see what works.

In case you haven’t been told lately, God loves your brain too! Be careful what you feed it.

Irritable

Lately, I’ve been feeling irritable, on-edge, restless, out-of-focus.

I grabbed my prayer book this morning and this is what I found:

Are the antidotes to my dis-ease in this simple, timely prayer? Let’s think it through:

First, have I responded in love when irritations and annoyances erupt? Nope. My anger has over-ruled and overrun my giving grace and love mechanism, like a log truck going downhill in the mountains.

If sensible people control their temper, as the writer of Proverbs admonishes, I have been anything but sensible. I have been out of my senses. I have been out of control. This is obvious in my interactions, my eating, and my disciplines. I haven’t written anything for months. My office is in total disarray. All I want to do is get on my bike and ride—hard, long, and fast.

It’s like I’m trying to get away from something. I’ve always been a runner, an avoider. Ignore something long enough and it will go away. Ridiculous thinking. I would identify it and encourage others to change, but have not been very good at owning it in myself.

As a counselor, I learned and taught classes, groups, and individuals about anger management. A basic truth for me has always been that most often anger is a protective response. People feel more comfortable expressing anger and pushing others away than owning their more vulnerable feelings of sadness, fear, confusion, or brokenness.

I’m feeling all of the above. At work. At home. In my relationships. I feel more comfortable holing up alone in my house with my dogs who don’t care what I’m going through as long as I feed them, let them out to potty, and give them an occasional scratch behind the ear.

But this is not how I want to be. And perhaps that’s why I’m so frustrated. I don’t feel like I’m allowed or supposed to feel this way. I have to be on and up for everyone. I’m not allowed to be irritated. And heaven forbid that I would express my frustration publically.

For example…last week the tree trimmers came to my house to cut my tree limbs back from the power lines. I was fuming. They’re supposed to let us know so we can pay top dollar to tree-trimming companies to sculpt rather than butcher our trees indiscriminately. We weren’t notified. They butchered my tree.

I felt violated. I was so angry, I was telling people that I was ready to chop the rest of the tree down with my teeth. Not particularly attractive talk or behavior. Upon reflection, I was mortified that I was so vociferous in my expression of my anger. I should have been gracious. After all, they were only doing their job, and keeping the electric on is important for me and for the neighborhood.

Spewing my anger over what I felt was hack job on my tree became the perfect opportunity to empty out my hoard of pent up frustration and irritation. My behavior was completely disproportionate to the incident. My ranting was unbecoming and my inability to control my expression was indicative of a deeper wounding that needs to be addressed.

That said, I have realized and reminded myself of Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians regarding anger: be angry and sin not. Anger is not the enemy. Anger is a legitimate emotion. How we release or control the intensity is what matters. Who we express it to is also relevant. Anger is energy that when channeled appropriately can result is positive change.

Typically I like to finish one of these posts in a neat package, with a tidy resolution tied up with a pretty ribbon.

Sorry, no ribbon today. Today begins the arduous work of back-tracking soul-searching examination to uncover the wound that has been the impetus to this feeling of dis-ease. I take comfort in the words of Psalm 103, “He heals all our dis-eases.”

I’m trusting in that truth, and in the ensuing process. I’m also hoping the ownership of the feelings unlocks the door to peace (completeness, shalom) so that my life and living will be a more credible witness.

Point Made, Now What?

Everyone seems to have an opinion. Interestingly, many opinions are being accepted as fact. I have a few opinions I’d like to share.

For example, the media and many voices on social media seem to be telling me the only way to prove I love my country is by pledging my allegiance (repeating a prescribed set of words). This presents an interesting dilemma for a non-credal person. And how quickly do the words lose their meaning when they are said in a fashion of mindless repetition. Do the words still apply? Do they apply to everyone?

And, if I love my country, I will demonstrate certain behavior when a specific song is played. A song few know the words to, or that there are verses we don’t sing. A song that has a melody that is difficult at best to sing. A song that has been a source of controversy since it was written and instituted as the “national” anthem.

Troubling.

It seems to me that my country would be better served by living consistently the precepts that make this country special—a good place to live.

To begin with, I would vote. Recently in my community of 21,249 (according to SIRI) a vote was taken on an issue and only 2,300 people showed up at the polls. If we love our country, wouldn’t we take an active role in the establishment of its governance.

If I love my country, I would be more involved in the process of making this a fit place for all to live, instead of letting those with the money making the decisions. Systems at every level are broken and rather than merely complaining shouldn’t we be working to fix things? This is true at all levels from local to national.

Why do we pass things off, hoping someone else will step up? There is no good reason. I believe this is why we are offered so few choices at election time—resulting in the need to vote for the lesser of evils rather than the persons who will truly represent our best interests. And, why the same people are entrenched in leadership. But this is a matter we can discuss later.

Arguing and resorting to emotionally charged words solves nothing.

I fully believe the principle, “All behavior serves a purpose.” Our country values the right of its citizens to disagree—even protest. Instead of insisting that people stop protesting, wouldn’t it behoove us to address the problem or issue rather than to focus on the method of getting attention, or denying that there is a problem at all?

I believe it was Mr. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who suggested that one of the things yesterday’s protest demonstrated was that when people work and stand together they can accomplish much (my paraphrase). But it was equally moving and impactful to witness the dedication of one man, Alejandro Villanueva (the military veteran and Pittsburgh Steeler who chose to come out and stand at attention during the anthem). Neither those who knelt or locked arms, nor those who saluted were wrong. They were each making a point.

So the points have been made. If we merely continue to protest without dialogue and moving toward change, we appear as petulant children. We deserve better—our children and future generations deserve better.

Meet the Author: Ginger Solomon

Today I am excited to share my post with an author who has done more to open my mind—and heart—to reading romance.

Ginger Solomon is the author of the Belikarian Weddings series. And the third book in her series is coming out 9/22/16. When I heard there was another story I jumped at the opportunity to read it and share it with you.

One of the things I love is knowing more about the authors whose books I enjoy reading. So I want you to know somethings about Ginger.

Ginger, tell us a little about where you live and write—and about your amazing family.

I live in northern Alabama where the temps have yet to realize it’s fall. I write wherever I can find a quiet space at any given moment. 

I have a wonderful, supportive husband and seven great kids—five boys and two girls. My two oldest (boys) are engaged to be married, and my oldest girl left a few weeks ago to go to a nearby school supported by our church. My third son is in his sophomore year of college. My youngest daughter is a senior in high school. And then I have a 9th grader and a 7th grader. I’ve home schooled them all and have been blessed by the experience.

Why romance? With all the different genres, what draws you to romance?

I don’t know. Maybe because my husband doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body—which I knew when I married him. I find my romance in my head. I’m very, very careful not to compare my heroes (or those of other writers that I read) to my hubby because he is great in so many other ways. I also like romance because I enjoy the correlation between the love between a man and a woman to that of our relationship with God. It’s not give and take. It’s give 100% always. God always provides His best for us, even when we don’t understand His ways. So should a man and a woman strive for the best thing for their partner.

What has been the biggest influence in your writing?

My relationship with Jesus. I know love because He first loved me. I grew up in a dysfunctional family that didn’t show love well. I know my mother loved me the best way she knew how, but… Anyway, when I met Jesus and truly turned my life over to Him, I knew what TRUE love felt like. I strive to show others that unconditional love through my writing.

Most writers face “writer’s block” at some time. How do you overcome it?

I have a side story—I call it my play story—that has no rules. I write without concern for whether it’s believable or whether anyone will like it or whatever. I still follow basic writing rules (like no head-hopping), but it’s a no-limits story. It frees up my mind to work out whatever is wrong with my main manuscript.

Do you have a portion of scripture that encourages you as a writer?

Every year, many people find a word they hope will encourage them through the year. I do that, but I also choose a verse. This year my verse is Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representation of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” My word for 2016 is consistent. I have tried to be consistent in my testimony about who Jesus is to me—through my books, my blog, and my life.

What advice would you give someone who is considering self-publishing?

Weigh the costs—cover, editing, formatting. How much can you do yourself? I am pretty computer literate, so I do the covers and formatting myself. I have qualified writing friends who edit for me and in exchange I edit for them. Read about others’ experiences. Learn from their mistakes and successes.

How can we pray for you?

I’m not sure when this will post, but on Friday September 23rd, I’m having a pretty invasive surgery to remove a mass that is on my pituitary gland—effectively brain surgery (but they’re going through my nose). There are tons of risks (as with all surgeries), but I appreciate prayer that my sight is not adversely affected (effected, I hate those two words) as the mass is pushing on my optic nerve. There are three scenarios…my sight will not change, which I can live with; my sight will get better, which is what I’m praying for; or I could lose my sight completely, which is a rare occurrence, but possible.

I will have at least a week of being down and out, so I’d also appreciate prayer for my family as they deal with Mom being unable to do everything she normally does. 😉

Here’s a teaser to get you interested:

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Aileen Najjar joins the royal household when her boss marries the princess. She loves working in the kitchen, but when the head cook allows her to prepare most of the meals, trouble finds her. The handsome head of security turns out to be her ally as she struggles to fit in.

 Matthias Firat wants to find the mole who leaked information leading to the attempts on the princess’s life. His attraction to the new kitchen helper prompts him to ask for her help.

 When she discovers the truth, it might very well break both their hearts.

Author’s Bio: Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, it’s on her mind. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

 

 

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