As I mentioned in my last post, I, in partnership with biblestudyexpo.com, are featuring two Christian authors on my blog. Yesterday I featured Michelle Cushatt. Today, meet Carey Scott, author of the book Uncommon. For more info, please visit her website at www.careyscott.org. Below are her interview questions:
Do you travel much?
I'm such a homebody, so I don't travel a ton. When I do speak in different cities though, I have a great time meeting new women! They can be crazy-fun and they love me well! But I'm always ready to get back to my home and family because they love me even better... most of the time.
How do you spend your time when you're not writing?
Gosh, when am I not writing? LOL. I've had 3 books published in 4 years, including Uncommon which released in July of 2017 and Unafraid releasing July of this year. Writing keeps my crazy tucked in, so it's actually something I really enjoy doing. When I do step away, I love watching my daughter crush the volleyball, listening my son wow me with his scientific knowledge and watch movies with my husband.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I would be a dive master. I love the ocean and everything in it. I've been scuba diving since I was in high school, and that was a long time ago.
Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
I love the big hair bands of the 80's. Like a lot. When I'm having a bad day, I turn up the stereo and sing at the top of my lungs. It changes my mood almost immediately. I love it. Also, I have a sword -- a real sword -- that I pray with sometimes. Maybe it's the weight of it in my hands or holding something to symbolize the battle... but it helps me feel like God is with me and I can overcome anything.
Were you good at English?
I was! I've always been good at writing, but not all writing is the same. I had to learn how to write non-fiction and express myself succinctly. Finding the shortest, most powerful way to say something took practice and patience.
What do your friends and family think of your writing?
My husband is very proud of me. He's my biggest fan and brags on me all the time. My mom worries because when I write I bleed onto my keyboard and she knows it's hard to be so vulnerable. My friends always wonder if the stories I tell are about them. I feel very supported by my tribe. They make what I do... doable.
What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
Too many to mention, actually. But I'll tell you what my family finds the most amusing about me -- ordering food at a drive thru. For some reason, it stresses me out. I feel pressure. And it makes me nervous. I forget what everyone wants, I order the wrong items and I can't make up my mind. I cannot explain why fast food ordering unravels me. LOL. And while it hasn't always been this way, it is now. And my family laughs every time.
What is your favorite movie and why?
I love The Help. Seriously. I watch it all the time. I think I appreciate the boldness it took for the characters to write the hard stuff. I love the courage it took to be real in a world that glorifies the fake. And the shift in confidence in each of them encourages me to be brave.
What process did you go through to get your book published?
My first book, Untangled, took over a year of my agent shopping it around to different publishing houses before it was picked up. During that time, it changed titles and direction. And it was brutal to continue getting a "no" from one house to the next. When I finally received a "yes" ... I kinda freaked out. I had a crisis of confidence, afraid I couldn't actually write this book. But I did. God continued to show up. That's when I discovered how close I feel to Him when I write.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully working on another book, continuing to speak to women around the world, visiting my kids at college, enjoying my husband more than ever... and finding God in every bit of it.
Welcome to the christian Women Speakers blog expo! In partnership with biblestudyexpo.com, I am featuring two Christian authors and speakers who have blessed my heart tremendously with their teaching. The first is Michelle Cushatt, bestselling author, podcast host with Michael Hyatt and a woman with a powerful testimony. Below are some interview questions regarding her new book I Am (found at www.iambook.net) so you can get to know her and her work better:
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I usually write on a topic I’m neck-deep in the middle of wrestling. That means, I write in spurts. As God is teaching me a certain truth, I might write and write and write over the span of a few days. Then, I let it ferment for a while. I do additional research, prayer, study. As God opens my eyes, ears, and heart to understand more, I’ll return to the book and edit, revise, or add accordingly. Writing isn’t a black-and-white process for me, as it really takes places in the trenches of my real and raw life.
How do you find or make time to write?
Good question! Some days, I have no idea. :) As of right now, I still have three of my six children living at home, which means my day-to-day parenting responsibilities are significant. In addition, I lead a mastermind for Christian women in leadership, record a podcast, coach numerous leaders and communications, and travel and speak around the world. I’ve discovered that for me the best way to tackle big writing projects is to schedule one weekend a month to hunker down in a hotel or AirB&B away from home and write like a mad woman. I can get more accomplished in those three to four days away than I can get done in a whole month at home while juggling work, marriage and kids. My other secret writing window? 5:00 in the morning, before anyone else in my family is awake.
What book are you reading right now?
Only one?! I’m actually reading about 6 or 7 books right now! A couple of my favorites include The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning, Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller, and The Question That Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey.
What do you to relax on a weekend?
I read as much as possible, work in the yard, or go for a walk, hike or run in the mountains. Oh, and NAP. A perfect weekend always includes a good long nap.
What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
Such a great question, and one I contemplate often as someone who's survived cancer three times and has no guarantee of a long life. In truth, I feel quite grateful with what God has already allowed me to experience and accomplish. My forty-six years of life have been quite extraordinary, and I savor the gift. However, I would still like to see my children’s children someday and be a “Mimi.” I’d also like to hike a few more Colorado 14er mountains and travel to Israel. Israel has long been a dream trip of mine, and it just hasn’t happened. YET.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I loved, loved, loved the Little House on the Prairie series. In fact, I’m pretty sure I read through every volume at least three or four times.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I sat down to write my first articles, stories and books because I needed some way to make sense of the complexity, confusion and suffering of my life and faith. I had so many questions, things I didn’t understand or know how to reconcile with the God I grew up believing. Writing was therapy, a means of unraveling all the knotted emotions and doubts, and helping me to see Truth. In short, writing helped me find the presence of God in the middle of the mess.
When did you decide to become a writer?
It wasn’t so much a decision as an accidental stumbling. Well over a decade ago, I was leading a women’s Bible study at my church that grew from a handful of women to over 80 in a very short amount of time. As a result, I needed to find a way to stay connected with each woman. It was impossible to touch each one at our Tuesday night Bible studies! Thus, I began writing weekly devotional emails to the group. This became my way of personally investing these women that I loved. Over time, those emails became blog posts, then articles and eventually books.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Oh, I have so many favorite authors, so many who have deeply impacted my spiritual life and writing life! Corrie ten Boom was, perhaps, my first female writing hero. Her story, ruthless honesty, and absolute faith in God in spite of the unanswered questions were fuel to my teenage faith. Since then, writers like A. W. Tozer, Brother Lawrence, Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C. S. Lewis, Philip Yancey, Henri Nouwen, Jill Briscoe and Dallas Willard have continued to fuel that fire and have helped me navigate the deeper waters of faith and life. These authors wrote (write) with a humble and courageous honesty about their humanity. I'd like to think I’ve borrowed a bit of their bravery as I strive to write with that same authenticity.
Tell us something about yourself not many people know.
I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and hold an active nursing license. I haven’t practiced in two decades, but I keep my license “just in case.”
Las Vegas. The perfect place for people to let loose, see the sights and party with their friends. Except on this episode of This Is Us, we find out this is the thing Kate and Toby lack the most- friends. Kate even says they had to "scrape the bottom of the nerd barrel", so they had enough people to make it to their bachelor/bachelorette party. It was nice for Beth and Kate to share a tender moment together. Watching them interact, I was reminded that Beth and Kate, although they are not close and barely spend any time together, have something in common- the loss of a child. Beth lost Deja and Kate lost her baby. They can bond over this loss.
Finally, we learn something about Toby-- Toby has a brother! We also know that he and his brother are far apart in age (ten years) and that has placed a permanent wedge between the two's relationship. Toby, disclosing his inner nerd and penchant for Dungeons and Dragons tells Randall and Kevin "It's sad to hear your six year old brother tell you, 'I don't want to play with you anymore,' and he means it!'"If I didn't love Toby enough already , he has given yet another reason to love him more!
Lastly, we get an intimate glance into Beth's life. All along Beth is portrayed as a hard nose strong, woman that keeps Randall's family intact. However, we see the toll being the strong one takes on her,thrust in a role i'm not sure she ever wanted in the first place. Randall's gesture of the candy and the note that said, "you're all heart," reveals Beth has just a big (if not bigger) heart than Randall. After all, who opens her heart and home to a complete stranger? To be a foster mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Only a strong woman could be up for the challenge. And, if next week's previews are any indication, Deja isn't the only person Beth and Randall open their homes to welcome.
Ok. Confession time. I don’t watch a lot of PG movies.
It’s not that I don’t like them or don’t want to support lean content on the big screen. It’s more that often PG movies lack the spark of a compelling story line told by actors who have honed their craft. So, when I received a Fandango gift card for Christmas, I was genuinely confused as to what movie to see. When we saw the reviews for Wonder, however, we were hooked. We had to go see it. This wonderfully written film starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay did not disappoint. Not only did Roberts and Wilson deliver wonderful performances, but the plot rings true for so many of us: this film is for the outcast quietly suffering through bullying with an insatiable yearning to be heard: the celebration and embracing of humanity.
Soon on its heels came another blockbuster, The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman about P.T Barnum’s and the beginning of the Barnum and Bailey circus. Recently nominated for a Golden Globe for best film, Hollywood is not only validating women as they speak out against the sinful actions on the powerful men in their past but also that a good story can stand on its own without gratuitous material for a seeming more popular rating.
What is so refreshing about this and other films coming out is not only the acceptance of human beings for who they are, but it also gives credibility back to clean quality cinema that doesn’t need profanity, gratuitous sex or bloody violence to tell a story. For so long we as Christians have been settling, allowing a good story to take prominence over our moral compasses. Too many times a television show or film has come across my screen with content that are clearly condemned in Scripture. And yet I let it go, because I let myself believe that a good story was more important than holding fast to the word of God.
Christians, it is time to take a stand. Not a stand with posters in front of the White house or on a street corner, but rather with our wallets. The resurgence of the Pg rated film deserves a comeback. With well-crafted storylines and compelling actors, it could just become a reality.
My dear friend Kathy Collard Miller's new book Pure Hearted has just released. Here is a blog post from her below. Enjoy!
Woman with Issue of Blood Mark 5:24b-34
by Kathy Collard Miller
This nameless woman had no hope. During twelve long years, she had taken every possible step to become well. Her bloody discharge made her ceremonially unclean, unable to enter the temple and worship her God. Her husband must have left her long ago because he couldn’t touch her without becoming unclean himself.
She had spent every cent she had. She had put her hope in numerous doctors. In fact, Mark 5:26 says, who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. Had doctors taken advantage of her? Had they offered hope when there was no hope? Had they promised a cure and taken her money, yet had no clue what to do?
Regardless of all her efforts, she was still an outcast. She must have felt distressed walking the street looking for any sign of hope.
We don’t know when she first heard of Jesus. Was there a rumor about what he was doing—healing people—or as she walked did she notice he was there? Hope must have filled her heart. Or did the renewed hope quickly drain out of her. There is no hope. Why even try? Yet try I must. Jesus is my last hope.
She stealthily looked around her. When no one was watching, she reached out and touched the hem of his garment, possibly terrified of being called out for public humiliation. She risked making this godly man unclean. Yet her distress was so great, she had to try.
And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:30-34
I hear concern in Jesus’ voice, not anger. Of course, he knows who touched him; he’s omniscient God. Yet he knows it will be healthy for her to express her distress and publicly acknowledge his provision.
The disciples on the other hand were most likely hassled and frustrated. Their attempts at crowd control were futile. They may have been distressed feeling responsible to protect their teacher. Now someone was not only interrupting their next appointment— slowing them down—someone had touched him without their knowing. Were they placing him in danger?
After her touch, knowing she was well, she approached with “fear and trembling.” What will happen now? Will he only dismiss her with cruel words or call for the priests to take away an unclean woman who polluted others? She feels prompted to tell him the whole truth publicly, so great was her relief. I’m healed! I know it. I feel it! Oh Jesus, thank you. What she longed and prayed for twelve years had been fulfilled.
Her fears are alleviated as Jesus calls her Daughter and acknowledges her courage in reaching out. His voice had to have been tender and inviting, understanding and gentle. Then he assures her of complete healing, not just the cessation of her discharge. She’ll never have to feel hopeless or unclean again.
Because of her deliverance and healing, Jesus is glorified.
Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for 47 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.
This guest blog is adapted from Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory
Order Pure-Hearted at: http://amzn.to/2jzYdWi
These may seem like random names, but to fans of the TV show This Is Us, they are the names of characters that are redefining what quality drama looks like on television. As the show just premiered its second season (can I get an amen?), we are just as enthralled with these ordinary people this season as we were last season.
When I tuned into the first episode, I never expected to watch such well-written storylines and captivating characters. As I waited with anticipation week after week as the season unfolded, I quickly realized that this was no ordinary show, but rather a phenomenon. Although not written from a Christian perspective, it became apparent there were some common themes that parallel the commands stated to us in the bible. As I listed all of the themes I found in the show, I found there was enough to write about them each day for one month.
So I decided to dedicate this year’s “31 Days” blog series to the themes and characters I noticed in this show. For those of you that don’t know, 31 Days is a blog challenge that Myquillan Smith began as a way to connect bloggers and encourage them to write for thirty-one consecutive days on a specific theme while giving them the exposure they need to get their writing out to the world. I am participating this year and using This Is us as the theme.
If you are a big of a fan as I am, please feel free to comment below as each day posts. Let me know what you think about this series and if there have been any new revelations you have gleaned as a result of it.
“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”- 2 Thessalonians 3:12
Jack is a good guy. He has been dutiful servant of his country, loving husband and a fantastic father. Despite the fact he is a good guy, he can never seem to get a break in life. He tells his friend this in a monologue when he wants to win back the life and money he thinks he is owed after he is robbed of his winnings after a poker game:
You know, I watched them over the years, my father, and whenever he had the choice between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing he always broke the wrong way, like clockwork, wrong, wrong, wrong, every single time. For me, you know I tried to go the other way. Be respectful to women, do my part in ‘Nam, be a good man, and look where it’s gotten me. When am I going to get my break, Darryl? When? The punks, they make this too hard, man, just too damn hard. Next week we re going back to that bar and we are going to win our money back, and I’m going to take the life that I was supposed to have instead of it waiting to come find me.”
Can you relate to this? Have you ever felt like taking back what you feel is rightfully yours? Have you ever felt like you can never get a break in life?
I know I can. Sometimes no matter hoe hard I try, no matter how good I am, life always seems to bless some people and not others. But the bible is clear: I need to do good at all times, in every situation. No matter what life hands me, I have to believe that being good will pay off in the end.
Because I believe in the One from whom all blessings flow, and eventually I will be blessed for it. Maybe not in this life but definitely the next.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”- Matthew 6:20-21
In the episode titled Memphis, William takes Randall on a trip to see his hometown of Memphis Tennessee. Having just had a nervous breakdown, Randall is more than ready to spend some much needed time with his father. As William shows Randall his childhood home, he asks if eh can see the inside. Boldly, they knock on the door and the owners of the home agree to let him in. William rushes to the fireplace and removes a loose brick in the top right corner of the fireplace. He takes out a couple of small toys. “My treasure!” he exclaims. What looked like trash to any other person was William’s treasure.
At my church’s women’s retreat, ministry group Friends of the heart presented their retreat theme as “If our closets could talk.” Shirley Brosius spoke about the things in our life that we can give away as a way to bless others. In other words, if we recognize the true treasures in life, we can learn to appreciate what we have and not be in constant pursuit for more.
William understood that. In the last days of his life, he recognizes what his treasure is. In the scene where he is in the hospital bed he tells Randall, “my son,” the first time we as an audience has ever heard William refer to him as this. William knows who (and what) are the treasures in his life, and he is recognizing that.
Where does your treasure lie? Does it lie in possessions and wealth? Or do you recognize that the best things in life are actually the relationships with the people you love the most?
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.- Ephesians 5:15-17
As we all know, Kate has struggled with her weight her entire life. From girls writing her letters saying “you embarrass us” at the community pool to people looking at her with snickers and jeers, weight has always been at the forefront of her mind. Grappling with making a life altering decision and getting bypass surgery, she boards a plane to meet her family for the holidays and a bout with turbulence makes her reevaluate her priorities. With a new lease on life, she decides to get the surgery.
Kevin also lets life pass him by. Taking meaningless job as the Manny, he wastes years in a fluff TV show to build his acting credentials and give his fan base a few laughs. Additionally, he chases after all the wrong things that he things will make him happy but in fact does not—meaningless relationships, money and possessions that the thinks will satisfy but in the end leave him empty. He too watches his life pass him by as he could work to reconcile his relationship with his ex- wife Sophie, but chooses not to until twelve years after the relationship has cooled.
With the day-to-day demands of life it is easy to let life pass you by. Perhaps you believe your dreams are too far out of your reach to strive to achieve. Maybe you have relationships in your life where they have left more tension than you desire. Whatever it may be, there is always another day. As long as you have breath left in your lungs, you always have a chance to make a change in your life.
What one thing can you do to make a change in your life and help you make the most of every opportunity God presents to you?
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