Surrendering Personal Possessions
My husband and I recently decided to travel the US while we still have our health. We sold our house and moved back into our RV, giving up most of our worldly goods. All of our furniture remained in the house, about half of our other things went to family members and friends, and the other half to a storage shed. If I hadn’t surrendered my attachment to material objects, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it.
Here’s the story.
Some years ago, we lived in Germany while Joe served in the army. I bought gold charms for each of the memorable places we visited, as well as a solid gold bracelet. A double-decker bus in London, the Parthenon from Athens, a beer stein from Germany. Other charms were from Denmark, Austria, Norway, and Italy. Then I attached other special keepsakes such as my sorority pin from college and a medallion my stepfather gave me when he retired.
I treasured my bracelet, not for the monetary value it held, but for the sentiment. Each charm had special meaning. When we returned to the states, I began my teaching job. One day when I came home from work, I made a shocking, no, devastating discovery. Our home had been robbed. Probably some druggie trying to feed his habit. Yes, you guessed it, my solid gold charm bracelet was gone forever. Along with a lot of other valuables as well.
To top it all off, my husband was back in Europe on another tour of duty and couldn’t even be there to comfort me. I grieved for my bracelet. Every perfect, unique charm was gone . I’d been violated. Someone had taken something I valued—something that belonged to me. Finally, I had to seek resolution. As usual, God provided His word.
A Christian janitor who cleaned the school where I taught came to me one day with a piece of paper in his hand. In his masculine scrawl, he’d written: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust 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: 19-21.
His note was the reminder I needed to move on. I’ll always remember how the light of God’s word lifted me out of my situation. Nothing on this earth is more valuable than the Lord and His word. And no one can take that away from us.
The realization that I can take nothing with me when I leave this earth helped in the process. Yes, going from a 4000 square foot home to a tiny RV took effort, but I didn’t grieve over the loss of my possessions. I have something of greater value.
About Christmas at Raccoon Creek by June Foster
Emily Eason wants to distance herself from her parents’ opulent lifestyle in Birmingham, Alabama, and enjoy life in the rural village of Raccoon Creek and her fifties-style home. But after gazing into the little snow globe she purchased from Hardwicke’s Drugs and Gifts, she finds herself transported to another time—her grandmother’s era.
Lance Hardwicke is the pharmacist and owner of Hardwicke’s Drugs. Four years of pharmacy school didn’t allow for much of a social life. Gorgeous Emily Eason, nurse and resident of Raccoon Creek, has captured his attention. The next time she comes in the store, he’s determined to ask her out. Maybe take her to Birmingham to see the Christmas lights in his brand new orange and white ’53 Pontiac Pathfinder.
Can love span the fifty-year gap standing between them?
Purchase CHRISTMAS AT RACCOON CREEK HERE
Tags: author, Christian romance, Christmas at Raccoon Creek by June Foster, confession, fiction, Julie Arduini, June Foster, Matthew 6, RV living, surrender, Surrendering Personal Possessions by June Foster, treasure
June Foster is a friend who spent a loooonggg time working with me on showing vs telling in my own writing. I’m not a master, but anything I learned, June taught me. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to her latest book.
Neonatal specialist Dr. Michael Clark is passionate about saving the lives of premature babies. But the pediatrics department at El Camino General can’t provide the care many of his preemies require. Now he wants to build a specialty hospital where he can better care for his young patients.
Tammy Crawford is an accomplished geriatrics RN who wants nothing to do with her sister Joella’s religious beliefs. She’s independent and doesn’t need anyone, including God in pursuing a new job as a nurse practitioner.
When she falls in love with the intriguing Michael Clark, she must reconsider her resolve to devote herself completely to her career and not be distracted by a romantic relationship. Now the obstacles are insurmountable. She’s in love with a man from another culture and a different race.
Michael acknowledges his growing affection for the beautiful nurse yet can’t ignore his brother’s deep racial prejudices.
Can two people who are as different as night and day find a life together?
June Foster Bio:
An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. In 2013, June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and in 2014 a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father won The Clash of the Titles book of the month for January 2014 and was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the 2014 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s 2014 Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is available from WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Books One, Two, and Three in the Almond Tree Series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, and What God Knew are all available from Amazon.com as well as Misty Hollow. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. Find June online at http://junefoster.com, @vjifoster for Twitter, and http://facebook.com/AuthorJuneFoster.
Buy Link for Book: http://amzn.to/1j8SPTP
Nothing ushers in spring like a beautiful, colorful surprise from a friend. Fay Lamb is an author, editor and champion for other authors. When I was seeking direction she whispered encouragement to take a risk very few had. The risk paid off and now we’re colleagues at Write Integrity Press.
Now, here’s where the fun begins. It starts with the rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate five blogs.
So, thank you, Fay. I’m forever grateful for your encouragement, and thankful you included me in this list.
Here are my answers to Fay’s questions:
1. Why did you start writing?
It’s always been a passion, something I loved to do. I would have been content writing for the local Mothers of Preschoolers newsletter, but God had other ideas. Obedience to the Lord was the biggest reason I started writing beyond a small circle of friends.
2. What novel(s) has influenced you the most and why?
There are many but Kristin Billerbeck’s What a Girl Wants confirmed to me that chick lit, snarky humor in romance, has purpose. Readers can be transformed by fiction. Embracing that fact and devouring her series opened doors to my imagination and writing.
3. What’s been the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
It’s general advice I use for writing. Fear held me back for a long time and rejection was a huge part of those fears. I had a friend sit me down and equip me for the future. She said I needed to have “Skin like a rhino and a heart like a dove.” That helped me surrender my fears, start writing and when the review came that wasn’t very nice, I wasn’t even bothered by it.
4. What’s been the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
First time novelists should never, ever write first person, present tense and expect it to sell.
Now, that actually is good advice and I’m not saying I’m above such conversation. For me, I had that “burn in the belly,” that gut feeling I believe is the Holy Spirit, guiding me that writing first person, present tense for Entrusted was His plan for me. I felt Jenna’s voice was strong enough to carry the book, and that’s the one comment I keep hearing. Readers love the voice. I’m glad I didn’t change the point of view.
5. What people in the industry have helped you the most in your writing endeavors?
I hope I don’t forget anyone. Fay was one of two voices that told me to go for first person, present tense as I prepared to query what is now Entrusted. Joi Copeland was the second. Vicki Hinze allowed me to come on board to the team blog, Christians Read, before I was published. She felt like it wasn’t if I would be published, but when. June Foster spent an incredible amount of time with me helping me recognize telling and how to change it to showing. Every member that has come and gone from the critique groups I’m a part of, they have been a huge help. Tracy Ruckman took a chance on my Adirondack ideas and offered me what is now the Adirondack Surrender romance series.
6. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting motivated. I think it goes back to fear. Can I start something good? How can I create a readable middle? How can I finish strong? Revisions and edits? I don’t think I have what it takes. I fight my thoughts all the time, and honestly, sometimes the thoughts win.
7. When did you first call yourself a writer?
I think in 2007 when I earned a writing credit in an anthology.
8. How has your writing life been different than you imaged?
It’s a lot lonelier than I ever imagined. I’m an introvert by nature but the process to separate from the story and go back to being wife and mom is hard. The kids are older so they are starting to do their own thing and my husband works a lot of hours. There are hours and hours the only talking I engage in is with the pets. But, when I’m in that zone where I’m completely involved in the story, that’s a great feeling.
9. What is your favorite place to write?
I have an office with a view of our backyard and woods. It’s so peaceful.
10. How do you reward yourself when you accomplish a writing goal?
Chocolate. Then again, that’s my reward some days for waking up.
I nominate anyone that would like to participate. Between one I did recently and the great people included, I can’t think of anyone!
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by author June Foster. I consider her a mentor because when we were in the same critique group she spent so much time trying to teach me deeper POV. I’m not a master, but I can tell you, where I am now and where I was are two different books. I have June and fellow critique members to thank for that.
I’d love for you to check out the interview.
You can do so here.
Tags: ACFW, Adirondacks, author, Chalfont House Publishing, Christian fiction, contemporary romance, critique members, Donna Winters, Elizabeth Maddrey, fiction, Heidi Glick, infertility devotional, Interview, Julie Arduini, June Foster, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery, Write Integrity Press
What am I working on?
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Why do I write what I do?
How does your writing process work?
I haven’t really done something like this before, but I figured I’d give it a shot, because these are questions I haven’t seen before. In addition to answering the questions, I also need to choose 3 other people to answer these same questions on their blogs. I’ll list those 3 at the end. I hope you visit them.
What Am I Working On?
That’s a great question. You might want to get a snack, because we could be here awhile.
I have two active fiction projects right now. The first is editing Untangled, the contemporary romance I started as part of NaNoWriMo 2012. This is the second in my Adirondack series, and it’s Carla Rowlings turn to share her story. I’m having so much fun with this. In Spectacular Falls she was the single mom sheriff who became Jenna’s best friend. Now she’s been given the opportunity to attend cosmetology school, but she doesn’t feel worth it because of past mistakes she’s made. Carla’s also raising a teenager, and she’s scared Noah might repeat her mistakes. And it’s hard to forget her choices when Noah’s dad is back on the scene, causing trouble between her and her flannel-loving boyfriend, Will Marshall. And then there’s Daniel Garrett, tightly wound beauty school student. Yep, I’m having a lot of fun. Check out my Pinterest board for Untangled.
The second is Match Made in Heaven. This was a little story I wrote years ago that was really rough, but I loved the characters. I decided to re write it and share it with my newsletter subscribers throughout 2014. This has been a great success. Beth Prescott didn’t know when she took the job at the Hammondsport Senior Complex that the senior citizens would spend their time matchmaking her with their grandsons. She’s focused on doing a great job despite personal challenges, and she’s still burned from her last relationship. When she runs into Dean Kellerman, he’s interested in paying his grandfather back for his kindness, something Dean knows he didn’t deserve. The two keep getting thrown together in the same events, and it’s been amusing to watch the sparks fly. If you’d like to receive Match Made in Heaven, subscribe for free in the right sidebar of juliearduini.com, and watch your inbox for activation. Check out my Pinterest board for Match Made in Heaven.
The third is a devotional for Chalfont House on infertility. Heidi Glick, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery, Donna Winters and myself are sharing our infertility experiences and embedding them with prayers, hope, and Scripture. As we edit each other we keep saying this is the book we wanted when we were going through this. Stay tuned!
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I’m intentional about writing romances that deal with surrender issues and have Upstate NY settings. Spectacular Falls, Untangled, and one I need to revise, To Be Determined, are all set in the Adirondack Mountains. Match Made in Heaven showcases another gem, the Finger Lakes area. I also write in my tagline that I’m not quite ready to surrender the chocolate, so that usually gets a mention, too.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I find it funny that I write contemporary romance because it’s usually my last choice for movies and shows. I do love a romance with great writing and chemistry, like Return to Me and The Proposal. I also think I write this because “offline” I tend to encourage women and share on a fairly deep level and it is emotionally draining. I like the escape fiction brings, and I know there are a lot of readers searching for answers that I believe my work can give. I was called by God to write for Him. I trust Him to take care of the rest.
How Does Your Writing Process Work?
I shared a little of that earlier this year with Valerie Comer. Aside from plotting, I’m constantly listening for God’s voice and believe He leads me. I feel I’m a reader first, so when I write my goal is to create something character-driven that keeps me reading. To bring constant conflict and twists readers can’t see coming, but love when they happen. It’s always at my laptop, and usually as I sit on the living room couch.
I hope this has given you some insight about me and my writing.
Now, these are the authors I’ve tagged, and the ones that tagged me. I hope you check them out!
Laura Hilton–Laura is an award winning author, a pastor’s wife, married over twenty-five years and has five children. She homeschools, writes book reviews and books. Her books include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, Promised to Another, Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. The Snow Globe will release in September 2014 and Swept Away in November.
June Foster—June Foster is a retired teacher who travels full time with her husband in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She grew up in El Paso, Texas but moved to the magnificent northwest after she retired from teaching. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba labtop in 2010 as she and her husband sailed along the interstate. Now June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. Her novel Ryan’s Father will be available from WhiteFire Publishing in January 2014.
Heidi Glick—The youngest (and perhaps loudest) of three children, I was born in Lancaster, PA (think Amish country). At the ripe old age of six, this sinner found a Savior, and so it’s no surprise that I write inspirational suspense stories.I’m married to my college sweetheart, John, and live in a northern suburb of Cincinnati. John and I have two dogs (a Chihuahua and a Schipperke) and a happy baby boy.Interesting facts about me include I’ve visited 46 states; I’ve lived in California, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Canada; I’ve had someone nab my bag from me at the Las Vegas airport; I’ve been hit by a car; and I’ve been extricated from a overturned vehicle using the Jaws of Life.
Elizabeth Maddrey—Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.
She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.
Paula Mowery—I’m a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool Mom. I’m also a Christian writer. My articles have appeared in Woman’s World and in my ongoing column on http://christianonlinemagazine.com/. I also write Christian fiction. My debut novella, THE BLESSING SEER came out July 6, 2012 from Pelican Book Group. The sequel, BE THE BLESSING, released Sept. 13, 2013. I am an author and acquisitions editor with Prism Book Group. My story, Forgiven, is in the anthology, Brave New Century which released Nov. 13, 2013. This book appeared on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers in Religious Historical Fiction.
Most girls I know, myself included, grew up dreaming of getting married. Too young to understand marriage, my focus was on the wedding day.
The flowers. Cake. Dress. Presents. A man choosing me.
Imagine the frustration when we reach what we consider the age to make all this happen, and…nothing happens.
Then it does, but not what we thought.
We’re invited to be a bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding.
It’s a frustrating season, I remember it well.
Did you know writers liken the publication process to the bridesmaid/bride season? It’s true. Getting published is something you dream about. Sure, once it happens you realize it’s so much more work after signing the contract, but your fantasies were always about the day you could say you were published.
But while you wait, you wait. And wait. And wait some more.
And you watch your peers upload their pix of signing contracts.
While you keep waiting.
That’s the season I’m in, and it’s tempting to put my tacky bridesmaid dress on and pout. But this is a part of the process.
June Foster was kind enough to ask me to share my thoughts on her blog this week, and it was there I confessed my bridesmaid feelings. I’d love for you to stop by and read. Maybe leave a comment.
We can talk about bridesmaid dresses.
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