Sunday, February 28, 2010

Passing the Torch (kind of)

A friend and all around wonderful person, Anne Tyler Lord is a talented writer, who entertains with her very creative and colorful imagination. Her #writerlbsoff program has provided a place for us to talk about our success each week, whether it be with our weight loss, exercise program or writing projects. Anne presented me with not one, but two awards :-) And I am honored.

In acceptance of these prestigious awards, I must post ten truths about myself that may not be known by many. So. without further ado:

1. My marriage ended amicably, at the age of twenty-eight, after being married for ten years.
2. My three wonderful children, two daughters and a son, have first names that begin with 'K'. (My special 'K's)
3. I did have a fourth child, a son who died during the delivery of boy/girl twins.
4. Now, I have two granddaughters and three grandsons, who are the light of my life.
5. I was twelve, when I knew I wanted to write, but life got in the way.:-)
6. I managed a health spa in the late 70's early 80's for about eight years.
7. I was a caregiver for both of my parents, who passed away from stroke complications, three years apart, within the past seven years.
8. I worked for a major pharmaceutical company, as a clinical research specialist. (Soon realized that corporate politics were not my cup of tea.)
9. I am friends with my ex-husband's wife. (you can exhale, now) :-)
10. I have learned to accept the good AND bad moments of life, because if you don't experience the bad, you can never appreciate the good.

Well, there you have it. And now, I want to bestow the Silver Lining Award and The Honest Scrap Award upon these very special folk.


Please accept these awards and I look forward to learning more about each one of you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When We Listen: When Your Heart Breaks

Beautifully written prose ~ by Lori Newman

I felt the need to share this poem with you. It touched my heart and has a true sense of honesty as to the fear of putting yourself out there. Whether in love or your writing, or your love of writing, it is so worth taking the risk. Enjoy!

When We Listen: When Your Heart Breaks

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Positive Attitude Award

I was honored when Jim Wisneski included ME to receive this award. In turn, I must pass it on to 3 (only 3, while there are many:-)) others, who deserve it.

After much deliberation, here goes:

Amy K. Sorrels for spreading sunshine in the darkness
Lori Newman for knowing what to do with life's lemons
Donna Carrick who brings a smile to everyone in her path

Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Evening with Ray Bradbury

Cover of "Now and Forever: Somewhere a Ba...Cover via Amazon

"Don't ruin your life with thinking, think your life with feeling...loving...passion" ~ Ray Bradbury

An award winning author, who's simplistic view of writing has brought him success. He once said, "You must decide what is more important to or writing? If you are writing to make money, do something else." His words, not mine.:-)

Ray Bradbury has written and published over 500 stories, over 30 books, of which two of my favorites are Dandelion Wine and it's sequel, Farewell Summer, which was actually written prior to the first book. He also made time to throw in a few screenplays. He never locked himself into a specific genre. His writing was all over the market. He didn't believe in positioning himself in the race to be published. He believed in reaching deep inside himself and creating a masterpiece.

Born in Waukegan, Illinois, (about twenty five miles from where I live now, sigh) and unable to go to college or acquire any formal education in writing, he spent four days a week or so in the public library, while growing up. He will tell you, that after ten years, he graduated from the public library. His unique sense of humor is priceless.

Read an excerpt of his latest work of art, Now and Forever

And then pour yourself a glass of wine or whatever your pleasure and spend an evening with Ray Bradbury.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Thin Place

     As my car headed straight for the trunk of a tree, I saw Him. He said, “No! No! Not yet. You are not done.” His palm facing toward me, like a traffic cop at a school bus stop, I took my foot from the brake, but not soon enough to divert an impact. But no, He wasn’t letting me go that easily. God intervened, on my behalf, to save my life and my soul. I believe that I have known many thin places.

     When I woke up in the hospital three hours later, I was told that I had flat-lined. The doctors were trying to revive me and they were just about ready to give up when my vitals began to register again. Apparently, they heard me say the word, why?  

     My ‘thin place’ wasn’t about my living or dying. It was clearly the vision of God shaking his head, no. It was when I felt His spirit, right there in my heart and in my whole being. I couldn’t help wondering, why me? Why would He acknowledge me? Why would He choose me to communicate with? Why would he save me?

     I knew from that point on, I needed to be an example of Him to others. I don’t have the answers to all of the why’s, but I’m sure He would want me to be caring, supportive and inspiring to others, even in small ways. In whatever way I can. I look for Him everyday in everything I do. I love my life with Him in it.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thin Places a Memoir

"It’s a story of God’s nearness when I thought I’d nearly lose my mind and will to live. How grateful I am for the beautiful love of Jesus, how dearly He chose frail me to shame the wise. It’s really His story after all." Mary E. DeMuth

When I was asked to be an endorser for Thin Places by Mary E. DeMuth, I was honored. I waited for the book to come, checking the mailbox everyday. I have read Mary's previous writings and knew that I was in for a wonderful treat.

And then, here it was. I tore open the padded envelope and held the book in my hand. As I waited for the tea kettle to howl, oh yes, this was going to require a cup of tea, my softest throw and a comfy chair, because I knew once I started reading, I wouldn't stop until I've been through all 224 pages.

As I read the first paragraph It came to me that this wasn't a work of fiction. This wasn't a made up story of a make believe character. This was real ~ Mary's real life story ~  And then I began to cry. The thought of an innocent little girl enduring this life was unacceptable. However, that didn't stop it from happening.

The cover of Thin Places is an actual photo of Mary DeMuth taken by her father at age five.

Click link below to view the trailer

About the Author:

Mary DeMuth
Author and speaker Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.
National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.
Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas.

In the interview that follows, you will understand why it was in her heart to write Thin Places.

What trials did you face as a child?

• Childhood sexual abuse at five
• Parents with addictions
• Feelings of being unwanted
• An unsafe home
• Neglect
• Death of a parent
• Loneliness
• Suicidal thoughts
• Three divorces

It’s hard to write all that out and not feel bad for little me. But even in the recounting, I’ve been able to see the thin places in my life, those snatches of moments where God came near. That’s the message and hope of Thin Places, being able to see the nearness of God amidst heartache.

What compelled you to write Thin Places?

I felt sufficiently healed from my past, which had been a long, long journey. And in that healing, I knew I had the perspective I needed to be able to communicate my story with hope. In the past, I’d vomit my story of sexual abuse and neglect on any poor soul who’d listen, not with the intention to help her grow through her story, but to gain empathy.

But now I marvel at the path God’s brought me on, how gently He’s led me to this place of wholeness. From that abundance, I share my story. Why? Because I believe sharing the truth about our stories helps others see their own stories.

While I recorded the audio book for Thin Places, the producer asked me why I’d splay my life out this way.

“Because I don’t want folks to feel alone,” I told him.

“You’ve given a gift,” he said.

I sure hope so.

In this memoir you give readers a candid glimpse into your upbringing. Was it hard to share particular parts of your story?

In some ways, it was easy. I’ve shared my story over a decade now. What was hard was giving myself permission to say it all, to not hold back, to explore the emotions I experienced during the rapes, the drug parties, the feelings of loneliness.

Oddly, though, it was harder for me to share what I’m dealing with now as a result of my upbringing than the actual initial trauma. It’s hard to admit that I’m still so needy, so insecure. After reading the book aloud, I saw I still had areas of growth, particularly in being so hard on myself.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your memoir?

I hope they see hope.

I hope they realize how profound and surprising and radical God’s redemption is.

I hope they’ll see the irresistibility of Jesus.

Some folks wait until grandparents and parents are deceased until they write a memoir, but you wrote yours with some still alive. Was that difficult?

Extremely. In many ways, agonizing. You can be assured that I prayed through every word. I’m thankful for my critique group who walked me through the writing and my stellar editor who helped shape the manuscript into a redemptive story. My goal was not to impugn or point the finger at what went wrong way back when, but to shout about God’s ability to transform a needy, incomplete girl.

It’s never easy to tell the truth, and I know my words may hurt some. But, thankfully, I’ve sought God’s heart in this and I can rest peacefully in knowing that.

Anne Lamott says, “Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive."

Thin Places is my answer to her quote.

But why go there? Why examine the past? Hasn’t the old passed away?

Yes, of course we must move forward. We must move beyond our pasts. But in order to do that, we must mourn the reality of what happened, not bury it under a rug. I love what Sam says in The Two Towers movie about the importance of telling our stories, no matter how dark: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.”
It’s my sincere hope that my story will stay with readers, not because of its sordidness, but because the Light of Jesus has shined so brightly upon it.

What encouragement or cautions do you have for those wanting to write their story?

First, prayerfully consider if this is something you need to do for therapy rather than publication. It’s very exposing to write a memoir. And sometimes we mistake the compelling feeling we have with publication. God sometimes calls us to write unpublished words, to get everything out on the page for the sake of our own personal healing.

Many of you have read memoirs that are self-indulgent or a poor-me fest. You need to evaluate whether you’re at a good place of healing before you embark on writing your story for everyone to read.

Do you worry that writing a memoir makes you out to be narcissistic?

Of course. Because I’m the main character! As I’ve edited, read and re-read the book, I’ve agonized over that. Now that the book’s released, I am resting. What’s done is done. And I honestly believe that the story isn’t about me. It’s about a rejuvenating God who stooped to rescue a needy, frail girl.

What fears have you battled as this book released?

Because this is such a personal book, I’ve worried about negative reviews. In some ways that’s good because it will force me to find my security and love from the One who made me, rather than the opinions of others. I’ve received some great endorsements, but also some harsh reviews. And those are the ones that knife me! Because the book’s about me!

I worry that I’ll be misunderstood. Or that telling the truth will hurt others. I’ve made a point to disguise nearly everyone and everything in the book, but of course the potential for hurt feelings is high.

I fear opposition by the father of lies. Since this is a truth-filled book, displaying authentic struggle, I have a feeling he won’t like it. I’m thankful for a specific, targeted prayer team around me to pray for protection regarding the release of this book. It’s humbling, actually, to see how God brought those pray-ers together.

Thin Places can be purchased at

Thin Places
Release: February 2010
Soft cover, 224 pp., $14.99
ISBN: 031028418X

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