Archives for posts with tag: Christian books

Emily FreemanEditor’s note: This is the third in a series of four author interviews.

If I thought I could get away with it, I’d type amen after each of Emily Freeman’s answers. Because this author? She gets it. Her latest book is Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. It releases on Aug. 18, which is of course a Tuesday.

What’s the message of your newest book?

My newest book is called Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. Tuesday offers the gift of now, of seeing how the kingdom of God hides in small things – beneath the pile of laundry and woven into the dinner conversation. This feels counter-intuitive in my world. In our culture and even in the church, we always seem to praise the Big and Important: the growing congregation, the rising star, the giant donation, or the big and amazing dream. But Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, he said God’s people are like salt, he said his kingdom belongs to the children.

Growing congregations, rising stars, giant donations, and big dreams are great! But the truth is that isn’t where most of us live. The Bible says we are not to despise the days of small beginnings. I admit, that sounds lovely and offers relief maybe. But when you have to actually live the small beginnings, when you have to get up every morning for what feels like an eternal Tuesday, it’s hard to not despise that. Too often my soul feels held hostage by hustle – which basically looks like me trying to hustle my way out of the Tuesday moments and grab on to something that looks more like a Friday night.

I sense Jesus inviting me to release my obsession with building a life and trust in the life Christ is building within me. And in my life the way he’s doing that is one small moment at a time.

In a world where we spend hundreds and hundreds on children’s birthday parties and create elaborate prom-posals, how can the small moments compete?

Prom-posals! Ha! How have I never heard that term before? Yes, it’s so true that it seems like the small-moments are over-looked and I understand why. Who would choose small if there’s potential for big? I guess my only answer to the question “how can the small moments compete” is that they can’t. Which is precisely the point. I think a lot of us are actually tired of competing – we live in this world of hustle, hurry, produce, deliver and maybe we’re successful at that. Sometimes. But beneath the surface, at the core of who we are, I believe our souls are longing for space, for margin, and for rest.

We might be able to sustain this pace for a while, but no one can do it for a lifetime. At least not in a healthy way. I don’t think it’s wrong to go all out or to celebrate or achieve in big ways. What I do think is that it’s also important to remember that Jesus came as a baby and not as a king. And that the kingdom of God shows up in ways we might not expect – in the whisper, in the seed, in the child.

3.What role do these small moments play in our contentment?

I’m still learning this. But one thing I’ve noticed in myself is that if the light of a Tuesday morning candle isn’t bright enough to light the room, a spotlight won’t be either. If the regular work I do on a Tuesday doesn’t feel important, I will become addicted to comparison and forget compassion. If the people in my life now aren’t sacred companions for me, I realize I’m competing with everyone and connecting with no one.

Jesus became less and arrived small and keeping company with him, celebrating my smallness in his presence rather than despising it – this brings a surprising freedom that seems impossible. I don’t always choose the small way, but contentment is a natural result when I do.

Sherry GoreEditor’s note: This is the first in a series of four author interviews.

The Plain Choice: A True Story of Choosing to Live an Amish Life tells how Sherry Gore, who moved several times across the country looking for a new beginning, finally found one – in faith.

Gore’s book, which releases next month, walks the reader through her difficult childhood, her six months of homelessness and her eventual focus on living for God.

She graciously tells us more:

What do you hope readers take away from the difficult parts of your story?

All my life I knew God was real. I could see Him working in the lives of others. But my feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth were overwhelming. I couldn’t see an end to my emotional pain. The bad choices I continually made in the past left me thinking I’d missed any chance there was for me to ever have a personal relationship with God. I thought I was unforgivable. I had no faith. What I learned when I did give myself over to God – and every day since – is that His grace is powerful enough to redeem anyone. Including me.

Sometimes the Amish life – and even just choosing to live more simply – seems so far away. What are some steps people can take to begin to shift priorities?

Living with a sense of community in your heart can do wonders for your psyche. This is easily achieved by turning our attention away from things that drain us of our time, and giving more of ourselves – be it a listening ear, or offering a helping hand where needed for others. … Being present for others is what makes a community.

How common is it for an adult to join the Amish? What was it that the Amish offered that spoke the most to your heart?

Hosting visitors is fairly common in the Mennonite church. Actually joining the church is not. Most of the letters and emails I receive from those seeking the Plain community entail a desire for a lifestyle that appears romantic and ideal. Once the “romantic” aspect of living Plain wears off – this often happens in six months or less – they’re left feeling unsatisfied. The path that led me to the Plain church was any but romantic. My discovery that there were people in this world who were living a life parallel to my own (based on my own bible reading and convictions) was what set my search in motion. Once there, I knew I was in God’s will. I’m exactly where God wants me; in a place where I can fellowship with like-minded individuals allowing me to flourish in my relationship with Him every day.

When I go in Christian bookstores the shelves are full of novels that feature the Amish. Why do you think people are drawn to that subject?

I think the initial attraction to Amish fiction is the longing readers have for a simpler life. … I believe what keeps the readers coming back for more is that most Amish fiction books are written with wholesome, clean storylines, and have characters with surprisingly every day, true-to-life problems readers can identify with. At the same time they offer a look into the lives of a culture not readily understood by most people in society. Amish fiction is here to stay.

My addiction to holiday books started six years ago when a dear friend told me she read a book every night leading up to Christmas. And, well, once I started collecting Christmas books for my sons… I naturally wanted Easter books, too.

Visit the Simply Faithful Facebook page to see an album of our favorites — and then, if you’d like to add three free books to your own Easter book collection, click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway! The contest ends Monday morning at midnight. Enjoy!

Zonderkidz giveaway

 

Photo courtesy of Jill Williamson

Jill Williamson, author of “Replication [The Jason Experiment],” will be available at 7 p.m. EST on Friday, Nov. 16. You’ll be able to join the chat live on the Simply Faithful Facebook page.

For about a year now I’ve invited readers to join me in reading and discussing books with spiritual themes. So far, the community has read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and “Rooms” by James Rubart. The current book club picks — like “Replication” — were chosen to encourage younger readers to participate in the conversation.

In “Replication,” one of Williamson’s six Christian teen novels, Abby discovers her scientist father is working in a hidden human cloning facility called Jason Farms. One of the clones, J:3:3 (aka Martyr), escapes in her father’s pick-up truck because he desperately wants to see the sky and the outside world before he expires on his 18th birthday. Eventually Abby and Martyr work together to try to free the other clones, especially Baby because Martyr protects Baby and the other “broken” clones in the facility.

“Everybody loves Martyr,” Williamson said, “and I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that they have had to think about the things they have taken for granted. It’s made them pause and notice the world.”

To learn more about Williamson, visit her Website: www.JillWilliamson.com, where she offers a free monthly manuscript review. You can also find her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Look for @JillWilliamson.

To read other articles I’ve written about her, click here and here.

 

Photo courtesy of Jill Williamson

The idea that each person has a purpose in life is important to author Jill Williamson – so much so that it’s the current that carries readers through her teen book “Replication [The Jason Experiment].”

“Every person is created for a reason,” Williamson said, adding that people’s purpose can change, like in her life.

Williamson studied to be a fashion designer, then worked toward being a motivational speaker for teens before deciding to write speculative fiction for young adults. Now, she’s bringing the topic up for readers to wrestle with in “Replication” where humans and clones struggle with what their contribution should be.

In “Replication,” one of Williamson’s six Christian teen novels, Abby discovers her scientist father is working in a hidden human cloning facility called Jason Farms. One of the clones, J:3:3 (aka Martyr), escapes in her father’s pick-up truck because he desperately wants to see the sky and the outside world before he expires on his 18th birthday. Eventually Abby and Martyr work together to try to free the other clones, especially Baby because Martyr protects Baby and the other “broken” clones in the facility.

“Everybody loves Martyr,” Williamson said, “and I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that they have had to think about the things they have taken for granted. It’s made them pause and notice the world.”

“Replication” is planned as a three-book series, but Williamson is currently working on other book projects, raising an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old and involved with youth ministry in eastern Oregon where her husband is a youth pastor.

“I’ve always loved to read teen books,” she said, and she often shared books with the teens she knew and wished that there were more options in Christian fiction – more books that Christians could agree on.

Then reality struck. Agreement was hard to find and writing took practice. Publishing took networking.

Still, it was fun to create characters who are real and flawed, so Williamson stuck with it.

“Stories are powerful,” she said, like a woman who has found her purpose.

About the Simply Faithful book club

For about a year Marketta Gregory, author of the Simply Faithful column, has invited readers to join her in reading and discussing books with spiritual themes. So far, the community has read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and “Rooms” by James Rubart. The current selections – all four – were chosen to encourage younger readers to participate in the conversation. They are:

  • “Who Built the Stable?” by Ashley Bryan ($16.99, Simon and Schuster).
  • “Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish” by Jenn Kelly ($12.99, Zondervan).
  • “Replication [The Jason Experiment]” by Jill Williamson ($15.99, Zondervan).
  • “Graceful: Letting Go of your Try-Hard Life” by Emily P. Freeman ($12.99, Revell).

Meet Jill Williamson

Learn more about author Jill Williamson at her Website: www.JillWilliamson.com. You can also find her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Look for @JillWilliamson.

Readers have the chance to chat live with her at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 on the Simply Faithful Facebook page.

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