Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Barb Haley Apr 2016A Message from Barb Haley

CCWC & GPCWC Registrar &
Appointments Coordinator

Have you ever felt like giving up on your writing ministry?

Perhaps that’s why you didn’t register for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May (well 3 FEET of snow definitely impacted registrations) or why you haven’t yet registered for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference or decided to go to any writers conference this year.

Or maybe you are SO majorly busy that you can’t imagine taking several days from your schedule for a conference—especially if you’ve attended one in the past and you’re still not published. Or maybe you just can’t justify spending the money to support a hobby you love, but that—face it—doesn’t promise any financial returns.

I’ve definitely felt the same way a LOT of times. I go to workshops and conferences, get all excited, and … nothing. Either I don’t hear from the faculty member who asked me to send my writing, or I receive a note that says I’m a strong writer, but the piece just doesn’t meet the publishing house’s needs at this moment. Oh, and P.S. (they add) Please don’t give up. I’m sure there’s another publishing house out there who will want to give your manuscript a home.

Ha. So reassuring. Right?

Not.

Well, I was there last fall when I was spending hunks of time on my first novel. What I once loved had turned to a burden. Getting published seemed to rest on my shoulders. Twitter, Facebook, website, blog, etc. Daily deadlines that did nothing to inspire me to keep writing my book.

But what was worse was realizing that if my writing was never published, I was wasting time that could be better spent in some sort of ministry related activity. So I talked to God about it.

“I don’t know what to do, Lord,” I prayed. “I thought You called me to write. The words come easy. Ideas flood my mind. But I don’t want to waste time if I’m not in Your will.”

The answer was immediate. God spoke to my spirit. “Barbie, if the novel you are working on ministers to just one person, will that be enough for all the time you’ve spent working on it?”

Tears flooded my eyes. My Father understood me. Loved me. Heard even the unspoken words of my heart.

“Of course, it would,” I answered. “But it’s not my time I’m concerned about. I love writing. I’m concerned that what I’m doing isn’t what You want me to be doing.”

Again: “If what you are doing ministers to one person, do you think that could be My plan?”

“Oh, yes, Father.”

I thought about the beta copies I’d just sent out to a dozen friends when I finally finished my novel (for the zillionth time-ha!). Many had responded with how the words had touched their hearts. How they could relate to the character’s issues and struggles in her Christian walk. How the answers God gave her spoke to them, the readers.

I thought about the seven devotionals I write each year for piddly-little money. But it’s not about the money. It’s about spreading the gospel.

And I thought about my blog. Every time I post, God seems to use the words to minister to someone. Usually just someone I already know. Not like my readership has blossomed.

But could it be that this is the very audience God desires for me to minister to? Could it be I got so excited about being called to write that I quickly assumed that meant to be in print? In the bookstores?

Or could God be calling me to reach the ones I already know with His love and encouragement? Would that be enough for me? For God?

Okay. I can’t tell you what a release I felt when the truth sank in. God had called me to write. I just needed to take the future results out of the box I’d filed them in and allow God to shape my writing future in any way He deems best. He didn’t call me to publish. He called me to write.

Then God spoke one more time to my heart. He confirmed His call so strongly I will never doubt it again.

But first, let me ask about you. Has God called you to write? Has a lack of “success” blocked you from moving forward? From attending a conference?

Fifteen years I’ve been coming, and you know, I strongly believe all these years of preparation and learning the craft of writing have enabled me to be used by God. To put His words and thoughts on paper. To share what He’s done for me, and what He wants to do for readers.

Lord Get Your NeedleSo I continue. And last year I self-published my first non-fiction book, a set of devotionals: Lord, Get Your Needle—I’m Falling Apart at the Seams. Subtitle: The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain.

Huge sales? Nope. But many, many confirmations of God using the words to minister to His hurting children. Worth my time and effort? Definitely.

Today, the fact that we can self-publish is HUGE.  In fact, many big-name authors are going this route. Does it take work? Yes. But how exciting to know that we now have an avenue to put our words out there for others.

What did God say to me that cemented His call in my heart?

After I assured Him I was willing to write my whole life for just one person and that I knew He would be pleased, He said, “Good, because that one person is you.”

Oh, my. The love of God overpowered me. For me.

I knew my main character in the novel was much like me. In fact I’d hoped that I could share the lessons God had taught me through the character.

But what I didn’t realize was that in writing—in asking God constantly what He wanted to say to the character next—I was allowing God to speak to my life. The conflict and situations that seemed to spontaneously come to my mind for my character came from the Holy Spirit, and as I worked through them, on my character’s behalf, I worked through them for me. Deep, hidden questions. Wounds. Self-doubts. Painful honesty and surrender.

I’m a new creation because of what I experienced as I wrote. The truth I searched for on behalf of my main character has set me free on so many levels. Glory be to God!

So, before this email becomes a book, I want to encourage you to register for the July 26-29 Philly conference. Marlene says there is a small amount of scholarship money still available and she is MORE than willing to work with you on time payments. We don’t want you to miss out.

Come spend time in the presence of God. Hear His voice and allow Him to rekindle the flame under your writing ministry and passion. Join with other writers and discover that friendship and support we all crave and need. Listen and improve your writing skills. Allow God to prepare you for what He has in mind for your future. For your world of influence.

Love in Christ!

Barb Haley
2017 GPCWC Registrar/Appointments Coordinator

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

P.S. from Marlene – Thank You, Father, for speaking so powerfully to Barb and giving her the gift of words to share her story with us.

Of course, we’d love for you to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’ve extended the early registration date through JUNE 30. Plus, you’ll receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. That’s a total of five if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But if the date and location don’t work for you (the conference is in a Philly suburb and near the east/west PA Turnpike and I95), check out the other summer conferences on the Christian Manuscript Submissions website.

And if you have a book manuscript you’ve been unable to place with a traditional publisher, do pray about indie publishing. Sarah Bolme, director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), is teaching the continuing session, “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book,” at the Philly conference. You’ll gain the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your own book affordably. Topics will include: three things to do before you publish your book; preparing your manuscript; DIY publishing; obtaining book reviews; and marketing, the essential ingredient. CDs of when Sarah taught this in May at the Colorado conference are available. You’ll find the link to order them at http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

The most important thing you need to do? Pray! And invite several friends to become part of a prayer team and to hold you accountable to do what Father is calling you to do.

golden egg
Okay, it’s yellow not gold. And it’s really not an egg, but it is egg-shaped and it did hold eggs that have now hatched. I don’t know how many baby birds are inside, but they sure make a lot of noise. And they keep Mom and Dad really busy with their need to be fed.

I’m fascinated as I watch their parents fly in and out of the nest with morsels of food. They don’t appear to grow weary or annoyed by the needs they must meet. Their life’s focus is to care for their young until they are strong enough to be pushed out of the nest.

The instincts God has placed within His creatures amaze me. They simply do what they were created to do.

What about us? Father has given us the gift of emotions and the freedom to choose how we will respond to the needs around us. His Word encourages us to:

Feed the flock of God; care for it willingly,
not grudgingly;
not for what you will get out of it
but because you are eager to serve the Lord.
1 Peter 5:2 TLB

Father, I pray for myself and for those You have called to “write Your answer.” Help us to focus not on what we will get but on what we can give. Show us how to write words to meet the needs of our readers. Give us strength to persevere when we question whether we’re really making a difference.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

  • Do you long to find editors and agents that are hungry for the “food” you have prepared?
  • Have you written a book but don’t know how to get it published?
  • Do you have a book in print that is not selling?
  • Are you faithfully writing a blog but getting few visitors?

The Colorado and Greater Philly “Write His Answer” conferences provide the help you need.

CDs of the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference are available. Click here for the order form

And it’s not too late to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.  I’ve extended the early registration date to JUNE 30. In addition, everyone who registers through June 30 will receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. For those who come all three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), that’s FIVE appointments.  Come two days and you get FOUR appointments, and one day and get THREE appointments.

Get to Work

 

Solomons temple

Be strong and courageous
and get to work.

Don’t be frightened
by the size of the task,

for the Lord my God is with you;
he will not forsake you.
He will see to it that everything
is finished correctly.

1 Chronicles 28:20 (TLB)

 

Okay, I get it! I’m not King Solomon. I certainly do not have his wisdom, and I’m grateful God has not asked me to build a temple. But the work He is calling me to do can seem just as overwhelming. Impossible, really, if I don’t stay focused on the Lord and on His promises.

What about you? Do you have an idea for a book that you’ve safely tucked away into your “someday” file? Or maybe you began writing it, but then you allowed doubts to creep in. Perhaps you actually finished a couple of chapters only to be crushed by the less than enthusiastic response of an editor, agent, or your critique group.

I can’t guarantee that investing in the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will open the door to publication. But I can assure you that you’ll learn tons, make new forever friends, and hear from the Lord if you’re listening.

The bios of our 56 faculty members are finally online along with their editorial needs, areas of expertise (they really want to help you), and the services they offer. It took me almost a week of solid work – work that wasn’t any easier just because I’ve been doing it for 33 years. I added the amazing charts that Barb Haley, our Appointments Coordinator, prepared to help you determine who to request for your free one-on-one appointments.

Remember, at the Philly conference you get FOUR free 15-minute appointments if you attend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Even better, if you’re among the next 20 to register, you’ll receive an additional BONUS appointment.

Father, please help us to believe, to really believe, that You can use the words You are calling us to write to make a difference in our hurting world. Help us to focus on the needs of our readers and Your promises instead of our self-doubts. 

He who believes need never run away again.

Isaiah 28:16 TLB

If you were at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference two weeks ago, you probably heard me pray for my five pin oak trees that have bacterial leaf scorch. Yes, I pray about everything! And yes, I believe God can heal my trees!

Of course, I’m concerned about the $10,000 (that we don’t have) that it would cost to take them down. But it’s much more than money that has created such a strong bond between me and trees. The story below was first printed in The War Cry and has been accepted for reprinting by Live.

Embraced by a Tree

Silver maple tree Ken Cook

Two immense silver maple trees in the front yard sheltered the house I lived in until I was fourteen years old. They were my special friends.

When my mother threatened to call the police to come and take me away because I was a “naughty little girl,” I’d run outside and lean against one of my trees. Its branches seemed to embrace me with a love that I never knew from either of my parents.

My father was constantly in and out of the hospital. He seldom talked to me. When he did, his words were like hammer blows to my already fragile self-esteem. The beatings from his large fists often sent me flying. Even more painful than the welts his hand left on my face, was the way Mother (she didn’t like me to call her Mom) never intervened. “It’s all your fault,” she’d say. “If you’d be good, this wouldn’t have to happen.” But it kept happening, again and again.

When my father got a blood clot in his leg, I remember Mother’s warning: “You’d better be good!  If you’re not, if you get your father upset, the blood clot can go to his heart and kill him.”

For weeks I tried to be very good, but I was gripped by the fear that I wasn’t good enough. I often mounted my bicycle, hoping to ride to the far end of the world. Instead, I’d end up at the forest preserve nearby where I’d walk deep into the woods. I never worried about getting lost. The trees of the forest were also my friends. When I heard that girls had been raped and murdered not far from my woods, I was frightened. But Mother knew where I was going and never stopped me. Doesn’t she care if something happens to me? I wondered.

My father died of a heart attack when I was ten. “You can be glad you were a good girl the last few days so you don’t have to feel guilty,” Mother said. But I knew I hadn’t been a good girl, and now it was too late. Perhaps she sensed my remorse.

“Give him a kiss and tell him you loved him,” she urged me as we stood before the open coffin.

I was terrified. “I can’t.”

“You can’t!  What’s the matter with you?”  Her voice and eyes were accusing. “People will think you didn’t love your father.”

“Mother, please. Please don’t make me,” I pleaded.

For the next year I had horrible nightmares. I begged Mother to let me sleep with her. Sometimes she gave in, but it didn’t help. I needed her to hold me and comfort me, but she always turned her back to me. I laid beside her wide awake, listening to her breathing and worrying every time its rhythm changed. Suppose she died too!

Mother remarried when I was fourteen. But life with my stepfather, Harry, was even worse. Why didn’t Mother tell him to leave me alone? But she didn’t, blaming me for the beatings and other abuse. I remember sitting under one of my trees all night, afraid to be alone on the streets and afraid to stay in the house.

On my wedding I had no regrets about moving a thousand miles away. When I became pregnant, I missed Mother. I was sure she’d come when my baby was born, but she didn’t.

A year later Mother was diagnosed with a mental illness. Even knowing that she probably couldn’t help the way she treated me, I continued to be hurt by the things she did.

When my thirteen-year-old half-sister came to live with us because Harry was sexually abusing her, Mother was angry at me for taking her “baby” away from her. She blamed me for breaking up her “happy home.”

When Harry died, Mother was on the verge of another breakdown. She was so confused she couldn’t even lock and unlock the front door of her house. Obviously she couldn’t live alone. I finally convinced Mother to come east. By then she was so mentally unstable that I had no choice but to put her in a mental hospital. Tests revealed that in addition to being bipolar, Mother had an illness similar to Alzheimer’s. Doctors urged me to put her in a personal care home. But I knew Mother could still function, with support, in an apartment. A geriatric counselor agreed and helped me to see what tasks could be done by others so I wouldn’t become consumed by Mother’s care.

Now the roles were reversed. I had to give Mother the things she failed to give me—attention, affection, love.

Mother, who signed my birthday card, “From Mabel,” complained about me to anyone who would listen. Unappreciative, mistrustful, she continued to reject me. Some days I wondered why I didn’t take the “easy” way out and put her in a home. Was I being a martyr? No, I concluded, I’m doing what I must do for my mother.

On Mother’s Day I didn’t want to be with her, but I couldn’t leave her alone in her apartment so I took her out to dinner. Mother complained about her potatoes. They were too cold. Her chicken was too done. She didn’t like the salad dressing. Nothing pleased her!

I remembered how Mother’s psychiatrist had recommended that I think of her simply as an old woman who needed my help. “Don’t think of her as your mother; call her Mabel.” His words didn’t help.

Once I visited a friend whose mother had Alzheimer’s. I watched Peggy comb her mother’s hair and give her a hug. Her mother smiled and kissed her cheek. Why can’t it be that way between me and my mother? I wondered.

“It hurts so much,” I told God one evening as I sat on my porch. I looked up at the tree in my backyard and wished I could draw comfort and strength from it as I did when I was a child. I remembered a fragment of a poem I memorized in school—something about only God being able to make a tree.

I thought of Jesus—how His hands and feet were nailed to a tree in order that my sins might be forgiven. He kept reaching for me when I kept rejecting Him, loving me when I was unlovable.

Suddenly I knew that because He first loved me, I could love Mother no matter how she treated me. “Love,” He reminded me “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (l Corinthians 13:7, RSV).

A gentle breeze stirred the beginnings of forgiveness within my spirit. “I want to forgive you, Mother,” I whispered. “I still love you.”

~ *~ * ~ * ~

My concern for trees continued at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CDs are available) where the lodgepole pines and aspen trees that were just leafing out were blanketed with 41″ of snow. I thought for sure many wouldn’t survive. But amazingly, the next morning, with the temperature only in the low 40s, they were standing straight and tall free of the snow that had weighed them down. “That’s because they are closer to the sun at the 8,000 some foot elevation,” I reasoned. Then I thought of the burdens that had  been weighing me down. “Stay close to the Son,” I felt Father speak to my spirit. “Then the burden won’t be too heavy.”

Snow CO 2017

What an encouragement Tim’s words are to me and I trust to all of you who are already registered for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference (http://colorado.writehisanswer.com) or are considering coming. You can still register online or walk-in.

The Philly conference (http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com) is July 26-29. Brochures were mailed yesterday and are online with lots of other info. I encourage you to register by June 17 to avoid the price increase after that date.

I have NO doubt that Father is going to do Ephesians 3:20 things at both conferences. Please pray about coming. Scholarship help is available.

JUBILEE WRITER

Today I’m sharing another conference story. A male conference attendee. Male writer’s do attend conferences but they are in the minority. I hope you find Timothy Fountain’s story as inspiring as I did.

TimothyFountain_Headshot

Marlene Bagnull’s Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference (GPCWC) is inseparable from the publication of my first book, Raising a Child With Autism.

I attended the conference twice and liken the experiences to two kinds of fire: inspiring (Acts 2:3) and refining (Psalm 12:6).

The inspiring fire came via GPCWC’s guiding mission, “Write His (God’s) answer” (Habakkuk 2:2).  The conference encourages and challenges writers to identify their particular proclamation of Christ and the genre of writing by which to convey it.  All of the writers who lead workshops reinforce this approach.

As the parent of a child with autism, I was in touch with family caregivers’ need for Christ’s comfort, encouragement and hope.  This was the inspiration…

View original post 463 more words

I’m a slow learner? What about you? Do you often find yourself going around the same not-so-merry merry-go-round needing to relearn lessons that you thought you had learned, even mastered?

The past several days have been challenging, to say the least.

With the Colorado Christian Writers Conference only a week away, as always I’m racing to get everything ready in the midst of

  • Glitches I didn’t anticipate and can’t easily fix. But HE IS FAITHFUL!
  • Unwelcome surprises like the tick that made a home in my ear for over two days. And yes, it was a deer tick – the kind that causes Lyme’s Disease. I’ve gotten an anti-biotic from the doctor. And I’m trusting that HE IS FAITHUL.
  • Details that are overwhelming and that must be nailed down – like lodging, picking up faculty from the airport, assigning classrooms, preparing the packet and daily schedule . . . But Father isn’t overwhelmed. HE IS FAITHFUL.
  • Exhaustion and a weak knee that has given out on me twice in the last month making it first impossible and then very painful to walk. Today I got a hinged knee brace that I’m trusting will help because HE IS FAITHFUL. (Yes, this year’s conference will literally be more of a “faith walk” then usual.)

His faithful promises are my armor  (Psalm 91:4 TLB). Yours, too, if you choose to put it on. (Click here for “Put on the Armor,” a chapter from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers.)

When I am weak, then I am strong—
the less I have [including time to meet deadlines
and to conquer a seemingly impossible to-do list]
the more I depend on him.
2 Corinthians 12:10 TLB

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness!

A few updates:
2017-mtn-banner-for-website

It’s not too late to register online or to walk in. Register through tomorrow, May 10, and submit your appointment request form (available after you register) and Barb Haley will pre-schedule your appointments. After May 10, you’ll be able to sign up for appointments when you arrive.

Faculty member, Roy Hanschke, will interview keynoter, D.J. Williams, tomorrow (Wednesday) morning on his morning show at AM91 KPOF. Click here for the feature article Longmont reporter, Steve Rees, wrote about D.J. for ASSISTNews.net:

WITH SPIRITUAL DNA FOR WORLD MISSIONS, STORYTELLER FINDS FERTILE FIELD IN HOLLYWOOD

“I am so looking forward to D.J.’s keynote as well as the other keynotes. We have an outstanding faculty. Thank You, Father!

2017-gp-banner-to-use

Our 16-page brochure will be off press tomorrow. If we have your USPS address, you should receive it early next week. The brochure is also available online, and online registration is open. Remember, the earlier you register, the better opportunity you have to get your top appointment picks. Plus, the first 75 to register to get an additional free 15-minute appointment. Register for:

3 days – get 5 appointments
2 days – 4 appointments
1 day – 3 appointments

Since Wednesday is not a full day and we do not schedule appointments on Wednesday, it does not count toward the number of appointments you will receive.

Please note that faculty bios and editorial needs have not yet been added to the website and probably won’t be until I return May 24 from the Colorado conference.

In conclusion, so I can get back to work 🙂

  • Are you questioning your call to write?
  • Are you questioning whether or not you can justify the cost of a conference?
  • Are you discouraged because the words aren’t flowing and your manuscript (or printed book) is not selling?

Remember – HE IS FAITHFUL!

 

The following, shared with permission, is from Laura Shaffer’s Daily Bible Prayer. Laura is a powerful prayer warrior and on staff at the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog.

With the time pressures of all that must be done before I leave May 15 for the Colorado conference and getting the brochure – finally – to the printer for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (PTL the brochure is also now online), I need to constantly seek Father for wisdom to know what is the next thing He wants me to do. Only He can enable me – and you – to handle the time pressures that would otherwise leave us overwhelmed and ineffective. Thank You, Father, that no request is too big or too small.

Let him have all your worries and cares for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
1 Peter 5:7 TLB

Time Management
Laura Shaffer

O Father, You have always been my God. Even before I knew who You were, I saw the beauty of Your creation. You put the mountains in place, You created the seas and all that is in them. Yet even before there was earth and sky, You were there. You are “from everlasting to everlasting.”

to do listYou tell me “a thousand years is like a day in Your sight.” Your sense of time is far different from mine. I cannot even imagine it. So I ask You, who knows time and all things, to teach me to live each day to the fullest. Teach me how to measure out my energy for what is important. Do not let me fall victim to the “tyranny of the urgent.” Help me put thought into setting my priorities for spending my time and my energy. Many things of value are not urgent, but are significant. If I only deal with the urgent, the important things slip by.

I desire to live intentionally, not let my life pass by without doing all I can to honor and glorify You.   But already, days slip by, weeks, seasons and even years; and I wonder where the time went.   Father, do not let one more day pass that I do not consider what You want me to accomplish. And show me how to make time for it.

Give me a revelation, a vision for the next part of my life. Show me how to get from here to there in steps I can see. Help me to know when something interrupts, whether it is a distraction or a divine opportunity.

I lay my life before You, Lord. Guide me. Show me.   Thank You for the years I’ve already lived. And let me live each new one for You. Amen

Psalm 90:1-12