A Cup of Christmas Cheer Is Here!

christmas-cheer-3-4-500x500I interrupt my blogging sabbatical to share some exciting news! Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I’m part of a Guideposts collection called A Cup of Christmas Cheer. My short story, Ring of Kindness, is included in Volume 4 — Tales of Christmas Present.

The exciting news is that the books are available for purchase TODAY! You can find them by clicking this link.

They come in a two-volume set and make the perfect holiday gift. They’re hard cover but small and lightweight, and the stories are sure to inspire and uplift you during the Christmas season.

A couple other opportunities to note:

- The other Christmas Cheer authors and I have launched a blog dedicated solely to the collection. Each week, an author is sharing about their story and offering a giveaway. My post happens to be today! (And I’m giving a $10 Amazon gift card, so you don’t want to miss out.) :) Here’s the link: http://cupofchristmascheer.wordpress.com/blog

- There will also be a Facebook party with all the authors on Thursday, November 6th. You’ll get the chance to interact one-on-one with the authors, learn more tidbits about the stories, and enter into several book giveaways, including a chance to win all four volumes of A Cup of Christmas Cheer!

If you’re interested in the Facebook party, be sure to hop over and follow my author page. That’s where I’ll share the invitation to the party once it’s available.

All right, I think that covers all the links for now. :) I hope to see you over at the Christmas blog today! And wherever this autumn takes you, I pray you’ll feel God’s everlasting arms covering you with His peace.

Blessings,
Sarah

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A Season of Work: When God Says Go

Life has a way of slipping by, doesn’t it? When I realized almost a year had passed since my last blog post, I knew it was time to drop in and share what God’s been doing lately. And man, has He been busy! Here’s just a sampling…

In the early part of 2013, I went through what I called a season of sacrifice. God had asked me to lay down my writing for a season, to honor Him by knowing Him more and pouring my heart into my family. It was a beautiful, weightless season that grounded me and strengthened my faith.

Then shortly after, I announced to my Facebook friends that I’d signed my first fiction contract–a novella project with three other authors that was to release with B&H Publishing in October 2015. One month later, I learned that B&H was closing their fiction line and the novella project was off the table.

All this time, a new story had embedded itself deeper in my heart and mind, and I felt a distinct pressing from God to start writing again. I had a few Moses moments and said, “Are You sure, God?” To which He said, “Go.”

So here I am, back to juggling writing and motherhood and life in general. Let’s just say there are moments when I ask, “Can’t You call me back to a season of sacrifice? It was sooo much easier focusing on You and my family.”

But just like God led the Israelites through the desert–His cloud and pillar of fire telling them to sit still at times and then move at others–the same is true for me. I don’t necessarily know where I’ll end up, but I’m trusting that He knows. And in the meantime, He’ll provide enough manna and quail to sustain me. (Or a personal chef and housekeeper would suffice.) :)

So that’s where I am, friends. Still doing my best at this thing called life. I may pop in here from time to time, but I’m not at a place to commit to regular posts yet. (I do update my home page every few months, and if you haven’t already found me on Facebook, rumor has it that I visit there more frequently.)

No matter what season you find yourself in, I pray this post finds you in the center of God’s will, breathing in His deep and lasting joy.

God bless,
Sarah

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A Season of Sacrifice: Why I’m Stepping Away From My Blog

This is one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve written to date. In fact, I’ve started and stopped it at least a dozen times. Typed until my fingers were sore and then erased huge chunks of text.

How does one summarize a decision that has been whispering for a while and only recently found its full voice?

The gist is this: The Lord has asked me to put writing on the back burner for a season.

There are many factors involved, the main one being I’m the mama of two young children–one of whom will be entering the world of kindergarten in August. That’s six months away.

Pardon me while I hyperventilate.

I’ve heard so many people tell me these years are precious, to invest in my children now because once school starts, I’m releasing them to the big, wide world. (Thank you, Erin MacPherson.)

But the truth is I haven’t always done this as fully as I should. Too many times I’ve allowed my heart and emotions to become divided between my family and the pursuit of publication. All of this to the detriment of what’s most important.

Let’s back up to give some context. (Be forewarned I’m going to have a rare preacherlike moment, but I feel led to share it, so there ya go.)

Six months ago began a journey of spiritual restlessness for me. It’s like something clicked inside and I realized I didn’t want to keep paying lip service to my faith. I wanted to live it out in a deep and authentic way. And this wasn’t just a nice little nudge from God….It was an all-consuming urgency, propelling me to crave more of Him and to seek His true will for my life (as opposed to what I thought His will should be).

And let me be honest. This restlessness scared me like crazy, because past history has shown that whenever God draws me to Him like this, something big (and not always what I view as good) is coming.

As I searched and prayed about where this restlessness was taking me, I started to hone in on a sobering truth. If someone would ask me what my top priorities were in life, I would say: God first, family second, and writing and other interests next. But the way I was spending my time–not to mention my mental and emotional energy–was in the exact opposite order.

Something was wrong with this picture.

Somewhere along the way I had allowed my writing to inch its way to the top of my focus, taking away precious time from my family and my Savior (who incidentally gave me the gift of writing in the first place). Sure, I had surrendered things along the way, but as this restlessness grew, I knew God was asking something bigger of me.

He was asking me to sacrifice.

How many of you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible? Remember how Abraham carted Isaac up the mountain, strapped him to an altar, and prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord? This was his chosen son! The one through whom God had promised to number his descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky.

And yet God had a test for Abraham. It was like He said, “I know I’ve given you this miracle son, but exactly how much does he mean to you?”

In the end, we know that God provided a ram to take Isaac’s place. But before that point, Abraham proved his faith by obeying God, even to the point of risking the loss of something extremely valuable.

Now I’m not trying to get all spiritual-giant on you and make it sound like I’m sacrificing something that equals Abraham’s father-of-the-nations sacrifice. But God did use that story to remind me that no matter what He asks of me in this particular season, He loves me and will provide.

And the truth is, while a step like this would have freaked me out a year ago, I have absolute peace that it’s the right decision.

So what does this look like on a practical level? Well, the most obvious thing is that I won’t be blogging for a while. At this point, I know I need to step back until the fall and I’ll reevaluate after that.

I do plan to keep my writing juices flowing whenever God gives me windows of time, and story ideas are still bursting in my mind and begging to be told. So I’ll seek His guidance each day and use whatever time He gives me.

And while I’m not able to visit your blogs, I don’t want you to become strangers. I’ll still pop into Facebook now and then, so please keep in touch with me there or through email.

Please know that I cherish all of you and can’t wait to see God’s purpose lived out in each of our lives as we serve Him!

God bless you,
Sarah

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