Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Time to Leave the World Behind!

Once up a time, I had a dream. In fact, until yesterday this dream has been living and thriving within me.

Being a musician, both a songwriter and a singer, I have always had it in my head and heart that someday, somehow I would win a Grammy. I even know which song of mine that will win that Grammy. While I don’t often talk about winning one, I do think about it. Especially around this time of year.

Yesterday, I felt something change. Instead of the yearning, I felt a separation, a distancing, if you will from that dream. As I read post after post about the artists and their performances, I realized that I did not want to be affiliated or aligned with this world any more than I have to be. Suddenly the separation I felt became more of a prompting to “run as fast as I can and never look back” kind of feeling.

All this was before I learned of Katy Perry’s performance, or the multiple gay weddings, or the duet between Jay Z and Beyonce. It was before I saw the pictures of demons and scantily clad sex scenes playing out live on stage.

There comes a time when the world just stops having a hold on us. Now, I will always continue to love God’s gift of music. I refuse to give credence to Satan and man’s distortion of such a wonderful gift. And yes, the above singers definitely have been given a gift. It is what they do with that gift that disturbs me.

After seeing post upon post on Facebook, I realized how fixated we as a society are on the offerings of the world. I didn’t see a pattern. I saw Christians oohing and ahhing along with non-Christians. I saw Christians commenting on the clothes…as well, as non-Christians. And I’m not condemning. I’ve done it myself. My question to those of us who have, is why?

Then, this morning I wake up and read a little bitty post on some obscure site that mentions Natalie Grant, a Christian singer, leaving the Grammy’s early because (as she states on Twitter): "We left the Grammy's early. I've many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I'll say this: I've never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I've never been more sure of the path I've chosen."

I cannot accurately describe the feelings that were welling up in me. Here is this woman who, in her statement, judged no one…yet stood for righteousness and truth. I have never been more proud of a Christian in the spotlight. I can imagine the pull of the cameras, the lights, the glitz, the money, the beauty, and the fame. I can also imagine the buildup beforehand and then the letdown when she knew beyond a shadow of doubt it was time to leave the world behind.

That’s okay, Natalie. You have stamped and cemented the name of Jesus on this land today. You are a reminder to all of us that what we do isn’t for the accolades or the fame, it’s about glorifying Jesus. Thank you for loving Him more than His created.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Publish Yourself For Free?

Seven years ago when I finished writing my first novel, my husband and I had no idea where to turn for publishing. We were at a loss. Fast forward to today. We now have our own publishing company (with eight of our own titles and counting).

People have asked us repeatedly, what happened that made the difference? What in the world did you do during those seven years to get where you are today? Can you teach us to do the same thing? In answer to those questions we wrote a small, but impactful book, called 40 Day Publishing, an Author’s Workbook and Step by Step Guide to Self-Publishing in Eight Weeks or Less.

Little did we know at the time we were starting a revolution that would turn the publishing world on its ear. No longer would authors feel the need to grovel at the doorstep of publishing houses hoping for a meager advance or a pittance for a royalty. No longer would authors have to shell out thousands of hard earned dollars to be “partners” with so called “reputable” subsidy publishers.

Finally, authors are being empowered with the knowledge and tools to publish themselves under their own publishing companies. We want you, the author, to tell your story, share your message, and change the world, one book at a time.

You CAN publish yourself for free. We are giving away a limited number of paperback copies of 40 Day Publishing. This book will teach you how to go from finished manuscript to published author in 40 days or less AND be in business for yourself with your very own publishing company!

This book normally retails for $14.97 plus shipping, handling and tax when purchased through Amazon. All we ask is you cover shipping and handling costs of only $6.95. This offer is only available through our website link for 40 Day Publishing, An Author’s Workbook and Step by Step Guide to Self-Publishing in Eight Weeks or Less!

Why are we doing this? We really need your help. We want this book to be in the hands of authors everywhere. To do that, we need you to review this book, good or bad, and leave a review on Amazon. Together we can empower every author.

We’ve also found from experience that some of you are hands on learners. You are the ones who would benefit from an intensive four day weekend filled with workshops to teach you the skills necessary to publish your work on your own. We call this 4 Day Publishing (nicknamed: 40 Day Publishing on Steroids!). Not only will you learn the skill set to publish yourself, but your edited finished manuscript will be published by the end of the four day intensive. Just think, you will have your very own publishing company with your very first book published in just four days. Congratulations!

If this idea intrigues you, visit our website to learn more about 40 Day Publishing 4 Day Intensive Writer’s Weekend.

Seven years? Eight weeks? Four days? It’s up to you. Just make a decision and follow through. We’ll help you.

Dan and Darlene

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Just Let it Go!

Everyone does it. It’s like putting on your pants or eating. It’s part of life and there is just not much you can do about it.

I started the New Year off in a rather unique way. On January 2nd, I was in surgery having my gallbladder removed. I managed to preach and share the gospel all through pre-op with the nervous chatter that is present before those life defining moments, such as surgery. Of course my IV would stop sending those oh so helpful fluids that would shut me up, so the nurse and the anesthesiologist desperately searched for a vein that would do the trick. Of course, they were too polite to agree to that when I blatantly suggested that was what they were doing.

Finally, lights out. I woke up sometime later, groggy and feeling like upchucking. I tried to eat a cracker which felt like drywall paste in my mouth. The graham cracker really wasn’t much better. What I truly wanted was another pain pill. I’m not sure why I wanted one. In my confused state, I think I thought the pain pill would stop the queasiness. I don’t remember being in pain although my husband assured me I was. And of course I would have killed for some water.

When my young male nurse brought me a hospital cup, with a bendy straw to boot, full of water, I could have kissed him. At the time I thought he was a young twenty something and young enough to be my son. When I learned he had a child older than my oldest, I rethought that “kiss” him bit. Man was I out of it. I needed that pain pill and fast. Maybe it would clear my head.

Time was a passing. I could hear the clock ticking. And after calling in my nurse several more times, I finally received my checkout instructions. That was when I received the news. I would be full of gas. In fact, they purposefully filled my stomach with said gas. I would need to expend such gas. Uh oh. I don’t do “gas.”

My instructions were to follow the advice of Shrek. It’s better to let it out than to keep it in. Har har har. Really? Am I a seven year old boy? Shrek?

I began by burping. I can do that, at least at home in the presence of my husband and son. In fact, they get quite a kick out of mom burping louder than them. I thought I had it beat. Not once did I feel the need to expend gas from the nether regions. At least not the first couple of days. Then it hit me. What was I to do? I ran for the bathroom. I hid under the covers. It was as if my body was abducted and controlled by school boys who were fascinated with the art of making one’s bottom talk. Yikes. Did I just say that? Really?

Oh, my face is turning red. Remember, I don’t do gas. My daughter came to visit. She has been here exactly twenty four hours. She has changed the atmosphere of our house. She reeks. She could peel the paint off our walls. She obviously does not hold the same “being a lady” standard as her mother.

After a long day of lunch and a little shopping, I climbed into my bed for a rest. I could feel my stomach moving and knew if I closed my eyes, it would happen. I would pass gas. Upon telling my husband and daughter who were both in our bedroom, she laughed at me and said. “I heard you once, when you were in the bathroom.”

Okay, the secret is out. I’m human like anyone else and while it’s still considered improper in my book to stench up the room, there are times you just have to let it go. Seriously.