Because You *Didn’t* Ask

You haven’t asked, and I imagine you really don’t care what color socks I wear (white), what I prefer for breakfast (cereal), or where I do most of my writing (wherever I find a quiet place). But since this is my blog, hahaha. Recently, I was tagged by fellow Living by Grace gal, Maria Morgan, to answer a few fun questions. I loved reading her answers, and today I’ll add mine. I’d love to hear yours, too! You can answer in the comments or shoot me an email.

And make sure to visit Maria’s blog. Her “Life Lessons” always give me something to think about and encourage me to draw closer to God.
1    Book or movie and why?

I’m really not a movie person, much to my sweet husband’s chagrin. I’d much rather curl up with a good book, although I have been watching more television (Netflix) lately … for research purposes. I gotta see it before I can evoke visual images in my reader. 🙂 So what have I been watching? Everything from divorce court to Grey’s Anatomy, which is hilarious, by the way!

2        Real book or e-book?

This depends on the book I’m reading and why I’m reading it. If I’m reading to learn, I prefer the real book so I can mark it up. I do most of my pleasure reading at night, in bed. I’ve found the kindle on my iPhone works best. I don’t need a nightlight, I don’t have to flip pages, and it’s easy and comfortable to hold. And last night, while reading Sherri Wilson Johnson’s to Dance Once MoreI learned I can open PDF attachments in my Kindle. Woo-hoo!

3         Funniest thing you’ve done in the last 5 years.

I live with a teenager, so our house if full of giggles. Most at my expense. 🙂 Apparently my facial expressions are hilarious! In fact, after a recent house-hunting trip, my husband and daughter spent the entire drive home attempting to imitate various expressions. It seems my eyes about bug out of my head when I’m worried. Which again, living with a teenager, happens frequently. When I’m mad, my face shrivels, deepening the trench-like wrinkle between my eyebrows. I could go on … but I won’t. 🙂

4        How would your best friend describe you?

I actually got to read statements made about me by dear friends in a recent adoption home-study report. It was very touching … and humbling. My bestie lumped my husband and I together, which I found quite fitting. She said we (my husband and I) were givers, then included a beautiful description as to why she thought so. That touched me deeply because I believe how we give demonstrates the depth of our love for Christ. You can’t draw closer to Christ without caring about the things He cares about, and He cares deeply for the poor and oppressed, the discouraged and overburdened. I know I have a lot of room to grow in this area, and a great deal of selfishness to confess and abandon, but praise God He will complete the work He began in me!

5        Do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch?

Oh, definitely! With fiction this is a must! The stories and events may be fictional, but to write an authentic scene, the writer must tap into their deepest emotions. Otherwise the writing becomes stilted at best if not shallow and stereotypical. Some of my greatest pains and struggles have also helped greatly in my writing for Christ to the World.

In January of 2010, I learned a dear friend had brain cancer. This was hard news to take, and I went through a myriad of emotions. It also led to a great deal of learning. She and I spent a great deal of time talking about some very deep theological issues, and she raised questions I had no answers for. Questions I believe there weren’t always answers for.

During this time I was writing a series for Christ to the World on Joseph. Fitting, right? Although Joseph never suffered from a terminal illness, he experienced great pain and, I imagine, moments of hopelessness. He could’ve died in the cistern had his brothers decided not to pull him out. He could have died crossing the desert from his home to Egypt. He could’ve died, forgotten, in the Egyptian prison.

Our programs broadcast in areas of Christians persecution–areas of deep sorrow, fear, uncertainty. Areas where pat answers won’t fix things, and for some, things may not turn to good this side of heaven. I believe God used the emotions I experienced and lessons I learned through my friend’s diagnosis to enable me to write for these precious Christians. He also used my friend’s experience to give me an increased urgency and focus on eternal concerns.

I will add, my friend’s still fighting, so if you feel led to pray for her, please do!

6        Favorite kind of car and why?

Hmm … As a self-proclaimed hermit who would much rather sit behind a computer than peruse a mall, I have very little interest in cars. If I had to choose, I’d say the most economical one with the best gas mileage.

7       Would your choice of party be a catered meal or barbecue out back?

Oh, I love barbecues and eating outside. But what I love most is a picnic in a park or near hiking trails.

          What’s your favorite season and why?

This depends on where I’m living. In California, we lived on the edge of the Mojave Desert, and our summers were HOT! But our winters were absolutely lovely. One Christmas it was 90 degrees. Seriously. We spent the day at the park. 🙂

In Missouri, I’d say spring and fall. I love the sounds of birds chirping, of seeing eggs in nests. I love the sight and smell of blossoming trees, and my daughter often picks me bouquets.

I also love the reds, yellows, and golds of fall!

9        What specific lesson have you learned – spiritual, educational, occupational?

God has been showing me sooooo much! Each day it seems there’s something new–an area He wants me to grow in, wisdom He wants to impart, a sinful behavior He wishes to remove. I’m researching a new novel on organ donation and Cystic Fibrosis, which has led to hours of phone conversations with members of the Cystic Fibrosis community. Wow, what wisdom they have!

I’ve learned invaluable truths from each one I’ve spoken to, but a statement made by Casey Bradford penetrated the deepest. Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis are at an increased risk for illnesses and lung infections. Some infections can be fatal. When I asked him about this, he said, “I refuse to live in a bubble.”

This really impacted me. If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you know I tend to be fearful, and yet, I really have nothing to fearful of. And here was Casey, someone facing legitimate concerns, who refused to allow fears of tomorrow hold him back today. That’s faith and courage–throwing off ALL that hinders to run with perseverance the race mapped out for him.

10         Besides writing, what’s your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time?

One of my most cherished times comes at 3:00 each day when my daughter returns from school. She and I sit on our porch swing, chit-chatting. In the winter, we sit on the couch. I also love going on long, leisurely walks with my husband.

11      What’s one place you can be found at least one time every week?

I’m going to copy Maria’s answer here: church, and the grocery store!

Wow, that’s a lot of info! 1300 words worth. hahaha. How about you? Leave your answer to any one of the questions in the comment section! In addition, I’m tagging a large handful of other bloggers and Facebook friends (can I do that?) to join in the fun and answer all 11 questions (if you’re unable to participate, I totally understand!): (To my tagged Facebook friends, you can answer in the comments or create a Facebook note.)

Elaine Stock, my dear prayer partner who seeks to honor Christ in all she does

Diana Prusik, my spiritual mentor, critique partner, and living example of what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

Fay Lamb, also a spiritual mentor (Only she doesn’t know this, but I’ve learned sooo much from her).

Henry McLaughlin, another critique partner who devotes a great deal of time encouraging and equipping other writers to hone their craft

Margaret Daley, a woman who continually mentors and helps other writers

Laura Poole, another crit partner who I’ve just started to get to know and would LOVE to get to know better

Kathleen Freeman, another crit partner (I have five, but that’s because I write fast and therefore, have multiple novels in need of feedback. 🙂 )

Cynthia Simmons, another critique partner who is also a dear friend

Eileen Rife, crit partner number five, a wonderful writer, friend, and constant encourager

Mary Thompson, a friend from church who consistently demonstrates what it means to be a godly mom and wife

Michael Ehret, a friend and my editor at the ACFW Journal who has really helped me in my career by offering me new writing opportunities like writing for the Journal. He also radiates Christ in everything he does and is a brilliant writer and editor.

Ami Koelliker, an amazing woman of God who daily demonstrates what it means to offer your life as a living offering to God. Whether she’s in the Operating Room preparing organs for a recipient, praying with a donor family, or serving at her local church, she radiates Christ’s love and truth. (She’s also the one that motivated my current novel, and she’s spent countless hours sharing her stories and knowledge with me.)

And finally, Casey Bradford, a man I’ve come to greatly admire who demonstrates what it means to “make the most of every moment.”

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  1. Jennifer, you really know how to make a sneezy-achy person feel so much better!

    Am I supposed to reply here? Here it goes:

    1. I think I was born with a book in my hand 🙂 I’m constantly reading, though sad to say, with my day job consuming too many of my hours (though I’m grateful to have the income), I have very little “fun” reading time these days & it seems as if it takes forever to read one book for pleasure. I also love to treat myself to DVD viewing on weekend nights, especially movie musicals.

    2. Real books. Always. I still don’t have an e-reader yet, though am thinking about getting one for the convenience of researching non-fiction for my writing fiction. One of these days (and extra cash).

    3. Wow–there’s 2 of us whose facial expressions betray us Also, sometimes–and always at the oddest of times–I speak dyslexically (anyone going to the Cape Canal Cod instead of Cape Cod Canal).

    4. As a nice, serious person with a sneaky sense of humor.

    5. As I write I try to feel what my characters feel, and to think how they’d think, but no, I really don’t write about me. I recently put aside a story with a character who has a similar day job as I do, for a host of reason, but I think she bored me. LOL. I like exploring different lives when I create a story. And, I just did whisper a prayer for your friend with brain cancer. I lost my BFF 5 years ago after her 13-year fight with breast cancer, and I still wish I could have done more for her.

    6. I’m not into cars either. Although I love my new-used KIA, there’s something about the Subaru Outback that catches my call for excitement.

    7. Catered meal. Definitely. I’ve worked too many years in the food biz not to be pampered.

    8. Love the fall–just wish it was longer. Love the colors, the crispness. And the bulky sweaters, sipping hot drinks, making soup.

    9. I think God is really trying to teach me this year all about not giving up hope. He is so big; I am so small. I need to keep my eyes on Him, removing them from my earthly neediness. Not easy.

    10. I love to take long walks/hikes, travel & play tourist, meet a friend for lunch or coffee.

    11. I live at work (visit home), church/Sunday school adult classes, grocery store, fuel pump (ugh).

    1. hahaha! I hope you feel better soon! But I’m glad you were computer bound today as it allowed me to get to know you even better. 🙂

      The one movie musical I really love is Fiddler on the Roof. 🙂

      Funny about the oral dyslexia! I imagine that leads to some comical conversations. 🙂

      Regarding the spiritual truth God is teaching you–Amen!

      Have a blessed day, my friend!

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