Patty Smith Hall

Thursday, July 09, 2009

'Never, ever, ever give up.'
Winston Churchill

I was tickled to pieces to read on the ACFW loop that our own Martha Rogers had signed a four book contract with Strang Communications. While these announcements are fairly common on the loop, this announcement holds special meaning for all of us who were in the early days of the American Christian Fiction Writers because Martha has been writing for the Lord for over twenty five years.

I meet Martha the first time at the 2002 ACRW conference in her hometown of Houston, Texas. She had generously offered her home to the board members and conference coordinators for a meal and some fellowship. Tables lined the rooms from wall to wall to accommodate the massivive amount of people flooding into her house. I remembered thinking that I would have had a heart attack at the thought of feeding all those people but Martha did it with a graciousness that I envied.

Over the years, she has served ACFW by providing a verse of the week, often writing about trusting in God's timing and perserving in the face of rejection. She's an example of not simply 'talking the talk, but walking it with grace and humility.

Thank you, Martha for being an example to me. And Congratulations!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

God always amazes me when He hits me with one of those 'Ah Ha' moments. Usually, it's after a lot of moaning and groaning on my part, one of those 'why me' whine sessions that we all fall into now and then. And I've had a lot of them lately. With 2 surgeries in our immediate family, 2 graduations and a cross country move all in the last six months, I haven't had the time or the energy to do much of anything, especially write.

But yesterday, as I was standing in yet another bookstore, putting out bookmarks for various writer friends, I overheard a conversation that snatched me up by the scuff of my neck. Now before I reveal with I heard, I have to warn you that God, in His usual way, had been preparing my heart for this revelation.

Less than 24 hours before, I had been having dinner with my good friend, author Kaye Dacus. She was in town to speak to a group of independent Christian booksellers and her topic was something I found extremely timely for me--Goals, Deadlines and Belief in our Product. I was particularly interesting in the deadline portion of her speech. We talked for a while--me asking questions and her, giving her time to help me with the answers. I was surprised to find out that Kaye struggles with some of the same problems I do, such as self-imposed deadlines. But where I have nothing to show for the ten years I've been writing, Kaye has six books contracted. As I left her at the hotel later the night, I couldn't help but ask myself (and God) what I was doing wrong.

Flash forward to the next day: I'm waiting in line to talk to the bookstore manager when the guy in front of me states talking about everything under the sun; his upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest, the Obama healthcare plan, his wife's dead car battery. The man finally said the words that I myself had been consistently saying for the past six months(or maybe the last ten years)--"I can't get anything done because it's just one thing after another."

I empathized with the guy and was just about to say so when the store manager spoke. "Sounds like you're under attack."

Attack? That was a pretty strong word to describe a dead car battery and an untimely bout of the flu. But the store manager went on--about how Satan would use anything to stop us from doing God's will, the things that bring God glory.

Is that what has been happening to me? And have I fallen into the pattern of making excuses for not writing by blaming it on yet another kink in the road? I thought a lot about that on the drive home--had a little 'come to Jesus' meeting right there on I285. I want to be published , not only because it's the desire of my heart, but because it's the desure of the Lord's heart too.

So from this day forward, I'm going to stop making excuses and write. And if you've ever felt like this, join me as an accountablity partner. We will pray for each other and encourage each other on a daily basis.

And for me, no more excuses.