Be Careful What You Say – Make It Kind!

by Mary Ann on March 2, 2015

The Final Winner!!

 

The winner of this weeks book give away is Kelli Gates! Congratulations! Your autographed copy is in the mail. I hope everyone enjoyed hearing about Norma Jean’s journey from a childhood dream, through motherhood and right on to author. I know it has inspired me. Today I want to talk about how we can make or break our children, friends and family…well, even complete strangers.

“Our words carry enormous weight. More than we sometimes think. They often impact people for decades, providing the courage to press on or one more reason to give up.” Michael Hyatt

bradyWho Wears Shoes TOO Big?

My daughter Kate wore shoes that were a size too big for many years after she became a teenager. I didn’t realize she was doing that. In fact, she was married before I found out. Her husband found out first and he called her on it.

“Why do you buy shoes that are a size too big”, he asked her. She replied that she had big feet and needed a bigger size. Well, eventually the whole story came out.

She doesn’t really have big feet. She wears the same size that I do, a respectable eight. But one day when she was a child her dad said something that impacted her for years.

We were hiking and she had climbed a tree. Kate was about eight or nine. She lifted her foot and set it on a branch. Her dad made what seemed like an innocent comment, “Hey Big Foot”. The rest is history. She computed that to mean that she had big feet.

Easter4 resizedI Believed I WAS Fat!

When I was about eight my grandma said something that impacted me for all of my childhood and many years into my adulthood. She owned a Sweet Shop in Afton, Wyoming. I loved going there and she would let me work the candy counter and bag popcorn.

We grandkids could have lots of nickel and penny candy but we were never allowed to have chocolate bars because they cost a quarter. One day, before I had all the unspoken rules down, I asked her if I could have a Twix bar. I had never had one and Don and I 3they seemed so wonderful up on the highest shelf. She said, “No, do you want to get fat.”

Another pretty innocent comment but here is what I heard and believed for many years…”You are fat”.

The TRUTH is I Have Beautiful Eyes!!!

Not only did I begin believing I was fat, I believed that I must be really unattractive because I was fat. But when I was seventeen I was at the home of a woman who was doing some alterations on a dress for me. Her husband told me that I had the most beautiful brown eyes. I know that it seems incredible because I didn’t even know the man, but I believed him. I had beautiful eyes! Even now at 65, when I look into the mirror I think to myself, “Man, you have beautiful eyes.”

Pigs or Pig Sty…That Was the Question

When I was a middle aged mom, with six of my seven children, I came down the stairs one day to the sight of a totally cluttered living room.  As I gazed out over the room and the many children playing there I said, “This room is a pig sty”. Many years later, when my oldest child was in her late thirties we were having a conversation about moms and how they should talk to their children. I made the comment that although I wasn’t perfect I at least never called anyone names. My daughter looked at me in astonishment and said, “yes you did”. I, equally astonished, asked her to tell me when. She replied, “Well, one day you came down the stairs and you said, “You are such pigs!”

Wow, talk about two different views of the same experience. We talked about it. What we both realized is that children hear what they hear and we just need to be careful what we say, because children don’t always hear the words…they hear the feeling.

It is not just children that hear a comment and then believe it. It isn’t just the young that are affected by what is said to them. Let me illustrate. I will have to tell on myself a bit, but for the sake of emphasis I will do it. : )

The SATISFYING Laugh, Ahhh!

My youngest daughter is married to a really  wonderful man. We like him a lot and frankly, he thinks we are great too. Recently I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she said something that made me laugh.

I have to stop here and say something about my laugh. It is distinctive and it can be loud. I have a witch laugh that is legendary and on Halloween I am called upon to do it a lot. Frequently, during the year, a grandchild will say, “Grandma do the witch laugh.” Now all of my laughter isn’t witchy but that just lets you know it is distinctive and sometimes loud. I have always been a bit self conscious about it.

tumblr_mf4oc2DhGW1qbta5fo1_500Back to the phone conversation. I laughed and I heard my son in law say something in the back ground. “Mom, Brady said he likes your laugh.” That was such an odd comment that I asked her “Why?” She asked him and then came back on line and said, “He said it is satisfying.” Isn’t that the most amazing thing to have someone say?

Here is what has happened from that chance comment. Every time I laugh I think to myself, “That is so satisfying.” I am no longer self conscious, but  pleased.

Our words can be very powerful for both good and bad. We need to be thoughtful in how we talk to our children and others, about their strengths and their weaknesses, because sometimes what we say can impact them for decades.

In all of our teaching and interactions with our children we should be kind.

In all of our teaching and interactions with our children we should be kind. Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years. The same is true of the off hand or unkind chance remark.

Before you speak ask yourself: “Is what I am about to say going to uplift the hearer? Will it inspire, motivate, and create forward momentum for them? Will it dissolve fear and create safety and trust? Will I create a positive or negative ripple effect by speaking out these words?” (from Harness the Power of Words By Barbara White)

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The Interrupted Life and Fulfilling a Dream

by Mary Ann on February 20, 2015

 Another winner!!

 

unnamed (1)Well the house did not burn down!!! But the grandkids did visit and the dishes were piled up. So I am posting  Friday morning, not Thursday. Remember, I warned you in advance. : )

I also decided to draw for this weeks winner today because I am going to be spending the weekend with more grandkids and I want to PLAY!

The winner of this weeks book give away is Carolyn! Congratulations! Your autographed copy will be in the mail next week. Enjoy!

Today we begin the last book give away and you can be part of it.

Just leave a comment below about who in your life has inspired you to hold fast to a dream and then share on Twitter or Facebook.

 How to be true to your season and still fulfill your dream?

As I mentor parents one theme seems to run through for everyone. How can I raise my family and still fill my mission or get my own education or fulfill my dream? I asked the same question when I was raising my family. Sometimes it seemed that I couldn’t take care of one season of my life without giving up something precious to me – my dream. In my case it was to be a speaker and teacher. For Norma Jean it was writing.

It is interesting that many of the most celebrated people have come face to face with the same questions. And the answer is always the same. If we are true to our season in life and hold on to our dreams then we can do all that we need to and ought to do in this life. Norma Jean raised a family and is now a writer. I raised my family and now I am a speaker/teacher. Today’s post is about another parent, one you will instantly recognize, who raised a family and still fulfilled his dream. If Nathaniel Hawthorne could do it, if Norma Jean could do it, if I did it, then so can you!

Here is part III of the posts by Norma Jean Lutz and the first day of our third book give away.

My Fiction Quill Lay Unused

hawthorneAt one time in my career, I was commissioned by Chelsea House Publishing to write a series of what they referred to as bio-critiques. I wrote the bio for a number of noted novelists, and someone else wrote the critique section of the book.

One of the authors I was privileged to write about was Nathaniel Hawthorne. Studying and researching about his life brought me to a deep appreciation of this man.

He was addicted to writing novels in a day and age when novels weren’t that acceptable nor popular. All he ever wanted to do was spend time writing his novels.

I so related to his heart’s cry.

However, just like for all of us, life interrupted. Hawthorne had to make a living for his family. He worked at the Salem Custom-House – a job he despised. During this time, he wrote in a letter to a friend,

“My fiction quill lay unused.”

Those words were so poignant and heart-wrenching to me, I scribbled them on a little post-it note and stuck it on my computer monitor. Later, the sticky wore off so I taped it. There it remained for many years. Because, like Hawthorne, my fiction quill lay unused. And it broke my heart.

Through the years, (as a single, self-supporting female) I tried a number of ways to earn a living without having to give up my entire being – so I could continue to write.

One such instance was selling insurance. I thought perhaps I could earn a living and still have time and energy to write. (Not.)  I studied all the material, took the test, passed the test, joined a small agency near where I lived and embarked on a rather lucrative adventure.

This particular type of sales involved travel. We came to the office on Friday for a sales meeting and to receive our “leads” and to learn our “sales area” for the following week. I left town early Tuesday morning. I followed up on appointments Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, returning home on Thursday night.

Ironically, I was good at selling insurance; I was earning a good income; yet I was miserable. I quickly learned that this lifestyle left me totally void of time or energy to create fiction.

Like Hawthorne, My fiction quill lay unused.

So I began saving my money. I had an amount in my mind that I would need to carry me over to complete a certain novel. When that amount was in my savings, I quit and picked up my fiction quill and finished my novel. Oh the joy…!

As for Hawthorne, he was laid off. That’s right, he lost his job. What did he do? Finished his novel! Just like any dedicated novelist would do.

Nathaniel Hawthorne and I are many hundreds of years apart, cultures apart, and circumstances as different as night and day – and yet our hearts are so similar.

So where is your fiction quill? Are you miserable because it’s been abandoned? What can you do to allow you to pick it up again and put an end to your misery?

If Hawthorne did it; if I did it – so can you!

 Follow Norma Jean’s blog for many more tips and techniques about the writing life.

In case you missed Part I or Part II. : )

 

NormaJean Lutz

NormaJean Lutz

Oklahoma author, Norma Jean Lutz, is author of over 50 published books, plus hundreds of articles and short stories. As a popular workshop speaker and writing instructor, her expertise in novel writing is stellar. Not only does she enjoy writing, she also enjoys extending a helping hand to up-and-coming novelists.

First Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection Flower in the Hills

 Flower in the Hills    Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition

 Second Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection

Tiger Beetle at Kendallwood   Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition         Tiger Beetle at Kendallwood

Rockin into RomanceThird Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection

Rockin’ into Romance   Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition

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AND THE WINNER IS……drum roll please!!

Master of ceremonies, Benny!

Master of ceremonies, Benny!

The winner of last weeks contest, a book by Norma Jean Lutz, is MELISSA DRAPER!!!

Congratulations Melissa. We will be looking for a short book review. : )

We have two more books to give away in Norma Jean Lutz’s CLASSIC COLLECTION for youth. Today begins a new contest. Enter by making a comment below and letting us know what you do to find moments to read. Then share using the social media buttons. That’s all there is to it and you could win a signed copy of one of Norma Jean’s books.

If you missed PART ONE of this three part series on fulfilling your mission, doing things in the correct season and never giving up a dream, you can read it here.

One Writer’s Journey

Now the years became a blur as all hope of ever writing moved to the back burner. Married and a mother of two, I Tiger Beetle at Kendallwoodfound myself living on an acreage in a rural area of Oklahoma doing everything but writing.
Not wanting my children to suffer my childhood fate, I introduced them to books before they could talk. I read aloud to them incessantly and as a result I had two avid readers on my hands. Trips to the library meant we arrived home with armloads of books. As I shared in reading their books with them, the old desire-to-write flame began to rekindle.

At last, I took a plunge and enrolled in a correspondence writing course. The course taught me something I’d never known – how to sell my work. I was published before I ever finished the course. (A copy of my very first check is framed and hangs on my office wall. The fact that the check was dated on my birthday made it even more special! In my mind it was God’s birthday gift to me – and a confirmation.) At last I was functioning in my calling. Soon I was selling dozens of articles and short stories.

As I moved into writing and publishing, I simultaneously moved into teaching. I discovered I loved to teach writing almost as much as I loved to write. Through the years I developed a novel-writing critique service, and also taught at writer’s workshops and writer’s conferences. Through the years I presented at more than twenty conferences all across the country.

Through the cooperation of the Continuing Education Dept. of Oral Roberts University, I was able to launch a writer’s conference which we called the Professionalism in Writing School. I served as coordinator for the annual conference for fourteen years. Many writers – some now nationally known – got their start at our school.

Midway into my career I graduated from short pieces to published novels – and not without many many disappointments and discouragements along the way. But I had a saying: I didn’t get in to get out; I got in to stay! To quit, to give up, was never an option for me. Not even when a devastating divorce set me on the road to becoming self supporting. It may have slowed me down for a few years, but it never deterred me from the path I was determined to travel. Eventually my published works would number more than fifty titles – the larger percentage of which are for teen and pre-teen readers.

At the present time in my career, due to the incredible opportunities offered by the Internet and digital books, I am re-releasing many of my past teen novels. (Now available for e-readers and in paperback.)
As I look back over the years, I see God’s fingerprints throughout each and every mile of the way. I’m so grateful for all the blessings that He has lavished on me.

My journey as an author is nowhere near over. At times, I feel I’ve only just begun. My heart is still filled to overflowing with stories that are yet to be written. These are the stories that have been entrusted to me; if I don’t write them, who will?

Stay tuned for Part III, the story of an author that really changed my life.

NormaJean Lutz

NormaJean Lutz

Oklahoma author, Norma Jean Lutz, is author of over 50 published books, plus hundreds of articles and short stories. As a popular workshop speaker and writing instructor, her expertise in novel writing is stellar. Not only does she enjoy writing, she also enjoys extending a helping hand to up-and-coming novelists. Learn more at her sites:www.NormaJeanLutz.com and www.BeANovelist.com andhttps://www.facebook.com/BeANovelist

First Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection Flower in the Hills

 Flower in the Hills    Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition

 Second Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection

Tiger Beetle at Kendallwood   Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition         Tiger Beetle at Kendallwood

Rockin into RomanceThird Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection

Rockin’ into Romance   Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition

Part III posts this Thursday (unless the grandkids visit, the dishes are piled up or the house burns down). Come back and enter again!

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Life is so wonderfully serendipitous. We have experiences and meet people that can hugely affect the direction of our lives. We just never know when it is going to happen. Life is also built on our own personal missions. It has been my experience that we can, and most likely do, have more than one. Remember, to everything there is a season.

Recently, I met Norma Jean Lutz, a children’s writer. She has written over fifty books and is re-releasing some of her best known titles for teens. These are clean reads and parents and homeschoolers love them. I want to introduce you to NormaJean and her books. I also want to introduce you to her philosophy on life and one of her missions:

  • I believe God creates each one of us with certain gifts and talents that lie resident within us. It is up to us to learn what those talents are and use them to the best of our abilities.
  • Succinctly expressed desires, which are held close, come to pass.
  • To everything there is a season and if we respect each season we will accomplish all we are here to do.
  • I didn’t get in to get out; I got in to stay! To quit and give up is not an option.
  • God’s fingerprints are in each and every mile of our lives.
  • If I don’t write them, who will.

Win One of NormaJean’s Books

I think you will enjoy getting to know  NormaJean and her books. : ) I also think you will enjoy the opportunity to win an autographed copy one of her books. We will be having a drawing for each of the three books shown below, one each week, beginning today. Just make a comment below, tell us your favorite book and then share on Facebook or Twitter.

One Writer’s Journey – Part I

I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t make mistakes when He creates us. I believe God creates each one of us with certain gifts and talents that lie resident within us. It is up to us to learn what those talents are and use them to the best of our abilities.

My journey as a writer can be summed up by saying that I’m walking out my destiny in obedience to the One who gave me the gift in the first place. That said I’d like to share the color, the tone, the shadings of both dark days and bright days of this journey God had led me on, and continues to lead me on day by day.

I’m the second in a family of four. My older sister, Carolyn, and I are two years apart, other two much younger. I grew up in a small rural Kansas town surrounded by farms and farmers. I’m Midwestern to the core.

Carolyn still remembers how – when we were still very young – she would ask me to tell her stories before we went to sleep at night. Even though she was the elder, I was the designated storyteller.

Sadly, ours was a home of few books. My parents were not readers, other than the newspaper and various magazines. But I loved books. So God saw to it that all of my first six teachers in elementary school read to us children every morning before our class work began. This was a marvelous adventure for me.

I was introduced to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, The Secret Garden, Betsy-Tacy, Uncle Wiggly, Mary Poppins, and the list goes on. The Secret Garden was especially moving to me. The idea that words on paper could transport me to a mysterious walled garden in England and allow me to see it in my mind’s eye forever affected me.

My first published work appeared in the spring of my 7th grade year. I submitted a short story to the children’s page of the local newspaper and it was published in the Easter Sunday edition. I was now smitten!

My high school English teacher commented that he felt I had writing talent and suggested that he could help me get published. However, he never mentioned it again and I was too shy and doubt-filled to pursue the matter. I did write, however, by keeping journals. I still have in my possession journals from my junior and senior years of high school. (And to this day, I still keep journals.)

In a composition course in college, I wrote a piece that sounded like a gut-wrenching cry entitled, “I Want to Write.” That paper remained buried until many years later – after I had been published many times – and when I re-discovered it, I marveled at how succinctly I expressed that desire, that deep longing of the soul.

*~*~*~*~

Stay tuned for Part II of my story to learn how God blessed my writing career beyond my wildest dreams.

NormaJean Lutz

NormaJean Lutz

Oklahoma author, Norma Jean Lutz, is author of over 50 published books, plus hundreds of articles and short stories. As a popular workshop speaker and writing instructor, her expertise in novel writing is stellar. Not only does she enjoy writing, she also enjoys extending a helping hand to up-and-coming novelists. Learn more at her sites: www.NormaJeanLutz.com and www.BeANovelist.com and https://www.facebook.com/BeANovelist

First Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection Flower in the Hills

 Flower in the Hills    Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition

 Second Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection

Tiger Beetle at Kendallwood   Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition         Tiger Beetle at Kendallwood

Rockin into RomanceThird Title in the Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection

Rockin’ into Romance   Available on Amazon Kindle or Paperback Edition

Part II posts this Thursday. Come back and enter again!

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