Putting Thanksgiving into Action

This year we will not be talking about the turkey, the history of this holiday or the thousands of things we are thankful about. The reality is that this year I want to encourage others to put their true attitude of gratitude to action.

We sit together as families and tell each other how grateful we are of the things we have, the love and company of those near us and just bask in the thought of the gratitude. How about this year you make a decision to be the force behind someone else’s gratitude? Why not share those blessings with others?

So here are some ideas to do just that:

  • Invite over for dinner those who are away from their families. I used to do that for the longest time. Every one I knew that didn’t have a place to go, were invited to my house. The only reason I stopped doing it was because I don’t have the space to host anymore. It was such a rewarding experience.
  • Cook a meal for a family in need. If you know someone in your neighborhood who has lost their job, have a family member sick or have struggling, take them a plate or a few plates. You very well know that after two days you’re going to hate turkey anyway. You’ll have less leftovers and you’ll have made someone’s day.
  • Remember those who have lost everything-It doesn’t matter how big or small your donation is for those recovering from the damages of Hurricane Sandy, any little bit helps. Even if it’s not money, blood donations are also very welcome.
  • Donate your time and talent. You may not have resources. but you can spend some of your day with someone who needs it. I had a friend who use to spend two hours on these kind of holidays going a children’s hospice. She’s a divorced mom and her children are with their father on Thanksgiving. As a mother she understands that when you have a sick child you don’t want to leave them alone. So she spends Thanksgiving mornings there giving parents an opportunity to go home to take a shower or go get something to eat and then in the afternoon she goes to celebrate with her family.

These are just a few examples of way to give back to others. I am sure you can come up with other ideas as well. What am I going to do to put my gratitude in action?

  • I’m actually cooking healthy desserts for the place where I’m going to be reuniting with family and friends. I’m grateful that God had shown me a better way to relate to food. I know that as I reunite with some that have not seen me for a while I will be able to witness to them.
  • I’m donating 50% of all my sales for both of my books Growth Lessons and The Road Home from today until Friday to the Red Cross to help the relief of Hurricane Sandy. (You can help me with that)
  • I’m joining an initiative of authors in the South that are donating books to libraries in New York and New Jersey, for those who lost the books due to the hurricane Sandy.

Please be safe and to all a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Guest Post by Author Shawn Lamb: Faith in Writing

We have the honor to be visited by Christian writer Shawn Lamb who will be sharing her perspective on how her faith influences her writing. She also has a new book that you should all check out.

“In several interviews I’ve been asked if I consider myself an author who is a Christian or a Christian author. My answer is the same – I am a Christian and I cannot compartmentalize my life. Who I am in Christ comes out in everything I do. I make no apology for the Christian influences or message in my stories.

When one is an author, or trying to break into the industry, there is a great deal of pressure to compromise, to make the story palatable to the reader. This can take the form of inclusion or exclusion according to the mandates by the publisher. Such was the case with The Huguenot Sword when I actively shopped it around to publishers.

Over the course of 3 years, the manuscript was bounced between 6 publishing houses. And I mean literally bounced. Four of the publishers were Christian, and when one door shut, the editor of a house recommended me to a fellow editor at another publishing house. Not a very common occurrence in the industry, to recommend a perspective author to a rival publisher, but that is what happened to me. For 18 months Bethany tried to find a way to sign me, but for one reason or another, it fell through. During these submissions, some editors wanted me to exclude historical facts and dumb down my language in description and dialogue. In short, they wanted to turn my well-researched historical fiction into historical light.

In the meantime, 2 of the Big Six in New York tested me with various requests before considering a contract. But they wanted the inclusion of sex and inappropriate material. Colossians 3:23- whatever you do, do heartily as to the Lord and not unto men. For me it was an easy decision to refuse. Yes, I lost a publishing contract, but I could sleep at night with a clear conscious of honoring God.

I learn a lot during this intense period – authors are at the mercy of publishers and often requests go against what the author feels is best for the story. The need for compromise is ever present in the choices we face each day. Where Scripture is clear, the choice should be easy. But in the gray areas, is where we falter. Authors have stories to tell, and must decide whether to honor God in our stories or not. To dumb down the language wasn’t a really horrible compromise to make, if I had agreed. But it was not God’s timing back then. Now it is.

With the advances in self-publishing and having complete control the content, after 35 years, I’m able to present The Huguenot Sword in its entirety. This is the first book I ever wrote when I was age 16, and by God’s grace, now is the time for it to see the light of publication. Enjoy!”

Shawn Lamb is the author of the epic Christian YA fantasy series Allon and once wrote for the animated series BraveStarr, produced by the same studio that did He-Man and She-Ra. She has won several screenwriting awards including a Certificate of Merit from the American Screenwriters Association.

Website: http://www.allonbooks.com

Her books can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shawn-Lamb/e/B002LPYXF0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Connect with Shawn Lamb on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000208991898&ref=name

Join Naty Matos and 9 of her author friends at Women’s Literary Cafe’s Christian Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their e-books to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE! http://www.womensliterarycafe.com/content/december-2011book-launches

A day to remember

September 11th, 2001 was one of those life changing events that everyone always asks themselves where they were when they heard about it. I was at work, supervising a call center. My mother called me and said that a plane had crashed against the World Trace Center. Being overwhelmed with work, I heard what she said but I didn’t listen. I ended the call and continued to work, but her words kept roaming in my busy brain. I pulled up the internet and saw the news and then it hit me. A plane had crashed against the World Trace Center! …and as I was watching the live news feed the second plane hit the other tower.

My eyes opened in disbelief. The phones in the call center got quiet or so it seemed. Then anxiety started rising. I have family in New York and there were talks of war, and I have family in the military. My first instinct was to find out where everyone close to my heart was, regardless if they lived or not in New York. I called my mother back and asked her to try to ensure our loved ones in the area where ok as I needed to continue to work.

The buildings near my job were evacuated. After the Pentagon was hit, people were afraid of what other federal facilities would be targets. Our office was inside a main TV channel and near a main federal building. Every office around us was evacuated but us. My staff was complaining. I was too busy watching the news perplexed to what was happening. A friend of mine and I walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The streets were empty. At the restaurant the news were playing on a tv set. We ate what we could and headed back to work.

I remember that I went to bed late that night. I could not unglued my eyes of the television with everything that was happening. I was hoping that more people would be found alive, but that didn’t happen. During the course of the years, on this day, I’ve always tuned in for the memorial ceremony online. I’ve watch every documentary and movie that I have been able to get my hands on. I didn’t lose anyone on that tragic day, but I think America lost the sense of safety that was taken for granted.

Looking back our lives have changed forever. We were awaken to the fact that we need to embrace life one day at a time because tomorrow is never promised to us. Let’s be grateful for the things that we have enjoyed in the last 10 years. Enjoy the promised of God. Let’s embrace our loved ones and remember those who lost their own and can’t embrace theirs today.

Let’s also remember those who are fighting for our freedom and safety and giving their lives every day. They are also not home to embrace or be embraced in a day like today.

Let’s place out trust in our Lord Almighty for comfort, peace and joy

Be blessed

Poll: Script vs Novel

Palace of Westminster - London, England

As always, I like to include my readers in my creative process. Right now I have a debate that I hope you guys can help me sort out. I’ve been looking into a plot. It’s a romantic comedy that for now is called “Christmas in London”. It’s the story of a New York marketing director who meets this English hotel heir, who is trying to bring his brand to the US. Imagine an English male Paris Hilton in a bad mood.

The literary challenge for me in this story is the places. Most of my stories are created in a town, an island, but not a specific place giving my readers the opportunity to imagine their own. This time I wanted to challenge myself to give a specific scenario. To prepare for this, I have inquired with a dear English friend of mine, Google (of course) and I’m looking into some research history books. So what’s the problem with this story? Keep on reading.

Last year I participated in Script Frenzy, which is coming up in April. This is where you write a script of 100 pages or more in 30 days (see a pattern here…LOL) Last year I didn’t even finish the challenge, and I was so close. I gave up at 85 pages. I’ve been encouraged to try again this year and I’m giving it serious consideration. Here’s the dilemma, should I write this plot as a novel or should I experiment with it as my Frenzy Script… What do you think? What would you like?

I have created a poll on the side of the page that I will keep up until February 28th, 2011. Your participation is encouraged and appreciated. Your comments are appreciated and well received too.