I’m Not Perfect… I’m Priceless

My dear friend Staci Stallings is visiting us today with a special message for us, without further  delays I’ll let you enjoy this delightful read…

By: Staci Stallings

My almost-ten-year-old daughter got a little too much of her mother in her.  What is it with this perfectionist gene?  You’d think one generation would be far plenty for it to run its course and leave us alone.  Alas, it has not.

My gorgeous, lovely, loving, wonderful daughter got this one in spades.  I first knew this the year she took violin lessons and adamantly REFUSED to play for anyone she knew.  When Grandma came over, we begged and pleaded and bribed… to no avail.  She simply would not play a note lest she not sound just perfect and reveal to all the world that she was anything less than.

We battle this monster in school.  She has all-A’s for now.  And truth be told, I’m not looking forward to that streak coming to an end.  (I still haven’t recovered from MY OWN three-week cry-fest when I got my first B in 5th grade.  Don’t laugh.  Trust me, it makes it worse!)

With the beginning of volleyball, we are wading once again into the deep waters of perfection psychosis, and I have to be honest with you–I would have thought that since I’d been through this one, it would be easy to diagnose and treat in my own child.  Sadly, I was mistaken.  The diagnosis has been easy, but wow is this thing hard to heal.

Tonight on the way to volleyball, my beautiful, kind, wonderful little girl spent most of the trip in tears.  “Why does everyone think I have to be perfect?”  “They don’t.”  “Yes, they do. If I do one little thing wrong, they yell at me.”

Now, really.  How do you argue with that?  Because too often we do sound like we’re yelling.  Our corrections sound to a delicate perfectionist like we don’t or won’t love them if they aren’t perfect.  It’s such a vile, rotten trap.

On the way home later, we were hashing out the whole perfection thing again because this time it was the coach who yelled, “just because I missed one serve!  I got all the others.”

I finally made this simple observation.  “You know, you’re not perfect.  You’re priceless.”

That stopped her. “What does that mean?”

“It means you are not perfect.  You have chips. You have flaws. You make mistakes.  But God and Mama still believe you are priceless, and no matter what, that will never change.”

Strangely she stopped arguing and crying at that point, and inside, so did I.

Maybe I’m not perfect, but God says I am priceless, and who am I to argue?

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008

Thank you Staci for those wonderful words. Guys, don’t forget to enter into our Valentine’s book giveaway. Go to the top and give us your email address for a chance to win one of three copies of “Love Letters to my Queen Bride”. The winners will be picked on Valentine’s day and announced on Friday February 17th.

To add sweetness to the pot, you can get your copy of Growth Lessons for $1.99 until Valentine’s day (better than chocolate).

Find Staci online:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/StaciStallings @StaciStallings

Facebook profile:http://www.facebook.com/staci.stallings.author

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spirit-Light-Author-Staci-Stallings/266593276699576

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2011 In Review

Just like I do at the end of every year, this is the time to look back and review the blessings and lessons that this ending year had brought into my life as a writer and as a person.

This year was very different than the years before. If you look at my previous reviews there was an active participation in writing contests, but this year I decided to go a different route. I decided to take a step back and not just write, but learn about writing. I found two blogs that have been very instrumental in my recent growth: Bob Mayer’s Blog and Kristen Lamb’s Blog. These two authors blog very interesting postings teaching new writers how to path their ways.

The next thing I did was to get a writing accountability partner. A what you say? Yes, I found someone with the same interest to learn and write as I had to keep me accountable to deadlines and to share the nuggets of knowledge we were finding on separate sides of the country. This is my sweet friend Marilag Lubag whom has encourage me and supported me for the last few months.

Since the summer I started working on my platform and getting that first book publish. I started working with graphic designer Antoine Burch to start working on my book cover. As I’m working to get my first book I met wonderful author Melissa Foster, who has a group of author that help each other with knowledge, information and cross promotion called Women’s Literary Café. Between Kristen and Melissa I was able to meet many writers and learn a lot from their experiences. Melissa found out I was a Christian writer and gave me the best gift of all. She introduced me to a new group that was forming of Christian authors named Grace & Faith 4 U under the wonderful leadership of Author Staci Stallings. This group started with like five authors and now has over 80 members.

Finally in October 17th of this year, Growth Lessons came out and I’m proud of the things that God has already done through this book in this short time. I still did NaNoWriMo…What was I thinking? Not only I wrote for Nano, I hosted write-ins three times a week…Again, what was I thinking? But I made it through, only by the Grace of God.

In terms of this blog, I joined the post a week challenge. I am grateful to say that I succeeded. I was able to sustain for the most part a schedule of blogging three times a week, but in the few occasions that it was not possible at least I wrote that once a week post. It was also a learning experience of great accountability, organization skills and it allowed me to interact with other writers and readers that I would not have met otherwise.

In Summary, it’s been a year of learning, of success and a greater encounter with God to get me through it all. I’m very grateful for this year and looking forward to what 2012 will bring.

So what’s coming up in 2012?

  • The year will start with an interview on January 1rst at the Fashion Passion Faith Blog
  • January 14th will be the first official Book Signing at Five Spot Yogurt in Snellville
  • Spring 2012, Launch of my next book, “The Road Home”
  • Many more surprises.

GrowthLessonsNatyMatosI’m very grateful and humbled for all your support during these two years and look forward to much more experiences shared together. Remember there are only a few days left to obtain a copy of Growth Lessons for 99 cents in both Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. If you have already obtained an electronic copy and would like an autograph, go to Kindlegraph and submit your request.

Many Blessings and Happy New Year!!!

@StaciStallings on: Musings on the Characters in Cowboy

We are blessed to have with us today Christian Author Staci Stallings who is here to introduce us to the characters of her book Cowboy. Enjoy getting to know these characters closer

Having lived with the characters in Cowboy for about 13 years now, it fascinates me how much they still teach me and others who read the book and want to talk about it with me.

Ashton Raines is the hero, and I think he kind of epitomizes where we all *think* we want to be–on top, successful, adored by many, hated by none. He’s got the world at his feet. As the reigning King of Country Music, Ashton appears to have everything he’s ever wanted and most of what everybody else dreams of having.

But the thing is it becomes obvious very quickly that Ashton is anything but happy. In fact, there’s a large part of him that really hates his life and what he’s become. Not because he’s become someone bad, but somewhere along the way on the road to super stardom, he lost himself.

Whether we’re a superstar or not, I think many of us can relate to waking up one day, looking in the mirror and having no idea how we got here. It’s like we pursue life and our dreams, and then one day we’re living this life we don’t even recognize. Maybe we’ve got kids and a husband or we’re in a job we always thought we wanted, and we look around and it’s weird because we don’t even really recognize who we are anymore.

In the story, Ashton uses his fame to hide from his pain. At least that was the idea. His wife has died of cancer, and it nearly ripped him apart. His plan to escape the pain is to pour himself into a whirlwind tour. The problem is pain isn’t healed by escaping it, and the faster he runs, the more miserable he gets until one night, he simply can’t take it anymore. After a concert, his manager comes up with a brilliant idea to help Ashton forget, and it snaps Ashton’s will to keep up the charade of the tour. He gets in a rented car and drives, not knowing or caring if he’ll ever come back.

Beth McCasland is the sweetest spirit you would ever want to meet. She’s seen her share of heartache when her husband passed away in a terrible accident. Now she’s left to raise her young daughter alone, and she shoulders that burden with grace and dignity.

The thing I like most about Beth is she is so simple. She sees someone hurting, and she’s determined to help. Maybe she can only offer a meal and an ear to listen, but she is willing to do that. The thing that breaks my heart about Beth is I think true of a lot of us who care. When we go all-in to help someone, keeping a “safe distance” for our heart’s sake doesn’t always work. And it’s so hard to really care and not get emotionally involved, especially if that person is someone we genuinely connect with on a deep level.

How do you care and let go, and care and let go, and care and let go? It’s like getting your heart smashed over and over again, but what’s the other option? Not caring?

I think the depth of her love is really a reflection of how God is with us. He’s always standing there with open arms, willing to take us in and comfort us and be there for us, and somehow, He loves us enough to let us go again with no real guarantee that we’ll come back. It’s such an incredibly vulnerable place to be. For me, that was one of the hardest things about watching Beth go through the things that happen in the story, watching her suffer because of her great love.

I’ve had people describe Cowboy as Cinderella in reverse, which is rather interesting to me because in one sense, Ashton is the Prince on the white… okay, tour bus. But many readers have said they really felt Beth is the one to rescue him from the pit, which is also true. I don’t know. Maybe sometimes in a relationship we’re equal parts the one saving and the one being saved. I certainly think that’s true of this story.

The truth is I love these two characters. They’re like old friends now, and I love this story. Every time I read it, it makes me want to fall in love all over again!

Staci Stallings headshotStaci Stallings, the author of Cowboy and ten other books currently available on Kindle & Nook, enjoys writing books that touch readers deeply. Whether the story is about losing someone or fighting for what you believe in, you can bet it will hook you and not let go until you sigh as the ending slips in place in your heart. You can find out more about Staci at her blog: http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com and more about her books at: http://stacistallings.wordpress.com.

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