Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let's Get Acquainted!

A Writer from the Start

As a child, I loved writing and telling stories. Walking to school every morning, I created characters, then talked to them as I ambled down the road. One Sunday after church, a neighbor approached me and said, "Who were you talking to the other day on your way to school? Why you were going on at a great rate!" A shy child, I was embarrassed that my neighbor had witnessed my dream world.

My creative spirit was not daunted, however. I grew up continuing my writing efforts, first through poetry and short stories, then through drama, which I not only enjoyed crafting, but also acting out on stage. Receiving good reviews on my acting ability I considered majoring in drama during college, but God had another idea in mind.

Fulltime for the Lord

After I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior when I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to serve God somewhere, somehow. Sensing the Lord's leading to enter fulltime Christian ministry as a senior in high school, I was led to Southeastern Bible College in 1973 where I received a B. A. in Christian Education and met and married my college sweetheart who was also preparing to serve the Lord fulltime.

During the last 31 years, I have worked to put my husband, Chuck, through graduate school, received a minor in English from Liberty University, completed graduate hours in counseling from Liberty Theological Seminary, birthed babies, helped my husband enter a professional counseling practice, homeschooled my three precious daughters, and served in our local church and community, all the while dabbling here and there with my writing and speaking.

As a homeschool mom in 1999, I sensed God leading me to pursue my passion for writing/speaking. Chuck had been talking with me over the preceding years about teaming up with him to conduct marriage seminars. My oldest daughter had left for college in 1997, and while I still had two other daughters to navigate through homeschooling, I realized the empty nest loomed ahead. The time seemed right to test the writing/speaking waters.

Marriage with an Attitude is Born

Having received good feedback on my church dramas and newsletters, I decided to tackle a marriage book to accompany our seminars. Chuck and I had been compiling a folder full of material on marriage for five years. I had plenty of information, life experiences, and counseling stories to draw upon. The resulting book, Marriage with an Attitude, How to Build an Exciting Marriage with a Fantastic Attitude! coauthored with Chuck, was released in April, 2000 and our first full seminar was conducted at a church in Chicago. In 2003, I developed an email newsletter titled, "Lifetime Growth News" to encourage couples to grow healthier marriages and individuals to grow in all areas of life--spiritually, mentally, socially, physically, and emotionally. With the help of a seminar participant, I also produced a web site to help couples work on God-honoring marriages.

When Mourning Comes

On the heels of Marriage with an Attitude, I felt compelled to write When Mourning Comes, Living Through Loss (Essence Publishing, 2002), coauthored with Chuck. I had experienced two heart-wrenching miscarriages at four months gestation during the early years of our marriage, while Chuck had experienced a major job loss. Chuck's mom had succumbed to Alzheimer's and breast cancer, while my own parents' physical abilities were deteriorating. I was now moving toward the empty nest at the speed of a freight train. I needed to write this book and prayed that readers would also feel supported and encouraged by the expert counseling help, inspirational stories, and scriptural examples in their own grief journeys. Since the book's inception, I have been invited to speak to several groups concerning grief and loss issues.

Tranquil Moments

In 2003, I published my first devotional book, Tranquil Moments, Spiritual Refreshment from the Island of Maui (Essence Publishing), based on my personal journal of time spent with God and Chuck during our 25th anniversary trip to Hawaii. A collection of 31 vignettes, one for each day of the month, takes the reader on a spiritual journey as he views God's promise in a rainbow spreading across a Maui mountaintop, His peace in a cascading waterfall and His faithfulness in a colorful sunrise. Each entry includes scripture, a spiritual renewal plan and reader response. Four appendices include 101 ways to include a tranquil moment in your day and a therapist's guide to tranquility.

My Heartbeat

In the last three years, I have devoted more time to writing for Christian magazines, developing my writing skills through Christian Writer's Guild, speaking to women's groups, and teaching a homeschool creative writing class, as well as an online course. My youngest daughter is now a junior in college and my two other daughters are married and in fulltime ministry. They each have babies of their own which has ushered me into the wonderful world of grandparenthood.

Life is full, and God is so good. His grace is ever amazing! He has blessed and used me in ways I never dreamed possible. My life purpose is to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ and share Him with others. My life verse is Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. At this season in my life, my platform is writing and speaking wherever and whenever He directs, growing my own godly marriage with Chuck, and together leaving a legacy of faith to our three grown daughters and grandchildren.

My Favorite Role!

Enjoying time with my three precious daughters at my home in Roanoke, Virginia is one of my favorite leisure time activities. Now that they are all grown, it's a rare treat when all three are home at the same time.

Look closely at the picture and you will notice that Kylie is pulling Grandma's hair. It would appear that my two granddaughters are in cahoots to get Grandma Eileen! And they're giggling about it, too!

Friends used to tell me before I had my own grandchildren, "There's nothing like being a grandparent!"

I now understand what they mean. Hug and kiss them. Play with them. Read to them. Take walks with them. And then give them back to their parents to train them. Yeah! Life is sweet.

Coming Soon! From Capstone Fiction: Journey to Judah

Inspired by a true story
Based on a true story, Journey to Judah is about a young, single gal who follows her heart to India, fulfilling a ten-year dream of becoming a career missionary while learning to trust God with her singleness. Just when Maggie thinks she's mastered contentment, a fellow missionary arranges a meeting with a handsome young doctor. As the saga unfolds against the backdrop of exotic Indian culture and custom, a series of events threatens a potential love relationship and tests Maggie's trust in God alone.
My passion in writing Journey to Judah
My passion in writing Journey to Judah emerged as the result of watching our fifteen-year-old daughter commit her life to fulltime missions in India. After ten years of waiting, training, and preparing, our single daughter departed for India in November, 2004. Two months later God brought a young man to India and the two were married on June 11, 2005. In the midst of this sweet story, Chuck and I have been blessed to watch our other two daughters commit their lives to fulltime ministry.
My heart's desire for readers
My heart's desire in writing Journey to Judah is to assure women that following God is not a step to fear, but a fulfilling journey on which He proves to be a faithful Lover, provider, and protector.
If you enjoy a great love story, Journey to Judah is for you!

Seminar participants browse our book table

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Interacting with a seminar participant

The joke's on me while speaking at a Valentine Banquet with my sweetie. Where IS he anyway? I can't think of anything else to say! Guess I'll just stand here and keep smiling.
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The Pearly Gates

The women at a recent retreat convinced me to ride the Pearly Gates. They wanted to see just how brave their speaker was, or maybe they just wanted to make me stop talking!
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The End of One Story, the Beginning of Another

I flip through the calendar, a gift from my missionary daughter. Family face after family face jump off the pages. Grandkids roasting mar...