Author: Nancy B. Gibbs ... Bestselling Contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Guideposts Books, contributor to thousands of national magazine, anthologies, newspapers, and devotional guides.
Tuesday, June 29 2021
I’m an inquisitive type of person. Many times, questions come to mind and I want an answer. So, like most people today, I type the question in a search engine. The little “thinking” button goes round and round and then a dozen or more answers appear on my screen. You get everybody, and his brother’s, opinion.
A few days ago, I typed in a question that went something like this. “How to market my book.” I typed that question right after the UPS man brought eight cases of Jacob’s Cottage.
I was already far surpassing most writers with book reviews and book sales, but I wanted to know how other people do it. I figured that I might be able to pick up an idea or two from them.
Well, I found out that most aspiring writers never become successful. They have hopes and dreams, just as I do. They spend hours writing the book, fewer hours editing it, and then even fewer hours than that marketing it. The success story they thought they wrote, becomes cases of books in the storage house.
Nowadays, however, if you go with a print-on-demand company, you start out with a couple books and an empty bank account. That’s a very popular way to publish, believe it or not.
According to the experts, I’m doing it all wrong. Do you know why? They are not getting in on the profits. Only if you hire them to guide you, to coach you, to publish you, to review you, or to edit your work will you become successful.
So, to make life easier for me, I decided to write and market my books the correct way. It’s all a matter of putting God in the driver’s seat.
1. God is the author. I’m just the typist. He speaks. I listen and type.
2. God is my editor. He tells me to read it again and again, then one more time. He points out the mistakes. I attended a four day writers conference a few years back. The greatest tidbit of advice I heard came from the keynote speaker.
He said, “when you are a Christian writer, only present your best work to God.” That doesn’t mean my books are perfect. It means they are my best work possible. I try to give my Boss, my best.
3. God is my marketer. He knows the needs of all people. I don’t. He knows who can benefit by reading my books. And He knows how to put them before the readers of His choice. Has He presented Jacob’s Cottage to you?
4. God is my publicist. He gives me the story to share with the world. Then when I have written a good book, with His message, it’s bound to be successful.
For He had full control of every aspect of the book. He will publicize it, and make it a bestseller if He so desires.
As for me... I’m His servant. He called me to write in November, 1997. He equipped me by giving me something to say.
Will I become rich writing? Nope. Will I become famous writing? Nope. Will I win a Pulitzer Prize. Nope. For my books are not about me. They are about Him. So, when my agent tells me to go to the computer, I go.
Why do I spend so much time writing? Because one day it is my heart’s desire that God will look at me and say “welcome, good and faithful servant.” And then I’ll spend forever with my Father, author of all good works, editor, marketer and publicist. I will have the correct answer to my question, “How to market my book.” “
The answer is simple and straightforward. Give it to God and give Him the glory.”
God’s book will reach every person who accepts it. He won’t force it on anyone. Did you like Jacob’s Cottage? If so, say thank you to Jesus. It came from Him. And tell somebody first about Jesus, then about the book. Only He is Worthy!
Monday, June 28 2021
Turn the Page
As a writer, I know too well the blank page syndrome. That’s when you are holding a pen, staring at a blank page and nothing comes to mind.
Nobody talks about this opposite syndrome, however. It’s the “too much on the page” syndrome. I personally have many more problems with that illness.
And I’m not really referring to writing on paper. I’m speaking of life as a whole.
I hate to have to admit it, but I oftentimes hold on to regrets way too long. I think back to misunderstandings and wonder why they happened in the first place.
Maybe I could have been a little more careful with how I said something. Maybe it wasn’t what I said, but how I said it. Maybe I was just in a horrible mood. Maybe I can do something that will erase those words from yesterday.
The only wasted regret is the one where we learned nothing. We cannot go back. I once heard Rev. Billy Graham say “you can’t unscramble eggs.” He is so right. Likewise, we can’t go back and take away the words that once slipped from our mouths. It’s impossible.
Fortunately, we can learn from those crowded pages from our past. But once we have gone back, pulled out the stuff worthy of filing in our hearts and minds, we should wad up the paper and toss it in the garbage can.
Why do we sometimes allow those incidents from the past keep tumbling around in our minds?
You may be thinking that hard discussion you had with your sister Jane many years ago, will never completely go away. You don’t even want to face her. It would be way too painful.
But the time comes that you and your Sister will come together (probably at somebody’s funeral). That’s when you must make a decision. Will you be nice or will you act like a jerk?
I’ve seen lots of people act in crazy ways at funerals. I’ve also seen sisters come together that had been estranged for a decade. Do you know the difference in the two situations?
The ones acting like jerks love that too much on a page syndrome. They have a point to make and they plan on making it one way or the other. The silent treatment works pretty well for starters. Then you have the cold shoulder. And unfortunately it sometimes even goes deeper than that.
Hatred rushes in. They feel more hate than any one person should for even just a few seconds. Hatred is satans first line of attack. He thinks he’s winning.
So how can we get beyond the “too much on a page syndrome.” There’s two ways. Give it to God. Let him forgive and forget and then follow in His steps. He’s all about reconciliation. He’s about love.
The second way is to pray for those who have caused you grief. Life is way too short to waste our time hating someone. I have learned you can’t hate someone and pray fervently for them at the same time. One will win over the other.
Today is the day to flip that page, live our lives to the fullest, forgive and forget, and throw out the garbage. The burden is not worth carrying around, even one day, much less a lifetime.
I’m forgetting everything that is in the past, moving on to this day and never letting anyone steal my joy again.
They can hold on to the crowded pages, but this girl has decided she will always turn the page. I hope today you open your book of life and start today with a blank page. Then turn the book over to God.
Sunday, June 27 2021
As I look back over the last 48 years, I have so many precious memories. The joy I felt when the twins were born was amazing. The day we left the hospital, I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I was just a child myself.
The biggest struggle was trying to keep up with who was who. As you can guess they were identical - and weighed the exact same, to the ounce, a week or two later.
But I had a plan and it worked until they were old enough to tell me their names. Many parents looked forward to teeth appearing and their baby walking. I looked forward to mine knowing their names.
Five years later, Becky (Brad and Chad’s little sister) was born. When asked how she knew that Brad was Brad, she would say, “because he’s not Chad.” That made sense to me.
She never got it wrong. So luckily somebody in the family could straighten everybody else out when they got their names wrong. And believe me, she did.
Somehow today I’m a little sad but also a lot happy. I miss having cake and ice cream with them. I miss the birthday hugs. But I’m so happy they all have families who dote over them.
Life is so very strange. Changes happen gradually and I worry that, at times, I might not have appreciated the moment I was in enough.
I sometimes wish I could go back and make another Fred Flintstone or Care Bear birthday cake. But in reality, I wouldn’t want to change one thing about who any of my children have become. All three are great parents for my grandchildren. They made me Nana and Roy Pa.
We’ve had our twists and turns over the years but on ordinary days, I’m happy as can be.
So please just give me 2 days a year (June 12th and June 27th) to miss life as it once was. God knows my little heartache this morning and He cares deeply about me. And He understands.
Hopefully, there will be many more memories down the road that will overshadow the days that that I find I truly miss yesterday.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
I love all my June birthday children and I miss being there with them to celebrate. Happy Birthday and may God continue to bless you all for many more years to come. When God gave me y’all, He gave me the best birthday presents ever.
Saturday, June 26 2021
No matter how hard we try, we will not find happiness in this world. We may think that having millions of dollars will make us happy. We may believe that owning mansions in every state would put us in a place where we have no fear. It’s been said that no matter how much money we have, we want just a little bit more.
But money and things never make us happy. It’s not going to happen. Oh sure, there is always that temporary feeling of “wow. Look what I have!” New cars look and smell good!
But after the 3rd or 4th payment the happiness fades away. We are driving a used car; yet making new car payments. And this will go on for another six years or so. The car loan will probably outlive the car.
And the disappointment of spending so much money on a used car becomes so overwhelming that we go to the car dealership and we will trade this car, that once made us so happy, for another one that will make us happy again. Do you see the vicious cycle? We’ve all been there and done that.
The way to find true happiness, however, is not to have what we want, but to want what we have. Contentment leads our way to happiness. It takes us to an entirely different playing level.
Happiness can also be felt when we know we are loved. Maybe you don’t feel loved today. But know this, Jesus loves you so very much. And He wouldn’t leave us for the world (He already owns it all anyway.)
Giving God control and placing our burdens on His shoulders will bring happiness. So for today I will find happiness. I will give God everything that I once considered mine.
I’ll allow Him to be the joy giver that He wants to be.
Do you want to be happy today? If so, don’t go car shopping. Call on God and let Him have full-control of your life.
And then decide to be happy. Show kindness to someone else today. Forget the new car smell and think about the feeling you can have when God comes first in your life. New cars wear out, but God will be with us forever.