How My Publishing Dream Came True

As you can tell from the title, my publishing dream came true! My new book, Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison, will hit the shelves this October. How did this happen? How did this dream finally come true? I will tell you. I hope that those of you writing your own books will be greatly encouraged and full of hope after reading this post.

First of all, let me tell you about this dream that began when I was a little girl writing. A little girl writing sits in her bedroom and dreams about the books she will write one day. She throws pennies into wishing wells; she blows out birthday candles; she prays and hopes and bargains about this one dream: to publish books. Perhaps other children dream of riding horses or singing or becoming a doctor. I dreamed of books. Always books. Maybe you are a little girl writing like me.

But the dream wasn’t coming true. For 15 years, manuscripts in hand, I read rejection letter after rejection letter. So, as you know, I self-published. I listened to the main point of the rejections: I wasn’t famous enough and nobody wanted to take a chance on an unknown author.

Then, this past October (the significance of this month isn’t lost on me; my book releases this October), I wrote a surrender letter to God. In this letter, I let the dream die completely. I gave my little girl writing heart to God and agreed to write in all those small ways–blogging, lessons plans, letters–and I settled the issue in my heart that the book writing dream was over. I was at peace, seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and ready for the other good works He had prepared for me that didn’t include writing. It was a wonderful moment of knowing that I didn’t need writing to prove myself, to feel important, to be somebody, or to be accepted. I could enjoy Jesus and the life He ordained for me, even if it didn’t include my dream coming true.

What I didn’t know is that my agent never gave up on my dream. I didn’t know that he was still working, still submitting my manuscript, and still hoping for the perfect publisher for my book on being seated with Christ.

And God still held my dream safely in His hands.

One cold winter night, I received a message that Moody Publishers in Chicago was very interested in my book. Very interested.

“What book? What are you talking about?” This was how dead the dream was. This was how long forgotten it was. I had to remind myself that there was this book on being seated with Christ that I had tried to publish but was never famous enough. . .

An acquisitions editor would call me the next Tuesday. Moody Publishers would offer to buy my manuscript. They didn’t care about fame. They cared that I had written an honest and biblical book. And because everyone loved it so much and thought it was so powerful, they wanted to accelerate the process, secure the manuscript by April 15, and aim for an October release. God is funny. God’s timing is perfect. God guards our dreams. He’s not a trickster, a cruel God, or a distant one. He listens and knows.

I learned a whole new vocabulary of contracts, editors, design teams, publicity teams, fonts, callouts, first pages, final pages. Suddenly–and I mean suddenly–I found myself sitting in fancy Chicago restaurants and seeing my dream unfold in ways that were “immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine.” I’ve been having more fun than you can realize. It’s been the life I’ve always wanted but didn’t know. It’s like something stuck in me became unstuck.

And I was myself–the real me–living in the reality of being seated in Christ and not needing the book contract to make me somebody special. Oh, the irony!

Along the way, some incredible things have happened. One is that I never forgot the words from Joni Eareckson Tada that she’d rather be seated in her wheelchair knowing Jesus than be given the chance to walk without Him. When my amazing editor–who is now one of my dear friends–asked if there was one person in the world I might ask to write the foreword to my book, I said, “Joni Eareckson Tada.” And guess what? She did. She wrote the most beautiful foreword for me. God can do anything.

I hope this book blesses you beyond measure.

So that is the story of how it all happened. Thank you for reading! I will update you more with exciting book news in blogs to come. Thank you for supporting my writing on this blog these past years. I love you all.

Share

How We Made Acorn Flour (A Lesson in Bitterness)

We gather the acorns from our oak tree.

A Bowl of Acorns

Then, we carefully crack the shells and remove the nutmeat (I use a little hammer and a pick).

Cracking Acorns (with a Hammer!)

 

Shelling Acorns

We shell about 2 cups worth of nuts because this is our first experiment.

Acorn Nutmeat

Then, it’s time for the long process of removing the tannins.  I learn that tannins can harm you; they inflict stomach distress and kidney problems if you consume large amounts of this bitter substance.  Removing the bitter tannins requires time and a steady flush of fresh water–either cold (like in a stream over a week-long period as the Native Americans did) or boiling hot (the quicker way).

Removing Acorn Tannins by Boiling Method

When boiling, the water turns a deep brownish-black.  Every 20 minutes, I change the water.  After several hours, the water boils clear, and that tells me the tannins are gone.  To be sure, I’m told to taste a nut.  If it tastes like a sweet pasta–bland and not bitter–I’ve successfully leached the tannins.  Since my acorns are from a Red Oak, they taste supremely bitter (as opposed to a White Oak), so removing these tannins takes nearly 4 hours.  If I had finely chopped the nuts, I could leach them faster.

The verb leach, by the way, means to drain away and remove.  Here I am, leaching bitterness out of acorns, and the spiritual parallel rises up as surely as the sweet smell of acorn nutmeat.   Those nuts submit to the process of cleansing, of uncomfortably stressful temperatures, over a long period of time.  No wonder life seems hard sometimes.

Perhaps I’m being leached.

Finally, I take the leached nuts and grind them in a food processor.  I want a course grind for a hearty, nutty bread.

Grinding the Acorn Nuts

I add a few cups to a regular bread recipe (flour, yeast, honey or sugar, oil, egg).  I knead the dough, let it rise for one hour, and bake it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  I’ve heard you want to use equal parts acorn flour and another flour or even cornmeal.

Acorn Flour for Bread

 

Acorn Bread Loaf

The bread tastes absolutely delicious.  It’s a warm, nutty, rich bread that the girls spread with sweet cream butter for breakfast.  I’m not an expert in acorns, but the research claims that as long as you leach out the tannins, your acorns can provide muffins, breads, pancakes, cakes, and a whole variety of baked goods.

But you need that fresh water, boiled for a long time.

Lord, leach me.  Remove every bitter thing in my heart.

____________________________
Journal:  Can you imagine the work that went into making food in centuries past?

Share

Make Yourself That Somebody

For months, my friend and I travel by this one treacherous patch of sidewalk on our walk to school–the place that dips down towards a jagged ravine of rocks and icy water–and say, “Somebody should really put a fence up.”

We rescue kids as they slide off the sidewalk, shake our heads and say again, “Somebody should really put a fence up.”

As the months go on, we realize how much we say, “Somebody should really…”–whether referring to cleaning the house, fixing something, or generally improving the world.

We laugh about this expression: somebody should really. . .

Who is this Somebody person?  Can I meet her?

It occurs to us that we are the Somebody.  We stop saying, “Somebody should really put a fence up,” and we decide to make ourselves that somebody.

I don’t know where to start, so I ask someone at the school who tells me I should “call the county.”  (I didn’t realize you can call people in your county and get help with things your community needs. You can!)  I look up in my phonebook the name of my township and call the number there.  A man answers the phone, and I explain that children are slipping off the sidewalk and falling into a ditch on the way to school.  Can we put a fence up?

“Yes,” he says.  “Let me check who owns that property, and I’ll send a crew out today.  We’ll take care of it.”

I even ask the man if he could make it a nice fence, charming, and not some metal thing with orange mesh reserved for danger zones.

He sends out his crew and builds our fence.

Now, on the walk to school, my friend and I look at that fence and remember to make ourselves that somebody.  

My Charming Fence

She says, “Somebody should really write a book with that title.”

Up the Big Hill Towards School

Somebody should.  If you make yourself that somebody, you can really change something.

In fact, what initiates my friend’s 100 pound weight loss last year is a t-shirt she sees that says, “Somebody should really do something about how fat I am.”

She decides to make herself that somebody.

I want to make myself that Somebody in 2011.

Share