Thursday, 31 May 2012

What a Celebration! What a Victory!

   What a fabulous night! We launched 'Though the Bud be Bruised' with fun and fanfare. This picture pretty much summarises the night. Everything Pink and Black and beautiful - but a few details fell sideways!
   Did that matter? No!
   In the background of this pictures you can see the books covered, waiting. We didn't open the boxes until the program was complete. Then we put a book in every hand, so they could touch, feel, and read. Then we trusted them to either pay or return the book.
    Did the party reach my expectations? I had three aims. I wanted...

  •  everyone to enjoy themselves
  •  the participants to leave as excited advocates for my book 
  •  God's victory to be evident.
The room was full. There were about 200 people who were enthusiastic and excited. I've had lots of comments about the detail - the roses bruised on the path as people walked in, the petals which are still covering the front floor of my church, the pink and black food served by my wonderful grandchildren and the roses everywhere.

    Steve made a powerful opening speech, honouring God and encouraging men to read the book. My amazing guest speaker, Wendy Francis, Qld CEO of Australian Christian Lobby, put aside her own causes to quote from the book and talk about it. I was honoured by her words and encouragement.

  I took the opportunity to thank my friends, Dawn and Sue who have put so much effort into the book with advice and editing. I was very pleased to have my publisher,Rochelle, to share and delighted she sold many books written by other Australian authors.

    We gave everyone a lucky petal and drew a couple of prizes. It was just a fun night.
   So I return to the question - Was it successful. God was honoured, people did have fun and many books were sold.
I wait now to see if I have generated excited advocates. Only time will tell, but I do know of one friend that has two copies out on loan, another who intends giving it to the leaders of their children's ministry, another who says he'll be using it in evangelism! Yes I'm encouraged. But I'm excited when someone reads it and then has to 'pray about just so many things'.

 It was more than a book launch! We celebrated a great victory.

The evil that was designed to destroy us and our family has been turned completely around. It has been exposed in this book of victory. May many others find victory through the pages of 'Though the Bud be Bruised.'


      Thursday, 24 May 2012

      My book leaves home

          As my book begins to be more widely distributed, I find myself watching,wondering and waiting. What do they think? Are they reading it or is it gathering dust? Do they think I'm crazy?
          Having never published a book before, I'm surprised by this stage. Although 'Though the Bud be Bruised' isn't officially released until 1st June, there are several copies now being read by close friends and reviewers.
         The problem is I know where each book is, and I keep wondering...and watching for feedback.
          But I had a revelation! My book has left home! I will always be its author, but it must now make its own way in the big wide world. It will succeed or fail on its own merit. It is now in the public domain and must accept the people's judgement.
          Like any good parent I have done my best. I have prepared it for the world, encouraged it to be true to itself; to carry its message with pride and determination rather than aim to join the popular crowd. I have drummed into it the importance of accuracy and simplicity and helped it chose truth over convention.
          It is never easy to release a child into the world, to sever the apron strings and allow them to succeed or fail on their own merit. Every parent wants to hover, to ensure that the child makes the best choices, works hard and drives safely. But the time comes when you must wave them good-bye, close the door, release them to God's care and protection and live your own life in peace.
          So it is with 'Though the Bud be Bruised.' It is finished. I must release it to do its work. Oh, yes! I'll still talk about it, promote it and do my best to help it travel far and wide. I will rejoice in its success and contend with its opponents. But with God's help I won't worry about it any longer. As Pilate said, 'I have written what I have written!'

      Thursday, 17 May 2012

      Preparing for a Book Launch!

      This week has been a lot of fun as I prepare for the party to celebrate the release of my book, 'Though the Bud be Bruised.' Replies to the invitations are filtering in. Food is organised and the drinks are stowed ready. Everything follows the colour theme as established set by the book cover and so I've been chasing down a variety of things from black serviettes to pink balloons.
          On the way I've made a few exciting discoveries, little things that seem to there waiting for me to find them! I was shopping with Julie, my friend and party consultant yesterday. (She has an eye for the extraordinary that can turn a room into a sensation!) We were shopping in a popular candle store looking for pink tea-lights when she spies a beautiful candle. It was crafted in the shape of a rose and just happened to be the same colour as the rose on the cover of the book. Excited, she is planning where to use them. I am cautious. I'm sure they will be expensive. But wait! They are on sale as they were Mother's day stock, so now reduced to $5 each. We get five of them. But when they go through the cash register they have been reduced again. Now only $2. I grab more of them. 
          We leave the shop feeling the favour of the Lord. I'm sure he's going ahead of me to organise things. Farewelling Julie, I walk into the next shop and find a great skirt to wear. And guess what? It has roses on the black lace. The shop assistant asks about the book launch and takes a card so she can order a book from Amazon.
          From there I go next door. There I find a black top that has lace sleeves guessed it...roses in the lace. I grab that, thankful for the sale price and bring it all home to try with the pink scarf I bought last week. Together it looks great. Oh and did I tell you that the scarf came with a pendant - a large moulded rose.
          All these little things remind me that God is always leading and guiding me. I feel safe in the hollow of his hand. It gives me confidence the book has been written at right time.

      Friday, 11 May 2012

      Impulsive or methodical

          Last night, I was climbing into my pyjamas when it hit me.  'Oh, it's Thursday and I haven't done my blog! What about all my adoring public who are waiting with bated breath to see what Jo has to say today!'
         The problem is my forgettery, or maybe my total lack of routine. 
          I have noticed in life that some people are organised, calm and plan ahead. I have tried to be that person. It doesn't work. If I could remember my decision to be systematic, it might happen. But something more interesting always comes along. The phone rings, or I notice the pattern of the spiders web in the garden, or I start reading blogs and, without meaning to, I'm out of routine.
          Recently I started taking medication. Three tablets every night. Easy? I'll manage to remember for about a week. Then one day I'll get up and whilst moving them from the middle of my kitchen bench, (where they live to help me remember!) I realise I've forgotten them again. So now I have an alarm set every night at 9.30 to remind me. Some nights I climb out of bed to swallow them!
           Why is such a little thing so difficult for me?
          Steve on the other hand is a person of routine - slow steady and methodical. He never forgets tablets, or realises that he hasn't had breakfast after he's left home. Everything is done in the same order so there's no chance he'll forget the deodorant! For forty years he's closed doors after me, reminded me to turn off the iron, got me out of bed to clean my teeth...and run me late! For him, it is more important to finish everything than get there on time! I'm happy to leave the dishes in the sink to get out the door.  I want to have enough time to enjoy good conversation before any event starts.
          I've decided I am who I am. But I also understand I need those methodical people around me. I, in a moment of inspiration, changed my whole life style and wrote a book. Why? Just because! However the book would never have been published if it wasn't for the detail people that surround me. My friend, Sue, spent hours making corrections for me. She fixed spelling, adjusted punctuation, highlighted anything I'd repeated, and complained when the word I'd chosen was out of context. So many others also helped to produce a book of excellent quality. I wanted excellent quality, but, when I checked it, I didn't see errors. I just read what I knew is supposed to be there!
          What about you? Are you a steady, methodical person or impulsive and scattered like me. The world needs us all! And we need to honour the gifts and characteristics in others, even if we don't understand them!

      Thursday, 3 May 2012

      His love never wavers

      'You were rejected in the womb.' He waited for her confirming nod.
      'But, when you were born your father called you to life.'
      She sat, showing no emotion.
      'When he died, when you were four, you were rejected again . You retreated into yourself.' 
      When there was no response, he continued. 'I believe God has asked me to tell you that he has an amazing plan for your life, exciting things for you to do. But he wants me to tell you that He loves you. If you walk into the plans he has for you he will love you. If you choose to never do any of those things He still loves you. His love is not conditional on what you do. His love for you is passionate and never ending. Even if you spend your life in bed, He will still love you. He made you. He planned your birth. You were never a mistake. He loves you.'

      In last weeks blog, I challenged us to live as victors, to live 'above the line'. It is the most satisfying, productive way to live.  
      This week, I've remembered the above story. This word from the Lord was for a lady I know. But it is the heart of God for every one of us. He loves me. He loves you. That love never wavers or changes. 
      Our behaviour never affects His love but how we respond to that love will affect our behaviour. It took me forty four years before I really believed God loved me. The all guilt, condemnation and hopelessness lifted off me. I was okay! God said it. I finally believed it. His love has given me the confidence to do many wonderful things in my life!

      A few weeks ago I was walking, early in the morning, on the Gold Coast and thanking God for the beauty of colour, reflection and light in the sky. As I watched His hand appeared in the sky. His right hand stretched out in a blessing! Today I want to share it with you because He loves you so much.