Thursday, June 18, 2009

Author Spotlight: Guest Blog by Charlene Ann Baumbich!

One of the things I love most about writing (fiction or nonfiction), is that writing always presents a one-on-one opportunity for me to listen to the Big Guy. That might sound odd, but my books (which, through the whispers of the Holy Spirit, beckon and woo me) know more than I do. When I can get out of my own way enough to listen (BE QUIET, CHARLENE! AND ABOVE ALL, DO NOT “WORD SMITH!”), I learn.

In other words, when I am writing, I am not “talking.” I am listening. I am following the story, typing as fast as I can to keep up with it, waiting to discover the brightness and grace buried deep within. There is always that wonderful moment when I stop typing, lift my fingers from the keyboard and say, “OH! What a surprise!” Or, “Thank you, Lord, for laying such a perfect trail. One I could not help but follow.”

With Don’t Miss Your Life!, the lessons—the grace, the memories--were unending. While writing this book, I laughed, I cried, I banged my fist (not on the keyboard, of course ;>)), I bowed my head, and I got up and twirled—literally.

A little history: I’ve been speaking on the topic of Don’t Miss Your Life! since 1991. My first book, Don’t Miss Your Kids! (they’ll be gone before you know it) released that year (it’s still in print, YAY!), and soon, folks wanted to know if I spoke, as in to groups. Say what? After several requests, I finally passed along this remarkable query to husband George, who looked at me, his eyes filled with, “Do you ever not speak?” So I accepted a couple local speaking opportunities with moms’ groups.

But soon word spread and women started contacting me saying they loved the humor, the down-in-the-pits reality, and the principles, but that the women in their groups were not all moms. Could I please tweak the topic for a broader audience? Yes, I sure could! Thus, Don’t Miss Your Life!, the speaking topic—and my core message and platform—birthed itself. (Even my Dearest Dorothy books, and Stray Affections, the first novel in my new fiction series, are meant to showcase life to the full!)

The stories continued to grow and grow, the way the stories of our lives do. And now, at long last the book, which, after 18 years of speaking on the topic, you can imagine created quite a challenge to corral, especially since new stories entered my life every day including during the writing. (And today, and the next moment, and the next …)

So, I listened to the whispers of my old stories; I followed (or slam-dunked myself) into the leading of my new stories; I prayed and prayed over which ones to include. Then the real hard work came when, time and again, I squeezed my ego dry in order to get to the humbled and horrible truth about me, and the wondrous news that God still loved me—even “then,” and especially “when.” (My editor, Cindy Lambert, did an awesome job of helping me stay between the rails of comprehension. Thank you, Cindy!)

I pray as I type that the readers of Don’t Miss Your Life! enjoy the book, yes. But more importantly, I pray they tune into their own Memory Portfolios, and that by The End, they feel more fully FREE to laugh, listen, learn, grow and reconsider. And especially to believe Christ when He says that He came to give us life. Life to the full! (John 10:10)

Happy Reading!


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