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Christy Catherine Marshall

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June 30, 2006

A few months ago, I checked my mail and saw a thin envelope with a return address from Guideposts magazine, based in New York City. I thought it was probably another rejection, from the third story I’d sent. But this short one was accepted. Here’s a link to an online version.

I’ve been reading Guideposts every month since middle school, and it’s had a huge impact on my outlook on life. Here’s a little information about the magazine from the Daily Guideposts website.

GUIDEPOSTS publishes five magazines that have a combined paid circulation of close to 4.5 million. Best known is Guideposts, with a circulation of 3.3 million (680,000 circulation attributed to our large print edition), making it among the top 20 largest magazines in the United States. Other magazines include Positive Thinking Magazine, published ten times a year, and two bimonthlies, Angels on Earth, Guideposts Sweet 16.

Guideposts is a monthly magazine featuring first-person, true-life stories that offer practical solutions to everyday problems and inspiration for overcoming personal difficulties. Guideposts magazine is first and foremost about people — people from all walks of life, celebrities to schoolteachers, who tell personal stories of how faith has helped them overcome enormous adversity or simply face life’s day-to-day challenges with optimism, determination and joy.

I can tell you — they’re a great magazine to work with. I’ve written for some publications that don’t even send me extra copies, but Guideposts sent me over a dozen. They really made me feel appreciated!

If you have a high school junior or senior in your house, Guideposts has a Young Writer’s Contest that will start accepting submissions Sept. 1, 2006 until the deadline, November 22, 2006. There will be 20 prizes offered; the top winner will receive a $10,000 college scholarship. This is great incentive to get your teens to write an inspirational story! Here are some stories from previous winners.

By: Heather Ivester in: Writing | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

June 29, 2006

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miss Teresa!

I took the kids to the library yesterday, desperate for a new load of books. I’d just found out the unhappy news that our house is not a candidate for cable TV. I was finally exhausted from three years of the same half-dozen fuzzy local channels, and this week we’d decided maybe it was time to branch out and allow a little more variety into our home.

But the cable company came out and informed us our country home sits too far back from the road for cable. Our only option is satellite, which I don’t want. We had satellite several years ago when we lived even further out in the country, and the satellite company was always giving us free “sneak peeks” at upgrades. Our kids were toddlers then, but now that they’re old enough to handle the remote, I don’t even want to take the risk that they might flip to something that would become permanently etched in their minds.

No can do. So we’re back to the books. Which is fine. Better even.

So I walked into the children’s department and asked our librarian, Miss Teresa, what she recommended for our kids’ ages. “I’m especially looking for chapter books for my rising third grade daughter,” I told her. And I added with a whisper, “She still likes checking out picture books, but I want her to move on, you know?”

Miss Teresa smiled at me. “I’ve got the perfect books for you.”

Pickle Pizza (Cul-De-Sac Kids) We followed her back to the “L” section, and she showed me Christian author Bevery Lewis writes a children’s series called The Cul-de-Sac Kids. We checked out Pickle Pizza and a few others.

“Look,” she whispered. “These are published by Bethany House. All of their books are Christian!” Her eyes lit up with excitement. “I try to buy as many as I can. These are wonderful.”

I wanted to reach over and give her a gigantic hug — but with a wiggling baby on my hip, tote bag overflowing, it was not possible.

She started pulling more books off the shelf. “Here are some good mysteries your son might like,” she said to me. “The Bloodhound series by Bill Myers are also published by Bethany House.”

The Ghost of Krzy (Bloodhounds, Inc.)

Am I the last person in the world to discover Bill Myers? Wow! I looked him up, and his books and videos have sold over six million copies. He’s published with Zondervan, Tommy Nelson, and Bethany House, among others. So we brought home The Ghost of KRZY. I was a little concerned it looked too easy for my almost ten-year-old, who plowed through The Lord of the Rings trilogy this past year, but my son loves this book. In fact, he’s finished it, ready for another.

What a relief to know my kids are reading books by Christian authors, whose faith will be woven into the pages of the book. And it’s pure joy to know my children’s librarian is a kindred spirit. Miss Teresa also told me she bought the Landon Snow books, which are published by Barbour. I reviewed Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle last fall.

So I ask, does your children’s librarian know what kind of books you want your children to read?

P.S. Another great series for kids is the Wilderking trilogy, published by Broadman & Holman. There’s a new interview up with author Jonathan Rogers over at Gina Holmes’ wonderful blog, Novel Journey.

June 26, 2006

I know. I know. I said I was going to take a few weeks off to focus on my family this summer. And I AM. But I’ve got one child at summer camp and four asleep right now — so I think it’s be OK for me to sneak over to the computer and tell you:


You’ve got to go … just got to. If there is ever a conference in your city, I hope you can get there. Here’s the link that lists all the upcoming conferences left in 2006. Next month, they’ll be in Chicago, Cleveland, Washington D.C., and Calgary, Alberta. In August, they’ll be in St. Louis, Hartford, Ft. Wayne, and Dallas. (To my blogger friend in Phoenix, they’ll be coming to Glendale Arena Nov. 17-18!)

The theme for this year’s conference is “Contagious Joy.” Oh, how God knew I needed to hear the music and great speakers at this time in my life. This whole conference was a gift from my mom. She invited me and my sister several months ago — before I knew we’d go through a sad family time and have two of our extended family members pass away within a few days of each other.

So this! This conference gave us something to look forward to! I really had no idea — there were 15,000 women packed into Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta, right across from the CNN Center. Most people came in groups, and lots of these ladies wore matching colorful T-shirts. They came from all over besides Georgia: North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and more. The youngest attendee was a newborn swaddled in her new mom’s arms; the oldest was in her 90s.

The hostess of the conference informed us we had a surprise — Sandi Patty was there! She sang for us!! I’ve never heard Sandi Patty in person, but I’ve listened to her CDs for years. Anyway, you ain’t heard nothin’ until you experience Sandi Patty singing “How Great Thou Art.” Her voice echoed all over the arena — I’m sure you could hear her for miles around — it was incredible.

I was so overwhelmed, it was all I could do to keep from crying in front of my mom and sister — I did NOT have on waterproof mascara and I didn’t want to look like too much of a raccoon.

We also heard music from talented Nichole Nordeman, who has the most beautiful voice — she played several songs that I’ve heard on the radio but didn’t know who she was. What’s really interesting to me about Nichole is that a few weeks ago on our trip to the beach I was reading Madeleine L’Engle’s book, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, and Nichole wrote the introduction to this book. She described how L’Engle impacted her life and writing, so it was pure joy to hear Nichole sing.

The other group was Avalon. Wow! They sounded amazing as well — and had the whole place rocking. And there was also a Women of Faith Praise Band that played all of my favorite praise songs. I brought their CD home with me and have discovered that my 3-year-old enjoys singing and jumping around the kitchen with me while this music is on.

I’ll tell you about the speakers in a different post — because I hope you’ll have time to follow the links here.

We did find out one piece of amazing news — the speaker for next year’s Women of Faith pre-conference in Atlanta will be:


June 22, 2006

Have any of you ever been to a Women of Faith conference? There’s one in Atlanta this weekend, and I’ll be there. It would be fun to meet some like-minded friends. If any of you will be there, please let me know. The theme is “Contagious Joy.”

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith,Travel | Permalink | Comments Off on Women of Faith Conference

June 18, 2006

Since I haven’t been blogging here the past few days, I figured nobody was coming here. I hadn’t checked my webstats lately because I didn’t want to see the number “o.” But I checked this morning, and I discovered that people are coming here anyway. Weird. I’m absent, but people are still coming to visit.

Guess what my #1 most read post is this month? My review of 90 Minutes in Heaven. I still highly recommend this book. I checked the ECPA Christian Bestseller list and found out some good news. Are you ready? This book is a bestseller, ranked #21!

Psssst … I’ll just whisper this — I got my Dad a copy signed by Cecil Murphey, who wrote this book in the words of Don Piper. It will be a late Father’s Day present because I forgot to give it to him the last time I saw him.

I hope you’re all having a great summer. I’m swamped with kids everywhere. And I do mean everywhere.

What are you doing for Father’s Day today? It gives kids security in this crazy, mixed-up world when they see you loving their Dad. My husband and I went on a marriage retreat last weekend and were reminded once again that “Love is an Action.” Saying you love someone is nice — but showing it through your actions is even better. For me, that means staying off the computer and hanging out in the real world with my family.

Nobody says it better than FlyLady, who tells us, “Love means making sure there’s clean toilet paper on the roll and extra ones within reach. (ahem.) Love means making sure your family has clean underwear folded and put away in their drawers.”

I gotta get off the computer — bye! 🙂

June 12, 2006

Since my kids are out of school, this will be my last post here for a few weeks. I’ve also been praying about whether this is what God wants me to continue doing with my time. Here’s a story that will show you some things that have been on my mind lately.

I’ve written a few times about my experiences at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference in New Mexico last fall. At this conference, everyone eats meals together in a cafeteria. My parents and two of my daughters came too, and sometimes I ate with them, but one morning I went to eat breakfast at a table with a sign that said “Children’s Writers.” So everyone at the table was either a children’s writer or interested in becoming a children’s writer (I’m still a dreamer).

I didn’t realize this was one of those “divine appointments” God arranged for me. I sat next to a girl named Michele, and as we talked, we kept saying “me too! me too!” We realized we had a thousand things in common. After breakfast, we walked around the lake together to reach the chapel for the morning worship and devotional. We had both signed up to meet with the same editors, and we went to the same workshops. I was overjoyed to meet someone I shared so much in common with.

We’ve bonded even more through months of email — and I recently opened up and told her I wasn’t sure what to do about my blog. “It’s all over the place.” I said. “I don’t want to waste people’s valuable time reading it — yet I don’t really know what God wants me to keep writing about.”

“What’s your passion?” she asked me. “What do you really care about?” I thought for a while, and I told her that I really enjoy sharing my faith, as well as helping women feel encouraged in their daily lives. That’s why I’ve interviewed people and reviewed books here — as well as participated in the online Bible study and the Carnival of Beauty.

Then the word “wellness” came to my mind. “I’m passionate about wellness,” I told her. Women’s wellness. Through that discussion, I remembered that the subtitle for my mother/daughter book was “Reflections on Living Well.”

Living Well. Living Well. Living Well. The phrase stayed in my head for a few days. Then I got an email from an editor of a blogging network who invited me to take over their “Women’s Wellness” blog. I prayed about it for several days, and the more I prayed, the more I felt this “yes” from the Holy Spirit. The opportunity seemed good, as well as the timing. (And it will be nice to make a little income from blogging!)

So I accepted the position. My new blog will focus on what unites us as women — women from all cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles. We all want to be healthy — and wellness to me implies a balance of living well physically, mentally, emotionally — and yes of course, spiritually. I’ll be posting on current news and happenings in the wellness field.

I don’t plan on abandoning my blog here — it will still be my “home base.” I’ll come back and let you know when I get my other blog going, and I plan on posting here again after my “summer vacation” is over in August. I’ll also let you know when the new edition of Christian Women Online comes out — I’ll be reviewing books in my “Book Buzz” column there more often than I review books here. I also plan on reviewing wellness-related books in my other blog.

I wish you all a safe and happy summer!

June 10, 2006

I wanted to show you the cover of this magazine I write for — here’s our June issue. I’ve been writing monthly articles for this magazine since last December. It’s fun because I write about local people, places, and trends in my hometown and a few surrounding counties. I enjoy asking people to tell me a little more about their passions and expertise.

For this issue, I helped research a story called “32 Ideas for Cool Summer Fun.” I immediately thought of this amazing horse farm, run by a husband and wife who moved down here from Virginia. I think their story is so inspiring. They just had this DREAM — to start a horse farm — and they did it with lots of hard work. They bought some land and slowly built a beautiful stable and riding rings; meanwhile, they lived in a teeny-weeny house (that was actually built to become a future horse barn) until they could build up their business.

The owners are so friendly and involved in the community — we’d met them because they invited our preschool over for a hayride. Within a few years, they were able to save up and build a nice house with a pool. Of course, the pool is part of their summer horseback riding camps.

When I called to interview them for the story, the woman screamed into the phone, like I’d just told her she’d won the lottery. I heard her say, “Guess what, everybody? This is Heather from Lifestyles Magazine!” Then she apologized for the noise in the background. “I’m so sorry,” she said to me. “We’re having my son’s birthday party, and we’re just about to bust the pinata.”

I asked her if I could call her back at a more convenient time — and she said “Oh no! This is perfect!” Since their website was so informative and I had already been out to visit their farm, I really only had a few specific questions. After chatting a few minutes, I asked if she could email me more details about their summer camps.

Within a few hours, her husband sent tons of information by email, and he also sent my editor several professional-quality digital photographs for possible use in the story (saving us from having to send a photographer out ourselves.) This couple made us feel like we were the best thing that had ever happened to them. And guess what the result was? Our June issue ran four fabulous pictures of their horse farm, telling readers about their camp, filling up a nice page in the magazine. At absolutely no cost to them — since they were part of the story we were writing. Yet the resulting publicity will introduce their farm and camps to thousands of readers.

If I had only KNOWN how much fun it would be to write stories like this, I would not have been so petrified to major in journalism. (I squirreled away with stacks of British novels, majoring in English instead.) I imagined I’d have to be an investigative reporter, aggressively sticking a microphone in someone’s face. But my kind of stories usually only involve one-on-one interviews.

There’s an art to interviewing, and I’m only beginning to learn it. A good interview will result in a good story; a poor interview will leave you with nothing to work with. I can’t read any magazine articles now without a pen in my hand. I dissect them, similar to what we did to those poor frogs in 7th grade biology. I’m fascinated with the words writers choose for their lead-in sentence, the theme, how they arrange the quotes, how they tie it all up with a take-away.

Maybe one day I’ll learn how to write a great story. It all starts with keeping my eyes and ears open for the unusual, the unique, and the spectacular. What I’ve discovered is that most people don’t mind being interviewed, if you show a sincere interest in what they’re passionate about.

Someday, when I have more time, I know some of these interviews could be turned into pieces for national magazines — for example, a horse magazine might be interested in this horse farm — or a marriage magazine, since this couple built a dream together and work together. Or maybe a writer’s magazine, giving tips on interviewing. The list could go on … unfortunately, I can only meet the deadlines I have now and little else!

If you are a writer and have any tips on interviewing, I’d love to know!

June 9, 2006

I’m sure most of you are aware that Sallie at Two Talent Living has renamed her blog to A Gracious Home.

If you haven’t been to visit her new site yet, please do! She has a gorgeous new look to her blog, as well as a new domain link. So if you’ve linked to Two Talent Living in your blogroll, you’ll want to change it to A Gracious Home.

Many of us enjoyed writing essays for The Carnival of Beauty, hosted by Sallie. I participated in it from December 2005 until April of this year — and that’s how I “met” most of my blogging friends! Sallie took a short break from the Carnival as she is expecting her first child and is busy.

Yesterday, she announced that she will continue to host the Carnival of Beauty for the rest of the year! Here is the link to the upcoming schedule, which will be held at the site of the week’s hostess.

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)

This is my last post for our Beth Moore LBY study — I think we were supposed to end last Friday — but I fell further and further behind. The end of the school year filled up my “spare” time (as if that even exists), and we also took a family vacation last week. My mind was on packing up our family of seven for the beach — and even though I wrote a few posts ahead of time, I just couldn’t get this one written.

Overall, this was a great study — Beth Moore is one of the most incredible Bible teachers I’ve ever heard. I finally realized what it is about her that makes her so effective — it’s her stories. I don’t know if she just has a fantastic memory or if it’s her preparation before each lesson (probably both) — but she never makes a single point without fleshing it out with half a dozen well chosen anecdotes. She tells stories about herself, people she knows, and of course she brings to life heroes and heroines of the Bible, making us feel like we know them personally.

Before each lesson, Beth reviewed the sign language for the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit — and she gave us a little phrase to remember for each one:

Love never fails.
Joy cometh.
Peace rules.
Patience waits.
Kindness tenders.
Goodness does.
Faith fights.
Gentleness bows.
Self-control stops.

The last two sessions covered the topics of gentleness and self-control. Honestly, I was surprised at where she took the topic of gentleness. I admit that I’m a little squeamish about the word “meek.” I don’t consider myself a meek person — though my husband reminds me that the Biblical form of meekness connotes strength. Beth focused on how “the way up is always down.” As we learn to bow before Christ with humility, we can learn to follow His ways. She spent a good deal of time discussing the story of Job, and how his trials were deeply wounding and emotionally charged — similar to those of Jesus Christ.

Several points stuck with me — but mainly she said we need to slow down our pace of life and “Be still before the throne of God” so that He can heal us. If we’ve been hurt or have raw, jagged wounds from something, we can’t expect them to be bound (healed) without time. “Wounds need binding, and binding take time,” she said. Even though wounds may eventually be healed, sometimes there are scars — the same way that Christ had nail scars in his hands. These scars remain so that others can touch them — and see that since we survived, maybe they can too.

The final session of the study was on self-control. Beth’s teaching focused mainly on our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit. She said there are two extremes — we can either neglect our temples, or become obsessed by them. In the Old Testament, this is what God was constantly having to chastise His people for: neglect of the physical temple — or idolatry.

I was shocked when she said this: the three or four generations of people that occupy our planet today are the first media-driven culture ever. “This is huge,” she said. “We’re basing how we view ourselves on something that’s not even real.”

I’d never really thought about it — but my great-grandmother did not have to stand in the check-out line at the grocery store and compare her body to women on the front of magazines. Even at Publix, which covers the sleazy ones up (thanks to one of my friends talking to management), it’s still easy to compare how you look to those models on the magazine covers and wonder if you too should be “sexy after 40.” I don’t think my great-grandmother thought much about toning up her abs so she could wear a midriff-bearing tank top!

Beth told a story about how she was with some models waiting to go on a TV show, and they were flipping through a magazine looking at some of their own photographs, and one of them said, “Look at this! Here’s my face, but those are NOT my legs!” So what we’re seeing in the media is digitally doctored and not even real. No wonder so many women struggle with low self-images. Beth Moore says it’s nothing but idolatry, and in her best Texas drawl she implored us to “Learn to do what we need to do, then GET ON WITH LIVING.”

There are so many more stories she told — but the main idea I got is that we need to recapture the “lost art of moderation.” Moderation! We shouldn’t go to the extremes of neglecting ourselves (letting those love handles get thicker every year) — and neither should we become obsessive and make our diets and exercise into a false god.

The study ended with her praying for us all — that we would dedicate our temple (our mind, body, and soul) in its entirety to the “living fruit of the Word of God.”

I’m Almost Done!
This is a long post — but I have to add a few more things about the format of this study because I’m not sure if it’s ever been done in this way before! We started out with a group of 30 women bloggers from all over the world. At first, I was so excited about the study — and I knew this is what God wanted me to be doing. In fact, I thought maybe the whole purpose for my blogging was because of this study — since several people who read about it here joined the group and told others about it on their blogs. The more the merrier, I thought.

Our instructions were to watch the video on Monday, do the homework throughout the week, then post about what we learned on Friday night or Saturday. We were also encouraged to go visit and comment on the other women’s blogs in our group to show support for each other.

I did this faithfully the first few weeks. I posted on time, then I spent a couple of hours throughout the weekend visiting and commenting on other blogs. But after visiting about 15, my head began to spin. I couldn’t always come up with a unique comment when several people already commented before me. I resorted to exclamation points and smiley faces to fill up for my lack of words. I sincerely wanted to encourage each blogger who took the time to share her heart. And wow — there was a lot of deep soul-searching in these posts.

I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to keep up — it’s one thing to sit in a room of people and make comments on things you’re learning — yet it’s something entirely more terrifying to voice your thoughts out for anyone in the world to read — ZIP! As soon as your words are sucked up by the latest RSS feeder. You can’t take them back or change your mind. After a few weeks, I began to lose steam.

Others did too, it seems. We’re women — busy tending our households, jobs, families, little league games, moving, teaching at retreats, traveling, sharing recipes, making summer plans, etc. None of us knew how to hold each other accountable — I mean, in a group that meets in person, you can just say, “Hey, I missed you last week — is everything OK?” But with a blogger, you might feel like you’re being nosy or critical if you ask why they didn’t post about it.

Yet so many positive things did come out of this study — for me and for others as well. And I’ve only begun to grasp these concepts on a deeper level. I’ll be doing this study again in the fall with a group of moms who have our children together in preschool. We’ll have refreshments of course and lots of laughter — and through meeting together, we’ll learn and grow — and pray for each other.

I think this would be a wonderful study for teenage girls — they need this wisdom NOW. If you have a teenage girl in your household, this would be awesome for her and a group of her friends to study together. You can learn more about Beth Moore here at Living Proof Ministries (including an update written by Beth about her recent health scare.)

C’est finis.

Addie Heather* Carol
M Rach Jeana
Jenn Amanda MamaB
GiBee Boomama Maria
Blair Heather Nancy
Janna Flipflop Robin
Sherry Patricia Tara
Lauren HolyMama! Faith
Christy Eph2810 Karin
Leann Rachel Janice
By: Heather Ivester in: Beth Moore | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)

June 6, 2006

We have had a death in our extended family, and I will not be able to post for a few days. I would appreciate your prayers. Thank you.

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)