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Writer of fiction that reflects the light of Jesus. Sometimes the grit mixes with beauty to make up a picture of this life. That's where my fiction lives.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Review of The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women By, Danielle Strickland

When I read the title to this book, I have to admit, I was curious. So, upon the offer to read and review this book for Kregal Publications, I was intrigued. How, indeed, does Jesus empower women? I mean, yeah, He surrounded Himself with women and offered them equal compassion and mercy in a world that, otherwise, objectified or ignored them. 

But, this is the 21st Century. Aren't women liberated enough? Well, Danielle Strickland would contend that, no, we aren't. In regard to the Church, we still have a long way to go, baby.

She confronts the mentality of girls being princesses, desiring to grow up, get married and have children. You have to check out this quote...

"The popular Christian concept of a 'good woman' is someone extremely feminine, sensitive, good-looking, and submissive to a handsome husband who keeps his promises. Lovely -- if you live in Disneyland." (pg. 20)

And that's in the first chapter. 

Chapter after chapter discusses the issues of the objectification of women, inequality in the world and the Church, how women are uniquely made, how the Scriptures speak of us and that Jesus is our Liberator. One chapter is titled "Jesus the Feminist"...no getting huffy. It's a great chapter about how Jesus included women in His ministry on earth (it's a fact) and the beautiful reality that women, too, are made in the image of God. 

I found that Strickland dealt with this potentially volatile discussion with intelligence (this woman knows her Bible...and even discusses word studies to explain the translation), grace (she never once bashes men...not once) and joy (she's all about celebrating the liberation that this truth can bring). 

On a personal level, she forced me to ask questions of my past. Have I ever felt "less than" in the Church because of my gender? Regrettably, yes, I have. Many times. As a former "Children's Director" (I couldn't be a pastor because I am female), I have encountered much discrimination. From being called "honey" to being left out of important meetings and decisions to having my physical appearance "called out" (issues of size)...all of it made me feel that my ministry had less importance because of my gender. This isn't of God. 

I look forward to reading this book again. It is so packed full of ideas and thing to contemplate that one reading didn't quite "do it" for me. 

I highly recommend this book. It's great to Bible college students who are heading into the ministry (of all kinds). Wonderful for church staffs that are interested in including women in ministry (and, for that matter, church staffs that are NOT interested in including women in ministry). Important for women who are called to serving the Lord...it is encouraging that there is a place for us to serve other than the kitchen or nursery (not to say those are unimportant ministries). 

Look for this book. It's a good one. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview With Jody Hedlund, Author of "The Doctor's Lady"

First of all, I have to admit something...I'm not typically a fan of Historical Fiction. However, from the very first paragraph of Jody Hedlund's "The Doctor's Lady", I was pulled in. She writes at a good pace and her style is smooth and inviting.

I have a passion for missions. And this book reflected the history of a woman, so consumed with the love for the missionary life, that she made sacrifices and surrendered her will to God's. Now, that is something we could all learn from, right?

I've had the pleasure of exchanging some emails with Jody. She is kind and someone who I would LOVE to befriend. So, I thought that you would enjoy getting to know her a little better through an interview!

Susie: As a fellow fiction writer, I'm always interested in learning what inspires a work of fiction. What inspired you?

Jody: This book was inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836 she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return for the purpose of starting a mission among the Nez Perce natives.

It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and, at times, even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an "unheard-of-journey for females". Because of their willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many woman who would follow in her footsteps in what later would be known as the Oregon Trail.

Susie: That's inspiring. I can see why you wanted to honor the glory this woman brought to God! I like that your story is not only for entertainment and education, but that it also has a purpose. Speaking of, what message would you like the reader to glean from this book?

Jody: I hope readers are inspired to try new things and brave dangerous prospects in the pursuit of their dreams. When we go after the things that matter, we have to take risks and we'll experience setbacks and obstacles. But if we persevere, we can reach our destination and do great things along the way.

Susie: Sometimes when I'm writing, I picture certain famous actors playing the parts of my characters. Who would you envision playing the parts of your characters?

Jody: Dr. Eli Ernest needs to be played by Kevin Costner whose rugged, scruffy look in Dances with Wolves is exactly the way I envision for Dr. Ernest.  Eli is a man full of passion and unafraid of danger, and yet willing to learn and grow through the challenges he faces.

Priscilla White needs to be played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Priscilla is a beautiful and elegant lady with Gwyneth's looks in Emma. She's not physically strong and she's a bit naive, and yet she's determined and courageous.

Susie: Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out?

Jody: Write a couple of books first and unleash your creativity. Then start reading books that explain how to write. Study techniques, practice them and keep writing. When you begin reaching a level in your writing where you think you're ready to start querying, get a critique partner to read your work, vamp up your online presence and immerse yourself in the writing industry.

Susie: Great advice. Thank you. Now I'd like to know something about you. What would I be surprised to find out about you?

Jody: I have most of the songs of Sound of Music memorized (due to watching it every year as a child). Now whenever I watch the movie, I belt out the songs at the top of my lungs, much to the listening pleasure of my children. *Grin*

Susie: One more thing that I HAVE to know...when you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Jody: Of course I wanted to be a princess and live in a big castle and have a name like Rose. And I wanted to marry a dashing prince charming and ride off together in the sunset.

But alas, I soon came to understand that I wouldn't be able to grow up to be a princess, that I'd need to pick something slightly more practical. So I decided to write romantic stories about princesses instead! Of course I haven't published any fairy tales, but I have seen my dream of publication come true! (And wouldn't you know, I ended up marrying a prince charming!)

Susie: Thank you, Jody!

Hey, readers! Jody has very generously offered to award one of you with a FREE copy of "The Doctor's Lady"! Just comment on this post for a chance to win!

And, to entice you, here is the book trailer!