How does your faith play into your writing?
It is a huge part of our writing. It is actually the foundation of our writing. Sheila and I find the scripture verse “Be still and know that I am God” in Psalm 46:10 to be a stepping stone of our works. When we knew we wanted to write a book together, we began in prayer. We took time to be still and know that God would speak to our hearts and guide our thinking for the flow of the book. Like many women and mothers today, we both live very hectic lives and taking time out to be still is not on our To Do Lists. But, it is hard to listen to God when our minds and our surroundings are so noisy and busy. We had to make time and keep Christ at the center of our journey. We had to take time to sit down, pray, and spend time with God to start to see words in our hearts come to life on paper. If we had not relied on our faith, we believe the outcome of this book would have not lived up to its potential and we may not have received as many blessings from the work as we did.
Why did you chose this genre?
It is who we are, what we know, and what we still want to become. Inspirational and faith-filled books have surrounded both of us our entire lives. We simply felt a calling to live out our dreams of writing books in this genre. It just made sense to us, and it gave us a lot of joy to do so.
What is the most important thing that you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The most important thing we hope our readers will get from our books is a personal discovery. We hope they become inspired, encouraged and blessed by the words we write as well as to become motivated to make positive differences in their lives one step at a time. Our mission in our writing together is to help others discover a balanced, joy-filled life by taking action and creating the life of their dreams while loving and serving the Lord. We hope that readers will be uplifted and spiritually fed by our books.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
In addition to Psalm 46:10, our favorite Bible verse is “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 We have so many other favorites, but this verse gives us hope, courage, and humility. When we go it alone, we fall. Our focus must always be on Him while we surrender, trust, and believe! There are so many ways we can allow our minds to doubt, fear, and tear ourselves down. This verse dispels the insecurities and eliminates the excuses. This verse gives us a desire to get up every day and take leaps of faith through our lives’ journey.
Tell us your favorite part in your book The Love Stairway?
Our favorite part of “The Love Stairway” is Step 6: Serving. There are two points in Step 6 that seem so common sense, yet we either easily take them for granted or overlook/push them aside in our busyness. The first point is “Building Relationships through Loving Service.” In this section, we have bulleted 6 keys to building special relationships. These keys are:
- Be others-focused
- Be ALL there
- Be Christ-seeking
- Be a Want to Lover
- Be Caring rather than Knowing
- Be Quality-Minded rather than Quantity-Minded
The suggested actions given in each of these keys are simple and are thought to be easy to implement in a person’s daily life. However, they may not be as simple to live out as they may seem, such as to “Be Christ-seeking.” This key reads, “Imagine that everyone you meet has a name badge or sign that reads, “I am Christ.” How does your service to that person change “seeing” this sign? The key “Be Quality-Minded rather than Quantity-Minded” reads, “Mother Teresa said, ‘It’s not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.’ She also says that ‘In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.’ We will not be measured by how many acts of service we do in our lifetime, but rather by how much love we gave into a particular service.” If a person were to tweak their actions to include one or more of these keys, the rewards can be great in building meaningful and loving relationships.
The second point in Step 6 that is our favorite is the section titled, “Be a Turtle.” Many of us may struggle with where to begin with our serving others with love. We want to make a positive difference and we consider many possibilities to offer our gifts and talents. We look to world-wide organizations or to our local church ministries. There are so many places to help and serve. The options are endless. There are constant needs all around us. Sometimes our thoughts first turn to outward venues where our service will please God in extraordinary ways. And for some, this is exactly where God may be calling them to serve Him with love. For others, it is not. One place of service is not any more important than another place of service if it is done with sincere love. In fact, we can sometimes overlook the one place that we can serve with great love. This one place is wherever you are with the people nearest to you. This is where “Be a Turtle” is explained.
Be a turtle means to serve your home with love first and then take your home with you wherever you go. Home is where we are. Love makes a home. God is love. Therefore, God makes a home, which is where we are. Simply put, we are like a turtle. We carry our home with us everywhere we go. God is our home, so we take him everywhere we go. But do we?
Today, our family unit can be viewed as weakening and tearing apart for various reasons such as abusive relationships and addictive habits as well as infidelity and divorce. Other increasing reasons can be a lack of respect and a lack of introduction of a relationship with God. Another reason can be attributed to our leaving our “turtle shell” in the garage, cabinet, closet or other out-of-the-way spot where we can easily forget about it. We may be a person with great loving and faithful intentions who simply overlooks some basic relationship building actions. We get too busy trying to serve others all around us that we take for granted our service to those nearest to us, and we take for granted that we are serving them with sincere love.
We may go to church, but leave Christ in the pews. We may be nice to strangers, but be quick to snap at our loved ones or ignore them. We may do good and spread God’s love in one place, but not in another. The idea of “being a turtle” means to become one with God and allow God to be visible everywhere you go and in all that you do. The more we can live out the other prior 5 steps (Receiving, Forgiving, Accepting, Living Gratitude, and Falling in Love With God), the more we will be able to serve another person with sincere love and take God everywhere we go!
As you researched your book did you learn anything that really touched your heart?
We both thought we were writing a book to help others experience love in greater capacities in their lives. We immediately learned that we were receiving lessons! The book was helping us in very personal ways! We learned that we needed to live out the 8 Steps in our lives on a daily basis. We thought we were already living them out, but while putting the book together, we realized that we needed to apply the words consistently in our lives and not just put them on paper for someone else to read. The scripture verses, the phrases, the stories, and the prayers were jumping out at us in ways we had not felt before.
What is your favorite book?
We have so many! Ones that come to mind are “Jesus, CEO” by Laurie Beth Jones, “The Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn, “The Coffee Mom’s Devotional” by Celeste Palermo, and “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young. But, now, we have to say that “The Love Stairway” has become our favorite!
What are you writing now?
We have written the Workbook to “The Love Stairway,” but we have yet to get into printed form. We have it available via PDF file on a CD or we can email it to the customer. As we were putting together “The Love Stairway,” other book ideas kept coming up, so we have a long list of future inspirational books!