Pre-Conference Mix and Mingle

This is a “Just for fun” post today. If you’re a writer, or if you’re curious about “writer-type” people, you might enjoy this. Otherwise, I’ll see you next week!

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Lindsay Harrel and Susan Crawford at ACFW 2012, MBT Pizza Party

Laurie Tomlinson, an online friend and Genesis finalist, has a great idea. She’s hosting a Pre-Conference Mix and Mingle for people who are attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) conference next month. It’s a fun way to get to know a little more about  people before the conference, and maybe even make some new friends. You can meet other writers who are attending at Laurie’s blog.

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Pepper Basham and Casey Herringshaw at ACFW 2012

If you want to join in the fun, here’s what you do:

Fill out your own answers (you don’t have to answer all of them!) in a post on your own website and paste the URL to that post (not your home page) using this handy link-up tool (on Laurie’s post). If you don’t have a website, feel free to answer the questions in the comments below!

Make sure to link back to this post after you fill out your answers so any of your readers who are conference attendees can participate, too! The more, the merrier.

Here are the questions and my answers!

Name: Jeanne Takenaka

Location: Colorado

What you write/tagline: Contemporary Women’s Fiction—”Writing stories where faith and grace hold hands.”

Place in the book world: Pre-published author with one completed manuscript and one almost complete! Waiting on God’s timing for the right agent

On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: Definitely a hugger

The unique talking point that will get you going for hours: Books, writing, relationships—especially the Mommy-life

People at home you’ll be missing: My husband and our two boys

Conference goals we can pray for? That I will be sensitive to the Lord’s leading for all He has for me this year and in making connections—writer-wise and perhaps even agent-wise. That I will keep my  mind fixed on Him before, during and after the conference

Up for any contests/awards? I’m one very shocked Frasier finalist

Any disclosures, disclaimers, or crucial information we must know? This is my second ACFW, but I’m still a little nervous. If I talk too much, or am really quiet, it’s because I’m trying to figure everything out. 🙂 Hugs and offers of coffee are always welcome!

Remember to head over to Laurie’s blog to check out other Pre-Conference Mix & Mingle participants!

What about you? What does your September hold?

Building Bridges and Relationships: Four Thoughts

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International Bridge between New York and Ontario, Canada

When hubby and I first married, the US Air Force stationed us at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB). We rented a little home in Prattville, Alabama, about 10 miles from Montgomery. Whenever we drove to the Base, we crossed a little, one lane bridge that spanned a river. Every time I neared it, I prayed no one else would be driving from the other side.

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Confidence: Walking Confidently

ImageSo, I’m living out this dream of writing.  Characters, alive and breathing in my thoughts, have a tale that pushes from within to be written on the screen before me. Day by day adding their words, happenings, joys, heartbreaks to the pages.

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The Difference Between Contentment and Complacency: Guest Post by Lindsay Harrel

Today, I’m so excited to have my good friend, and fellow aspiring author, Lindsay Harrel, on my blog. We met online and through My Book Therapy, and we met face to face last year at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas. Lindsay never ceases to amaze me with her depth of insight and her encouraging words. I’m thrilled she’s here!

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A few weeks ago in my Sunday school class, we were discussing contentment and one of my friends asked a question that intrigued me: Can we be content and still strive for our dreams?

It made me stop and really think, because I’m currently pursuing the dream of becoming a published author. Is it wrong to go hard after a dream? If I do, am I not accepting the life God has given me? Does it mean I am not practicing contentment? That I’m not grateful for the good things in my life?

In my opinion, the answer is no. I believe there is a definite difference between contentment and complacency.

Reading one particular definition for complacency was an “aha!” moment for me. According to princeton.edu, complacency is “the feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be satisfied with myself. I want to always be improving, bettering myself, challenging myself to be more like Jesus. A complacent person doesn’t bother striving for dreams because she is “happy” as she is – even in her ignorance. Even in her sin.

A content person, on the other hand, knows that God called her to something bigger than her current situation – even if that means having a better attitude IN that situation or living it out with God at the center.

A content person is allowed to dream. She knows that God planted big dreams inside of her for a reason, and that if she pursues them, she is being true to who God created her to be. She has a peace in the pursuit – and she has a peace if God tells her “no” or “not right now.”

Contentment means delighting ourselves in the Lord and getting the desires of our hearts – because when we grow nearer to Him, His desires become ours. What He wants is what we want.

It means constantly seeking God and what He wants for us and from us.

Complacency, on the other hand, means we wait for God to come to us – and that we ignore the signs that He’s been there waiting all along.

Complacency is also waiting for life to change, but having no real hope that it will. It’s living life with no greater purpose beyond what we can see today.

But contentment – oh, beloved contentment – is praying with confidence for our dreams, and knowing that God’s plan is ultimately better.

Contentment, whether you are pursuing a big dream or a small one, means being at peace with whatever God gives us. It’s trusting God to be God – and being okay that we are not Him. It’s relinquishing control. It’s knowing that He knows best.

Contentment is not an easy path. Complacency is much simpler.

Complacency means not striving for a dream out of fear.

But contentment takes courage.

Take heart, friend, and strive for your dreams, knowing that the Lord who gave them to you will not forsake you. Have peace in the pursuit.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Your Turn: What dream are you striving for – and how has God spoken peace in your pursuit?

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Since the age of six, when she wrote the riveting tale “How to Eat Mud Pie,” Lindsay Harrel has passionately engaged the written word as a reader, writer, and editor. She is a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers contemporary category for 2013, and is published in the Falling in Love with You anthology released by OakTara in October 2012. Lindsay lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband of six years and two golden retriever puppies in serious need of training. Connect with her on her blog or via Facebook or Twitter (@LindsayHarrel).

Boundaries: Hemmed In

Note: For those who received an unusual picture masquerading as a blogpost from me, I’m sorry! I’m experimenting with Flickr, and well, it backfired. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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Guardrails. I like ‘em.

I discovered something about myself while in Yellowstone.

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