Life Lesson: Making an Effort—Guest Post by Jill Kemerer and a Giveaway!

J Kemerer Making an effort quote

I first met Jill Kemerer over at the Books and Such blog. When I was ready to brave beginning my own blog, Jill stepped up to answer my every last question (with much patience, I might add!). We’ve since met in person, and she has become a special friend. I’m so excited to host her here today for the final installment in my series about Life Lessons. (You can read parts one, two, three, and four here). Read to the end and learn about her latest book and a giveaway.

Please welcome Jill!

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What life lesson has changed you the most?

When Jeanne posed this question to me, I had no idea it would be so hard to answer. Unfortunately, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons! I am NOT perfect.

But looking back, I think the one thing I learned that changed me the most was to make an effort with strangers and acquaintances. I’ve always been introverted yet oddly social. As a kid, I loved making my friends and family laugh, but I felt awkward around people I didn’t know.

For some reason, I always had this feeling that I didn’t have anything to offer, like why would they want to talk to me? Silly, huh!

My dog’s nose peeking out from the blanket reminds me of how I used to feel. Introverts often don’t enjoy crowds.

My dog’s nose peeking out from the blanket reminds me of how I used to feel. Introverts often don’t enjoy crowds.

As I entered my teen years, I made friends naturally, but I heard the following a few times, “When I first met you I thought you were stuck up, but you’re not like that at all.”

My first reaction? Gee, thanks. But I took their words to heart. I realized I had a different view of myself than others did. By allowing shyness to prevent me from making an effort, I was unknowingly giving the impression I was arrogant.

This is my husband and I on a recent vacation. A smile conveys so much. If I’m too tired or drained to speak to someone, I at least smile!

This is my husband and I on a recent vacation. A smile conveys so much. If I’m too tired or drained to speak to someone, I at least smile!

I began talking to people I would have been too intimidated to speak to previously. I’m not going to lie. It felt uncomfortable. Sometimes they weren’t friendly. Other times they were wonderful. But I realized how they reacted wasn’t the point. If someone didn’t like me, no big deal. At least I tried.

I’m glad I learned that lesson early, because my entire adult life has involved relocating every few years. Starting over in a strange town would have been much more isolating and difficult if I had never learned this lesson. When my kids were young, I joined playgroups. Often there were clusters of other moms who knew each other from way back when. I forced myself to talk to them. Sometimes it took three or four different tries before they were receptive. In other towns, I was blessed to connect with a kind soul right away.

I also learned not to jump to conclusions about people. If I’m at one of my kids’ practices and a mom I don’t know is sitting off by herself, I don’t assume she’s stuck up or antisocial. It might mean she’s uncomfortable or lonely. It could mean she had a bad day or had a bad experience with some of the parents. Maybe she’s nervous about her kid’s performance. Who knows? It’s none of my business. What is my business is to introduce myself and make her feel welcome.

Now when I’m at a writer’s conference or a dinner with strangers, I do my best to be friendly and welcoming to anyone I meet. And you know what? I think this was the real me all along. It feels good to brighten someone’s day. So many people feel lonely at big events. I’m glad God is using me to encourage others.

Thank you so much, Jeanne, for hosting me today.

Have you ever felt shy and self-conscious around strangers? If so, how do you work through this?

Jill’s newest book is releasing TODAY! She’s hosting a giveaway that begins at 6:00 a.m. on August 31st and ends at 9:00 p.m. September 5th. This contest is open to US residents.Read about her book and enter by pressing on “Entry Form” below to earn entries.  

Unexpected Family SmallUNEXPECTED FAMILY

His Surprise Daughter

After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he’s never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn’t understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he’s afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.

Unexpected Family purchase links: http://jillkemerer.com/books/unexpected-family/

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About Jill

Jill-Kemerer-Blue-300dpiJill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

You can also connect with Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

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20 thoughts on “Life Lesson: Making an Effort—Guest Post by Jill Kemerer and a Giveaway!

  1. Jill, what a lovely, honest post. I think your forthrightness may engender self-examination in some readers…and changes for the better.

    I’m not uncomfortable around people; they tend to be uncomfortable around me. It’s my eyes; I’m constantly going through threat-classification, and have a very definite scan pattern. People are either threats to be monitored and, if necessary, neutralized, or they’re incidental to the job and can be ignored as anything more than movable scenery elements.

    No wonder I never got invited to many parties when I was healthy.

    It’s not intentional, by any means; it took years of therapy to arrive at that bit of self-knowing.

    It can be useful; A fellow tried to rob me in New Orleans, long ago; he put a gun in my back, and told me to turn around slowly. Then he pulled my sunglasses off, took one look, and handed me his weapon, asking that I please not kill him. (It was night, and yes, like in the song, I do wear my sunglasses at night.)

    Heck, I was going to give him my wallet! I kept the pistol – it was a nice one – and gave him a twenty for his trouble.

    I wonder how he described that to his mates?

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  2. Hi Jeanne and Jill!! I used to be the exact same way, waiting for others to make the first move. But like you said sometimes they’re uncomfortable too, it’s definitely something that I’m trying to work on!

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    • Hi Abby! Yep–waiting for others to make the first move was how I rolled, too! Like any life skill, this one took a lot of practice on my part. It truly gets easier with time!

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  3. Yes, I always feel shy around people I don’t know. In school and still today, if I’m lost for words, I smile. I smile a lot. But like you, I’m coming out of that shell. I hope you are coming to the ACFW conference, Jill. I can’t wait to hug you. 🙂 xo

    I’ve sure enjoyed this series of Life Lessons, Jeanne. ❤

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    • Smiling is the best way to greet someone! No words necessary, right? 🙂
      Unfortunately, I won’t be attending ACFW this year. I’m sad, but we were able to take our first REAL family vacation (no camping!) in years instead, so it was worth it!

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  4. Hi Andrew! What interesting insight into your personality! I’m sure it isn’t easy, but this trait is a gift few share. I’m guessing it has helped many people. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  5. I’ve heard that many times, too – that others thought I was stuck up at first. I am social but in large groups I tend to sit back and listen – more from insecurity of what I have to offer than pure shyness. I’m learning to step out of my comfort zone, but it certainly doesn’t come naturally! Thanks for this thoughtful post!

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    • I can relate, Annie! It never came naturally for me, either. But with years of experience, my confidence grew, and it truly is second nature now. Blessings to you!!

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    • My natural instinct is to do what you do, Annie—sit back and listen. I’m glad you’re learning to step out of your comfort zone. You have a lot to offer others. I’m so glad you stopped by.

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  6. Jill, thank you for answering so honestly. I have always been a friendly person, but moving to a new area years ago has turned me shy. Everyone here grew up together or are family members. To be honest I have never felt like I fit in. I guess I need to put a foot forward and try. Thank you again for sharing.
    Blessings

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    • Katrina, oh boy. I know exactly what you’re saying. Since we’ve moved many times, I’ve felt that way more times than I can count! One thing I learned was that it takes time and multiple efforts. Most people who have lived somewhere for years (or forever) don’t really need to put themselves out there because they already have a support network. It’s people like us–with no one in the area–who DO need it! One thing I did was look for people with similar interests by joining writers groups, making an effort with other parents on my kids’ sports teams, and volunteering at church. On one of our moves, I honestly never did crack the local “friend” groups, but I didn’t feel alone there because God held me extra tightly. We’re never really alone!

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    • Katrina, I’m sorry you’ve felt like the outsider. I’ve been there too. I moved 3 times in the first 2 1/2 years of marriage, and it was hard to keep putting myself out there. I hope that, as you put feet forward, God will bring you at least one special friend. Thanks for sharing so honestly here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Sneaky Ways to Write More and Other Updates - Jill Kemerer | Inspirational Romance Author

  8. I can identify with being uncomfortable talking to new people. I am still that way to an extent, even with being a pastor’s wife and having to move a lot. Thanks for a different perspective.

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