Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest Post by Amanda Stephan

Let's Celebrate the Launch of Amanda's New Book 
Lonely Hearts


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Book Launch Party for
Lonely Hearts
One lonely mother. Two matchmaking kids. Three eligible bachelors. What could possibly go wrong?
~ a Sweet Christian Romance ~

November 1st
Purchase Lonely Hearts from and add your confirmation number to the form on my website ( for a chance to win a Nook, Kindle, iPod Shuffle, and receive LOTS of great eGifts from some very talented authors! Offer good only on November 1st.

Sample the First Chapter Here

Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan
Chapter 1
                Becky Callis was new in town, and she felt her intrusion.
A bearded man outside the hardware store stopped sweeping with broom in mid-air, narrowly watching them as they drove past, perhaps wondering if she were the type to plunder and loot his shop. A couple of older women that had been chatting outside a tiny florist shop suddenly turned to stone, their mouths gaping open, possibly wondering what kind of woman would be caught dead in such an old pick-up truck. Becky even imagined one of their tongues hung out. She repressed a giggle and waved, receiving a incredulous half-wave from one of the women, and no acknowledgement from anyone else. She hated being stared at, and tried to keep a somewhat pleasant smile pasted on her freckled face as she drove through. She could feel her fair skin literally burning with embarrassment.
                Her thirteen year old daughter, Jen, gave her a twisted frown. “Mom, what is wrong with these people?” She asked, her pixie face turning dark red as a teenage boy waved at her. “They act like they’ve never seen strangers before!”
                Becky’s grin grew larger and more realistic as she gave a two-finger salute to the policeman leaning on his squad car with arms crossed as if daring her to go faster than the posted thirty mile an hour sign. Obediently, she stopped at the one red light the town could boast of and waited for it to turn green.
                “I guess,” she said with a shrug, watching an old man sitting outside a diner pretend to read a newspaper. He spit tobacco juice into a jar and set it down next to his chair, his bushy eyebrows making it very clear what he was looking at. “They don’t get too many newcomers here.”
                Her face nearly as red as her mother’s, Jen grimaced and pushed her sleeping brother’s head off her shoulder onto the vinyl headrest instead. “Well that’s fine, but they don’t have to stare. Makes me feel like we’re pets in a pet shop!”
                “Or beef at a cattle auction.” Becky laughed at her discomfort, noticing that the green light flickered faintly before going completely out. She drove on at the urging of the honking car behind her before she spoke. Jen grunted. “Oh don’t worry, they’ll get used to us and I’m pretty sure you’re going to like it here. Just think,” she said brightly, turning onto a dirt road the ratty map indicated. “We’re celebrities!”
                Jen laughed and looked out the window, taking in the country scene before her, the nosy townsfolk left behind. Large open fields of tall grass, trees lining the road, and mountains off in the distance made it a lovely scene she couldn’t find fault with.
                Becky smiled a sad, wistful smile, thankful she had her kids.
In the nine lonely years following Frank’s death, she often found herself wondering how she was supposed to cope and go on as she desperately missed her ‘better half.’
Well, I’ll never forget what Frank looked like, she thought a little morosely to herself as she glanced over at Jeff. Tall for his eleven years, his cherubic face hid a wealth of mischievousness and humor that always brightened her day, especially when he looked at her with his guilty dark brown eyes as if to say he were extremely sorry for some prank he was about to pull or had pulled. Just like his father. Her heart wrenched with sadness, and she quickly turned her thoughts to another source of comfort.

Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan
Jen. When she looked at her daughter, it was like she was looking into a mirror. Petite, sassy copper hair that loved being just a tad on the unmanageable side, her hazel eyes full of compassion and loyalty, quick to laugh and quick to cry, she promised to be a beauty when she got older. Like her mother.
                At least that’s what Frank had always said, Becky fought against the lump that insisted on forming in her throat as more memories of her dead husband flooded in.
Just in time to stop a tirade of reminiscent thoughts that would push her into a melancholy spirit, Jeff let out a terrific snore and wetly smacked his lips, making them erupt into giggles as his head lolled once again onto his sister’s shoulder. She rolled her eyes, but didn’t move him.
                 A few minutes later, Becky pulled into what looked like a tractor path instead of a driveway and stopped abruptly when a home came into view. “Jen, would you please check the address and see if this is the right place.” She asked solemnly, studying the old, dilapidated farm house, complete with thigh-high weeds for a lawn.
Brittle shutters hung on by sheer will-power next to dusty, grimy windows, a huge, antique antenna clutched a thin wire as if for dear life and tapped against the side of the house, knocking off peeling paint with every slight breeze, while a rustic lean-to that served as a shed as well as termite dessert, stood dejectedly off to one side of the drive. She tried to stifle a laugh and ended up snorting instead. 
                “Mom,” Jen answered doubtfully, looking at the paper in her hand. “This is the right place,” she wrinkled her nose, “but I don’t think the guy you’re renting it from told you the truth. Didn’t he say it was nice?” 
                They looked over at each other and burst out laughing, waking Jeffrey out of a terrific snore storm.
                He bolted upright and rubbed his eyes and looked out the window. “Huh? What? What are you guys laughing at? Why are we stopped here?” He asked suspiciously.
                “Welcome home kids,” Becky said, grinning as she pulled up alongside the drooping porch and turned off the truck.
                Jen opened her door and glanced down at the weeds. Becky could almost see her thinking about ticks and bugs getting on her. “Oh my word,” she muttered as she looked around, a dismal frown on her face. “How are we supposed to get in? Is he going to meet us here or something?”
                Jeff, always ready for an adventure, hopped out of the truck and ran to the porch. “He said he would leave the key under the mat by the front door. Come on,” he said as he ran, wanting to be there before his more precautious sister.
Unthinking, he yanked on the handle of the screen door, causing the whole thing to fall right off the frame on top of him. “Uh, mom?” He hung his head in shame, embarrassed that he’d already broken something. “I think we’re going to need a new screen door!”   
                “I’m pretty sure that’s not the only thing we’re going to have to work on.” Jen laughed, thankful that it had happened to him, and not her.
                “Noted!” Becky answered good-naturedly, giving him a thumbs-up. She unlatched the tailgate, smacking her hands across her jeans in an effort to erase the dust she’d accrued during their long hours of driving with the windows down.
                “Hey mom!” Jeff called, putting an end to her depressing musings. “You should see the beehive up here!” He pointed to a gigantic paper wasp hive in the corner of the porch ceiling.
                Jen jumped off the porch, squealing as Jeff picked up a stick to poke at the hive. “Jeffrey Allen! Don’t you dare!”
                “Did you find the key?” Becky called, trying to distract Jeff from the beehive.

Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan
                “You don’t need it,” he said, innocently trying to hide the stick behind his back. “The door’s open.”
                “Leave it alone,” warned Becky just as he was about to give the hive a good whack as she turned to go back to the truck.
                “Aww,” mumbled Jeff, dropping the stick and shuffling to the car with his hands in his pockets. “Do you have eyes in the back of your head or something?” He grumbled, stepping up next to her as she pulled some boxes toward the edge of the tailgate of her old beat-up Chevy.
                “Here,” she said, handing him a smaller box. “Why don’t you two help me and take some of these boxes in the house. And no. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, I just know you awfully well.” She smiled indulgently at him, ruffling his thick hair. 
                Jen grabbed a box and started hauling it to the porch. “Too bad we sold our mower. Maybe we should get a cow!” She looked hopefully back at her mother.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you like the grass?” Becky laughed as she pushed more boxes near the end of the truck making it easier for the kids to grab them.
                “Grass?” Jeff asked dubiously, struggling with his load. “If it were any taller, it would be over my head!”
                Sensing her opportunity to pick on her brother, Jen blurted, “What do you mean, ‘would be’? It already is!”
Somewhat sensitive about his size, he glared ferociously at her, making her stifle any more comments she might have had.
                “Come on now,” Becky said repressing a grin as she slapped him on the back. “Let’s all get along now. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’m going to need lots of help. Here,” she handed a box of cleaning supplies to Jen, and a broom and mop to Jeff. “Please take these into the kitchen.” 
                They did as they were told, quietly quarreling amongst themselves as they left her to stack things on the porch. Becky was just setting down another load when she heard a loud crash and screams coming from the kitchen. Immediately dropping everything, her heart in her throat, she raced into the house expecting something terrible.
                Looking wildly around the kitchen, she was surprised to see both kids standing on the chipped white Formica counter, their faces white with terror. “What is it?” A large box of pots and pans lay ominously in the middle of the tiny kitchen and several lids had rolled over toward the antique refrigerator. This had obviously been the loud crash she had heard outside. Nudging the upset box with her toe, she wondered momentarily if a large poisonous spider had hitched a ride from their previous home and had scared the kids.
                Jen pointed to the small utility closet at the end of the room while she clutched Jeff’s arm with the other. “There’s an animal in there!” She said, shuddering with horror. “I think it’s a huge rat!”
                “Of all the things we have to have in the house, it’s got to be a rat!” Becky said shuddering convulsively, her lips stretched in a thin line. She hated rats and mice more than anything, and was always disgusted whenever she had to deal with them for some reason or other.
Cautiously, she grabbed a broom and tiptoed to the door, listening intently for any sound inside. Jeff shrugged off his sister’s hand and lightly jumped down off the counter, interested in seeing for himself what was in the closet. “Do you hear anything?” he whispered. 
Becky shook her head and gently twisted the knob, ready to use the broom as a weapon and squash whatever it was. Slowly, she pulled the creaky door open. Taking a deep breath, she peeped

Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan

inside and caught sight of two brown eyes looking back at her. Opening the door all the way, she found to her surprise and immense relief, a pair of baby raccoons. 
“Oh look,” she said, motioning for Jen to come down from her perch and look.
                “They’re so cute,” Jeff said, poking his head inside the door so he wouldn’t miss a chance to see what had caused all the fuss. “Can we keep them?” he asked, looking up hopefully.
                “No way,” Jen said, finally getting up the nerve to climb down. “That thing scared me to death.”
 “I wonder how they got in here,” Becky mumbled, looking around the closet. 
                “Maybe it got in through there,” Jeff said, pointing to the broken floor register. When he stepped in to get a closer look, one of the raccoons backed up to the wall and hissed menacingly at him.
                “I think we’re not going to get to keep either of these little critters,” Becky said, pulling him back out of the closet by the back of his shirt. “Go open the front door and I’ll try to sweep them out. Jen, get the mop and head them off if they try to escape.” Obediently, Jen grabbed the mop as Becky started sweeping both hissing and angry raccoons out the door. Finally, after three mishaps with one of the raccoons almost getting away and Jen re-climbing the counter screaming, they managed to sweep them both to freedom. Laughing, they hurriedly shut the door before they could change their minds and come back in. 
                “Jeff,” Becky said, turning to him. “Get the tool box out of the front of the truck and see if you can try to fix that register so they can’t get back in that way.” Jeff’s face lit up, happy to have a ‘man’s job’ to do.
                “We don’t have much more to do,” Becky sighed, as she and Jen went outside to finish unpacking the truck. 
                Her face red with exertion, Jen swept a few strands of hair back and stood erect, trying to unkink her back after lugging a large box into the front room. “I sure am glad that we decided to have those yard sales before we moved.”
                Becky puffed and tried to navigate around the room with her vision blocked by the load of boxes in her arms. “Oh come on, don’t you think it would have been interesting for you, Jeff, and I to carry in a couch?” She laughed as she and Jen slid down the wall and finally slumped to the floor, relaxing.
                With an air of delight and pride, Jeff came in and joined them, his grin splitting his face in half. “I tried to fix that register the best I could. I don’t think he’ll be back. Duct tape fixes everything!” 
                Becky clapped him on the back. “Thanks. And thank you too Jen. I appreciate both of your help.” She leaned back and closed her eyes, drained.
                Contentedly, they sat for a few minutes, hoping this could be the last move.
“Mom,” Jen said, her alarmed voice breaking the silence. “Someone’s here.”
Groaning, Becky stood up and arched her back just in time to see an old flat bed farm truck coming up the rutted drive.
“It could be the guy we’re renting from,” she said, unsure of herself. Quickly, she tucked a few stray hairs behind her ears and dusted off her jeans, trying to look presentable to whoever it was.
 As it neared the house, the truck turned off the driveway to park in the long grass right in front of their door. A bent over old man in greasy overalls managed to get out and limp up the steps, chewing on a weed. He spat it out and knocked before he entered the room uninvited. 
Alarmed, Becky stood with her hands on her hips, ready to push the fragile looking man out the door if necessary.
                “Howdy,” he drawled, eyeing her and the two kids. “Name’s Pickles.” He stuck out a grubby, calloused hand her way, obviously intending to shake.
Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan

Becky took his hand and gave it a light squeeze and a gentle shake, afraid she would hurt him. “You’re the landlord?” She asked, looking over his shoulder at her open-mouthed kids.
He ran his hands up and down his overalls straps, amused. “Yup,” he said, glancing around at all the boxes. “This all ya got?”
                “Yup,” Jeff mimicked humorously before Becky could answer. She shot him a warning look, her scowl deepening as he shrugged his shoulders and smiled like a Cheshire cat.
                “That’s my kind of boy,” the old man grinned, scratching his bald head. “Ya got a year lease and yer rent is due the first of the month,” he said, getting right to the point. “I live right down the road to the left if ya be needin’ anything, just give me a holler. Glad ya made it,” he stuck his hand out again. 
                Liking his simple, country ways, Becky found herself pumping his hand up and down a little more enthusiastically this time. “There is one thing we need, if you wouldn’t mind. I don’t have a lawnmower.” She raised her eyebrows as she tried to give him the hint as she walked him out to the porch.
                A look of pure astonishment passed across his weathered features as he scratched his head again. He thought a moment before answering. “Well ya ain’t got to worry about the grass. It’ll die in a few weeks when it gets colder out.”
                Becky followed him to his truck, not quite ready to give up. “You don’t have one? We’d really like to cut the grass.”
                Jen snorted, close at her mother’s heels. She hated being left out of conversations. “Yeah, we can’t find Jeff if he steps off the path.” Becky nudged her in the ribs, making her squeak. 
                “Sure I got one,” he said, climbing into his truck. “Bye.” He waved as he put the old truck in gear and drove off, another long weed clutched between his teeth.
                Stunned, they watched him leave, a trail of dust clouds hanging in the air. “I think that means he’ll bring it tomorrow,” Jeff said after a moment, joining them on the porch. Amused, they burst into laughter at their neighbor’s odd ways.   
Becky ran a hand over her face, her eyes twinkling merrily. “Who’s hungry?”
                Always anxious to eat, Jeff gave a loud whoop as he jumped in the air. “I’m starving! What’re we going to have?”
                She shrugged, looking from one happy child to the other. “I thought we’d just go out for something tonight, what do you think?” Grinning at their exuberant ‘yes’, she clapped Jeff on his shoulder and grabbed her purse. “Let’s go!” 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A New Way to Sample Christian Books

A New Way to Sample Christian Books

By Lorilyn Roberts

The following blurb in italics is quoted from Nathan Bransford’s blog, dated September 29, 2011.

“There is so much talk about self-published books in the writing-o-sphere. But have you actually read one?
Poll below -
·                   Yes
·                   No
Total Votes: 1,773

Also, your further thoughts requested in the comments section. Did you like the self-published book you read? Would you read another? Do you only read traditionally published books? Etc.”

The poll was under way when the comments were posted so it’s interesting to look back at the final results. I read most of the voluminous 285 responses. If you would like to peruse them, here is the link:

While it’s hard to generalize from such a wide variety of responses, some things are clear: 

1. There is still a lingering prejudice toward Print-On-Demand/self-published books.
2. Many readers do not think Print-On-Demand/self-published books are on par with industry-published books.
3. A sizable portion of readers have not read Print-On-Demand/self-published books.
4. Many who haven’t read Print-On-Demand/self-published books would if they could sample them for free.

Out of the menagerie of comments shared in this blog post, after much reflection, I came up with an idea which I will share in a moment. But first, I want to give my own thoughts about the findings from this survey. I have said this for a long time, although most traditionally-published authors won’t agree with me:  Readers don’t care how a book is published. They might think they care because of preconceived notions that self-published books are in the category of “vanity” publishing, and therefore, inferior. In reality, however, when you dig deeper into those who are not biased, you will find what readers really care about is content. Content is king.

My American roots go deep. Some of my ancestors arrived with the Mayflower, and in the decades of colorful history since then, dreamers have made us a great nation. The key factors that made that possible: Freedom and a capitalist system where hard work, creativity, and perseverance rewarded those who didn’t give up.  Do we really need gatekeepers to tell the world whether something is good?  Do we really need a hundred authors with unread manuscripts returned because the overworked acquisitions editor was two months behind opening her mail? In the past, because of the financial investment, book publishers decided which books would see the light of day. Most never did, making it very difficult for promising authors to get discovered.

Get ten people in a room and I guarantee you, they won’t agree on everything. Chances are they will have different tastes on what they like to eat, where they want to go on vacation, and yes, certainly on what books are worth reading. The traditional way of publishing books squelches creativity. I have spent far too much time trying to understand what an acquisitions editor or agent wanted, where he wanted my manuscript sent, and then he lost my manuscript anyway. That wasted time could have been better spent procuring an editor, improving my writing, and publishing and marketing my book myself. That is exactly what I did eventually. My point, though, is that the readers didn’t care how my book was published. They did care that it was worth reading.

I believe the days of mailing a book to one hundred publishers over five years hoping to find a “taker” are gone. Why would anyone want to do that? Authors can publish their own books now—faster and more efficiently. It doesn’t mean that the traditional way won’t exist into the future. It does mean ALL publishing companies will be vying for supremacy in a rapidly changing environment where the old ways of doing things won’t work as well. Competition raises the standard and forces downward the cost of publishing. The reader benefits from more choices in books and the result is a brighter future for new authors who are gifted with an entrepreneurial mindset. The only requirement—write the best book.

While the John 3:16 Marketing Network is for Christian authors, I envision our paradigm being adopted for mainstream authors, though it may not be free. The hard work in the John 3:16 Marketing Network is borne by many who have a passion to serve. Opportunities abound to provide books to readers all over the world, not only through industry-published books, self-published and Print-On-Demand books, but e-books as well. I envision e-books becoming popular in countries where the shipment of p-books is not practical or affordable. We are on the cusp of a revolution in publishing, and the John 3:16 Marketing Network is at the forefront of marketing innovation. Readers want diversity, options, and choices. The John 3:16 Marketing Network is poised to experiment with new ideas and introduce readers to new ways to sample books. Again, I want to emphasize, let the reader have more choices and make it easier for him to sample.

Not only is it important for authors to provide readers with the best possible product, why not give book lovers “more flavors”?  With the end of the year approaching, I have exciting news.

First, we will have a short Christmas membership drive to allow newcomers (authors and bloggers) to join without a referral (must believe in John 3:16).

Second, to celebrate our first full year of launching best-seller books on Amazon, we will be offering a free e-book, Fifty First Chapters From Christian Authors, a New Way to Sample Christian Books.  

Third, we will be introducing a new John 3:16 Marketing Network Membership for readers. If you are interested, all you have to do is sign up to receive our e-zine. You will NOT be bombarded with emails because I don’t have time to write them. My goal is to provide access to the best undiscovered Christian literature in the world. In the future, we will serialize e-books; and offer coupons for free e-books, shorts stories, and anthologies by John 3:16 authors. Tell us what you want; we would love to hear your ideas.

Our first e-book, Fifty First Chapters From Christian Authors, a New Way to Sample Christian Books, will be released on December 15 (or sooner). To receive your free copy, all you need to do is sign up to receive our e-zine. Enjoy reading the first chapter of fifty books by fifty authors AT NO COST. Nothing like beginning a new book that whets your appetite for more. You won’t have to travel to a book store or surf the web to find the kind of book you want. We have made it easy for you to sample a large assortment of all kinds of books while drinking your latte at Starbucks, at home curled up on the sofa, or during your lunch break at work.

Our John 3:16 Marketing Network authors are known and unknown, young and old, first-time published and multi-published, standard-industry published, self-published, and Print-On-Demand published. Our goal is to glorify God in our writings and help each other to promote books with a Christian worldview. If you are interested, please sign up for our mailing list. On December 15 (maybe earlier), you will be emailed a coupon to get your free copy. We will also be posting previews of chapters ahead of the launch at More information will be forthcoming.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Children of Dreams and the God of Hope

by Lorilyn Roberts

When I took the introductory class for my Masters in Creative Writing, one of the books I had to read was Writing for Story by Jon Franklin. The fourth chapter in the book, “Stalking the True Short Story,” was based on two famous stories he wrote, one of which was his Pulitzer Prize-winning entry, “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster.”

Because everybody would love to win a Pulitzer Prize, his comments are worth noting. To quote Jon Franklin on page 81: “One of the best ways to teach positive lessons while entertaining at the same time is to write stories about how people successfully cope with the world, endure, and even sometimes win.”

I have thought a lot about that. Much of what I report as a television captioner is mundane news to a world that hardly blinks an eye at the everyday, run-of-the-mill, shoot ‘em up, rob-him blind, dope-addicted, shoddy moral, or over-spending bureaucratic figure news story which people scoff and ignore if it doesn’t affect them directly.

In contrast, Jon Franklin dug deep for the motivations, the conflicts, the resolutions, and the redemptive endings in his books and articles. In the same vein, when I wrote Children of Dreams, I wanted to share a part of me that no one else knew. I risked being venerable, revealing traits and values that I knew some would not understand. I am not perfect, and did I really want to reveal my failures, confess by doubts, and admit my flaws?

Our lives, particularly if we are memoir authors, must be real or we will come across every bit like the superficial news stories that I alluded to above—irrelevant to the reader. Too much of our time is lived at a frenzied pace with quick posts on Facebook and Twitter, or text messages written in code, risking little, and only recognizable enough to make us feel we have value in the world of cyberspace.

If you have been forsaken by your family, hurt by others, stuck in a job you hate, gone through a divorce, experienced major health issues, sacrificed your own lost dreams, or struggled in your 
Christian walk, I share unabashedly with profound honesty how God helped me through these tragedies. This is the “true story” within the story in Children of Dreams. There is no superficiality—only raw emotion and truth. I had to get permission from my kids and family. There are still open wounds that God will have to heal. There was a price to pay and I am still dealing with it now. Do I regret it? No. I know God will eventually redeem all which is broken.

The typical reader, much like a typical reporter, will see Children of Dreams as another adoption story; give it a cursory glance, and move on. The sensate reader, who reads for deeper meaning, will experience God’s profound love and redemptive hope, knowing without any doubt, God is the fulfiller of dreams.

My desire is that the reader will be stirred—emotionally renewed and batteries charged, believing if God can do the impossible for me, he can do the same for him. God can heal infected wounds, redeem broken dreams, and convince the skeptic to believe in miracles. None of us should live as though we have no hope, and Children of Dreams is a testimony to God’s grace, reassuring the reader that where there is God, there is always hope.

grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her two daughters, four cats, and two dogs. She is pursuing her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College.

is a media professional, providing broadcast captioning for television, but makes time to pursue her passion for creative writing.

She has homeschooled her daughters for the past fifteen years.  
Lorilyn has published two books, The Donkey and the King and Children of Dreams; is president of the Gainesville, Florida, Word Weavers Chapter; and the founder of the John 316 Marketing Network.

personal website can be found at and you can follow her blog at and Twitter at . You can check out her Facebook fan page where she shares writing tips at

To learn more about the John 316 Marketing Network, visit

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Exercise or Not -- Choose Life by being Fit for Faith

The health of ourselves, our loved ones, and our friends, next to salvation, is probably the most important thing to each of us. Check out the prayer chain at any church; many of the prayer requests will be for health-related issues. And certainly in the news, we are bombarded every day with the importance of exercising to lose weight.

But what if you don’t need to lose weight? What if you are otherwise healthy? I didn’t need to lose weight, have diabetes, or high cholesterol. Last year, feeling guilty exercising when I had so many other things to do that seemed more important, I told myself I would get back to swimming regularly in a few months when I didn’t feel so overwhelmed.

Of course, the time went by quickly. While I got out of the positive addiction psychologically, my body was still conditioned for those daily workouts. I knew that, but felt conflicted—should I really indulge myself with those laps in the pool or turn in the latest assignment for my Masters class?

A few months later, I was overly anxious and over-committed to a long list of to do’s. Faster and faster I worked, but I still could never accomplish everything I wanted. Anyone who is a work-a-holic can relate; and even if you aren’t, feelings of anxiousness are likely to creep in because you aren’t “burning” off those pent-up emotions in a constructive and healthy way.

A few months into my “no exercise” solution for getting more done, after a particularly stressful week, I woke up with female bleeding. In someone who is past that time, it can signal very serious medical issues, including uterine cancer.

I made an appointment with my doctor when I got back into town, but finding the ultimate cause took several months. Following an expensive medical procedure and too much worry, it was determined the root cause was the result of high blood pressure.

I won’t say how high it was because it’s too depressing—but it shook me up. I started doing all the things I should have been doing all along—no salt, less caffeine, getting enough sleep, and most importantly, exercising.

It’s never easy to make time to exercise, but Kimberley Payne has written a book, Fit for Faith, 7 Weeks to Improved Spiritual and Physical Health, which integrates our spiritual and physical needs, focusing on helping us to become the man or woman God created us to be. The book is simple and instructive—and short. I highly recommend it to anyone struggling with how to incorporate daily workouts into a healthy routine that isn’t overwhelming.

* * *

Here is an interview of Kimberly Payne

Question:  How was the idea for Fit for Faith born?
KimberleyAlthough I was born and raised within the church, it wasn't until I attended a Christian women's retreat that I realized how much I had compartmentalized my life: family in one corner, work in another, finances here, health there, faith over there. I began to see that my faith shouldn't be kept partitioned off from the rest of my life. Instead, it needed to be intertwined with all the parts of my life. If I was going to follow Him as my Lord, God wanted me to include Him in everything and that included my health and fitness.

Question: What authority do you have to write this book?
Kimberley:  I certified as a Weight Instructor through the YMCA, then went on to certify as an Aerobics Instructor through A.C.E., then went on to certify as a Personal Fitness through Can-Fit-Pro.

Question:  There are many fitness books on the market. How is Fit for Faith any different?
KimberleyFit for Faith makes no assumptions about the reader’s spiritual walk. All levels, whether a new Christian or a mature Christian, can benefit from this program. It is a program for a new Christian who wants to learn about prayer, journal writing and Bible study in the comfort of their own home, but a mature Christian can still be refreshed in their faith and re-commit to a daily relationship with God.

It is motivating with inspiring reflections included each day and Christian truths set forth in a non-threatening manner. Fit for Faith also makes no assumptions about the activity level of the reader.

All levels, whether a sedentary individual or a seasoned athlete, can benefit from this program. It emphasizes overall health, not just weight loss. Expertise and professionalism are provided throughout the program in easy-to-read “fit tips” and goal-planning assistance. The program includes strategies that empower people to make small changes in their daily routines to improve the quality of their life.
Fit for Faith is a well-rounded balanced program that follows the stages of change and so inspires confidence and builds esteem.

Question:  What is your purpose in writing this book?
KimberleyThe purpose in writing is to share knowledge from the health/fitness field and to demonstrate that partnership with God always leads to success, in every area of life. It is designed with the message of the gospel at its heart.

Question: What is involved in the 7-week program?
KimberleyThe Fit for Faith program starts with developing an action plan that includes exploring benefits and success strategies of exercising, healthy eating, and stretching the body and the spirit. Then, the reader moves into implementing the plan through a daily program of prayer, Bible study and tracking of healthy habits. Each week is capped with a review that is a natural lead into the next week.

Question: Can the book be used in a group setting?
Kimberley Fit for Faith is a simple workbook to support a person through their day. It is designed for individuals to participate at any hour anywhere. However, the workbook is extremely versatile and has proven success as a group program. Leader’s Notes are available to work within a group setting that can also be used as an outreach program within a church or workplace.

Question: What are the benefits of the program?
Kimberley It's like having your own personal trainer, without the cost. There is a ton of useful information that helps the reader wade through the myths and misconceptions that are out there.
It's an awareness program. The reader is accountable to record their activities, and this helps to recognize where their strengths are and what areas they need to improve.

It's a lifestyle change. Over the seven weeks, the reader will gain habits that last a lifetime.

Question:  Do you offer workshops/presentations based on the book?
Kimberley: Yes, my main three presentations are:

Fit for Prayer

Learn how to fit prayer and physical activity into your daily routine

This workshop unites physical health and spiritual health to lose weight and develop a deeper relationship with God. In this highly interactive session, you will gain insight into how to incorporate prayer and fitness into your daily round.

Food for thought
Find out how to nourish your body and spirit through healthy eating and Bible study

Just as eating healthy foods nourishes your body, Bible study nourishes your spirit. You will learn practical suggestions and scriptural guidance to achieve your goals. Feel the joy of a healthier and more spiritually fit life.

Flex your Spirit
Discover a new way to express yourself with God through journal writing and stretching

Taking care of yourself physically is one way to honor God with your body. Your thoughts and emotions directly influence your physical health. Learn how to recharge your physical and emotional health through stretching activities for your body and spirit.

Here is an excerpt from Fit for Faith

“God’s Word, the Bible, tells us that He created you. He loves you and He wants you to love yourself. You are beautiful. He has made everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) I developed this program to help you feel good about yourself, no matter what your size. God wants you to be the most beautiful and useful person you can be. Your value is not found in physical appearance but in being a child of God.

Don’t just endure life, enjoy it! You can enjoy healthy living – physically and spiritually. Taking care of your body and tending to your spirit adds joy to your life. One cannot be separated from the other. You have learned that the body, mind, and spirit are connected and reflected in your overall health.

There is much that demands your time. Where do you want to spend it? Whichever healthy activities you choose to continue with, make it a daily commitment. May God bless your journey towards improved spiritual and physical health.”

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Where can you purchase Fit for Faith? Tuesday, October 11, is the official launch of Kimberley’s book on Amazon. If you purchase Fit for Faith on that day, you will be able to receive lots of free, downloadable e-gifts.
To learn more about Kimberly Payne and her launch of Fit for Faith on Amazon, you can visit her on the following websites:

Facebook: Kimberley Payne, author & speaker
YouTube: Fit4Faith channel http:www///\
To your health!  Please visit:

You may be wondering, what do I do now to get my daily exercise? Through the summer, I returned to swimming, which is what I love to do most. Now that it’s gotten cooler and I have to go to the Health and Fitness Center to swim, I have accepted that I can’t swim every day.

The days I can’t swim, if I am at home, I jump on a small trampoline that I use with my Wii Fit. I listen to John Piper on my iPad as I jump, so I am also feeding my soul. The days I stay in Ocala for my daughter’s gymnastics, I walk on the treadmill, which allows me to watch her as I exercise.

The key is finding what works best for you. Fit for Faith will help you to discover your niche, whatever that might be. Do something rather than nothing. Get started today. CHOOSE to live a healthy lifestyle; you won’t regret it.