"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Christa Taylor - Defining Modest Fashion

I don't do this often, but am making an exception. What a nice surprise to see all the lovely fashions offered by this company. Check them out! - Donna

Christa Taylor Grand Opening Presents Modesty in a Whole New Light
Spring Collection Provides Young Women with “Modish” Options

Vancouver, WA—Christa Taylor, a new clothing company, has made its message clear. As the visionary designer herself explains: “We are fashions for the Empowered Traditionalist. An Empowered Traditionalist, or ‘ET’, loves her clothes and believes modesty can be stylish and attractive.” Christa Taylor’s Spring Collection proves just that.

The company’s dream grew out of a infuriating, yet all too common experience. As a young lady, Taylor encountered weeks of frustrating shopping trips- trying to find something modest and attractive. Finding a modest bathing suit became a long and arduous affair, searching websites and retail stores to no avail. So she went to the drawing board and designed a new swimsuit that satisfied her desire for modesty and style (she calls it "modish:" a blend of modest + "chic").

Updated frequently, her website http://www.christa-taylor.com demonstrates careful thought, and genuine care for her customers. “Expect new styles, ideas, and superior quality” Taylor affirms, “I am all about creating clothes that flatter real girls, satisfying their needs and building a trust relationship.”

The Christa Taylor team believes no business should exist just to make money. In the midst of an individualistic culture focused primarily on success, power and prestige, they are committed to a greater vision; a vision that presses beyond the tendencies towards self-absorption. With this in mind, and always aware of their own need, they have resolved to contribute at least 30% of their profits to the world’s poor and toward furthering social justice around the globe. Their first project is already under way.

For more information, please visit http://www.christa-taylor.com

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Topsy Turvy Time!

Something new! Devos for Kids! Click HERE for
Topsy Turvy Time!
Starting May 1st, Topsy Turvy Time will be on CWAHM.com, too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Magnetic Writing

*For something different, I'm including a few posts on writing. I have a lot of readers who write, too!

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – Matthew 5:14-15 niv

Are you writing in such a way that people are drawn to Christ?

C- Christ. We love Him. He sacrificed His life for us. We’ve crowned Him Lord, and our writing will reflect our allegiance and service to the King.

L- Loving Him with all our heart, mind, souls, and strength means we love God more than we love writing. Love Him so much that should God call you to another type of ministry, and you never write another word, you would be willing to give it up to serve Him in the manner that pleases Him.

O- Obey God as He directs. At this time, God has directed me into the area of nonfiction. I like the idea of writing a novel, but if I tried to right now, I believe I’d be out of His will. Are you following the leading of the Holy Spirit?

S- Sacrifice your writing to God each day before you write the first word. Lay your desires, talent, and plans on the altar. Ask God to burn away any selfish ambition.

E- Exalt the Lord in ALL things – the words you write, the things you say, the acts you do. God forbid that we write holy words and lead unholy lives.

As Christian writers, let us be committed, bold, articulate, and above all else, concerned for the salvation of others. Let us draw close to Christ so that we will draw others to Him.

Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds [writing, singing, speaking? - Donna] and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”

Prayer: I lay my writing at Your feet, Jesus. Use me as You will. Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Blog Award

A nice surprise today! I've placed in the top three in the "Spiritual and Religious" category for the The Mother’s Day Central Top 100 Mom Blogs Awards. Click HERE to see all the blogs. Many of my favorites were included. (Thanks, Heather, for posting the news on your blog, and congratulations for your award, too!)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference Report

Me, Andy Meisenheimer, Mary DeMuth, Jeanne Damoff

This time last week, I zipped through the air, high above the clouds winging my way home from Mount Hermon – my first Christian writing conference. I’ve attended two SCBWI conferences and the Erma Bombeck Conference, but the Mount Hermon conference has them all beat for atmosphere. Nestled among the tall redwoods with lush greenery, the setting envelops you, welcoming you, making you feel at home. Squeals of delight rang out the first day as those who had attended in the past met up with old friends.

I finally met many of my online friends face to face and what a joy it was! My roommate turned out to be Karen, a woman I’d corresponded with already, and we had an immediate rapport. Our cabin reminded me of the time I went to cheerleading camp – small but clean. No TV. No radio. And gasp! No wireless connection for my laptop. What would I do?

I’m sure those in charge set it up that way so we writers would get out of the cabin. Otherwise, I have a feeling we’d hunker down in the room reading or updating our blogs.

Because of my flight schedule, I went a day early. That night we feasted on a bountiful buffet. All week the conference center brought out trays laden with fantastic food. Karen and I attended a workshop on ‘pitching.’ Since I’d had only about two hours sleep the night before, I could barely keep my eyes open. I would later regret it that I couldn’t pay more attention. As it turns out, editors and agents like to hear you pitch your project. At that moment, all I could think of was how soon I could pitch my body into bed.

The next morning, refreshed and ready, I threw myself into the craziness of Mount Hermon. I met Mary DeMuth and Jeanne Damoff. We hugged like old friends. Mary is lovely, and Jeanne is a graceful wisp of a woman. Both made sure I ate at their tables – which was nice since they were both much in demand.

About this time, I started to notice the writers with a panicky look in their eyes, jaws set with determination, with plans to meet the right editors and agents. One woman actually stepped right in front of me to talk to an agent. I get downright nauseous at the thought of having to be so competitive.

That’s why it surprised even me when I made an appointment with an editor. Unless you’ve sent work ahead to be critiqued or considered, once you get there, Mount Hermon has no formal schedule for writers to meet the editors and agents. To make an appointment, all you have to do is ask. I heard two or three other people making appointments, and on a whim, made one myself. Almost immediately, I regretted my act of spontaneity. I didn’t have a complete proposal, and I’ve already admitted, slept through the workshop on pitching.

After tossing and turning all night and praying to God to let me know if canceling would be in His will, I concluded that if said editor crossed my path before my appointment, I would cancel. That morning, I slipped into the gift shop to buy a postcard for my husband (which made it to my house the same day I got home.) and in stepped the editor. What are the chances? I had my sign. Right? Wrong. I walked up and said, “I had an appointment…I mean, I have an appointment, and well…” Before I could say another word, the editor said, “No. You need to be there.” Something told me he’d had run-ins with many nervous authors before me.

For my major morning track, I chose to attend one taught by Cindy Kenney. As a children’s book author, it thrilled me to meet Cindy, a Veggie Tales author. Like a good groupie, I had my picture taken with her. And I took a fun, frantic workshop taught by Christine Tangvald, another children’s book author. I met with Jim Stafford, the editor for The Upper Room. He related how people in one village in Africa shared one copy, passing it around until everyone could read it. After taking his workshop, I feel better informed as to what he looks for in a devotional. What a blessing to minister to people all over the world!

So, what insights did I come away with? I found all of the agents and editors with whom I interacted to be more than willing to chat, exchange information, and make the writers feel at ease. We ate lunch and dinner with at least one member of the faculty at each table. Most of them made sure to talk with each person at the table, not letting the more aggressive writers dominate the conversation. Quite a feat.

All the previous interaction with friends on the internet affords an instant connection when we meet face to face, but as Christians, we have an even deeper ‘koinonia.’ That ‘same Spirit’ the Apostle Paul talks about (2 Corinthians 4:12-14) lives in us. I like to think it’s a glimpse of the fun we’ll have in heaven, when we meet all the people we’ve read about in the Bible. Perhaps some of the people to whom we’ve ministered with our writing will catch up with us on the streets of gold, too. While book sales, marketing plans, and proposals are all important to us now, in the end, the impact we’ve had in sharing Jesus Christ will be all that’s left.

I thank Cecil Murphey for giving me the impetus to fly cross-country to Mount Hermon. Randy Ingermanson wisely advises, “Think contacts, not contracts, when you go to a conference.” My plan included learning the ropes, networking, and getting to know what the agents and editors desire from authors. I ended the conference with a re-energized desire to write, and yes, even though I babbled through my ‘pitch,’ I came away with some encouragement. According to Chip MacGregor, I need to be a “writer with a good idea determined to put in the time required and express that idea in a coherent and entertaining manner.” More than ever I realize, I have much to learn and a lot of hard work ahead. I love it!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Website!

I'm finally taking the plunge and setting up a website. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it yet, so be forewarned - it's most definitely a work in progress.

For those of you who do take time to visit, I'm open to suggestions on what you like to see when you go to an author/speaker's site. I like the blog because of its interactive nature, but having the website is nice because I can set up separate pages for the children's writing and the grownup writing, yet have it all in one easy-to-access spot.

Eventually I hope to have a links page set up so I can recommend my favorite blogs and websites.

Check it out if you have a minute: http://www.donnajshepherd.com
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