Serving Gratefully Within My Walls

My family did something this week that I never thought we’d do in a million years. We had Jack-in-the-Box for our Thanksgiving feast. Given the status of Covid-19 in Arizona, we knew we weren’t going to risk getting together with anyone, so we didn’t preorder or plan our meal. Although, yesterday, I did try to place an order from our favorite Chinese place for pickup today, only to receive an email saying they would be closed. Sigh. So, about 11am Thursday morning, my dad and I got in my van and headed to Boston Market, intending to get the traditional ready-made fixings, as we’ve done many times before. Dang! The drive-thru was closed and the walk-in line wrapped around the building. No way my dad wanted to wait in it. He called my mom, asking, “What do you want me to do?”

“Do whatever you feel like,” she replied. To make a long story short, Jack-in-the-Box was basically the only restaurant open, besides McDonald’s, of which my mom is not a fan. Thus, we ordered our feast. “Very weird Thanksgiving…,” I remarked on the way home.

“Hey, it’s been a weird year,” he reminded me. Indeed it has. But, I am thankful for the blessings in it. One being time to focus and refine my mission in sharing my story and the immediate vision for my ministry. Though, if I’m completely honest, I didn’t start out that way. During the first few months of the pandemic (the end of March through the middle of May), when everything shut down, I fell in a pretty deep depression. I lost all my speaking engagements, I couldn’t go to regular services at church or get together with my friends, and my gym and Pilates studio both closed. This meant I started having even more severe pain on top of everything else. Given that I couldn’t go anywhere, I ended up spending days on end in my pajamas (something I HATE doing to begin with). All of this made me feel trapped and more disabled than ever before. I was so afraid that the ministry God had put on my heart would disappear.

But, by the Grace of God, my best friend agreed to come back out from Tennessee to help with my care for the summer while my dad recovered from a second heart surgery. He helped me get out of my ditch, so-to-speak and restore my heart and reconnect my spirit with God’s calling on my life. By the time he went home again, I was ready to lean in and figure out what God had in mind for ministry in this new socially distanced world.

The first thing He made clear was that it’s now time to finish writing my memoir, so it can be an encouragement in this time of profound suffering. As much as I’d love to get a contract with a traditional publisher someday, I feel that I should stick to self publishing for now, in order to get the book out in a timely fashion, but I don’t have the funds on hand to pay for another self publishing package, so I had the idea to post/create the project on Kickstarter, which is a crowdfunding platform for creatives and startups. as if for confirmation of my mission, I was able to surpass my goal and raise $3,000 (minus fees) in just 58 days! it was a miracle if I’ve ever seen one! I’m aiming to have Rolling in Grace fully written, edited, and printed by the end of January 2021. I’ll either continue using Blurb or Lord willing, I can find a reasonably priced package with marketing features from Westbow Press, which is a division of both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan; two of the largest Christian publishers in the country. If a self-published book sells well through Westbow, it is often given a contract by one of the parent publishers! What a blessing that would be!

Preliminary cover!

I’m also excited to announce that after 2.5 years, I’ve finally submitted my nonprofit status application for Brooke’s Butterfly Touch: Creative Storytelling Services! I’d appreciate your prayers as we await approval from the IRS. And as you’re thinking about your Giving Tuesday (12/1/2020) donations, I invite you to consider becoming a patron of BBT. I will be offering twice-monthly workshops, as well as individual coaching sessions online or in-person (depending on Covid status) to members seeking help sharing their personal experiences/stories/testimonies with others.

And, as another facet of BBT’s mission is correcting misconceptions and endeavoring to eliminate prejudice against people with disabilities, I’m planning to create a training for those who are “extra-abled” on how to effectively demonstrate their gifts and hopefully educate those who are, shall we say, a little less “aware.” So please keep an eye out for new workshops, etc.!

If you would prefer not to make a monthly commitment on Patreon, but would still like to support the ministry, feel free to give a gift of any amount in the widget at the bottom of the homepage. I’m beyond grateful for your support, encouragement, and prayers!

Last week, my church finished a sermon series through the book of Colossians titled, “The Ideal.” The final message was called, “The Ideal Team.” Pastor Jeff’s point was that if we’re going to join TEAM JESUS, we need to determine our position (where we want to serve/be a witness) AND GO DO OUR JOBS! Like Colossians 4:17 says, …See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord. Mine is helping others find God’s purpose in their experiences and share it. What’s yours?

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