Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Helping My Husband Find His Ministry

Our Unique Gifts & TalentsWe have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach, if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. ~ Ro 12:6-8 (NIV)

I’d been praying about using my spiritual gifts in a more effective way, but I wanted to be sure I had them right. The pastor’s sermon on Romans 12 was the confirmation I needed.

Though the gifts are present in several Scripture passages, I’ll stick to the seven gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, and Showing Mercy.

My primary gift is Encouragement; my secondary gift is Service.

In years past, I may have coveted other gifts like Prophecy or Leadership. But 33 years of walking with Christ has shown me two things: I’m no prophet and to be a leader you need followers. I have none—and I don’t think God counts Twitter.twitter-follow-achiever

Now that I had my gifts in order, as any good helpmate would do [good may not be the correct word, but meddling doesn’t sound as nice], I decided to help my mate find his.

My husband is not  joiner, nor is he as social as I am. He’s pretty much a homebody; therefore you can see why he would need my wisdom in this area.

After church, over breakfast, I brought up the sermon. “So what do you think your gifts are?”

“Not sure,” he said, as he took a sip of his coffee.

I announced, “Mine are Encouragement and Service.”

He put his coffee down. “Sounds right.”

banner-prophetic-declarationsI pushed on. “Well, do you ever feel like you have a Prophetic Word for people—besides me, I mean?” I confess I knew the answer all ready.

“Nope.” He took a forkful of scrambled eggs.

“Okay, what about Service? You’re always doing things for me like shopping, running errands, laundry, and helping me with my computer stuff.  Service could be your spiritual gift.”

He swallowed his bite and washed it down with juice. “Could be.”

“Wait. Let’s look at Teaching. You know how you’re good at explaining things to me– like on my blog or website or around the house– maybe you could teach others? You’re smarter than anyone I know.”

“Not so sure about that.” He bit into a sausage and said, “Hmm. Jimmy Dean?”

“Hey, perhaps we have the same gifts. You’re always telling me to do things that I don’t think I can do. Maybe you’re an Encourager.”

“Could be.” He wiped his mouth. “Can you please pass the jam?”

“Don’t panic, we’re not in a jam. We still have Giving, Leading, and Showing Mercy left. We’re not rich, but you give to many different causes, right? I’m always getting sidetracked, so I  certainly look to you to lead us. And we both know you have a lot of mercy.”

“Why do you say that?”  He got up and refilled our mugs.

“For starters, you’re patient with me when I’m sick. Me, with you, not so much.”

“Let’s not worry about all this right now,” he said. “God will reveal my gifts in His time.”

“I know, but this is important! We need to know what your gifts are so you can plug into a ministry.”

2014-10-20 -300-150Determined to solve this mystery, I mentally reviewed what we’d learned so far.  Suddenly it struck me. I looked at my husband and said, “Uh, oh. I think God just gave me a revelation.”

He finished clearing the dishes and sat down. “And what might that be?”

“I think He told me that your ministry is ME!”

My husband smiled and patted my hand.

I think he knew that already.

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Meet & Greet Author Nancy Ferrin

MnGNancy Ferrin is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  
Nancy Ferrin

CLARICE: What do you want readers to experience while reading your books, Nancy?

NANCY: My books, Where is My Baby and When a Prodigal Breaks Your Heart: The Search for Understanding and Hope (Westbow Press, 2012) address difficult life situations, so my desire is that readers find hope and encouragement as they relate to what is shared. Each book recounts my personal experience, ties it to scripture, and includes application questions to further engage the reader. Ideally the reader will be surprised by what we have in common and then optimistic that the Lord will provide the strength needed for their journey.

CLARICE: What do you want your readers to know about you?

NANCY: I am an ordinary woman, serving an extraordinary God. There is nothing commendable about me except that the Lord saw fit to enable me to share from the heart about my broken places. I am available via email for those who desire some personal support. Future plans also include the formation of support groups for parents of prodigals.

CLARICE: Tell us a little bit about your book When a Prodigal Breaks Your Heart: The Search for Understanding and Hope (Westbow Press, 2012).

NANCY: It’s a book for those who are experiencing the heartbreak of a wayward child or young adult. Each chapter addresses a common emotion felt by the parent in this situation, along with biblical truth to anchor the heart.

CLARICE: What inspired you to write this particular book?

NANCY: When one of my sons chose the prodigal path, I was worried about his choices and had no thought of writing a book. Over time, the Lord showed me the outline and I was ready to write. However, He closed the door on my ideas and I sensed in my spirit that I should wait. A few years later, my daughter choose a similar path and I realized I had more to learn before writing. One summer, the floodgates opened and I wrote the first nine chapters in less than two months. Another “hold” was placed by God so I waited nearly a year before writing the last chapter. In the years following, another one of my five children chose a different, but equally divergent path. So this life journey continues to challenge me to trust God’s plan despite what I see – to walk by faith and not by sight. I know He will be faithful.

Ferrin ProdigalCLARICE: If you could impart one thing to your readers, what would it be?

NANCY: You are not alone. God has not forgotten you or your prodigal. He can be trusted to complete what He has begun in each one of us. Keep looking to Him!

CLARICE: How have your readers responded to your personal stories?

NANCY: Readers have been extremely supportive and kind. Many have told me they could relate to what I shared and have found hope in their own struggle. My two children whose stories are shared in the book are glad to know their troubled past is being used to shed light and spread hope to others.

One reader wrote: “I appreciate your insights and your honesty. You have walked a long and often lonely road and found victory in Christ. I’m grateful for the praying and encouraging friends God put in your life. He does indeed take care of His own.”

Another shared: “I read your book and felt such encouragement as I read it… Thanks for writing this book. Your sweet sweet spirit and strong faith shine like a beacon of hope. May God bless many lives with this book.”

CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you write/share your story?

NANCY: God directed the process for each book. They were written according to His timetable and sometimes the words just poured into my mind as my fingers tried to keep up. Much prayer has surrounded the project, asking that He would use my words to encourage others. Funds were also miraculously provided for the expenses involved with getting the prodigal book into print.

CLARICE: What did you do before you became a writer? Or what do you do besides write?

NANCY: Besides writing, I enjoy leading ladies’ bible studies and speaking at retreats and workshops. Occupationally, I was a computer programmer for many years, and now teach math at a public high school.

CLARICE: Where can our readers (or listeners) meet you and get a copy of your books?

NANCY: At the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event, 3:00 to 5:30 pm. Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH. They can register online by going to www.EventBrite.com and searching Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors. If they have questions about this event, they can the Event Planners Clarice James at 603-578-1860 or Cindy Saab at 978-821-6547.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. ~ Luke 15:22-24 (NIV)

MORE ABOUT NANCY: Nancy is the mother of five adult children, two of whom chose a prodigal path. Her ministries include Bible studies, speaking at retreats and workshops, and overseeing discipleship and women’s ministries. Formerly a computer programmer, Nancy teaches math at a public high school.  www.steppingcloser.com


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Meet & Greet Author John Theo Jr

MnG

John Theo Jr is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  

CLARICE:  What genre do you prefer to write? John Theo Author Photo

JOHN:  Young adult fiction. In this genre you can address both adult and youthful themes. For instance you can deal with crushes, peer pressure, etc. along with macro themes like life and death. In adult fiction you are more limited on scope and range. I also like screenwriting as it is very formula driven and, compared to prose, easy to write in.

CLARICE:  Tell us a little bit about your novel The Grotto Under the Tree.

JOHN:  Sebastian and Sara mistakenly descend into a mystical land where elves, mermaids, gnomes and other mythological creatures live. The two discover they have stumbled into an ancient battle between these fair folk and evil creatures called the Kylo. Their guide on this journey is Capri, an elf  lord who is on a quest to find his lost tribe. The Kylo chase the children and Capri in his flying galleon north into the Arctic Circle where they find the most unlikely ally. During the final battle the children learn about sacrifice, love and ultimately forgiveness.

I also re-address the caricature of Santa and try to bring him back to his Christian roots.

CLARICE:  Which authors have influenced your writing and how?

JOHN:  Tolkien and CS Lewis were very big influences. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the Christian themes embedded in the Narnia and Lord of The Rings novels were the things that really separated them from other fantasy novels and stuck out to me.Theo Grotto

CLARICE:  What do you want readers to experience while reading your books? If you could impart one thing to them, what would it be?

JOHN:  Obviously I’d like them to be transported to this imaginary world I created. I hope they can scratch the surface and understand the Christian theme(s) in my writing as well. In Grotto the theme is that there is only one path to salvation.  If I could encourage anyone to come to the Lord or grow in their Christian walk I would be thrilled.

CLARICE:  What lessons have you learned from this journey? How has it changed your life?

JOHN:  Writing this book has shown me that I can stay focused and finish projects, and that writing is hard work and rarely glamorous. Ironically the process has taken some of the allure from writing enough to realize it’s not “all about the art” like a lot of people believe. Life is more important than art. My faith and my family are more important than my writing.

CLARICE: Which comes easier to you? Coming up with the story idea or actually writing it?

JOHN:  Probably coming up with the story. I am a militant “outline geek.” Taking it from that mess of thoughts and putting into a story is very hard laborious work.

CLARICE:  As a committed Christian, do you plan to seek publication solely in the Christian market? If not, how do you see yourself fitting into the general publishing market?

JOHN:  Grotto is published through a secular publisher, Astraea Press. They label themselves as a “clean” publisher and carry a bunch of Christian authors, so they reach across a lot of markets. For future novels I’m not opposed to Christian or secular publishers. If my writing is published via secular outlets there is a strong argument that it will reach more non-believers.

CLARICE:  What writing projects are you currently working on?

JOHN:  I’m about to hand in a dystopian science fiction manuscript (Mission Trip) to my agent. It’s a retelling of the Pilgrims story. In the future there is a societal collapse. Christians are persecuted in the United States and a group of them flee the country to start anew on a floating city in the middle of the ocean. The themes are sanctification along with “those that do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”

I’m also halfway through a story that takes place in the White Mountains of NH (False Flag). It revolves around a Christian Park Ranger who stumbles across a governmental conspiracy. The theme/questions I ask in this story go back to the Revolutionary War. How involved should churches be in culture and politics? I address the potential need for the Black Robe Regiment to come back. These were pastors labeled as terrorists by King George because they stirred up the people to rebel.

CLARICE:  How would you encourage others who have a story to tell?

JOHN:  Just do it. Start allocating time and just write. Don’t worry about getting published. Find a mentor if you can. This will shave years off your learning curve.

CLARICE:  Where can our readers meet you and get a copy of your book?

JOHN:  You can order the book online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Or get a copy and meet me in person at the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event scheduled from 3:00 to 5:30 pm. Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH.

MORE ABOUT JOHN THEO JR: In addition to John’s middle grade fantasy, The Grotto Under the Tree, published by Astraea Press in 2013, he also has numerous published articles on arts, culture, and sports figures. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. During the day John serves as Vice President of Operations for Blue Sky Holdings and also as an adjunct professor at Endicott College in Beverly, MA, where he teaches screenwriting. John and his wife live in Manchester by the Sea, MA. www.johntheo.com.