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When is it appropriate to use your trauma, personal drama, family emergency – or other catastrophe to sell books? Some might say, “Never!” —but then only presenting the rosy, perfect, polished side of life isn’t very authentic.

Recently, my husband’s brush with death in a traffic accident, a ministry friend’s early step into heaven and a leader’s home fire all caused me to ponder, “When is it good or a part of God’s will to post on tragedy and turmoil?”

Here are a few questions to ask before your post (especially if sharing a story will result in a profit of any kind, including books sales, it is best to double -check your heart):

Is this my story to tell?

Post unto others as you would have posted unto you paraphrases the Golden Rule of Christ’s words in Matthew 7:12.  If this is not your life, recount the facts and feelings in a way that you would like someone to do for you. Share your own personal feelings, how God is speaking to you, what you learned while keeping the details of the story private to protect another already going through a challenging time.  If it is your story, as was the case with my side of the story (of the near tragedy of my husband Bill’s truck being hit and hurled into a concrete highway divider by a speeding teen driver), then I was free to share my point of view, my feelings, and I did link to our marriage books. Because the principles in those books would help another couple in a comparable situation, we both wanted to use this pivotal moment to teach and train. (Read the full story )

Have I asked permission?

“…serve one another in love…” (Gal. 15:13 )

Even though I had plenty to share from my point of view, because someone else was also in the story, after our emotions settled and the crisis handled, I felt it necessary to ask Bill, if and when he might be comfortable with me sharing the account.  I penciled out what I thought was appropriate at this juncture and ran the text by him for approval. One never wants to add to another’s pain and drama when they are already experiencing pain and drama!

Is this the right time?

“it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time… “ (Proverbs 15:23 )

There might be a need or a desire to share an announcement or a statement. In these cases, if the ministry or the person themselves has shared, it is best to directly quote their testimonial.  Ask yourself “Will sharing the information lessen a person’s trauma, help meet his or her need or help reach or inform the audience he or she is trying to reach?”  For example, when a ministry leader was killed overseas and his ministry was wanting to get the word out so people could pray for his wife, family and his ministry, I instantly shared the post because it was clear that was the result wanted. In my post, I did inform my audience a little more of the bio, including a few of his books, so people would recognize and know whom I was talking about.

What is my motive?

“Search me God and know my heart…” (Psalms 139:23 )

Sometimes people rush to be the bearers of shocking news simply because they gain attention because they might have an insider’s view or a seat behind the scenes. Nothing hurts someone already going through a private tragedy in public view more than having friends divulge information he or she might have wanted to keep private. Ask yourself, “Would the person at the center see the sharing of this information as a betrayal?” Also ask yourself if you are the best person to share the news, or if there is someone better suited, better prepared, better equipped or better at handling these emotionally charged events.  Many professions are well trained in handling these kind of raw life moments: pastors, doctors, politicians, law enforcement or military leaders all have as part of their training elements of crisis management.   It might be God will ask you to be the silent servant behind the scenes that helps a family member or leader as he or she interacts with the public.

What is the desired outcome?

“Set your affections on the things above…” (Col. 3:2)

If you sense a green light on all the above questions, then before God ask, “Lord, what do you want to see happen in the lives of others who might read these words or hear this video?”  Is God wanting people to come to know Him personally and be prepared for eternity? Is he asking you to rally help or aid? Does the person or family in crisis have an economic need that they have asked you to share? It there a moral or Biblical truth that needs highlighted?  Before you write, before you speak—pray.

 

Pam Farrel is the very grateful to God wife of Bill, who was at the center of this story – and whose tale has a happy ending. (Fortunately, miraculously, my husband survived).  Together the Farrels write, speak and travel the world encouraging, equipping and inspiring people to live “Love-Wise.” They are the authors of 45 books including the newly revised, updated and expanded version of their best seller, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.

 

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CAN members Linda Kozar, Lena Nelson Dooley, and Angela Breidenbach host shows on the Along Came A Writer Network.

Along Came A Writer Network 

2017/2016

Chat Noir Mystery and Suspense, with host Linda Kozar on the Along Came A Writer Network

The Lena Nelson Dooley Show, with host Lena Nelson Dooley on the Along Came A Writer Network

Historically Speaking, with host Angela Breidenbach on the Along Came A Writer Network

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This is a hard to swallow quote for those of us who write and sell words. But it was someone just like us who, allegedly,  first uttered this

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now timeless catchy phrase. In 1927, newspaper journalist Fred R. Barnard, shared this quote to express the need for a photo to accompany important articles and ads. And the principle has never been more vital than in today’s digitally cluttered cyberspace.

I asked one friend of mine, author, Linda Goldfarb, if I could share a few of her personality-packed photos to give all of us authors, speakers, bookstore owners, a fresh way to reframe our mission, our platform, our brand and perhaps even the way we present the gospel.

As you plan your own photo shoot, ask three simple questions:

Who is my audience? Be as specific as you can, then go in search of examples of images that this audience has responded to. What has gone viral? Whose Instagram images are the most followed?  Linda is popular with those who vlinda goldfarb profile series pixalue a balance of the Biblical wisdom mixed with authentic transparency, humor and the hope of overcoming whatever obstacle life
might send their way. This series of photos capture all these priorities .  (On her website these images rotate automatically!)

 

Who am I? What do I want conveyed to my audience? Do my images match who I am in person? Do they match my personality? Do Linda goldfarb and hubby Samthey represent my calling?  Am I approachable  and easy to relate to in this image?  This image of Linda and her husband captures the wide variety of who they are as a couple.  Linda explains, “// // <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=/photo.php?fbid=10154635213594505&set=pb.636924504.-2207520000.1471478617.&type=3&size=960%2C960&_fb_noscript=1″ /> Sam and I are known as the Trans-Parent-Farbs!”

In our ministry, this image of Bill kissing me has had huge emotional impact, especially when linked to our Red Hot Monogamy or Red Hot Romance Tips for Women books. This photo captures that more than success in writing or speaking, it is success in our marriage that really matters to us. (And is is what we hope and pray our Love-Wise ministry helps as many couples as possible achieve.[am bill beach kiss rebecca

What is my mission? Ask yourself, “How can I get others to feel about my calling, passion and mission, the same way I feel about it?” Or “List images you have seen that helped you feel called into the ministry you have today. For example, Bill and I are “marriage missionaries”, much in part to the chaotic, and anger-filled homes we grew up in. So images of couples in conflict will always catch my eye—and cause me to want to take action to give those in the photo a better, happier life!That is why when I saw this photo of Linda and her husband, it caught my heart, and my eye, and inspired this blog!

Linda goldfarb gender wars

Take some time and think through then talk through your ideas for images that will best represent you, your mission and reach your audience. It will be worth the time to create the image that will be “picture perfect!”

(photo of Pam and Bill  and signature photo of the Farrels are by Rebecca Friedlander)

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Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship experts, authors of 45 books, including Men Are Like Waffle, Women Are Like Spaghetti , and co-directors of Love-Wise.com

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0083_MillerGreetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

When Larry and I had been married for seven years, we were completely disillusioned with each other. I couldn’t understand why Larry didn’t love me anymore. He certainly was far from being the Prince Charming I’d married. Oh Lord, what’s wrong with him? I moaned. I thought we were going to have a perfect marriage because You brought us together. But now we’re such strangers, we might as well be divorced. If only he wouldn’t work two jobs and fly planes as a hobby, we could be happy.

One morning Larry announced he was flying to San Jose for the day. I quickly suggested, “I’ll get the kids ready and we’ll go with you…”

Larry interrupted me. “Kathy, you can’t go. I rented a two-seater plane and I’ve already asked Joe to go with me.”

“But Larry, we never see you. Can’t you stay home just this once?”

“Kathy, I’ve explained I’m working all those hours to secure our financial future. You just don’t appreciate all I’m doing for this family.”

My face grew hot with fury. “Money isn’t helping me cope with these kids!” I snapped. “Darcy makes me so angry sometimes.”

“Kathy, that’s just typical motherhood blues. You’ll be fine. See you later.”

Larry walked away down the hall as I felt like screaming, “Why don’t you love me anymore?” Read More →

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One of the best ways to build relationship is to be THANKFUL!  Others want to lend a helping hand to those who are gratefulthx sign pam bill and appreciative! Look for ways to thank those that surround and support you. As an author thank your publisher, and all who work for them; thank book store owners, meeting planners, blog site hosts, magazine editors, radio and TV producers, pastors—and even other authors who have said or done kind things for you. This is the time of year to send out thanksgiving cards with a note of appreciation, a Christmas card with a personal note or if you can afford it, a small gift. If another holiday better reflects your message, send out thank you’s then—like we do at Love-Wise by sending Valentine greetings!

Go Back and Give Thanks!

Even Jesus commended the one he healed who took the time to come back and say, “Thanks!”

And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,  who stood at a distance  and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”[ (Luke 17:12-18)

Look Forward and Plan Thanks!

Say thanks with:

  • A photo or a photo greeting card (like from Send Out Cards)
  • A book and gift that carries the theme but that will bless the receiver (Red Hot Monogamy with Salsa and chips or some red hot candies; Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti with pasta keeper, pasta bowl and server with pasta noodles and spaghetti sauce—and waffle mix and waffle iron)
  • A simple tool to lower the receiver ’s stress: a fun pen with stylist, sticky notes, protein bar, cup holder, USB drive, a travel accessory—or even something as simple as mints. Pinterest is a great place to find creative thank you ideas with clever play on words.

And this year, with the release of 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together, I am celebrating the SIMPLE!  Often personal call to say thank you, a voicemail message full of gratitude, a handwritten note of appreciation will go a long way to carrying a message of thoughtfulness.

Look in Front of You and Say Thanks!

red hot appreciateIn my book, Red Hot Romance Tips for Women , I challenge the reader to look at traits A to Z that make them a more loving wife, and in A is for Appreciation, I give a list of ways to say thanks—so for those of us in publishing who are married, saying “Thank you”  to our mate for supporting our dream might be a great first step. Here are a few ideas from chapter 1:

♥ Admire in a letter or with your verbal praise a good qualities

♥ Applaud his/her effort or an accomplishment

♥ Approve of his/her choice (of anything) heartily!

♥ Commend of him/her in front of his friends or colleagues

♥ Compliment one physical features

♥ Positively inquire more information about an interest

♥ Laud an accomplishment with a gift or a family party to celebrate.

♥ Warm toward an idea by asking to learn more.

♥ Support one a dreams by placing a photo on your desk or refrigerator.

♥ Sympathize with an emotional hurt with a hug.

♥ Enthusiastically embrace an opinion with an “I so agree!”

♥ Show pleasure of his/her  company with a “So nice to have you in my life”.

♥ Be sensitive to stress (give a shoulder  rub,  run an errand or picking up an item without being asked

♥ Place a thank you note on a balloon and float it into the office or bedroom.

♥ Make your own list, A to Z, why you are thankful for your mate (and plan a red hot way to give it!)

(PS: I’d love for you to join me on the 26 day Red Hot Wife Challenge. I send a daily email of encouragement as  THANKS for joining in on the journey of becoming a more loving person!)

 

Book wall 1Pam and Bill Farrel are the authors of 44 books, international speakers, and Directors of www.Love-Wise.com They are thankful to their publishers: Harvest House, Tyndale, IVP, Cook, Thomas Nelson, Oasis Audio, Focus on the Family—and to ALL the bookstore owners who carry their titles!

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