Marti Pieper

January greetings from warm, windy, but not-so-wintry Florida! Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview with bestselling author and speaker Pam Farrel, a writer who also happens to be a friend. My husband and I have some fun memories of kayaking around Mission Bay in San Diego with the Farrels one sunny August afternoon. But I admired the Farrels first as writers and speakers who share heart-warming, life-changing truth. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Pam today.

Welcome, sweet friend! It’s good to “see” you again. How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

I write with my husband, Bill. We have 45 books published in English; many of these have been translated into 15+ languages.

Our latest titles:

Pam: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together

Bill 7 Simple Skills for Every Man: Success in Relationships, Work, and Your Walk with God

Pam and Bill: Expanded, updated anniversary edition of best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti

Congratulations on all of these! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

Know your core message, then seek to get that message across through every channel and method available: books, blogs, social media, video, radio, podcasts, TV, courses, and curriculums—and even T-shirts, coffee, mugs and bumper stickers! In a world noisy with untruths, lies, and misinformation, we all should seek to give our full dedication and focused persistence in getting God’s message (the one entrusted to our voice) out to those who most need that message of hope and help from God. Be prepared to spend more time writing, speaking, and promoting the message than you ever did writing it originally. The book is only one small piece, a first step to a long journey of faithfulness to your message. Read More →

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God calls us to bless those who bless us, and even shepherd our Shepherds:

Gal. 6:6 says, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.”

Hebrews 6:10 reminds, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Proverbs 11:25: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

We are all clearly called to reach out to build and bless those that build and bless us.clergy-couples-collage-2016

Recently, our ministry held a Ministry-Minded Marriage/ Clergy Couples Date Night to honor and bless those who serve so faithfully.  Bill and I have spent our entire married life in some form of ministry. Around the world are selfless clergy couples who run to the side of others in need to give God’s love, so here are three things you can do to LUV your pastor or the clergy couples of your church (or parachurch) staff:

Listen—then take action: Tune in and get your eyes off yourself and ask honest questions to see if you really know what your pastor and his wife are dealing with personally. Some common struggles of clergy couples are economic distress or pressure;  creating uninterrupted time together ; keeping a positive attitude in the middle of handling negative situations , or  same stressors as anyone else: a strong willed or special needs child, a prodigal teen, health issues, or life stage drama like mid-life crisis. Be one of the people that surround the shepherd of your flock and offer a listening ear and tangible help. Your empathy and  words of kindness and affirmation will also go a long way in helping easy this burden. (Read the Farrel’s Blog on How to Bless and Build Your Pastor’s Marriage)

Underwrite: Be generous. Give funding to the pastor(s) to for the kind of things that keep a marriage healthy. Send gift cards for dates, pay for a weekend away in a nice hotel or loan out your cabin.    Often Christian conference centers offer free housing to clergy couples, so even a small church can raise money for the gas and a couple meals and partner with the local Christian Camp to give your clergy couple some time alone together. (Our book Red Hot Monogamy has 200 ideas to keep passion in the parsonage!)  In the church budget should also be funds for an annual marriage conference for the clergy couples to attend. Also, if there are clergy denominational meetings or conferences, add in a little extra to sponsor the spouse to attend too. Ministry minded marriages that have peers and mentors who they can be authentic with will have people to turn to in times of stress or crisis and this will strengthen the ministry marriage. (Our book A Coured_hot_monogamyples’ Journey with God can help ministry minded couples learn from some of what we experienced)

Volunteer: If you have a strong marriage, offer to help head up the marriage ministry at your church, or at least part of it: offer to run a small group for married couples; chair a marriage retreat committee, be the point person for a couples, date night, or write a blog on marriage for the church website or weekly bulletin. If your marriage has survived and overcome a particular challenge, offer to the pastor to meet with other couples who might come to him for the same issue.  If your pastor has young children, volunteer to babysit (or arrange the childcare)  so they can have a weekly date night. Also offer to be part of a prayer team for the clergy couple or offer to pay for counseling, or the cost of getting them to a ministry minded intensive (At Love-Wise we have a “Marriage On the Rocks?” resource list of multiple options to rescue and rebuild a relationship).

With a little bit of LUV we can show care for those who care so much for others.  In showing these leaders and gatekeepers LUV and goodwill, they will often, in turn show you as an author, speaker, bookstore owner, or leader favor as well.

69Pam and Bill Farrel have been a clergy couple nearly all of their 37 years of marriage. First in youth ministry, then Bill as a Lead Pastor for 15 years and Pam was a Director of Women’s Ministry; and then Bill as a Small Groups Pastor at Shadow Mountain Church under the leadership Dr David Jeremiah. Now the Farrels are international speakers, relationship specialists, and authors of 40 books. The Farrels are focused on helping individuals and couples become Love-Wise. (www.love-wise.com)

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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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This week, I signed a contract with Harvest House Publishers for my 45th book.  This one is a wonderful collaboration between myself and a wonderful Bible study teacher, Jean Jones and a very talented artist in Karla Dornacher  (see Karla on Etsy). We each bring our strengths to the book and we also pull our platforms together for greater reach and influence.

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I have had the joy of co-authoring with some amazing people:jill saveage hearts pic

Jill Savage,  the founder and President of Hearts at Home  for Got Teens?  (Harvest House)

Doreen Hanna, the founder and President of Modern Day Princess ministry for Raising a Modern Day PrincePam and doreen pix princess party nov 2010 ass (for parents and leaders) and Becoming a Modern Day Princess for tween and teen girls (Focus on the Family/Tyndale)

Dawn Wilson, popular blogger at Upgrade with Dawn and founder of Heart Choices ministry for pam and dawn and LOl top of dial atlantaLOL with God: Messages of Hope and Help for Women

Stephen Aurterburn, Founder of New Life, Women of Faith and popular author of numerous titles for Devotions for Women on the Go ( and my steve Aurterburnhusband, Bill,  co-authored Devotions for Men on the Go Tyndale Publishers)

Chad Eastham teamed with us to reach the next generation with Guys are Waffles, Girls are like Spaghetti (Thomas Nelson)

And most importantly, my husband, Bill and I regularly co-author marriage and parenting books (to date   approximately half of our books are co-authored together) . A few of our most popular, bestselling titles are Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti; Red Hot Monogamy; 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make and 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make.

We actually started our publishing career with a co-authored book, where we teamed with our mentors, Jim and Sally Conway and jim conway and bill miwrite: Pure Pleasure Making Your Marriage a Great Affair.

“Two are better than one” is a phrase often heard at weddings, but that concept can be extended to ministry and business relationships:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor (Eccl 4:9)

The upside reasons to co-author:

Greater Flexibility: It may or may not be less time writing—because the time you save on sharing writing will be taken up with conversations, but it is less time in front of the screen and at the keyboard – typically. This team-player approach maybe helpful if you have a full plate of speaking engagements or a day job because you often “take turns” doing pieces of the book so your work time can be a little more diversified in the various tasks—not just mainly in front of the screen.

Greater Audience Reach: books that are co-authored or collaborations bring  each author’s sphere of influence into the circle come launch time. It could also mean a varied platform as one of you might be terrific at Instagram Book wall 1while the other rocks facebook. One might have a radio show or podcast while the other has a powerful online video presence. A co author might also have a reach into an audience you don’t have. For example, when we teamed with youth speaker of women of Faith’s  Revolve tour, Chad Eastham, so he could translate our “Waffles & Spaghetti” material to the net generation.

Greater  Trust: Often in a co-authoring situation, a reader will see two trusted or three trusted names and the power of so many quality people in one book is appealing so it can move a persons to buy the book.

Greater Balance: Sometimes co-authoring will help you gain those few extra hours to sleep, work out, or spend with your spouse of family.

Greater Veracity: With many voices, you must have agreement of theology. You are less likely to go off track spiritually with greater accountability.

Greater Friendships: All our co-authors have become dear friends because of the honest conversations and numerous hours spent connecting over deep, important ideas. We have also remained friends because up front we talk over co-author details so everyone if unified and pulling in one direction. We always have an agreed upon mediator, and to date we have never had to use that person/company.

Greater Synergy: Having varied ideas, styles, voices, passions is electric!  You may just enjoy the energy and excitement of a team project.

Co-authoring isn’t for everyone—but it could be for you.

Pam and Bill Farrel are the co- Directors of Love-Wise.com. Their newest co-authored book is A Couple’s Journey with God

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The roll out of each new year brings with it a sense of anticipation that the upcoming year will be as good or better than last year.  Here are a few SIMPLE things that can help move your life, relationships and business or ministry forward in 2016. If you lay a strong foundation in your personal life it will reflect  positive results into your professional life. In addition to what we share in our 7 Simple Skills for Every Man or Woman books, there are a few traditions and tools that help Bill and I make forward movement each year:

adventure pam farrel verse 2016Pray for God’s Heart: In January, we completed a “seek week” where we step out of our “normal” schedule and take a little more time to pray, worship  and explore scripture.

I have found ANY week of the year that you create more space for God can be your “seek week” and God will grant you wisdom and insight from heaven’s view point.  My goal at the end of seek week is to have a verse for the year that I can hang my heart on.  This year, God lead me to my Word of the Year: Adventure, because the road ahead is bringing a lot of change. We are currently packing to place our home on the market. We will then downsize and move our home (and our Love-Wise ministry) nearer Bill’s aging parents.  (Read the details on how and why I selected My Word of the Year  and  the powerful results that can happen by using a Word of the Year to focus your energy.)

I am a woman who loves the outdoors  and  I have learned on these adventures that  a positive attitude, an inspired heart, a determined spirit and a flexible plan can help you overcome ANY challenge turning OBSTACLES into ADVENTURES.

As I prayed over a few verses I thought might help me “Embrace Adventure”, my friend, Vicki Heath, the President of First Place 4 Health, and author of Don’t Quit, Get Fit,  recommended one I had already been pondering:

“…no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things God has in store for those who love Hipsalms 55 22 bible artm.” (1 Cor 2:9)

Paint the Promise:  Last year I began Bible art journaling. One day in a quiet time, I read Psalms 55:22 and then dug into my Logos Bible software to study deeper meaning. What I discovered is when we “hurl” or throw our “burden” God sustains us. It is interesting that the word burden can also be translated gift, assignment or allotment.  So things that we think are heavy burdens, God sees as a gift to our life! And the word “sustain” means God will “nourish” or “nurture” us so we can achieve that heaven-sent assignment.  In SIMPLE terms, this verse is a promise that God will uphold both us and our ministry or calling. God will uphold YOU and YOUR ASimple Skills Pam Farrel Quote changeSSIGNMENT!  That is Good News for a New Year!

Plan Specifically:, I will have the joy of leading a workshops on my new book 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together. One of the activities I enjoy most is leading woman through the process of creating her own personal plan of success. Part of that plan will be to help her identify her word, verse and theme for the year. We will then put feet to the dreams by setting some goals so she can  make progress in her life. You can download the goal setting YOUR BEST YEAR YET worksheets Bill and I use to help you set some key goals for 2016. (for couples /  for women)

Project Success: Next, work your goals into your daily life. One way we do this is by sharing breakfast together, pray over our days and once a week we use a worksheet to talk through what we believe God wants us to accomplish that week. (Click here to download Weekly Meeting: Marriage Unity  worksheet) We often go to a Christian bookstore and buy other items with our word or verse of the year on them adventure mug scrabble(mugs, journals, art or plaques).

Prepare a Team. Each day at 3:20, we pray Ephesians 3:20 over our life, our family and those I might be with. We have recruited a team who also pray Eph. 3:20 over our life and ministry too. So as I close this business minded blog, I am praying God’s blessings and vision over your ministry:

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us

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Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author (or co-author) of 44 books including her newest, 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success In Keeping It All Together . Pam and her husband, Bill, are co-Directors of Love-wise.com  and in 2016, after they reach their goal of relocating, want to begin traveling and speaking in the countries that represent the 15 languages their books have been translated into.

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