Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the honor of interviewing author, speaker, and relationship expert Deb DeArmond. Deb writes and speaks about family relationships, but her latest book . . . well, honk if you love the concept!
Welcome, Deb! Please tell us about your book Bumper Sticker Be-Attitudes.
Bumper Sticker Be-Attitudes is a humorous devotional built on the belief there are spiritual principles everywhere we look—if we open our eyes to the truth. From the bumper of the car in front of us to the fortune cookie after the Chow Mein, one-liners meant to entertain often hold a deeper meaning when seen through the eyes of Christ-followers.
What a unique idea! What inspired you to write this book?
A friend posted a photo of two bumper stickers she spotted in a parking lot on two cars side-by-side. My favorite of the two was: The Truth Will Set You Free, But First it Will Tick You Off!
At first glance, the title makes you giggle. A closer look however reminds you of the biblical principle that at times, the truth can be tough to swallow. You’ve been just fine, thank you very much, until someone enlightens you with a hard nugget of biblical wisdom. Then you remember the Scriptures are always for our benefit, even when the words are difficult to hear.
I posted a blog with that title and the response was overwhelming. Not only did readers like the content, they sent me their favorite bumper stickers! Over the course of two years, I’d received more than 300. I mined that treasure chest often over the years, using a title here and there until a friend suggested I put the top 50 in a humorous devotional. So, I did.
What is the primary focus of your book?
I believe God pursues us in a myriad of ways with a message He wants to deliver. Do I think the driver of that car in front of me placed that sticker for my spiritual enrichment? Nope. The words hit his funny bone and he thought he’d share the fun.
But seen through the eyes of the Lord, you get a Bible study and a chuckle on the road—right there in the carpool lane. We can see God in unexpected places if we’re open to see through His eyes.
I love that perspective! How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
The Lord has long been the “chief pointer-outer” in my life. I’m grateful for the various ways He’s tapped me on the shoulder or whispered in my ear to teach, correct, and encourage me in my walk with Him.
Writing the chapters of this book helped me reflect on His never-ending pursuit of me. He does it with all of His children. And I’m certain God has a funny bone; He calls laughter the best medicine. It’s easier to acknowledge our missteps, our mistakes, and the mangled mash up of our life when delivered with gentle humor versus a thump up-side the head! Although, that, too, is occasionally required!
I’m so thankful God sends both the humor and those thumps upside the head! Speaking of those thumps, how did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
Three people in my life began to suggest I write. My brother, Jack, Eve a trusted friend, and my husband, Ron – who mentioned it first. I spoke often to groups – at work, at church, and in my community work. But his suggestion, “You should write a book,” left me mystified. I had no idea why he spoke up and felt clueless as to what I’d write. He dogged me about it often but offered no suggestions.
My older brother, Jack, mentioned it just once. But he was a journalist, so I listened a bit more closely to his words. “If you write like you talk, Deb, people would read you. And you have a lot to say.” Wasn’t sure if that was actually a compliment.
My friend Eve took a different approach. Instead of telling me I should write, she made a similar observation about my communication style and then asked every time we connected, “So how’s the book coming along?” or “Tell me about the book.”
One day out of sheer frustration I replied, “Eve! It’s not what I do!” She simply smiled and said softly, “It’s not what you’ve done, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to do it. I dare you to ask God.”
That stopped me in my tracks. I asked, He answered – clearly in line with those He’d sent to me years earlier. I have a lot of books living in my head. The ones that make it to my heart make it to the keyboard.
And if they make it to your heart, they’ll make it to readers’ hearts. Do you have any touching stories about those moments?
My books focus on marriage and family. Many readers have sent a note of thanks for a book that helped them grow or discover solutions. But one recently caught me off guard. The email was titled, “Your Book Saved Me!”
The book, Related by Chance, Family by Choice is on the topic of the relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.
The title of her email alone was impactful. She went on to detail how my words shifted her heart from blame and anger toward her DIL, to recognition as to how she’d missed the importance of God’s word – and His scriptural design for the relationship. The outcome? A heartfelt apology to her DIL and in the space His grace created, her daughter-in-law acknowledged her role in the challenges.
This reader is a licensed counselor. She realized in this situation that psychology alone could not repair or improve on the relationship without the heart work of God’s spirit. The women are restored and working together to walk in the roles He created for these two women who love the same man.
What a wonderful story! So, do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
My previous career reinvented itself as my “day job” – and I love it!
For 20+ years I worked in the training and development field, helping managers become leaders. Not every leader is a manager; not every manager is a leader. The blend is the best combination of all.
Coaching – both for business and for life skills – is a major component of the work in helping others fulfill their highest calling. While I still work occasionally in business, my coaching skills are now focused on supporting writers become Christian authors and speakers.
I knew firsthand the value of coaching and understood the advantage it could offer me as an aspiring writer who had a late start at age 56. I researched several coaches and found a match. I sold my first book, only 8 months after the writing was complete. I completed my certification five years later in this arena through a 4-month college-level course offered by AWSA – Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Seeing my clients complete their work and publish is almost as exhilarating as seeing one of my own do the same. Almost . . .!
Tell us about your favorite library memory.
I was introduced to the magical world of books at an early age, with both parents avid readers. Sunday evenings were often an early supper followed by the three of us—Mom, Dad, and I—reading quietly. We created a companionable silence for time with author Kate Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Laura Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series, or anything by Lewis Carroll.
But Fridays with Mom were special indeed. My dad owned a shoe store that remained open on Friday evenings till 9 pm. Mom and I would eat a light snack than hurry off to our local library. For the two hours we spent in the stacks, we rarely ran into one another. But each week I’d leave with an armload of new books perfect for a grade schooler. We’d meet my dad at closing time and head to Denny’s for a late-night dinner while I described in detail of my anticipated week ahead of adventure with books, books, books!
Anticipation is half the fun! And what can your readers anticipate next from you?
We May Be Done, but We’re Not Finished will be published in Spring 2021. For Christian women 50+ who may need to adjust their perspective for this glorious period of life. As empty nesters we often feel adrift, no longer clear about our purpose. This collection of short chapters will inspire and reassure them that the rest of their life can be the best of their life. Compilation with 25+ authors.
That sounds fabulous! Thank you for sharing with us, Deb!
To learn more about Deb’s books and speaking, please visit Deb’s website.
Writing for Him,