Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Karen Friday

Good morning, dear friends. Welcome to another edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This week, I have with me speaker and writer Karen Friday. Karen loves spreading hope to everyone who reads her blog and follows on social media. If this is your first time meeting her, you can connect with her via the links below. Let’s get started.

Good morning, Karen. I am thrilled to have you as my guest this morning. Thank you for being with us. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Personal

I accepted Christ at sweet sixteen, then felt called to ministry in college where I met my husband. We served in church youth ministry for twenty years, and currently serve as lead pastor and pastor’s wife, and me in women’s ministry. Our family consists of a grown son, married daughter, and two grandchildren. Oh, and our two beloved dogs. Not only do I consider the Lord’s work a worthy calling, but I also regard my roles as pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother (Mimi), sacred callings. It’s great to have such a fun last name. Our entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” But we owe Monday an apology.

While I have several half brothers, I share something interesting with my twin sister and younger sister. Like me, they are both pastor’s wives. I like to say we are a triple threat to the kingdom of darkness.

The adoration of words, both spoken and written, stirred within my soul for most of my life. A love to move an audience to laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection, birthed in the fourth grade when I endered my first oratorial contest. This continued throughout my school days and culminated in college where I studied Leadership Communications.

In 2014, I became a speaker who writes. I attended my first conference for writers, found a mentor, and established my blog: Hope is Among Us. I’m a contributor for several national websites. My published writings include devotions and articles (both print and online), several anthologies, and a contributor for a book releasing May 1, Dear Wife:10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband.

I’m working on what I pray is my first non-fiction book in the Christian living genre. Blythe Daniel, of the Blythe Daniel Agency, represents my work.

Your blog is a wonderful place to visit, Karen. Congratulations on the book.

Professional

Please share why you chose to write in your particular genre?

A less than desirable childhood caused me to ask two major questions in life: Am I lovable? Is there a God? You see, my dad abandoned me and my twin sister for a few years, then reappeared as an atheist. So as a Christian woman, I knew my mission was to know Jesus more and make Him known. This mission statement led me to speaking and writing and blogging about my faith.

It always amazes me how the Lord takes something bad and turns it around for something good. Share something you wish the reader knew about your book.

I’m just an average girl with an above average God. I lay all my hopes, dreams, and aspirations in the Lord’s able hands. But there’s power in story. My hope is that through sharing my story, readers gain practical and spiritual application to life’s ups and downs, and gain the courage to share their stories.

I agree. Story is powerful. Now, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?

For me, the most difficult part is what others call, “bleeding on the page.” Sometimes it’s hard to write in an authentic and vulnerable voice while keeping truth and the takeaway married to each other.

Our vulnerability is the heart of our stories while Christ is the subject. Here are several fun questions. First draft: Pencil or keyboard?

Keyboard

Plotter or pantser?

I’m a pantser. Yet, currently working on my first non-fiction book project, it has been important for me to create a simple outline for most of my chapters. It helps not to repeat the same points in multiple chapters. Still, the initial draft is always getting it down and not looking at the outline.

Tea or coffee?

Chai tea latte. I’m not a coffee girl.

Favorite thing to do when not working?

Spending time with my family, reading, and camping with my husband.

Your social media posts testifies of your familial love. 🙂

Inspirational

This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

Hope is the theme of my blog and ministry. So, here’s something I wrote about hope.

There’s something I want you to know. You are never far from hope. In tragedy, it is there. During dark moments, it covers with light. It soars above despair. Life brings hurt, heartache, and disappointment. Hard places can dissolve every ounce of faith. But in an uncertain world, there is an undeniable hope, an unshakable anchor for your soul. As a pastor’s wife, I have helped others find hope. It birthed from answering the tough questions: Where is God? Did we pray enough? Does God know? Does He see?

As the unexplainable happens in life, there is a promise that brings hope near. It’s only found in One. Jesus Christ. Hope rose from the dead when Jesus Christ conquered the grave.

My story is full of hope. Remember how I followed Christ at sixteen-years-old? The night I accepted Christ at a church revival, I began to pray for my atheist dad to believe in God and accept Jesus as Lord. I prayed every day and when my faith waned, I inserted his name in Scripture about salvation and prayed it out loud. Sixteen years later, when I was thirty-two, my dad became a believer. Never lose sight of faith or hope.

Beautiful testimony of hope, Karen. Thank you for joining us. It has been a pleasure!

ClicktoTweet: As the unexplainable happens in life, there is a promise that brings hope near.

About the Book

Do you wish you had more alone time with your husband? Do you find yourself going through the day-to-day busy routine of life while your marriage is on cruise control, without intentional time together spent connecting? Do you desire deeper intimacy and love with your husband?

Being married is great, but being married and feeling intimately connected is what every wife desires. Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart-changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop deeper connection with your husband.

In this book, you will:

  • Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love
  • Swap ongoing complacency with intentional connection
  • Spend guided alone time with your husband and God
  • Experience more depth in your marriage relationship
  • Restore and build connection with God and with your husband

Social Media

Website/Blog

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Facebook Writer’s Page

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Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Wendy L. Macdonald

Good morning, dearest reader. I’m glad you’ve stopped by for a visit. Today, I am excited to welcome Wendy L. Macdonald to Women of Faith and Fiction. Wendy is a writer, aspiring novelist, and radio host. She is also an amazing photographer. The pictures in the post are her very own. Let’s get started, shall we?

IMG_5787Good morning, Wendy! Thank you for taking the time to visit with us. I’m sure our readers are anxious to hear more about you. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi everyone, you may have noticed I included my middle initial; it’s so my name will stand out better. It’s tempting to switch back to my maiden name, but it’s too tricky to spell or pronounce (Later, I’ll share what it is—don’t you love a good hook?).

By the way, dear Gail, thank you for inviting me here.

I happen to enjoy blogging, and I’m a contributor to several blogs besides my own. Last year, I also began producing an inspirational podcast called “Walking with Hope” for HopeStreamRadio.com: https://hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope/. It’s been an incredible opportunity to practice meeting my writing deadlines, polishing my public speaking skills, and learning to depend on God for strength and ideas to write about. I’ve confessed to my listeners that my many flops and fumbles in life keep me well-stocked with writing prompts. Isn’t God’s grace great?Wendy's daffodil

My nature photography, poetry, and prose are featured on all of my social media sites. Years of homeschooling my three—now-grown—children gave me a deeper appreciation for creation as we studied the earth together on our former acreage in the woods.

Deadlines do keep us busy! And your photos are inspiring. Wendy, this month’s theme is Joy. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Wendy's EagleJoy is one of my favorite words because I’ve learned through experience it’s possible to feast on it in the midst of a plateful of sorrows. God uses our sadness to draw us to Himself, so our soul finds spiritual nourishment in the God of more-than-enough.

Happiness is a fleeting feeling that’s dependent on good circumstances. Joy transcends our sorrows and lifts our spirits to find satisfaction in the One who can create goodness in the midst of badness.

Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have joy? How did you overcome?

The first season that comes to mind is the winter of 1998 when my dad, W.C. Yarmoshuk, died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was only 62 years-old. Sadly, I allowed grief to isolate me from fellowship. God used a video series, based on the book of Matthew, to draw me back into the Word and back to church. Since then, I’ve become faithful again in spending time in Scripture each morning. This spiritual discipline has produced the fruit of genuine joy in the midst of trials I’ve walked through during the last two decades.Wendy's Bee

In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I’m aspiring to be published in inspirational-mystery-romance and/or memoir. I’ve completed several manuscripts and am revising and editing them with the help of amazing critique partners. Writing fiction first has helped me write my recovery memoir with a novel-like structure too. I highly recommend that order.

I’m excited to have a short memoir and fiction article of mine published later this year in a Canadian anthology of Christmas stories. Some of my nature photography has recently been published in a Canadian nonfiction anthology about grief. Good Grief People is available on Amazon or through Angel Hope Publishing:  http://www.glynisbelec.com/BOOKSTORE.html .

Wendy's Swan 2I’ve enjoying reading the book because I have some ongoing family issues that require me to get a grip on good grieving. Grief doesn’t have shortcuts; it’s best to give it time and attention, or it will flip the floorboards of our peace out from under us.

Faith not only influences my writing, but it also infuses it. I remember thinking I wanted to write for the general market. Soon after beginning my first manuscript, I changed my mind about my target audience. God’s love and grace color every line I write. He is my Hope, my Help, and my Hero. I was rescued from the deep of eating disorders and depression when I came to fully trust the Lord in 1983. My writing revolves around recovery in Christ. He longs for us to be close to Him; when we’re not, we’re closed off from joy.

My goal in each manuscript is to allow the Holy Spirit to woo each reader to Himself through the words I’ve written. Writing this way pulls me tighter into His arms too.Wendy's Flowers

Thank you again, Gail, for having me as a guest. I en”Joy”ed the interview.

Did you notice I slipped my maiden name into one of the sentences?

I did notice, Wendy! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, today.

You can connect with Wendy here:

Website: http://www.wendylmacdonald.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greenlightlady

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendylmacdonald