This may seem obvious, but to set goals, we have to stop and think. About what we want, whether we’ve given up in the face of obstacles, fear, longing, all that human stuff. It seems possible to me that most folks are like me, and need goals to put flavor in life. If you disagree, please speak up. Might make a great discussion.
At any rate, in the last week of 2021, I spent all the time I had on considering. One thing that had been bothering me was that my marketing ability was so ineffective with my books. I’d spent twenty years in the public relations profession, but my writing was the world’s best hidden secret. A lady at church even said, “I didn’t know you were a writer. You need to speak up.” Not good. I read yesterday that the best marketing tool to sell books is to write a good one, and go for word of mouth promotion. See, I already knew that. So why so tight-lipped? (Lord, please don’t let it be false humility.)
Another was that I wasn’t getting as much time with my adult children and grandchildren as I wanted. A couple live clear on the other side of the county, so that complicates the situation, but I’m a pretty smart cookie. I can figure it out. And I’m the one with the most flexible time, thus the opportunity to plan to be together. Got on that one this week.
I could go on, but I think you get my drift. Just one more thing. One big, lofty goal seems like a great idea, no matter how old you are. There’s this award for Christian fiction writers, called the Carol Award. I’m going to win that award, maybe next year.
My novel about the rewards and challenges of teaching elementary school is finished! You can preorder it on Amazon, and it will be out December 23 in time for gifts for teachers or parents on your Christmas list.
Here’s what Barbara Reed, San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year, said about Queen of the Third Grade.
“’Love them first. They’ll learn their heart out for you.’ The Queen of the Third Grade teacher’s quote in her last year of teaching says it all in this beautifully written novel. Her heart is wide open for her dizzying array of third graders–from a learning-disabled boy unable to read to an autistic child fixated on Quantum Physics to an emotionally disturbed boy to an angry girl with questionable bruises to a girl who doesn’t speak English. She addresses her students’ vastly different abilities, challenges and gifts by focusing on strengths, teaching to each child’s ability, rewarding the good, giving her students power; and embracing “Truth and Grace” to apologize in front of the class when she is wrong. However, the teacher’s work is not limited to the four walls of the classroom; she goes far beyond, working with the families, mentoring new teachers, and challenging the shameful dictates of state-wide testing that leave students feeling worthless. Intertwined in her school life is her full-time devotion to her husband and family with all its blessings and tragedies. Just when the reader thinks this teacher’s retirement signals a final departure from her students, her trust in the Lord opens a brand new and heroic chapter in her life!”
I hope you enjoy Queen of the Third Grade. If you do, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or both. And Merry Christmas!
I’m coming to the end of the writing process on Queen of the Third Grade, where my protagonist, Gwen Murphy, finishes her last year teaching. She ponders as she faces various challenges how to manage life in truth and grace. Somewhere along the line, she realizes only God knows truth and only God can find the boundaries between truth and grace, which puts humans in the position of needing to turn to Him whenever life hands us sticky situations.
Now, I’m not talking about whether to do the dishes or not. If you choose not to, that can get pretty sticky. But that’s not the sticky I mean. The sticky I mean is more like when you become friends with someone who lives in a culture or lifestyle you don’t share. The Atheist and the Christian, the person of color and the white, the straight and the gay, the rifle-toter and the pacifist, that kind of thing. In those kinds of relationships, one pastor suggests you need a yes, no, yes philosophy, which I think is one way of applying grace and truth.
My understanding of yes, no, yes is yes, I’m going to be your friend, respect you as someone made in the image of God. No, I can’t agree with everything you think or do. But yes, I’m going to be your friend anyhow. And I’m going to pull this off because as we move through life, I’m going to keep turning to Jesus to ask where truth and grace are right now, in this situation and copy His example of open arms and honesrty.
I hope, when Queen of the Third Grade is published, you’ll take a look at Gwen’s last year. It’s a doozy. Hopefully, it’ll be on Amazon by Christmas.
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