Archive for April, 2010

Why “Fresh Hope?”

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

Note: My assistant and I are working hard to get a printed copy of “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” ready for you! It’s coming soon along with my Web site – nancig.com.

This week I’d thought I’d share some of the behind-the-scenes information about the title of my book. For a while the title was not “Fresh Hope” but was “Recipes for Living in Challenging Times.”

In August 2009 I conducted a focus group study. A focus group study is a marketing tool – it’s something done to check out the sale-ability of a product. The study was my idea and I simply wanted to know if my ideas in the book were helpful; would the book sell? So I set up five criteria for those who could be a part of the study. And as it turned out, six men and women agreed to use the book for about two weeks. We then met on a Wednesday evening. With people coming to give me their opinions I thought it would be fitting to provide refreshments. And after two hours of questions and answers, we enjoyed bottled water, coffee, fruit/cheese, and several kinds of cookies along with some great conversation.

The study proved to be extremely helpful. Some of the comments made can be found on the Praise Page in the very front of the book. Focus group participants in general told me the book was helpful, well-organized, and helped them realize better ways to live. But it was one gentleman’s comment that really had the most impact on the direction and help this book offers. We’ll call this gentleman “Bob” so he remains anonymous. Bob said, “Nanci, with a female author and the word “recipes” in the title, I wouldn’t even pick it up!” I understood his point right away.

In about a week we would be celebrating Labor Day. And with a long weekend my friend and I got to work and brainstormed for a new title. My friend told me about marketing trends by this woman Faith Popcorn. Isn’t that a wild name? I read some of what she had done. But as my girlfriend and I munched our sandwiches and talked, I said I really like the word “fresh”. With a few bites more of my Napa almond chicken sandwich, my friend was saying to me your book offers hope. So before I knew it, it was “Fresh Hope.”  God worked that out so wonderfully because there are no other books listed by that name. The two of us then collaborated and then the subtitle “Resources to Help You Navigate Through Unsettled Times” was born to give greater clarity to the nature of the book.

The title of my book now perfectly captures the essence of the book. It’s all about helping others know and feel that things will get better for them. There are many “fresh” new, innovative ideas which put into practice have the power to make the lives of others better. “Fresh Hope” says God is with you, keep believing, and keep saying positive words over your life. Why? Because God always has a way when there looks like there’s no way.

So what’s in a name? Plenty! Nordstrom’s, the posh department store here in town, has something in their cosmetic department – a cream called “Hope in a Jar.” That’s so clever. But really hope is something that lives in the heart. It cannot be bought but rather it is something that one cultivates and chooses to believe and hold on to — no matter what.  

And so with its resources, colorful pictures, and sweet endearing stories – my book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” will elevate your thinking and feelings to the place where you know everything will turn out for the best and oh, so, so much more! “Fresh Hope” will help you cultivate those good feelings. And isn’t that so like hope – making us feel good in spite of it all.

At this point I’m tying all the loose ends together to print the book. Deep in my creative heart and I was really hoping to find some clever quote to tie in with the book’s text. And as hope would have it, I found this wonderful Emily Dickinson poem at atouchofencouragement.com, a site by the former producer and writer of the TV series, “Touched by an Angel.” The poem explains hope in such a wonderfully poetic way. Please take a moment to read it below. May you gain strength and a greater understanding of that very special thing my book has not only in its title, but in the fresh ideas and help it will bring to your life.

Couldn’t you use a little “Fresh Hope?”

God Bless you!

Nanci

 

“Hope”

Is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.  

                       — Emily Dickenson

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April 27, 2010 at 8:55 am 1 comment

Why I Wrote “Fresh Hope …. Cleveland”

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

This Entry: It’s Like What I Did on My Summer Vacation

This blog entry title reminds me of a something you write when you’re in 7th grade. It’s kind of like those titles that say something like “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.” Remember those funny and sometimes awkward things you wrote way back when for English class? If your mom ever kept some of your art work or writing it’s a blast to go back and checkout some of those prize possessions that have been in the closet for years! It’s also embarrassing to read some of them because you wonder how you could have written such stupid things in the first place! Seventh grade seems like years ago. But I do admit, I remember my English teacher, Mr. Master – he was a trip! He had a little troll doll and let’s not even go there. But the guy who sat behind me was Bob Heinley. Bob loved to bug me for things during English.

My Big Class Project

But seriously, a few years ago I did write a family a thank-you letter for helping me at Christmas time. And I told them in a note that I’ve learned so much having breast cancer. I said it was kind of like a big class project and now I have to write an essay on what I learned. “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” is that essay and it’s all about what I learned from 2003 – 2008.

What’s “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” About?

People think because I had breast cancer the book’s about cancer. “Oh, no!” I tell them astonishingly. “Fresh Hope” is all about the stuff I discovered during my journey. It’s as the subtitle indicates – it’s about RESOURCES. During cancer I was living off my investments including my retirement money. I watched the totals in my accounts go down, down, down every month. A woman at church on Sunday said, “I bet that was scary.” Yes, it was scary. But I made a conscious decision not to give into the fear. God gave me a good sense of emotional intelligence. I realized how very detrimental fear and its partner worry could be. So I looked all around the community and tried everything people shared with me. I also put my creativity to work and I found lots of ways to do things that helped me not only survive, but thrive.

to help you feel better emotionally … Wellness Information

I love a challenge and getting through to the other side of my difficulties was a huge endeavor. But everything in this book helped me to be happy, whole, and well-adjusted. Whatever I could not do, God did. I read books to encourage myself and help me because it wasn’t only cancer – but I lost everyone in my life as well. Over a period of three years from early 2004 to 2007, I lost everyone in my life due to death, illness, or other circumstances. So the second part of the book “Soothing Your Soul – Tips for Your Emotional Well-being” are the things that helped me feel good emotionally in spite of everything. These things kept my feet well planted and I grabbed God’s hand everyday and He guided me. And as a result, I grew stronger on the journey. I cannot say it was an easy journey, but I will say it was an adventure. And I constantly looked for positive ways to verbally frame my experience. Because if I told myself this was interesting and awesome – then it was! At times I felt like Indiana Jones but without the snakes – thank goodness!  And all that I encountered has certainly helped this writer create a great essay for her class project! Besides all that, I am not the same person who heard the words cancer from the surgeon on November 17, 2003. You cannot go through years of difficulties and be the same person! 

Help and Hope

If you have lost your job or you are having trouble paying your mortgage, then you know how difficult it can be to find help and hope out there. It isn’t easy to gather information and do all the calling on the phone or Internet research. First of all, you have to know where to go to get something that will be helpful. Second, if you are depressed or in need of encouragement, you may not even bother to look. Walt Broadbent, the psychologist that endorsed the book said, “I think that often when people are the most needy, disillusioned, in pain, and overwhelmed, this book would serve them exceedingly well. When I’m feeling like a loser, sick, overwhelmed, or broken, if “look-ups” aren’t easy, I don’t do them. This book would help anyone reach out and get support for what ails him or her.”

Why I Wrote “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

Let’s go back to the title of this entry, Why I Wrote “Fresh Hope …. Cleveland.”  I wrote this book to share what I had learned. I know many people are experiencing so many challenges these days. And as I began writing this project, I realized how much I really had learned. I gathered a tremendous amount of information. Knowing what I had learned, I could not turn my back on the people that need help, especially those who need it right now. I was blessed living the journey and writing the text. And I’m sure you’ll be blessed with lots of “Fresh Hope” for your life as you read the book and apply the concepts to your own journey. But the real beauty of this text lies in the fact that anyone and everyone can discover fresh and helpful ideas in this great one-of-a-kind book. 

My Book Is a Gift to You

Today, especially today, my book is a gift to you. It shares hope and God’s love. It also gives practical advice and brings encouragement to anyone who is in need.

May God Richly Bless You!

Nanci

April 20, 2010 at 8:33 am Leave a comment

Courage

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

here’s a little more …. Fresh Hope

Courage is the state of mind each of us has the ability to create for ourselves. Having courage does not mean you’re not afraid. It just means you are not paying attention to those thoughts and feelings. They are not dictating your behavior. It means you are pushing past your fears. And it also means you are trusting in something beyond yourself to get you through. And in many cases for many people that strength comes from trusting God.

We have all listened to stories of remarkable courage. Amazed by someone’s actions in a time of disaster or personal crisis we are inspired by their heroic efforts. CNN annually gives out awards to those who have exemplified heroic measures to help others. A lot of those people have little income and yet they feed others, take children in, and help people walk when they have no legs. Those are just a few examples. And if you’d admit it, secretly we all probably think how did they do it?

In a completely different example of heroic behavior, Superman, Christopher Reeve, showed amazing strength and courage. Living his life in a powered wheelchair after a horseback riding accident must have required a lot of adjustment. I’m sure his lack of mobility and independence kept him reaching forward every day. There is no doubt in my mind that he must have been exercising his faith in something on a daily basis.

When you read my book “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” you’ll be reminded that faith is the opposite of fear. Faith says I believe even though I don’t yet see it in my life. And like fear, faith too is a choice. With life constantly changing, there’s always a new fork in the road – that place where we must decide how to proceed and how we’ll behave. That’s where faith comes into play. That’s where an attitude of courage begins. It’s funny how faith and courage are so very closely connected. If you have faith that can give you the courage you need. And if you feel courageous, I’m sure it’s your faith that props you up and gives you the confidence to keep going. Whatever the case may be, operating from either perspective, the choice is always yours to make.

Today may start out as a very ordinary day then suddenly in a matter of minutes life goes off in a completely different direction. Maybe you went to work and you found out you no longer have a job. Or maybe the tests came back and the doctor says cancer. Then again, perhaps the divorce papers showed up today. Do you respond with faith and courage or do you choose the fear option? It’s a test. I’ve heard that when life squeezes us our true character comes out. Small things can test our character, but it’s really a crisis that either has us reacting or responding. There’s a difference. If we react that causes stress. Reacting means you get angry, you take your frustration out on those around you. It means you have chosen the wrong path for your life. Responding, on the other hand, allows you to act in a healthy manner to your situation. Responding allows you to be calm and go with the flow of things.

Life is pretty stressful right now for so many. Don’t look around you — look up! God can help you push past your fears. God can give you faith right when you need it. Faith says, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming! And soon you’ll see the rainbow out your window. Keep going. You can do it! If you’re like me, you’ve probably gone too far down the path to turn back now. So take it one day at a time. And as you go a little further, you’ll be able to see a little more.

Truthfully the permanent and lasting answer to your situation is you need to ask Jesus into your heart. He will give you mountains of faith and the courage that you need at all times.

My prayer for you today: May God guide your every step and give you an abundance of courage and the faith to do what you need to do today! Please let Jesus live in your heart today!

God Bless You!

Nanci

April 13, 2010 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

Bread Crumbs

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

Easter has passed. And as one day rolls into the next, plug into these thoughts; the stone was rolled away. His body’s gone. He has RISEN! He has RISEN INDEED! Before Easter I thought about those things many times. And it really occurred to me that if God has that kind of power, think of what He can do in my life. Think of what He can do in yours!

But resurrection power is only effective if you tap into it. You can’t sit there and feel sorry for yourself; you must engage that power in your own life. Resurrection power allows you to get beyond yourself; it allows you to get beyond your fears and your excuses. It allows you to get beyond your past. But resurrection power also creates the path for you to follow. It’s like God leaves bread crumbs for you. And those crumbs always lead you somewhere very remarkable! God connects all the dots and brings it all together for you!  I’m a perfect example of having that resurrection power unleashed in my own life. Do you think when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2003 along with many other things that occurred, do you think I had any idea that my difficulties would provide the text for a book? Absolutely not! I thought I’d go back to life as usual. However, I’ve found, God never has usual plans for us if we trust Him explicitly with our lives. His plans are always extraordinary.

My book “Fresh Hope …. Cleveland” is unique in what it shares because the ideas came from my own unique story. The book shares many different kinds of resources and information. These ideas are things that can only be learned through a crisis like mine — a very unexpected set of events that you don’t plan for. The first section of the book actually shares my ideas and resources I found in the community. They will help you s-t-r-e-t-c-h your hard-earned dollars. This section also shares concepts that will allow you to develop different mindsets – different ways of thinking and approaching your situation. For example, your shopping and decision-making should always begin with prayer.

The cool thing about “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” is it’s not really just for Cleveland. The ideas shared can be instituted in any city. It’s great too that at the end of both the first and second section of the book, I’ve provided a place for the reader to record any additional information that may have learned. It’s kind of like a workbook. The book’s great too because you don’t have to look up a single telephone number or address. And there’s plenty of ideas and information for just about anything you need. Now that resurrection power too! It’s a book with everything and that can set you free from any of your fears, concerns, and bring you beyond your past. Just follow the helpful bread crumbs provided and you’ll be on your way to God answering your prayers and meeting every one of your needs! He’d love to do that for you!

Note: After reviewing the pros and cons, I will not be selling a permanent document file (pdf) of the book. But I’ll keep you posted on when I will roll out this oh so helpful book.

A Great Thought for the Day: Christ’s resurrection power is available everyday — not just at Easter!

Have a Good Week! Leave me a message if you’d like!

God Bless You!

Nanci

April 6, 2010 at 6:46 am Leave a comment


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